Discussion What were the top 5 missed oppurtunities of the ACW?

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Saphroneth

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i doubt there were 10,000 Federal infantry formed on the ridges. My concern was the artillery that the Confederates could not answer.
Assuming the CSA troops pushed the infantry, and the guns limbered up, Lee would have lost at least 20% of his army gaining a town with little value
At least 20%? Are you sure?
Lee's army is usually estimated at 75,000 (which is effectives) and the historical day one casualties were ca. 6,000 for the Confederates - while 20% of 75,000 is 15,000.
That would amount to 9,000 casualties just gaining the ridge, which is comparable casualties to Pickett's Charge, and Pickett's Charge was an advance followed by a twenty-minute firefight in musket range against an enemy (1) protected by a stone wall and (2) supported by several batteries discharging cannister.
Even if artillery does a lot of the killing, you sort of need the infantry to keep the enemy infantry in optimal cannister range as otherwise they just advance right through it.

As for the town being of little value, the area of the town is the junction which Meade needs to unite his army in a reasonable time frame. (Specifically he needs to be able to unite forces marching along the Baltimore Pike and the Taneytown Road without having to either bridge Rock Creek or funnel everything south to the next crossing south of the Baltimore Pike bridge, with attendant loss of time.) There's a reason why armies have fought over crossroads and junction towns for centuries - it only really started to go away with the rise of air-mobile forces - and if Lee takes the ridge on day one then Meade has only two options.

1) Pour the rest of his army into the Gettysburg area along roads that are not mutually supporting, letting Lee essentially get the benefit of interior lines to crush only part of Meade's army.
or
2) Concentrate his army at the next set of junctions south, which in practice means the Pipe Creek Line. This is losing a battle on Union soil.
 

Saphroneth

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Modelling likely casualties from a Day One assault on Cemetery Ridge, assuming the artillery has to do the killing - that is, that if the defensive effort falls on the infantry they'll break.

Cannister is the most effective anti-personnel round per shot, but it doesn't cause all that many casualties against men in line. I'll use the case of the guns at Waterloo (which were generally firing case shot or grazing round shot against concentrated French columns) and assume their average effectiveness is the average effectiveness of the Union guns for the whole approach march.
Wellington had 157 guns and they fired over 10,000 rounds at Waterloo, and the total French losses for the entire battle were about 18,000 casualties not counting captured or missing. If we assume that the British artillery at Waterloo inflicted literally every single French casualty of the battle* and that they fired only 10,000 rounds in toto then we get a figure of 1.8 casualties per shot.

The June 30 return gives Reynolds as having 28 guns and Howard as having 26 guns, so the total gunline is not more than 54 guns.

In order to inflict ca. 9,000 casualties requires a total of 5,000 shots, so each gun has to fire about a hundred times.
Immediately this is a problem because it would take more than half an hour (at three rounds per minute, which is a very rapid fire for muzzle loading black powder guns - especially rifles), and an approach march from out of artillery range (covering 1,000 yards) would only take about 15 minutes at one yard per second (walking). So I don't think it's physically possible for the artillery to inflict that many casualties, especially since we've been making so many wild assumptions to exaggerate the effect of the artillery and they still fall short by more than half.

If an attack on the ridge on Day One is going to fail, it's going to have to be stopped by Union infantry - even if only to hold them in place so the artillery gets long enough to play on them.


* including the ones inflicted on corps that never fought the British at all
 

Robin Lesjovitch

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At least 20%? Are you sure?
As for the town being of little value, the area of the town is the junction which Meade needs to unite his army in a reasonable time frame. (Specifically he needs to be able to unite forces marching along the Baltimore Pike and the Taneytown Road without having to either bridge Rock Creek or funnel everything south to the next crossing south of the Baltimore Pike bridge, with attendant loss of time.) There's a reason why armies have fought over crossroads and junction towns for centuries - it only really started to go away with the rise of air-mobile forces - and if Lee takes the ridge on day one then Meade has only two options.

1) Pour the rest of his army into the Gettysburg area along roads that are not mutually supporting, letting Lee essentially get the benefit of interior lines to crush only part of Meade's army.
or
2) Concentrate his army at the next set of junctions south, which in practice means the Pipe Creek Line. This is losing a battle on Union soil.
What I meant was a fifth of Lee's infantry. While the 2nd Corps attacked, Hill's 3rd Corps would still be catching shells even though it was not attacking. Of the 4 CSA divisions engaged, 4 would be wrecked.
Gettysburg could not be important to Lee unless Meade wanted it to be.
Actually, with Halleck's and Lincoln's permission, Meade might find Gettysburg a really great place to cut Lee off from Virginia.
 
