What If McClellan isn't Removed in Fall of 1862?

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CanadianCanuck

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You never formulated a coherent counterargument. Lee wrote continually to Lee to ask him to move his army to unite with his via Swift Run Gap. It took Jackson roughly two weeks to start moving.
And as we previously discussed, but you ignored, that is not the case. The only time Lee disagrees with Jackson's intuition is on the 14th when he determines his presence neither threatens "McClellan" or the Federal force entirely nor that Jackson is himself threatened.

Lee did not contradict McClellan. Understand, McClellan stated where he believed Jackson's troops were, and when we check we find that they were where McClellan said they were. There is no evidence supporting your assertion that McClellan didn't know Jackson's dispositions, and abundant evidence that he did. You reached the conclusion that he didn't know before examining the evidence, and then tried to fit the evidence to your theory.
Except he did. As previously stated, in his Report McClellan believed Jackson was at Chester and Thorton’s Gaps, when in reality he was closer to Snickers and Ashby Gaps. This isn't speculation, McClellan writes this down. He was flat out wrong in 1861, and he was wrong in 1864.

Historical swiftness, surely?
So slowly then.

McClellan was not moving with any stunning rapidity which would force Lee to battle, and we have zero indication save for McClellan's post-facto justification in 1864 that he was going to achieve some glorious victory in November. The few indications we have of any plan McClellan had was that he seemed to intend to push Lee into the Richmond fortifications, he did not seem to be expecting a battle before Richmond and if he had found one, he would not have been prepared for it.
 

CanadianCanuck

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Unless you think Lee would be willing to take a fight at such long odds, the main question about the campaign is at what point Lee has enough of his army together that he'd be willing to fight (which means probably most of it) and how he manoeuvres until that point to keep open his options, while McClellan manoeuvres to keep open his options and give Lee bad ones.

Keeping in mind that McClellan was always concerned with keeping good supply lines but that he was willing to use flying-column supply, for example, one plausible approach might be that McClellan moves his whole army forwards towards Gordonsville and then leaves a grand-division sized formation there as a blocking force while the rest of his army inclines east to regain supply at Fredericksburg. (A single grand division can maintain supply off the Orange and Alexandria long-term.)
At this point Lee has to pick what he has Longstreet's corps do. He can either march them east to the North Anna position or stay around Gordonsville; if he stays around Gordonsville then he unites his forces earlier but there is nothing between McClellan's main body and Richmond, while if he marches east then he is taking the risk that Jackson will be cut off from joining him at the North Anna position.
This approach would be giving Lee bad options, and the risk is comparatively minor. The Rebels might cut the O&A, but in that case then the GD supplying off the O&A can simply march to join the rest of the army at Fredericksburg.

So what does Lee do in that situation? Does he stand at Culpeper? At Gordonsville? Pull back west to join Jackson? Pull back south until Jackson arrives in the area? March straight to the North Anna position and wait for Jackson to join him?
So let's pick this apart. As stated ad naseum, McClellan did not have any real plan of attack. We don't know precisely what he was intending to do with this campaign in November. There's vague aspirations of pushing Lee back to Richmond, but no decisive plan to trap and crush him, that was an invention in his 1864 report where he still didn't have all the facts straight.

With that in mind we cannot say McClellan is moving trying to keep an advantage for a fight open, we know he doesn't expect Lee to fight before the outskirts of Richmond. If McClellan (as is likely) pushes Lee back to Gordonsville and advances on Culpeper, two assumptions must be made:

1) Either McClellan is going to continue his forward movement (unlikely due the stated distrust he had in the O&A) or he will instead divert his army to Fredericksburg. The when of this can only be speculated, but we would assume that he would first pause to collect his forces at Culpeper, then begin moving towards Fredericksburg.

2) If Lee has fallen back on Gordonsville, rather than curiously watching the suddenly inert Federals for a week, he is most likely going to divine McClellan's intentions, while also pressing Jackson to abandon his current position. As the correspondence shows, Lee is trusting Jackson's intuition to remain in the valley. An ahistorical Federal advance on his front will force his hand and we should assume Jackson begins a movement to join Lee 2-3 days after Lee abandons Culpeper.

With those ideas in mind it is then important to note that even if Jackson delays by a few days we cannot count on this aiding McClellan. The important point to note is that McClellan will most likely leave some force in his rear as he will cover it, which may buy him time. We should not assume however, he rapidly and forcefully marches to cross the Rappahannock. If he vacillates like Burnside over the depths of the river or the location of the Confederate force, it may cost him a day or more. Even then assuming this does not end up made worse by the delay of the pontoons (not likely, but not impossible). But let us assume that both 1) no such delay is taken and 2) McClellan then manages to get at least 1 Corps across the Rappahannock.

In doing so, Lee will most likely be at Gordonsville, either waiting to meet with Jackson or hearing of the advance of the Federal force on Fredericksburg. He will then be required to move along the North Anna. However, we should not rule out that Lee may attempt to slow a portion of the Federal army as it is in transit, and he may attempt to do so near Spotsylvania CH. Merely the presence of Lee will give McClellan pause, and this may draw a limited engagement, or it may cause Lee to retreat beyond the North Anna.

Here then, we come to the crux of what will be McClellan's problem. Any delay will be one more day for Jackson to move. And more time for Lee to divine his intentions. Assuming no delays either from his decision to shift positions after taking Culpeper, or any on the march would be unprecedented. Assuming too that Lee would not find some way to offer battle with a portion of McClellan's force before then is also unprecedented.

Finding a portion of Lee's army across the North Anna will give him pause. He will draw up the army (Jackson may arrive as he waits, once again) and either merely probe, or attack. Probe is the more likely option. This means that Lee will have the choice between a hasty retreat or that Jackson may arrive in a timely fashion which will even out the odds. Now McClellan may choose to try and force the fords, or he may go around Lee's flank. His experience from the Peninsula may sour him on the flank option and he may choose to go straight in. That would be a mistake against Lee's combined army.

However, Lee cannot wholly hold the North Anna, but should McClellan choose to go around him, he will end up near Cold Harbor and Mechanicsville. This is no good though, as there is no Butler distracting the Confederate army at the Bermuda Hundreds, and no force which can threaten Petersburgh. Lee can move to block McClellan before Richmond, and there is no reason to assume any battle engaged in would be one which McClellan would win.

It should be noted, that even getting across the North Anna, we must assume that almost everything goes right for McClellan. I do not believe that is within the realm of probability, and so at some point McClellan is going to be surprised by finding Lee preparing to give battle well before Richmond. The location is almost immaterial, as this will be counter to McClellan's intentions, and as history shows, when things go counter to McClellan's intentions, he always hesitated.
 

67th Tigers

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And as we previously discussed, but you ignored, that is not the case. The only time Lee disagrees with Jackson's intuition is on the 14th when he determines his presence neither threatens "McClellan" or the Federal force entirely nor that Jackson is himself threatened.
Nope. I suggest you read the post from the last thread. All Lee's communications are linked.

Lee wrote orders as suggestions, and the minor ambiguities in his writing style have created several controversies. The most notable being his orders to Ewell on 1st July 1863.

Going through them in order:

6th November to Jackson - Lee correctly assesses that McClellan was trying to detain Jackson in the Valley, and to cut him off. He tells Jackson to move south and stay in contact with Longstreet, but does so in an ambiguous manner.

7th November to the Sec'y of War - Lee openly says that his order to Jackson was to "ascend the Valley, in order to make a junction with Longstreet". Here Lee's meaning is plain, he considers that his communication of the 6th was an order to move.

7th November to Stuart - lays out Lee's interpretation of McClellan's movements and his planned responses. He wrong assessed that McClellan would not interpose between Longstreet and Jackson (which is exactly what he was going to do), and that if he did then Longstreet would fall back to Madison, and reunite with Jackson which he believed was moving to Swift Run Gap in accordance with his orders of the previous day.

8th to Jackson - a reiteration of his order of the 6th. It is "more necessary than ever that you move up the Valley... Turn off everything for Longstreet's corps through Swift Run Gap".

9th to Jackson - On the 7th Jackson wrote to Lee to the effect that he wasn't moving up the valley as ordered, and offered counterproposals. The letter isn't in the record and so we must reconstruct it based on Lee's answers, and a letter to DH Hill from Jackson's HQ cancelling a concentration at Winchester. Apparently, Jackson was busy ordering his command north to attack Harper's Ferry as best we can tell.

We know that Lee has made an incorrect assessment of the meaning of the enemy army halting (due to McClellan's relief), and believes that he is moving westwards on Strasburg. He also makes the wrong assessment that McClellan's whole forces has moved and the line of the Potomac is not defended (it is, by 12th Corps). He is less worried by McClellan's movements due to the halt. He tells Jackson to move south to Strasburg at least.

10th to Jackson - Lee reiterates that he relies on Jackson's "judgement and discretion" in timing Jackson's march to reunite with Longstreet, and that it should be "with all celerity". Cutting through the language it's an order to move ASAP.