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Saphroneth

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What I meant was a fifth of Lee's infantry. While the 2nd Corps attacked, Hill's 3rd Corps would still be catching shells even though it was not attacking.
How? Unless they're hanging around in artillery range for long enough that the "overs" wreck them, when it seems like they'd just withdraw or disperse to skirmish line or otherwise avoid casualties.
If a significant amount of Federal artillery fire is going "over" enough that it's "wrecking" Hill's divisions, then the Federal gunners as a whole are shooting high and they're unable to inflict significant casualties on the actually attacking divisions; Confederates take the ridge.

Gettysburg could not be important to Lee unless Meade wanted it to be.
By Day One that ship has sailed - Meade can either concentrate his whole army at Gettysburg or surrender the field after taking a spanking. In the latter case Lee has beaten Meade in a battle on Northern soil, and everyone would know it.

Actually, with Halleck's and Lincoln's permission, Meade might find Gettysburg a really great place to cut Lee off from Virginia.
I doubt it. Lee got away from Gettysburg historically after Meade's whole army arrived there, because Lee's line of retreat is to the west of the Cacotins; if Meade sends a significant manoeuvre force to try and cut off Lee's line of retreat, Lee wins the battle at Gettysburg (because Lee has his whole army at Gettysburg and Meade does not, and it was close enough historically).
If Meade doesn't try and cut off Lee's historical line of retreat, Lee can just use that.
 

thomas aagaard

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Five lost opportunities? Neat question. I'll probably forget something really important, but here is a quick list:

1. First Bull Run. The US Army was a mass of confusion due to the loss of many officers who defected to the Confederacy, but the Confederate Army was still in its formative stage. The Army that pre-existed the war really should have won the fight. A convincing victory for the Union might have dashed the hopes of the rebelling states. This was a missed chance to crush the rebellion.
1. What army?
The regular infantry regiments managed to deploy the impressive "army" of just one under-strength battalion at that battle... and it had a lot of new recruits in it.

By early 1861 all infantry companies was deployed all over the west. One company here, and two companies there. They very, very rarely did even battalion drill.
25% of the army was surrenders in Texas by the Traitor General Twiggs.

The regular army was in no position to effect the battle. Other than covering the retreat.

The two armies was close to even in numbers and attacking is way harder than defending. That is the case for experienced troops and both armies had plenty of issue even keeping battalion level formations when moving on an actual battlefield.
 
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Saphroneth

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1. What army?
Heh. It's a good question, isn't it?

If the entire prewar regular army had been mustered in one place, it might have had some impact, but it would have had to be significantly outnumbered on the battlefield by volunteers. Quoting from a piece on the US regular army:


Because Congress in 1850 had authorized units in the West to receive more men than those in the East, regi-mental strength could vary significantly. Theoretically a regiment in the West could have as many as nine hundred soldiers, but no regiment ever reached that size. With recruitment and desertion being perennial problems, a typical regiment averaged 300 to 400 enlisted men with 1 or 2 officers and 30 to 40 men in each company. With ten infantry and five mounted regiments of ten compa-nies each (the 8th Infantry had only nine) and four artillery regi-ments of twelve companies each, there were a total of 197 line, or combat, companies in the United States Army on the eve of the Civil War. Of these, only eighteen, all artillery, were stationed east of the Mississippi River.


So effectively we're talking about roughly 7,000 line troops prewar. Assemble them all in one place and they might have done some good, but there simply aren't enough of them to even be sure they'd be decisive on one battlefield - not with US regular army training not being particularly spectacular for the period. (If they'd all been trained to be high quality sharpshooters, OTOH, the prospect is there for them to do a lot more as they'd be an effective force multiplier.)

ED:
Actually, assuming a strength of 37 men PFD per company, that comes to
3,663 PFD infantry
1,850 PFD cavalry
1,776 PFD artillery
Where the majority of the latter would be operating as infantry.

So that's perhaps 5,000 actual foot troops.
 
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Jamieva

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Chaffin's Farm/New Market Heights
Hooker to stop his progress before the fighting started at Chancellorsville, then being more aggressive after Jackson's wounding (before Lee's 2 wings were reunited)
The Crater
Chickamauga. Actually playing out Bragg's plan of attack to push Rosecrans away from Chattanooga, not towards it
Mine Run. Warren to make his flanking attack late in the afternoon when his troops finish their march. They wait til the next morning and now Lee is in front of him
 

Robin Lesjovitch

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How? Unless they're hanging around in artillery range for long enough that the "overs" wreck them, when it seems like they'd just withdraw or disperse to skirmish line or otherwise avoid casualties.
If a significant amount of Federal artillery fire is going "over" enough that it's "wrecking" Hill's divisions, then the Federal gunners as a whole are shooting high and they're unable to inflict significant casualties on the actually attacking divisions; Confederates take the ridge.
3rd Corps was not on the same vector as 2nd. The Federals were firing on 3rd Corps near Seminary Ridge as S O P.
Before chasing the Federals out of Adams County, Ed Johnson's Confederates and the Federal 12th Corps would be involved.
If 2nd Corps moved the Federals out, i would have been at a very high price.


By Day One that ship has sailed - Meade can either concentrate his whole army at Gettysburg or surrender the field after taking a spanking. In the latter case Lee has beaten Meade in a battle on Northern soil, and everyone would know it.
However distasteful allowing Lee the field at Gettysburg, having Lee concentrated at Gettysburg put the ANV in a bad spot. Lee has miles and miles of wagons representing a main purpose in entering PA which would then be in jeopardy.
If the Federal Administration cooperates , 15,000 men from W. and SE Virginia could be on the Potomac, guarding any crossing.
What was Lee to do?
 

Saphroneth

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3rd Corps was not on the same vector as 2nd. The Federals were firing on 3rd Corps near Seminary Ridge as S O P.
But in that case then there's even fewer guns to stop 2nd Corps. The Federals only have 54 guns on the field (before any losses on the 1st day already such as any abandoned on the Seminary Ridge), which is simply not enough to "wreck" two Confederate corps.
The historical fighting on Day One saw 9,000 Federal casualties and 6,000 Confederate casualties, and with how Fed. corps were about half the size of Confed. corps you need about twice the casualties to wreck a CS one (at minimum). So if for example 4,500 casualties wrecks a Union corps you need to inflict another 12,000 casualties to the CS corps to "wreck" both of them - but you're having to do it with two corps that are already "wrecked"!

Before chasing the Federals out of Adams County, Ed Johnson's Confederates and the Federal 12th Corps would be involved.
As for the Federal 12th Corps, yes, they'd be involved but if the Confederate troops had gained the fish hook 12th Corps would only be involved as part of a separate fight - they'd actually be at risk of destruction themselves, because Lee could concentrate a large force against them alone.

If 2nd Corps moved the Federals out, i would have been at a very high price.
But how high are you thinking? There's simply not all that many Federal troops actually on the ridge in a state to defend, and not all that many guns available.


However distasteful allowing Lee the field at Gettysburg, having Lee concentrated at Gettysburg put the ANV in a bad spot. Lee has miles and miles of wagons representing a main purpose in entering PA which would then be in jeopardy.
This seems slightly odd to me because Lee's wagons retreated historically without coming to any harm - and if Meade's not concentrating his force at Gettysburg then he's got to be concentrating it somewhere south. Either that's protecting Washington (the Pipe Creek line) or it's not, but if it's not then he's left Lee an open goal into Washington and Lincoln would be screwing himself into the ceiling.


If the Federal Administration cooperates , 15,000 men from W. and SE Virginia could be on the Potomac, guarding any crossing.
Who exactly are you thinking of for this duty? When do they start to move?

Troops from SE Virginia would take several days to move assuming that the sea transport for them was available, and they arrive at Aquia or Alexandria or possibly Washington itself. Then you have the problem that they were doing a job where they were - can that job be done without the troops?

And if what happens is that the Army of the Potomac moves to stay between Lee and Washington, then Lee has the ability to march down west of the Cacotins, stop up the South Mountain passes and cross the Potomac in any or all of Williamsport, Harpers Ferry and Boteler's Ford. This disperses the effort of the men in question because it means they have to cover all of the crossing points rather than just one.
 
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leftyhunter

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@W. Caldwell-37thNC-Cmpk ,
At least one historian has made a very good argument that had General Burnside been allowed soon after the capture of New Berne, North Carolina to mount an offensive towards Goldsboro ,Burnside could of severed the vital railroad lines to Richmond. Instead President Lincoln ordered General Burnside and many of his troops to reinforce the Peninsula Campaign.
If Grant had been allowed to send a large part of his troops to New Berne vs the Overland Campaign Grant could of also done a lot of damage to the Confederacy and likely loose less men.
Leftyhunter
 

OpnCoronet

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Famous as Jackson would become, at Bull Run he was just one of twelve brigade commanders, in his first major action; and his brigade had suffered the heaviest losses, about one quarter of its strength. If the Confederates were going to organize a pursuit, it probably would not have been a matter of following Jackson. Johnston's four brigades suffered most of the Confederate casualties, so a pursuit would probably have been conducted by Beauregard's Army of the Potomac. Perhaps some of our knowledgeable friends can suggest which units were in position and in a state to take the lead.