11th to Jackson - Lee gets what side of the Rappahannock Amissville is (it is south, and covering McClellan's engineers rebuilding Waterloo Bridge). There are no orders to move in this one.

12th to Jackson - Lee again tries to cajole Jackson into moving, stating that if Jackson can do no good in the valley he should reunite with Longstreet.

13th to Jackson - Lee tells Jackson to check the route is clear for him to reunite with Longstreet.

14th to Jackson - Lee is explicit. He tells Jackson what he should have worked out - there is no rear for Jackson to raid into. He tells Jackson "the sooner the better" that he reunites with Longstreet.

18th to Jackson - Lee tells Jackson that he is wrong about everything, and that Longstreet is going to move east. Jackson needs to move. Jackson finally moves.

Lets be clear; Jackson was wrong, Lee was right, and McClellan was right.

Except he did. As previously stated, in his Report McClellan believed Jackson was at Chester and Thorton’s Gaps, when in reality he was closer to Snickers and Ashby Gaps. This isn't speculation, McClellan writes this down. He was flat out wrong in 1861, and he was wrong in 1864.
1861? An "1864" report?

One of Jackson's divisions was near Chester Gap; DH Hill was there.

AP Hill was encamped at Berryville with Thomas' and Archer's brigades bloking the river crossing at Castleman's Ferry, and advanced his pickets to Snickers Gap shortly after McClellan was relieved. Sykes' regular division occupied the gap until 6th November.

Ashby's Gap is 12 miles SW of Snickers. No Confederate force was closer to Ashby Gap than AP Hill, 12 miles N. DH Hill's division had camped near this gap earlier in the campaign at Upperville (i.e. east of the mountains), but they'd come a cropper in the fight for Ashby Gap on 3rd November. Since then they'd marched 20 miles SW to Chester Gap. Morell's division occupied the gap until the 6th November

Manassas Gap is another 12 miles SW from Ashby, and was unoccupied by Confederate troops. It was in fact occupied by an entrenched brigade from 9th Corps supporting Devin's cavalry.

Chester Gap is 8 miles SW from Manassas Gap. It was the gap through which Longstreet marched to Culpeper. DH Hill's division had marched here after their repulse at Ashby Gap. Pleasonton's cavalry came up against DH Hill is his pursuit of Stuart there.

Thornton Gap is 25 miles SW from Chester Gap, and was a rebel line of communication, which was known.

Finally, 33 miles SSW from Thornton Gap is Swift Run Gap, the objective Jackson was to make for if he couldn't reunite with

If you read the intelligence reports, they placed Jackson's and Ewell's divisions at Winchester, AP Hill at Berryville, and DH Hill at Chester Gap. This is completely accurate. When Pleasonton came up against DH Hill at Chester Gap on the 6th it created a report that Jackson had concentrated there, and McClellan asked Morell and Porter to send out scouts to see if Jackson was still where he was. On the 7th it was reported Jackson had not moved.

McClellan was not moving with any stunning rapidity which would force Lee to battle, and we have zero indication save for McClellan's post-facto justification in 1864 that he was going to achieve some glorious victory in November. The few indications we have of any plan McClellan had was that he seemed to intend to push Lee into the Richmond fortifications, he did not seem to be expecting a battle before Richmond and if he had found one, he would not have been prepared for it.
"stunning" rapidity? Perhaps not, but the movement was extremely rapid.

McClellan himself stated he planned to interpose between Longstreet and Jackson, and then take them in detail. His movement orders are in agreement with this.

1) Either McClellan is going to continue his forward movement (unlikely due the stated distrust he had in the O&A) or he will instead divert his army to Fredericksburg. The when of this can only be speculated, but we would assume that he would first pause to collect his forces at Culpeper, then begin moving towards Fredericksburg.
Supposition. McClellan's movements were SW, and between Longstreet and Jackson. McClellan had no reason to pause, and you've inserted this because you want McClellan to fail.

With those ideas in mind it is then important to note that even if Jackson delays by a few days we cannot count on this aiding McClellan. The important point to note is that McClellan will most likely leave some force in his rear as he will cover it, which may buy him time.
Yes, as we previously discussed, the 3rd 6th and 11th Corps are covering the rear area at the Bull Run Mountains.


We should not assume however, he rapidly and forcefully marches to cross the Rappahannock. If he vacillates like Burnside over the depths of the river or the location of the Confederate force, it may cost him a day or more.
Burnside had a week of political head shrinking before he moved. There is no reason to think McClellan would not have used the fords and seized the high ground on the far side of the river, as he'd done so often before. You keep opining that McClellan wouldn't do something that he'd done every single time he'd faced the same situation.
 
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CanadianCanuck

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Nope. I suggest you read the post from the last thread. All Lee's communications are linked.
As we've discussed this before I have little desire to again correct you.

14th to Jackson - Lee is explicit. He tells Jackson what he should have worked out - there is no rear for Jackson to raid into. He tells Jackson "the sooner the better" that he reunites with Longstreet.

18th to Jackson - Lee tells Jackson that he is wrong about everything, and that Longstreet is going to move east. Jackson needs to move. Jackson finally moves.
Here at least we mostly agree. As stated before, all other times Lee was trusting Jackson's intuition to remain where he was. It was only by the 14th and 18th that Lee fully disagreed with Jackson's assessment and began ordering him to move, and Jackson would comply well before the official order to move to Fredericksburg reached him.

1861? An "1864" report?
The Army of the Potomac, General McClellan's Report of its Operations While Under His Command which is the only place McClellan makes any mention of bringing Lee to battle unless you have his claims otherwise.

One of Jackson's divisions was near Chester Gap; DH Hill was there.
And DH Hill is not Stonewall Jackson is he?

But let's be 100% clear here: On the 4th of November McClellan through his assistant Chief of Staff George Ruggles, that he does not believe any large enemy force is in the Shenandoah Valley.

And on the 7th Sigel knows that Longstreet is at Culpeper, but he doesn't know where Jackson is.

We could excuse this as ignorance on the part of the separate commanders, but the letter of the 4th leaves no room for doubt that McClellan is unclear on Jackson's exact location and dispositions.

"stunning" rapidity? Perhaps not, but the movement was extremely rapid.
Easy to quibble with. Maybe rapid for McClellan, but his correspondence is sure talking about how slowly he is moving and how difficult it is.

McClellan himself stated he planned to interpose between Longstreet and Jackson, and then take them in detail. His movement orders are in agreement with this.
He may have stated that in 1864, but there is no indication he was expecting to bring Lee to battle, and his movements certainly show no indication of trapping Lee anywhere before Richmond, unless he is expecting Lee to stand ahead of him at poor odds, something which was very obviously not going to happen.

Supposition. McClellan's movements were SW, and between Longstreet and Jackson. McClellan had no reason to pause, and you've inserted this because you want McClellan to fail.
I have not. It isn't supposition unless McClellan suddenly has far far more faith in the Orange and Alexandria RR than he expressed historically. He spent much of the 6th writing to complain about the state of it and the slow and ponderous motion of his army. If he keeps going south he will be at the end of what he considers a long and ponderous supply line, if he advances on Lee at Gordonsville he will be 65 miles away from his established base of supplies at Gainseville, whereas he complained the railroad was not suitable to supply his whole advance. That is not a recipe for rapid change.

Yes, as we previously discussed, the 3rd 6th and 11th Corps are covering the rear area at the Bull Run Mountains.
Then we can't count on them making it to the party.

Burnside had a week of political head shrinking before he moved. There is no reason to think McClellan would not have used the fords and seized the high ground on the far side of the river, as he'd done so often before. You keep opining that McClellan wouldn't do something that he'd done every single time he'd faced the same situation.
No, I point out that every time McClellan came up against opposition he almost always delayed. Not always, but more often than not.

To point out that he did not expect a battle before Richmond is to say he obviously will be surprised to find Lee arrayed for battle between him and there.
 

67th Tigers

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Lee did indeed order Jackson to march and reunite with him. Jackson's 7th November reply to the order has not been preserved, and we must look around to work out what Jackson probably said. We know he was spending a lot of the time complaining that his troops lacked supplies of boots and clothing. We know that the 5th Corps occupation of Snicker's and Ashby's Gaps vexed him, and he believed McClellan was perhaps going to attack him. Of course, on the 6th November, Porter started to "peel" once the trains were passed. Lee letter of the 9th indicated Jackson should move as soon as the pressure was off, and on the 10th Lee's letter to the Secretary reveals he knew Porter had moved. Hence there are continual attempts to cajole Jackson into moving.

McClellan for his part knew exactly where Jackson was by the end of the 7th, which he was not certain of on the 6th. When Pleasonton fought DH Hill at Chester Gap on the 6th, he reported he was engaged with Jackson, and this raised a question. McClellan had scouts sent out to check whether AP Hill, Ewell and the Stonewall Division had moved or not. The scouts reported they had not moved, ending this question.

The situation at the end of the 7th is that McClellan knows exactly where Longstreet's and Jackson's Divisions were. The same is not true for Lee. He is uncertain whether McClellan is heading south to attack Longstreet, or west to attack Jackson. He does however discount the idea that McClellan will interpose between the two wings and cut Jackson off. Of course, this is exactly what McClellan intended, and did. You can see it:

Nov 9.png


McClellan in the OTL did interpose between the two wings. He has physically separated Longstreet and Jackson, and has a crushing advantage.

McClellan has no LOC's that Jackson can raid, and is actually far closer to Lee than Lee realised. Lee attempted to penetrate the screen at Amissville just after McClellan was relieved, but Stuart failed as McClellan had two divisions entrenched over the river at Amissville and Jeffersonton, and the Federal cavalry fell back on these combat outposts. Once Waterloo Bridge was repaired the main body could unite with 9th Corps south of the river.

There is nothing for Jackson to do, except march for Swift Run Gap. He is zero threat to McClellan, who was no LOC in the Loudoun Valley after 6th November.

If Jackson debocuhes out of Chester Gap, then McClellan can hold Longstreet at the river line with a small force, and crush Jackson. If Jackson heads to Swift Run Gap, then he can't help Longstreet.

I really don't think you appreciate just how bad things were for Lee at the time.
 

Saphroneth

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It occurs to me that part of the problem with exploring this might be the point that Jackson can only really do one thing. He can go after the line of the Potomac, OR he can issue into Loudoun Valley, OR he can go through Chester Gap, OR he can follow Lee's order and march south to Swift Run Gap.

He can't do more than one of these things.

The reason this matters is that uniting with Longstreet will take several days at minimum. Jackson can either try to do something that will have an impact on the situation in the short term, OR he can go and unite with Longstreet as quickly as possible. He cannot do both.

The closest thing to a way to "gain extra time" would be if Jackson issued forth from Chester's Gap in sufficient strength that McClellan turned his main body around (leaving a small force to hold off any attention from Longstreet), and if McClellan was then unable to catch Jackson before Jackson made it back across Chester's Gap and began marching to join Longstreet. In that situation, Jackson has effectively gained Longstreet a few days of "extra time", garnered by pulling McClellan's forces northwards.*

However, if we assume that McClellan's entire main body reached Chester's Gap at once just an hour too late to catch Jackson (i.e. the reductio ad absurdam) and that Jackson promptly made for Gordonsville via Swift Run Gap, it's a footrace south with Jackson on the outside track:

The distance from Chester's Gap via Swift Run Gap to Gordonsville is 86 miles.

The distance from Chester's Gap directly to Orange is 51 miles.

Thus if Jackson marches 10 miles per day (thus reaches Gordonsville on the 9th day) and McClellan marches as little as six miles a day, McClellan is over the Rapidan in strength before Jackson can reunite with Longstreet (McClellan reaches Orange on the 9th day). Even in this best case situation where McClellan draws his entire force north to deal with Jackson's raid and fails to catch him, McClellan can still get over the Rapidan in strength before Lee can reunite his army and oppose him.



That is the situation. Either McClellan is going to get over the Rapidan unopposed (and then presumably turn towards Fredericksburg to reopen supplies), or if Jackson screws up his march coordination in trying to draw McClellan north then McClellan can hit Jackson with greatly superior force, or if Longstreet tries to oppose the crossing of the Rapidan then McClellan can hit Longstreet with greatly superior force.


This is why Lee originally pulled back to the North Anna. The extra distance gives Jackson time to march to join him; Lee historically decided to trade space for time because he felt he could not effectively oppose the crossing of the Rapidan/Rappahanock line (or indeed fight the Union army at all) without Jackson there to join him.



* Jackson can't try and pull McClellan further north because he'd have to issue from a gap further north, and if Jackson entered Loudoun Valley McClellan could just say "I don't care about that" and be even more certain that Longstreet was going to go without adequate reinforcement.
 
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Saphroneth

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So let's pick this apart. As stated ad naseum, McClellan did not have any real plan of attack. We don't know precisely what he was intending to do with this campaign in November. There's vague aspirations of pushing Lee back to Richmond, but no decisive plan to trap and crush him, that was an invention in his 1864 report where he still didn't have all the facts straight.

With that in mind we cannot say McClellan is moving trying to keep an advantage for a fight open, we know he doesn't expect Lee to fight before the outskirts of Richmond. If McClellan (as is likely) pushes Lee back to Gordonsville and advances on Culpeper, two assumptions must be made:

1) Either McClellan is going to continue his forward movement (unlikely due the stated distrust he had in the O&A) or he will instead divert his army to Fredericksburg. The when of this can only be speculated, but we would assume that he would first pause to collect his forces at Culpeper, then begin moving towards Fredericksburg.

2) If Lee has fallen back on Gordonsville, rather than curiously watching the suddenly inert Federals for a week, he is most likely going to divine McClellan's intentions, while also pressing Jackson to abandon his current position. As the correspondence shows, Lee is trusting Jackson's intuition to remain in the valley. An ahistorical Federal advance on his front will force his hand and we should assume Jackson begins a movement to join Lee 2-3 days after Lee abandons Culpeper.
Okay, so let's have a look at the timing here.

For the purposes of this analysis I will consider two possibilities.

1) McClellan advances as far as Orange and then moves towards Fredericksburg.
2) McClellan moves to Culpeper and then moves towards Fredericksburg.
3) McClellan has his rearmost elements (Franklin and Siegel) move up as far as Culpeper and then move towards Fredericksburg, while the rest of his army moves via Orange.

I will also assume that Jackson (and subsequently Longstreet) moves at ten miles per day, that Lee abandons Culpeper the day after the point at which the forces are in the positions I give in my map (which was the position map as of the 10th because McClellan's march orders were followed for the 8th and the 9th - that is, Lee abandons Culpeper on the 11th) and that Jackson begins moving on the 13th via Swift Run Gap as ordered.


I will declare here that I consider the campaign to have been "better than historical" if McClellan is over the Rappahanock and in supply from Fredericksburg before Lee has reunited his army in a position along the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac railway. This is basically the situation as of the historical Spotsylvania, and it's a better outcome than historical Fredericksburg.



So let's look at situation one.

In situation one, assuming that Lee's whole army can move as a unitary body, the time taken for Lee to unite with Jackson's whole corps at Gordonsville is the amount of time it takes for the most far flung components of Jackson to march via Swift Run Gap. This can be functionally considered the time to march from Winchester to Gordonsville via Swift Run Gap.

The distance to go from Winchester via SWG to Gordonsville is 102 miles.

The distance to go from Gordonsville to the North Anna battlefield is 47 miles, from Gordonsville to Fredericksburg is 46 miles and from Gordonsville to other points on the R,F&P is about the same.
Total Confederate march distance to block the RF&P: 148 miles, or 15 days. With Jackson starting to move on the 13th, they block the RF&P at the end of the marching on the 27th.

McClellan's march distance for his furthest-north elements to reach Orange is from Thoroughfare Gap to Orange, which is about 52 miles. It should be noted here that McClellan could leave a single Grand Division at Orange to form a "hinge" until the rest of his army passed through, but we'll just assume that it's the longest distance an element of his army needs to move that defines the timeframe.

Orange to Fredericksburg VA is another 38 miles.

Total Union march distance to reach Fredericksburg: 90 miles.
McClellan has eighteen days of marching (10th-27th inclusive) to reach Fredericksburg; he can make it so long as he has an average march speed in excess of five miles per day.
If McClellan's average marching speed is six miles per day, his army can be in supply at Fredericksburg at the end of the 24th. He can then begin advancing again, and have his force reaching as much as eighteen miles south of Fredericksburg by the time Lee's whole force is concentrated; this is actually south of Spotsylvania and means it's the North Anna defensive position for Lee.
(I'm aware that Lee could try and delay McClellan, but remember I'm using the average march speed here; this would include days of swifter movement and days of slower movement.)



Situation two.

The Confederate march situation is basically the same and they block the RF&P on the 27th.
McClellan's march distance for his furthest-north elements to reach Culpeper is 33 miles; from Culpeper to Fredericksburg is 35 miles via the Wilderness or 38 miles marching north of the Rappahanock.
This time it's 68-71 miles McClellan has to cover in eighteen days, and his required march speed drops to only about four miles per day.


Situation three.

McClellan's rear elements (Franklin, Siegel) take the situation-two route and have ~72 miles to cover. McClellan's main body starts at Warrenton, and the Warrenton-Orange journey is 42 miles; this means the main body has only eighty miles to cover, and a marching speed of 4.5 miles per day suffices.



As you can see, either Lee has to fight most of McClellan's army with only Longstreet's corps, or he has to accept that even moving at a slow average marching speed McClellan has got over the Rappahanock and regained supply. Jackson simply cannot join Lee in time - not even with your assumption that Jackson can get moving in short order.
 

Saphroneth

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I also think it's worth considering what McClellan could reasonably assume.

If he knows that the majority or all of Jackson's divisions are in the Valley (per scout reports) then McClellan also knows that there is a minimum time before Lee can unite his army. If we assume that McClellan would say Jackson's movement speed was circa 10 miles per day, then effectively McClellan knows that it's (e.g.) ten days after the last scout report fixing Jackson's divisions before Jackson could be at Gordonsville.