I do not deny those are good reasons for not doing it, I just note that in the light of what we now know, it was a mistake not follow up a signal victory early in the war. The loss of a national capital, even for a day would have sent reverberations all over the Union and the world.
 

Robin Lesjovitch

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But in that case then there's even fewer guns to stop 2nd Corps. The Federals only have 54 guns on the field (before any losses on the 1st day already such as any abandoned on the Seminary Ridge), which is simply not enough to "wreck" two Confederate corps.
The historical fighting on Day One saw 9,000 Federal casualties and 6,000 Confederate casualties, and with how Fed. corps were about half the size of Confed. corps you need about twice the casualties to wreck a CS one (at minimum). So if for example 4,500 casualties wrecks a Union corps you need to inflict another 12,000 casualties to the CS corps to "wreck" both of them - but you're having to do it with two corps that are already "wrecked"!
The guns are supporting the wrecking, as I indicated the Rebs could not answer them. I have no doubt that Early and Rodes could gain the northern end of Cemetery Ridge, but that was only the beginning. And that would be at a cost.



As for the Federal 12th Corps, yes, they'd be involved but if the Confederate troops had gained the fish hook 12th Corps would only be involved as part of a separate fight - they'd actually be at risk of destruction themselves, because Lee could concentrate a large force against them alone.
Historically, elements of the 12th corps began arriving as the Federals settled on the ridges. Other than Johnson's division which arrived after 12 corps, Lee only had Anderson's division, which Lee seemed disinclined to use except for defense. Lee seemed to want a secure hold on Seminary Ridge.


But how high are you thinking? There's simply not all that many Federal troops actually on the ridge in a state to defend, and not all that many guns available.
And the 6 or 7 brigades Early and Rodes can attack with are not that formidable. But easily able to suffer 50% casualties.



This seems slightly odd to me because Lee's wagons retreated historically without coming to any harm - and if Meade's not concentrating his force at Gettysburg then he's got to be concentrating it somewhere south. Either that's protecting Washington (the Pipe Creek line) or it's not, but if it's not then he's left Lee an open goal into Washington and Lincoln would be screwing himself into the ceiling.
Lee lost quite a few wagons historically, but got most into Virginia. Historically, Lee moved most of his wagons in front, with his army intervening wirh his chief menace, the AoP. Had Lee followed Meade to Pipe Creek, his wagons would have been in greater danger.



Who exactly are you thinking of for this duty? When do they start to move?
Troops from SE Virginia would take several days to move assuming that the sea transport for them was available, and they arrive at Aquia or Alexandria or possibly Washington itself. Then you have the problem that they were doing a job where they were - can that job be done without the troops?
There were 20,000 men formed in an "army" on the James, not doing anything, really.At least 10,000 could be withdrawn and Harvey Hill, commanding CSA forces could not have done a thing. Same for 5,000 in western Va. Add various militia units and other forces
and you have something.
And if what happens is that the Army of the Potomac moves to stay between Lee and Washington, then Lee has the ability to march down west of the Cacotins, stop up the South Mountain passes and cross the Potomac in any or all of Williamsport, Harpers Ferry and Boteler's Ford. This disperses the effort of the men in question because it means they have to cover all of the crossing points rather than just one.
Lee probably cannot be destroyed, but can be hurt really badly.
 