If Jackson's position was fixed on the 7th but not later, then McClellan would be able to know that Jackson would not be at Gordonsville (thus able to oppose a push across the Rapidan) before the 17th. (With the timings Canuck has given, this is pessimistic of our McClellan-model, as the real Jackson couldn't be there before the 22nd-23rd.)

We can then use this to formulate an operational question: if McClellan chose to route his rear corps via Culpeper and the Germanna Ford to Fredericksburg (a ~70 mile route), what position would they be in at the earliest point that Jackson could be at Gordonsville?

The answer depends on the speed of march of the rear corps. With marches on the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th:

9 or 10 miles per day: In Fredericksburg.
8 miles per day: 6 miles west of Fredericksburg, east of Chancellorsville.
7 miles per day: 14 miles west of Fredericksburg, around the Wilderness tavern.
6 miles per day: Roughly at Germanna Fords.


This means that McClellan could reasonably determine that if he can keep up a seven-mile-per-day average speed there is no physical way that Jackson could interfere with a movement via Culpeper to Fredericksburg, even of McClellan's rear corps. It also means that (for example) McClellan could put two corps at Orange (using the O&A for supply of those two corps) for a few days to prevent Longstreet opposing the movement of the bulk of the army, and still be confident that if he moves them east by the 15th to march for Fredericksburg then they will not face Jackson + Longstreet.

The interesting thing about this model is that it's fully pessimistic on the part of McClellan and yet it still yields information that lets him form an operations plan. McClellan's mental model of where Jackson could be arrives well before the real Jackson, but even so it means that McClellan can know Jackson can't interfere before roughly the 18th.

If McClellan wants to be aggressive and push Lee, and can keep up an eight-miles-per-day average, he can confidently push Lee out of Gordonsville because he can get his main body to Gordonsville (Warrenton to Gordonsville: 51 miles) faster than his mental-model of Jackson can get there. McClellan probably wouldn't do this for supply reasons, though.
 

CanadianCanuck

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Lee did indeed order Jackson to march and reunite with him. Jackson's 7th November reply to the order has not been preserved, and we must look around to work out what Jackson probably said. We know he was spending a lot of the time complaining that his troops lacked supplies of boots and clothing. We know that the 5th Corps occupation of Snicker's and Ashby's Gaps vexed him, and he believed McClellan was perhaps going to attack him. Of course, on the 6th November, Porter started to "peel" once the trains were passed. Lee letter of the 9th indicated Jackson should move as soon as the pressure was off, and on the 10th Lee's letter to the Secretary reveals he knew Porter had moved. Hence there are continual attempts to cajole Jackson into moving.
As we previously discussed, Lee was leaving matters up to Jackson (as he did) and his intuition and only expressed discontent with that outright by the 14th/18th. The supply problems are a matter we do know about, but we cannot say Jackson will not move without the supplies and we know that supplies were being laid in the rear on Lee's orders.

McClellan for his part knew exactly where Jackson was by the end of the 7th, which he was not certain of on the 6th. When Pleasonton fought DH Hill at Chester Gap on the 6th, he reported he was engaged with Jackson, and this raised a question. McClellan had scouts sent out to check whether AP Hill, Ewell and the Stonewall Division had moved or not. The scouts reported they had not moved, ending this question.
There is no evidence that McClellan was aware of Jackson's position at the time he was relieved. He may have been aware he was in the Valley but we have no reason McClellan was better informed that day than any other.

The situation at the end of the 7th is that McClellan knows exactly where Longstreet's and Jackson's Divisions were. The same is not true for Lee. He is uncertain whether McClellan is heading south to attack Longstreet, or west to attack Jackson. He does however discount the idea that McClellan will interpose between the two wings and cut Jackson off. Of course, this is exactly what McClellan intended, and did.
No it is not. We have precisely zero indication from before McClellan makes that claim in 1864, a full two years after the fact where he still reports inaccurate information and fills in the blanks from over a week after he had been relieved. He states no pre-campaign idea to bring Lee to battle, states he has no belief Lee will fight before Richmond and made no orders to prepare his commanders to bring any part of Lee's force to battle.

Any claim to the contrary is McClellan making things up after the fact.

I really don't think you appreciate just how bad things were for Lee at the time.
I do appreciate that McClellan did substantial *** covering to make up for the fundamental failures of his campaigns years later in 1864.
 
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67th Tigers

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Whilst you might suggest Lee was leaving control of half his army to Jackson, the letters show this isn't really the case. Lee is constantly telling Jackson to move to reunite with Longstreet. What we are seeing here is a problem with the way Lee wrote orders, and it is the same one as caused the problem with Ewell on 1st July 1863.

There is no evidence that McClellan didn't generally know Jackson's position. There are copious reports from Pleasonton and the scouts in the OR, and these are a fraction of what passed to McClellan. Pleasonton's information was slightly wrong, but other inputs were correct. Just before he was relieved McClellan had asked scouts to verify Pleasonton, and they reported that AP Hill, Jones and Ewell had not moved on the 7th. Of course, Pleasonton's mistake indicated a worse situation than the real one. Pleasonton indicated Jackson might en masse try and debouche through Chester Gap, and he was ready for that, but Pleasonton also worked out this was wrong a few days later.

When discussing this in his "1864" [sic] report, McClellan quotes the reports of Pleasonton. These are in accord with the copious communications from Pleasonton that are in the OR. I don't understand why you dismiss McClellan's writings when they are well supported by other evidence.

Of course, McClellan desired to push for a quick victory because he knew that there was a movement in Washington to replaced the failed Halleck with McClellan as GinC again. He had proven himself by supporting Lincoln over the Emancipation Proclamation, and this went a long way towards placating Chase etc., and only the old hard-core opposition to McClellan (Stanton and Bates) objected to restoring McClellan. Lincoln himself assented to restoring McClellan to John Cochrane (one of McClellan's brigadiers, and Fremont's running mate in the '64 election) on 20th October. That he was sacrificed was probably due to Lincoln's weakened position post mid-terms, and McClellan was one of many sacrificed to shore up Lincoln's congressional support.

There is an ATL where Lincoln does slightly better in the mid-terms, and then reappoints McClellan to be GinC.
 

wausaubob

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Seems to me in McClellan had been retained in command, Lincoln and McClellan would still be discussing possible plans to defeat Lee in Virginia, through their various surrogates. But they would be arguing about in the context of at least one more North American republic. :bounce:
 

Saphroneth

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As far as I can determine, there is nothing Lee can reasonably do to arrest the development of the following strategy, with the following assumptons:

1) Jackson does not move until the 13th or later, and when he does move he moves at ~10 miles per day.
2) Longstreet cannot fight McClellan with any expectation of success if Longstreet is attacking a force twice his size, or defending against a force three times his size (in Effectives).
3) McClellan's average movement speed per day for his units is ~7 miles per day.

These assumptions seem to be broadly valid.


McClellan's strategy is to advance his forward formations (which I will refer to as the Left and Right GDs) towards Culpeper, with his rear formations under Franklin (the Rear GD) following some way behind them.
If Lee remains in Culpeper then McClellan will smash him, hence Lee will pull back to Gordonsville as planned.
McClellan will advance his Left and Right GDs over the Rapidan towards Orange while sending the Rear GD straight via Culpeper to Fredericksburg.
Once Orange is secured, McClellan will leave his Right GD at Orange until his army's train is all well past on the route to Fredericksburg, and send the Left GD marching from Orange to Fredericksburg (i.e. coming onto the road behind the Rear GD). The Right GD will remain at Orange drawing supply from the O&A until the trains have finished moving through Orange, then march towards Fredericksburg.



This strategy is not objectionable from a supply point of view - that is, it only relies on the O&A for a large army for a short period of time. The Right GD is much closer to the capacity of the rail line.
It also relies on flying column supply with the individual formations detaching from rail supply and marching to Fredericksburg (where they will regain supply, either via supplies coming down from the rail line to Fredericksburg or via river supply up the Rappahanock to Port Royal).

This Union strategy does not rely on McClellan's army being faster than the enemy; in fact, it works quite well if McClellan's army is slower. It also is not a strategy that involves chasing down the enemy and attacking him - McClellan was willing to chase down and attack an enemy (cf. Antietam) but this strategy avoids that and relies largely on placing the enemy in an untenable situation by manoeuvre.

This Confederate strategy is in keeping with Lee's historical movements and plans (such as his plan to pull back to Gordonsville). It causes exactly the same sort of threat which in late November and early December historically led to Lee moving to the North Anna position so as to gain time for Jackson to join him - a move which is simply not explicable if Lee thought he could fight or even seriously delay the whole Union army "in the open" with only Longstreet's wing.

Movements start on the 10th for McClellan's units and on the 13th for Jackson's units.
Distances moved by the end of the 22nd:

Jackson's forces around Winchester have just reached Gordonsville (100 miles, so 10 marches). Earliest possible date for Lee to reunite his forces.
McClellan's Rear GD has moved from Thoroughfare Gap via Culpeper to Fredericksburg. 72 miles in 13 marches: average speed required under 6 miles per day, so the Rear GD is ensconsed at Fredericksburg quite comfortably before Lee can possibly get his army united.
McClellan's Left GD has moved from Warrenton via Culpeper and Orange towards Fredericksburg. This is a total distance of 83 miles, so in 13 days the Left GD has has also reached Fredericksburg. (It got there a day ago, in fact.)
McClellan's Right GD has moved from Warrenton via Culpeper to Orange, paused there for as long as required, then begun moving towards Fredericksburg. Pulling a number to make the maths work nicely, the Right GD paused for three days and as such has only had ten days marching. It is 13 miles outside Fredericksburg.

Thus Lee cannot unite his army in time to disrupt this movement. In order to disrupt this movement Lee has to use Longstreet's corps to offer meaningful resistance to McClellan's movements, and this places Longstreet's wing at serious risk of getting smashed.
Lee will have to take up the North Anna position.


In fact, if Lee wants his army together in time to resist this movement, he needs Jackson to join Longstreet such that he can overhaul the Right GD in a footrace to Fredericksburg (at minimum). With the distance from Gordonsville to Fredericksburg being 48 miles (i.e. 5 days marching) this means he needs the army together when the Right GD is at least 35 miles from Fredericksburg.
The Right GD reaches the point of being 35 miles from Fredericksburg on the end of the 19th.

This has interesting implications. It means that if McClellan adopts this style of movement then Jackson needs to get moving immediately (i.e. the morning of the 10th) to be able to disrupt the movement in any way... but if Jackson was going to get moving immediately then he would have done so historically, because the Army of the Potomac was still marching and moving on the 9th, and so at the point Jackson would need to get moving there was no difference to the historical army positions.




Lee might choose instead to contest the movement across the Rapidan river. The area of the town of Rapidan itself is quite good defensive terrain, but Lee can be outflanked by forces coming across various nearby fords that outlet into his rear. It is his best option for a delaying action but it does nothing to stop the Rear GD and the fords mean that Lee can't effectively delay there more than a day or so; if he delays much longer then Union forces will be into his rear and Lee gets smashed.
As we've examined, a day or two doesn't buy Lee enough time to unite his army in time to oppose this movement - he needs at least three, or five if the Right GD only delays one day at Orange (as it might if Lee got badly mauled from trying to hold the Rapidan crossings for nearly a week...)

This is what happens when the route Jackson needs to take to get to Fredericksburg is 150 miles long and the route McClellan can take to get there is 72 miles (for his rear elements) and 84 miles (for his forward elements taking a swipe at Orange along the way).
 
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Saphroneth

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With regard to Jackson, it may also be worth pointing out the things that might have been what caused Jackson to move.

Was it an order from Lee? Lee ordered Jackson to move on the 6th, 8th, 10th, 14th, 18th, 19th and 23rd.

Was it that the Army of the Potomac had started moving again? Burnside began moving for Fredericksburg on the 15th, and Lee reported that on the 18th but Jackson didn't start moving until the 21st - six days after Burnside started moving. But Lee's requests on the 6th, 8th and 10th were while McClellan's army was still moving or hadn't yet stopped, so a letter sent while McClellan's army was on the move was nothing to do with it.


Was it that Lee's language became non-discretionary?
Lee's letter of the 19th which finally got Jackson to move was that "As before stated, you can remain in the valley as long as you see that your presence there cripples and embarrasses the general movement of the enemy, and yet leaves you free to unite with Longstreet for a battle."

On the 8th, however, Lee's letter states "You will see it is more necessary than ever that you should move up the valley" and directs Jackson to "turn off everything for Longstreet's corps through Swift Run Gap". This if anything is less discretionary than the later letter, and suggests to me that the language on the 19th was a little bit post-hoc as justification for why Jackson had not yet moved.


Was it that Jackson had finely calculated how long he could delay before marching to join Lee, and that he felt that he could join Lee before McClellan could reach Lee to fight?

This also seems improbable, because of the principle that one must consider the enemy's worst-case movements. If Lee is pushed off Gordonsville before Jackson joins him there then there is no direction in which Lee can retreat from Gordonsville that does not either give McClellan the inside line on Richmond or keep the AoNV split apart; thus Jackson must reach Gordonsville before McClellan does. But Jackson is a hundred miles of marching away from Gordonsville, while McClellan at Warrenton is 52 miles away from Gordonsville; if this case was true then Jackson would be knowingly gambling the future of the Confederacy on him being able to move his army more than twice as fast as McClellan (as Jackson could not find out immediately that McClellan had begun moving). In short, if this was what Jackson was doing then he should have started moving before the 10th (when McClellan's army stopped).


This suggests that what drove Jackson's decision to stay in the valley was either that he had false information about McClellan's dispositions (such as for example if he thought McClellan's force was further north than it in fact was) or that he did not have the ability to march to join Lee at the time, perhaps as a result of not being able to bring along enough food and fodder for the march. It may be relevant to this that the letter of the 19th also specifically mentioned that enough corn had been placed at Madison Court House to completely refill Jackson's supply wagons.
(It's interesting to speculate about the idea that the movement eastwards of the Army of the Potomac actually opened up the route via Madison Court House, making Jackson's march between supply points considerably shorter; the march from Winchester to Madison Court House is only about 67 miles, and is two thirds of the march route via Swift Run Gap to Gordonsville, but this route was not considered tenable by Lee before the Army of the Potomac marched eastwards.)
 

CanadianCanuck

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Whilst you might suggest Lee was leaving control of half his army to Jackson, the letters show this isn't really the case. Lee is constantly telling Jackson to move to reunite with Longstreet. What we are seeing here is a problem with the way Lee wrote orders, and it is the same one as caused the problem with Ewell on 1st July 1863.
I of course am suggesting no such thing. Lee merely writes he is trusting Jackson's intuition and then makes no move to contradict Jackson and outright order his movement until the 18th, which Jackson does follow pre-empting the order of the 23rd.

There is no evidence that McClellan didn't generally know Jackson's position. There are copious reports from Pleasonton and the scouts in the OR, and these are a fraction of what passed to McClellan. Pleasonton's information was slightly wrong, but other inputs were correct. Just before he was relieved McClellan had asked scouts to verify Pleasonton, and they reported that AP Hill, Jones and Ewell had not moved on the 7th. Of course, Pleasonton's mistake indicated a worse situation than the real one. Pleasonton indicated Jackson might en masse try and debouche through Chester Gap, and he was ready for that, but Pleasonton also worked out this was wrong a few days later.

When discussing this in his "1864" [sic] report, McClellan quotes the reports of Pleasonton. These are in accord with the copious communications from Pleasonton that are in the OR. I don't understand why you dismiss McClellan's writings when they are well supported by other evidence.
And yet they all come from after McClellan's relief. Up to the time of his relief McClellan was unaware of Jackson's location, and his post facto justifications for action from his 1864 Report cannot be trusted to inform his decision making process in 1862. His claim to be leading his army to victory is rubbish in light of all the available evidence.

Pleasonton may have become aware of Jackson's location after the 7th but he was not fully aware, and neither was McClellan at the time of his relief. Hence his mistakes from years on. This is quite consistent, as we can see by McClellan taking Pleasonton's report from much later in November to use as his proof.
 

67th Tigers

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I honestly don't think realistic distance-time calculations or force-ratios will change the minds of some. Indeed, this came up in the 1864 elections, with it being noted that McClellan was moving as fast or faster than Grant and Sherman did in 1864. Those convinced otherwise were immune to those facts.

For example, Halleck accused McClellan of only moving 6 miles a day. If I draw the near straight line route from Washington to Sharpsburg it's 77 miles, and McClellan's army made that journey in 9 days, including a day of fighting. Hence in 8 days of movement McClellan moved 77 miles, and indeed formations average around 10 miles/day.

Similarly, from the crossing at Berlin (modern Brunswick) to Warrenton is 54 miles, and the 9th Corps moved 62 miles.

McClellan's Potomac crossing is a model. The 5 Corps he was going to move where disposed thus:

6th Corps: Hagerstown (watching Williamsport etc.)
5th Corps: Sharpsburg (watching the crossings)
9th, 1st and 2nd Corps: Harper's Ferry (along with 12th Corps, being left to defend the river)

On the 26th he had Burnside's 9th Corps move to Berlin, and seize a debouche on the far bank with a division. Reynolds' 1st Corps moved to Burkettsville where they resupplied and were in supporting distance of 9th Corps The next day the whole of 9th Corps crossed and occupied Lovettsville and 1st Corps moved to Berlin. Pleasonton's cavalry advanced to Purcellville, whilst Stoneman's cavalry crossed at Edward's Ferry and occupied Leesburg.

Plans for the 28th were disrupted by intelligence that Lee was going to attack Harper's Ferry. McClellan froze the corps along the Potomac in place, and had Averell's cavalry cross the Potomac and conduct a recce. Around midday on the 29th Averell still hadn't reported back, but McClellan assessed the threat must be false and ordered Burnside's 9th Corps, supported by 1st Corps, forward to near Leesburg, and Couch's 2nd Corps to push over the Shenandoah into the Piney Run Valley. The evening of the 29th Averell reported that there was no major forces threatening the Potomac. He was correct, on the 28th Longstreet had started marching to try and head McClellan off.

The 30th October, McClellan stripped the Potomac line of 5th and 6th Corps, with them marching for HF and Berlin respectively. Couch pushed the 2nd Corps forward, with 2 divisions at Hillsboro by the end of the day.

The 31st Porter pushed 2 divisions of 5th Corps over the Shenandoah, and Franklin's 6th Corps reached the vicinity of Berlin. With the majority of the army across the Potomac, a general advance could begin.

On 1st November McClellan had the 1st Corps pass through 9th Corps and Wheatland to the vicinity of Purcellville, and pushed 2nd Corps forward to Woodgrove and 5th Corps to Hillsboro. By the end of the days marching, excepting a couple of divisions detached to the east, 4 whole corps were concentrated and within striking distance of Snicker's Gap. McClellan also told 11th Corps to make their move to Thoroughfare Gap.

On the 2nd November, 2nd and 5th Corps go straight at Snicker's Gap and assault it, then also seize Ashby's Gap. The 1st and 9th Corps moved S to Middleburg through Philomont, gaining a lodgement over Goose Creek; yet again McClellan pushed a division over a water feature to secure the crossing. Hancock's division of 2nd Corps assaulted the cavalry at Snicker's Gap, and held it against a counterattack by AP Hill's division until reinforced by 5th Corps. The other two 2nd Corps divisions on being relieved started moving towards Ashby's Gap, but McClellan halted them on indications that Jackson's whole force might strike Hancock. To the south, Pleasonton's Cavalry met Stuart at Unison and had a stiff fight that prevented him moving on the railroad.

On the 3rd, McClellan is sure Porter's 5th Corps can handle Jackson, and actually has them punch through the gap towards AP Hill on the Shenandoah River. The 2nd Corps marches on Ashby's Gap, supported by 9th Corps. Pleasonton is reinforced by Averell, and strikes Upperville, where Stuart with 2 of his 3 brigades is, covering DH Hill's withdrawal. This is the largest all-cavalry battle of the war until Brandy Station. Pleasonton pushes Stuart off the field and then advances on Ashby's Gap, having sent Averell against Manassas Gap. Pleasonton found the gap held in force (DH Hill's division), and waited for the 2nd Corps. Couch arrives and occupies the base of the mountains, driving in Hills outposts, but decides to wait for 9th Corps before mounting a general assault. The 9th Corps is running late, and wouldn't reach Upperville until the next day.

Franklin's 6th Corps reached the vicinity of 1st and 9th Corps on the 3rd. The 11th Corps had reached Thoroughfare Gap Thus by the end of the 3rd McClellan's dispositions were:

5th Corps: Snicker's Gap
1st, 6th and 9th Corps: concentrated in the triangle Bloomfield-Unison-Philomont
Pleasonton's cavalry and 2nd Corps: Paris, at the base of Ashby's Gap
11th Corps: Thoroughfare Gap
Averell's cavalry: Piedmont Station (modern Delaplane)

He had successfully moved the army through the Loundon Valley and blocked all threats to his flank. It only remained for the wagons to clear the area. The next day the only troop movements were Burnside's 9th Corps marching to support 2nd Corps, and 2nd Corps assaulting Ashby's Gap.

That evening McClellan's int confirmed that Jackson and AP Hill hadn't moved, and that Longstreet was at Culpeper. He ordered the 5th Corps to abandon Snicker's Gap, as the army was to draw supplies by the Manassas Gap Railroad. The 5th Corps would be delayed by a day. 2nd Corps held Ashby's Gap. 9th Corps occupied Manassas Gap and pushed forces south of the RR. 1st Corps marched to Rectortown, and 6th were behind them. Pleasonton's and Averell's Cavalry masked Chester Gap in force, but could not gain it without infantry.

On the 6th all corps but the 9th moved to make a general concentration at Warrenton. The 9th Corps moved to Waterloo on the Rappahanock, and they pushed over a couple of divisions and held the far bank whilst Waterloo Bridge was being repaired. Thus is the situation when McClellan is relieved.

There are lessons to be learnt about McClellan from these and other operations:

1. McClellan was not afraid of pushing over water features.

Here, twice, 9th Corps was pushed over a river line to secure the far bank. This is in accordance with his previous operations. If there is a move to Fredericksburg it would be out of character for McClellan NOT to seize the far bank.

2. McClellan was on the alert for an attack from Jackson, but wasn't paralysed by it.

As McClellan moved, he seized the mountain gaps. He expected major fights, and had large concentrations of force available at each. He then left a single corps (-) occupying them and moved on. Once the gaps were worth nothing he abandoned them.

3. McClellan never occupied Chester Gap, and didn't fear an attack

Why? Because it was not a threat. The other Gaps threatened with debouches attacking his lines of communication, but Chester Gap did not. McClellan had cavalry watch Chester Gap, because some int said Jackson was ready to burst through it. McClellan was not threatened by this.

4. McClellan moved faster than 6 miles/day

The corps distances were:

1st Corps: 65 miles (link) in 5 marches
2nd Corps: 76 miles (link) in 9 marches (including two seizures of gaps)
5th Corps: 72 miles (link) in 7 marches
6th Corps: 80 miles (link) in 6 marches
9th Corps: 77 miles (link) in 6 marches

There were of course days where Corps were stationary, holding a position. The moving corps averaged 9-13 miles/ day, and in several cases 20 mile forced marches happened (such as the movement to Waterloo). I see no reason to use 6 or 7 miles/ day.
 
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Saphroneth

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Indeed; it seems that it would be plausible to go for a "model" week consisting of roughly six ~11 mile marches and one "day off" (to keep up the pace) for an average movement rate of 9-10 miles per day. If this model is adopted then Lee is faced with some extremely hard decisions.

The fact that even using ~7 miles per day McClellan can get his force established and in supply from Fredericksburg without effective Confederate opposition is enough to show that the position has opportunity - the Confederacy defended the Rappahanock-Rapidan river line against major Federal campaigns on four occasions, and in three of those cases they were repulsed (twice by bloodshed and once by manoeuvre) while the fourth (the Wilderness) saw major Union casualties as the cost of success. Getting over the Rappahanock and established on the south side of it without bloodshed is better than all four historical Union attempts to bounce the Rappahanock.

What this indicates is that - regardless of your view of McClellan's generalship - the state of the armies in early November 1862 has potential for a major victory of manoeuvre, equivalent to a successful Battle of Fredericksburg or a Wilderness movement that went as planned (as the plan for the 1864 Wilderness movement entailed getting through the Wilderness before Lee could concentrate his forces) unless Lee can use Longstreet's corps alone to smash the entire Union Army of the Potomac.
And if Longstreet's corps alone can smash the entire late-1862 Union Army of the Potomac, everyone may as well go home and start sending ambassadors to Richmond.



Modelling an alternate history campaign where McClellan's movement rate is closer to 9-10 miles per day could be done based on a model of decision points.
E.g. making the assumption that McClellan's movement would be to incline towards Fredericksburg for logistics reasons, and that Lee would move to the North Anna to avoid McClellan getting between him and Richmond; we would then need to consider how far Jackson could reach in the Confederate best-case (starts moving as soon as he hears Lee has abandoned Culpeper) and worst-case (Jackson can't move until he did historically).

In this light it may be worth noting that the path Warrenton > Culpeper > Orange > Fredericksburg > North Anna battlefield is 122 miles and the path Winchester > Madison Court House > North Anna battlefield (a route that Jackson could only take if he was able to start moving after McClellan's army had cleared the area) is 131 miles. Jackson has further to go and starts later; even if he can take this route, the corps of McClellan's that has the longest journey reaches the North Anna before Jackson does.

This conclusion may be altered by a highly detailed reading of individual marches that looks into the manoeuvres required to force Lee out of Culpeper (e.g.) or the delay at Orange by the rearguard corps, but it is not a conclusion that can be dismissed out of hand.
 

DanSBHawk

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For example, Halleck accused McClellan of only moving 6 miles a day. If I draw the near straight line route from Washington to Sharpsburg it's 77 miles, and McClellan's army made that journey in 9 days, including a day of fighting. Hence in 8 days of movement McClellan moved 77 miles, and indeed formations average around 10 miles/day.
This is an exaggeration. McClellan was already positioned north of Washington when the march began. A more realistic distance would be 52 miles from Rockville to Sharpsburg, and 63 miles from Tenallytown to Sharpsburg.
 
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67th Tigers

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This is an exaggeration. McClellan was already positioned north of Washington when the march began. A more realistic distance would be 52 miles from Rockville to Sharpsburg, and 63 miles from Tenallytown to Sharpsburg.
I said 10 miles per day, and that indeed was the speed.

McClellan of course pushed Sumner's command forward to Rockville on assuming command, and a few other adjustments, but it seems to be cherry picking to select the formations pre-positioned nearer Sharpsburg than those further away. We are discussing the whole army.

On "marching out" on the 8th the distances travelled to reach the Antietam were:

1st Corps: 69 miles (link) in 6 marches (no march on 10th) = 12 miles/march
2nd Corps: 58 miles from Rockville (link) in 6 marches (no march on 11th, 13th or 14th = 10 miles/march)
5th Corps (-): 73 miles (link) (Sykes moved before 8th), Morell departed 12th and arrived evening 16th (5 marches = 15 miles/march), Humphrey 14th-18th (also 15 miles/march)
Sykes: 54 miles (link) from 11th to 15th (5 marches = 11 miles/march)
6th Corps: 75 miles (link) in 8 marches (no march on 10th or 16th = 10 miles/march)
Couch: 69 miles (link) from 8th to 18th in 8 marches (= 9 miles/march)
9th Corps: 74 miles (link) in 7 marches (no march on 10th, = 10 miles/march)
12th Corps: 60 miles from Rockville (link) in 6 marches (no march on 11th, 13th or 14th = 10 miles/march)

This excludes all movement before the 8th, i.e. the movement to Rockville for Sumner's Wing.

There were three "delays". First, during the 10th and 11th McClellan has the wings leapfrogging as he moves to contact at Frederick, which involved Burnside's wing holding position, and then the others holding and waiting for Burnside. Then there is the South Mountain fighting, and of course the columns end up stacked up behind the attacking units. Finally, Burnside and Franklin spent time watching the Pleasant Valley.

All in all, the movement to Antietam was extremely rapid. Corps averaged about 10 miles/day, including the fighting at South Mountain for those engaged as a march.
 
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DanSBHawk

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1st Corps: 69 miles (link) in 6 marches (no march on 10th) = 12 miles/march
2nd Corps: 58 miles from Rockville (link) in 6 marches (no march on 11th, 13th or 14th = 10 miles/march)
5th Corps (-): 73 miles (link) (Sykes moved before 8th), Morell departed 12th and arrived evening 16th (5 marches = 15 miles/march), Humphrey 14th-18th (also 15 miles/march)
Sykes: 54 miles (link) from 11th to 15th (5 marches = 11 miles/march)
6th Corps: 75 miles (link) in 8 marches (no march on 10th or 16th = 10 miles/march)
Couch: 69 miles (link) from 8th to 18th in 8 marches (= 9 miles/march)
9th Corps: 74 miles (link) in 7 marches (no march on 10th, = 10 miles/march)
12th Corps: 60 miles from Rockville (link) in 6 marches (no march on 11th, 13th or 14th = 10 miles/march)
It's hilarious to zoom in on those routes. Did they really take all those little detours? I doubt it.
 
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Saphroneth

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Exploring the previous battles as of November 1862, with reference particularly to the impact these battles would have on Jackson and Lee.


At this point in the war, there have been three top Union army commanders in the East: McDowell, McClellan and Pope. The major battles have been:
First Bull Run
The Seven Days sequence
Second Bull Run
and the Maryland Campaign.


Notably, in all four cases the arrival of additional Confederate forces was important to the outcome being as successful for the Confederates as it was; conversely, the arrival of these forces was in many (though not all) cases something that happened "just in time". (We know that Lee was anxious about the arrival of Jackson during the Seven Days sequence and initially launched before Jackson arrived, because Jackson was late; we also know Lee was anxious for Jackson to join him without Harpers Ferry having been dealt with, and that Jackson disobeyed orders so as to keep up the pressure and ultimately compel the surrender of HF)


This suggests to me that Lee considered having his army united to be a precondition to being able to fight McClellan, or at least that his army should be about to be united. In all cases except Second Bull Run the Confederate army was either unsuccessful or only partly successful when divided (having to give ground, or unable to push through) and at Antietam in particular Lee took very heavy casualties in spite of having most of his army together in one place. (The smaller you think Lee's army was at Antietam then the worse you think Lee's experience there was, in relative terms; Lee's campaign losses are ca. 13,000 men and there are some reasons to consider this an underestimate, such as the non-reporting of losses for several regiments and some whole brigades.)
Jackson on the other hand may not have done. Jackson's recent personal experience involved operating independently and in some cases (Northern Virginia Campaign) involved making wide movements to pressure a Union force to retreat; thus it is possible that he considered himself able to act meaningfully from his position or that he would be able to once McClellan moved south.

Historically there was one occasion where Lee fought without the whole of the Army of Northern Virginia together (or shortly to be together) against the whole Army of the Potomac, and that was Chancellorsville. It was in the future as of November 1862 and does not form part of Lee's experience base in this period, but it reflects a situation in which Lee might be willing to fight; in this case however the force Lee employed at Chancellorsville was (despite Longstreet's detachment) close in strength to the whole of the closed-up Army of Northern Virginia in November-December 1862, and this means it can only be viewed as weak evidence at best that Lee would fight without Jackson.




Marching distance.
Based on the events of the most recent campaign (Maryland) it would be reasonable for Jackson and/or Lee to conclude that the march undertaken by Ewell's division on the 15th to be "manageable" and the march undertaken by Jackson's division that same day to not be. Jackson's division marched through the night and straggled enormously, his whole division down to ca. 1,600 infantry crossing Boteler's Ford; Ewell's division camped close to Shepherdstown and crossed the next day at close to three times the divisional strength upon crossing. This is a total march of less than 12 miles over the modern road network (for Ewell) or 12.5 miles (for Jackson); we might therefore say that a reasonable figure for Jackson to expect of his men (without straggling to pieces) was around 10-11 miles per day.
This roughly concords with the speed of Jackson's movement before Fredericksburg and with common sense; it's on par with the kind of average distance per day that the Union's corps achieved on the days they did march (with the caveat that rest days will increase the likelihood that an army can march further the next day, or permit them to recover from a long march the previous day; this is one way that an army can limit the bottleneck effect of a defile, by passing some troops through with long marches and resting others).

In considering this it is also worth considering that Lee has had recent information suggesting that McClellan can move faster than Lee had previously expected (cf. South Mountain). South Mountain caught Lee by surprise; for the purposes of this examination we might assume that Lee has "perfect information" about how quickly McClellan moved in the Maryland campaign, and that he could expect the average Union corps to also be able to move 9-10 miles per march as a planning figure. We should not expect Lee to be overly complacent about this matter when his most recent experience of Union strategic movement is from his point of view "surprisingly fast".



What did Jackson think he could do?
It is possible that Jackson felt he could threaten McClellan's rear in the same way that he threatened the rear of Pope in August. For this to be the case we might expect him to be moving his troops further east, so as to be ready to issue forth from the gaps in the Blue Ridge mountains, or further north so as to be ready to go after Harpers Ferry. The fact he was not doing this does not prove he was not planning to threaten McClellan's rear; it simply means that the probability is somewhat lower (as his actions make more sense for the view he was not intending to issue forth than for the view he was intending to issue forth).
It is also possible that Jackson felt he could allow the situation to develop and then move south towards Lee, feeling that he had the ability to move fast enough to rescue any developing negative situation. There are a number of possible triggers for this; we have already explored what would happen if the trigger was to be news of Lee's abandonment of Culpeper, so the others also deserve consideration.


As such I will consider these possibilities:

1) Jackson intended to move to join Lee via Swift Run Gap as soon as McClellan had clearly shifted his weight south from the Chester Gap area.

2) Jackson intended to move south towards Lee via Chester Gap as soon as McClellan was clearly going after Longstreet instead of Jackson; in this hypothetical Jackson is intending to come at McClellan from the north, perhaps during a battle on the Rapidan.

3) Jackson intended to move east and issue through Thoroughfare Gap or Aldie's Gap once it was uncovered, thus threatening McClellan's supply line via the Orange and Alexandria.

4) Jackson intended to move as soon as possible but was unable to get the supplies to permit him to move.

If none of the others is plausible based on marching kinematics, then option (4) seems the only real other possibility. Note that given Lee's historical orders options (1) to (3) inclusive involve Jackson wilfully disobeying orders


Option (1). Assuming that McClellan begins marching south on the 11th and that Jackson becomes aware of this on the same day, Jackson could begin marching on the 12th.

This is a distance of about 100 miles to Gordonsville for Jackson's main body or 105-108 miles for AP Hill's Light Division. This implies a marching time of 9-10 days and Jackson closing up with Gordonsville not before the end of the 20th (9 full marches at 11 miles per day); McClellan has much less distance to travel and reaches Gordonsville before Jackson could possibly join Lee. (Even any forces holding Thoroughfare Gap have only ~63 miles to march and would close up to Gordonsville by the end of the 17th (7 full marches at 9 miles per day); thus Jackson could not assume he would have time to join Lee under the above assumptions.
Notably, if Jackson's force were concentrated at Front Royal his march distance would only be 81 miles via Swift Run Gap, and under these circumstances Jackson could arrive by the end of the 18th; this is a situation where it would be plausible for Jackson to think that he could arrive in time to contribute to an ongoing battle around Gordonsville, and so if this was his intent then he should have his whole army concentrated there.


Option (2). Assuming that McClellan begins marching south on the 11th and that Jackson becomes aware of this on the same day, Jackson could begin marching on the 12th.

From Winchester VA to Rapidan VA via Chester's Gap is 73 miles (i.e. more than six marches). Assuming that Jackson was to consider getting to the Rapidan *area* as a success sufficient to "rescue" Lee (i.e. six miles short of Rapidan itself) Jackson's main body would be arriving in the Rapidan area at the end of the 17th.
Mostly ignoring for the moment the obvious fact that this route goes through Culpeper, and that McClellan could simply leave a third of his army at Culpeper to block Jackson in this situation (that is, a force itself larger than Jackson's entire closed-up corps), the main body of McClellan's army was around Warrenton. The distance from Warrenton to Rapidan itself is 36 miles, and so McClellan's leading edge would be arriving in the Rapidan area not later than the end of the 14th and any fighting would start on the 15th (if McClellan was aware that Jackson was en route within a few days, as he would have to be given Jackson's route - by the end of the 14th Jackson would be through Chester Gap and obviously intending to strike at his rear, but also obviously still more than thirty miles from being able to do so.

Again, Jackson could not reasonably expect to be able to strike McClellan from the rear during operations along the Rappahanock; again, Jackson's expectation of being able to do so would be greatly improved if Jackson's forces were concentrated around Front Royal (as this would reduce the distance to Rapidan VA by approx. 24 miles and mean that Jackson would be arriving in the Rapidan area a little more than two days sooner.)


In both these cases we would expect Jackson to be further south (closed up with DH Hill at Front Royal) if his plan were to move immediately - the difference in position is the difference between making the strategy "viable if risky" and "not viable" due to the kinematics of marching.


Option (3). The assumption of when Jackson would move is a little tricker in this case, as he might reasonably expect a threat to McClellan's rear to draw off part or all of McClellan's force.

The Thoroughfare Gap route is obviously non-viable unless Jackson has proof McClellan is moving south (in which case he might expect that Thoroughfare Gap would soon be uncovered, even if he did not yet know that had happened or it had not yet happened) but Aldie's Gap is viable already (as of the 9th/10th) unless Aldie's Gap is covered by troops out of Washington.

If Jackson planned this and was intending to use Aldie's Gap as soon as possible, the lack of movement from AP Hill is hard to explain unless either Aldie's Gap *was* covered by troops out of Washington or Jackson was waiting until McClellan could not pin his forces in NE Virginia (i.e. prevent all or part of his corps from returning to the Valley).

One positive of this hypothetical is that it would explain why Jackson's forces were not concentrated around Front Royal; Winchester has roads leading to Chester's Gap, Ashby Gap and Snicker's Gap, so Jackson could opt for any of them. There is also a negative, however, which is the distance involved in Jackson moving to threaten McClellan's supply lines.

The plan is obviously non-viable while Franklin and Siegel are encamped in the area around New Baltimore, so Jackson would need to wait until they began to move south (either in truth or because he had circumstantial evidence that they would soon do this). For even the closest of Jackson's units to reach the Bull Run Mountains, however, is a journey of 29 miles; if DH Hill moved immediately (launching out of Chester's Gap on the morning of the same day McClellan moved out of the historical positions, e.g. the 11th) then he could not reach anywhere actually on the Union supply line for about four days, and would not be "threatening" it until the third day (the 13th) when Thoroughfare Gap was reached. Worse is that this could be expected to be obvious, and a single brigade left at Thoroughfare Gap would stymie it unless Jackson himself came to join in; the easier way to avoid this would be to not move for a day or so to give Franklin time to move south. (This would be quicker than waiting for Jackson to join DH Hill; in this model Jackson would simply be moving as far as whichever of the Blue Ridge mountain gaps DH Hill was planning to use on his return journey, so as to keep it from being stopped up and trapping DH Hill).

With no threat to McClellan's supply line until the middle of the 14th (his fourth day after starting to move) even if nothing was done to protect the supply line - that is, if Jackson felt he could think rings around McClellan - the threat does not emerge until McClellan's rear (the forces, if any, actually in Thoroughfare Gap until the start of the march on the 11th) is at Culpeper. Interestingly this means that a rail move could be made of the troops required to keep the O&A secure.
This seems to be the most plausible of the plans Jackson might have, but it is notable that it could be completely defeated by a couple of brigades at Thoroughfare Gap. If the forces at Thoroughfare Gap are substantial enough to require the majority of Jackson's forces to overcome then this entails Jackson marching from Winchester to Thoroughfare Gap, a journey of about forty miles; it also then entails a major fight at Thoroughfare Gap before troops can actually pass through to hit the supply lines and therefore marches more along the lines of what can be achieved without heavy straggling, for Jackson's main body, so the battle would not be beginning until the end of the 14th at the absolute earliest and the end of the 15th more realistically.

The other significant disadvantage to this approach is that even if McClellan does divert a major force to secure his rear (i.e. a whole third of the army, Franklin and Siegel's corps) he still has a force large enough that Lee would not be realistically able to fight it *and* solid evidence of where the majority of Jackson's forces are (to whit: not with Lee).


(4)
This explains satisfactorily why Jackson's troops were spread out (to better secure food and reduce the strain on any one part of the Valley, as well as for defensive reasons in case Mcclellan was intending to march on the Valley instead of south) and why he did not move despite Lee's repeated instructions to do so. It is not the only explanation but it explains Jackson's actions in terms of constraints, and why he would risk Lee having to fight McClellan's main strength alone despite how this had not previously worked and how heavy the casualties had been at Antietam (which is that he did not have any better choice; if Jackson had been both willing and able to unite with Lee then he could have already been marching).

The fact that it explains matters while the previously examined cases do not entirely explain matters indicates that it is more likely to be the true historical situation.



Another presumed motive of Jackson (as per some of his correspondence) is the reluctance to allow Winchester to be captured. This is not raised as a separate point above because it was not his overriding historical motivation (he later allowed Winchester to be captured) and it fits with any of the above scenarios.

This does however colour the third case in particular. If Jackson sends his whole force out of the Valley against McClellan's supply lines then he is leaving it open to occupation by 12th Corps under Slocum (a process which took four days from the moment Slocum discovered that Jackson had abandoned the Valley, and six days from the moment someone - Burnside - asked to check on Jackson's situation).
This means that a reasonable worst case scenario for Jackson if he sends his whole force across the Bull Run Mountains is the capture of Winchester by Slocum and the holding of the Blue Ridge mountain gaps against him; in this worst-case scenario then Jackson has Slocum preventing his escape to the west and McClellan to the south, and forces of McClellan and from Washington will be able to trap him and crush him.
To avoid this worst case scenario Jackson would wish to hold at least division at Winchester, and another at Chester's Gap if he is moving out of the Blue Ridge mountains; this means that to avoid losing most or all his corps in NE Virginia the most Jackson can spare to issue forth into NE Virginia is about 1/3 to 1/2 of his corps. This force might be able to break through Thoroughfare Gap or Aldie's Gap, but against the strength of the Washington garrision (both mobile and sessile components) is little more than a raid.*

* It is unclear exactly how strong Lee thought the Washington garrison was, but the true strength in Aggregate Present (per Burnside's tri-monthly return of 10 November) was 98,738; this included divisions under Casey, Whipple and Sickles, all of whom could be considered mobile at the very least. Washington's garrison is itself larger than Lee's entire closed-up army (which was 73,500 AP all told) and Jackson must respect it.



Conclusion:

Any view as to what Jackson was doing and planning to do in early November 1862 has disadvantages as well as advantages.
If Jackson planned to unite with Lee as quickly as possible, either through the short route or the long route, we must face that Jackson disposed himself so as to make it almost inevitable (given the information he could have had) that he would lose the race, and would be unable to threaten McClellan's rear and delay him.
If Jackson planned to threaten McClellan's rear and delay him, we must face that this means Jackson is marching around in northern Virginia east of the Blue Ridge Mountains instead of marching to join Lee, and that therefore Lee will be operating without McClellan for some additional time, probably on the order of weeks.

While it is possible to hold that Jackson had not yet decided which of these options to take, it is not possible to hold that once the campaign began Jackson could do both. If Jackson is delaying McClellan he is not marching to join Lee by the shortest possible route; if Jackson is joining Lee by the shortest possible route he is not delaying McClellan.
Any model of Jackson's actions must take into account the fact that Jackson would be aware of this.


The model that Jackson wanted to move but was unable to gather the resources for the required march (for whatever reason) concords with the data; it thus cannot be dismissed out of hand. Any other model of why Jackson did what he did must thus explain his actions at least as well, or be considered less likely (which is to say, the actions and inactions Jackson historically took would be unexpected in any model of his actions which did not explain them. For example, if Jackson prioritized holding Winchester as long as possible over being able to move to join Lee as soon as possible, this explains his position at Winchester but it also means that there is the possibility Jackson miscalculated and tarried too long at Winchester).
 
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