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OpnCoronet

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What day in particular are you thinking of that McClellan should have done this?
So "24 hours earlier" is technically dawn on the 16th, but I'll instead assume midday on the 16th when the fog has burned off.
As of this time, the statuses of the divisions on both sides were as follows:
DH Hill, DR Jones, Hood+Evans - already there on the 15th.
Stuart - already there on the 15th.
This is 14,694 infantry, 4,500 cavalry (and 138 guns including the reserve artillery) in effectives.
Ewell - crossed the Potomac dawn of the 16th after camping south of the river overnight, ca. 4,400 infantry effectives.
Jackson - crossed the Potomac at dawn after having straggled heavily on the march, ~1,600 infantry effectives when they arrived at the field, but more troops straggle in over the course of the day.
Walker - crosses the Potomac at noon at ca. 3750 men after resting at Shepherdstown to bring up stragglers.
Total - about 20,700 inf effectives on the field at noon and perhaps another 4,000 by 1pm (counting 250 stragglers from Jackson as having arrived by noon, which is probably a low bar).
McClellan:
On the field
1st Corps: 8,600 infantry (this is based on Meade's estimate of strength carried into combat) and 46 guns around the Pry House to the Pry (upper) Bridge
Richardson's division and Sykes' division: ca. 6,700 infantry and 30 guns at the Porter (middle) bridge
Artillery Reserve: say 42 guns (42 guns engaged overall, haven't tracked batteries)
Cavalry: ca. 2,500 and 22 guns
At Keedysville etc.
Sedgwick's and French's divisions of 11,117 infantry and 30 guns
At Boonsboro etc.
12th Corps: 7,239 infantry and 22 guns
At Appletown etc.
9th Corps: 11,714 infantry and 32 guns
Hence the decision to send 12th Corps to support 1st makes sense, there was a road to the Pry Bridge.
At noon on the 16th (i.e. after the fog lifted at 1100 hrs), McClellan had around 26,400 infantry, 2,500 cavalry and 170 guns at the area of the Porter Bridge, facing ca. 24,500 infantry, 4,500 cavalry and 186 guns. He has two corps marching to the field (9th and 12th) within range to come into action by nightfall if he goes straight up the middle (that is, attacking down the one road to Sharpsburg) but he doesn't have time to get troops into position for a broad front attack.

So the numbers are actually about equal until 12th and 9th Corps can arrive.



Classic example of of what Lincoln found so frustratin about the commmanders of thhe AoP(util the coming of Grant). That they could not(or would not) do what the confedertecommannders could do every day with inferiros numbrs, what the AoP could not do wiith equal or superior nummbers.

certainly waitiing those precious 24 had no perceptible effect on gaining any sort of advantage to McClellan, while it ceertainly did for Lee.


As for Yorktown, attacking any time before the arrival of any substantial reinforcements would have been beneficial, I believe.
 

Saphroneth

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The guns are supporting the wrecking, as I indicated the Rebs could not answer them. I have no doubt that Early and Rodes could gain the northern end of Cemetery Ridge, but that was only the beginning. And that would be at a cost.
But you're talking at this point about only a few batteries being able to "wreck" an entire corps - at long range. (Realistically you'd have at most four batteries able to point at the Confederate 2nd Corps.)
I certainly agree there'd be a cost, but...

And the 6 or 7 brigades Early and Rodes can attack with are not that formidable. But easily able to suffer 50% casualties.
...50% casualties from seven brigades?
The average brigade strength of the Confederate army at Gettysburg was roughly 2,000 men per brigade (all told) as there were ca. 40 brigades. How exactly are those ca. 3,000-3,500 casualties you're thinking of going to be inflicted?
If it's mostly by guns, then we're talking about nearly 200 casualties per gun directed at stopping the advance, which is a massive outperformance of what can normally be expected.


There were 20,000 men formed in an "army" on the James, not doing anything, really.At least 10,000 could be withdrawn and Harvey Hill, commanding CSA forces could not have done a thing. Same for 5,000 in western Va. Add various militia units and other forces
Where do the numbers come from, is what I'm getting at - is that the June 30 1863 strength reports? Are they PFD or Present?
You can't just conjure a new corps-scale manoeuvre force out of nowhere in a few days, you need to do the work of withdrawing them and consolidating them and that might affect the whole of Lee's campaigning so he doesn't go to Gettysburg in the first place. (They also need artillery, and there simply weren't many guns available.)

As for what Hill could do, he could pressure the Union into withdrawing south of the Warwick line and then reoccupy and fortify it - which would completely skotch any Union overland campaign! (Contemporary returns give D.H.Hill's Dept. of NC plus the Defences of Richmond a total of ca. 30,000 Present - and nearly that in PFD - so Hill has quite a lot of force available if opportunity presents itself.)
 

Saphroneth

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Classic example of of what Lincoln found so frustratin about the commmanders of thhe AoP(util the coming of Grant). That they could not(or would not) do what the confedertecommannders could do every day with inferiros numbrs, what the AoP could not do wiith equal or superior nummbers.
But when Lee's army attacked an enemy uphill in prepared defensive positions he usually lost as well - Malvern Hill being just one example and the closest tactical situation in recent memory for both sides.
Lee's troops may have been somewhat superior man for man (the relative loss ratios usually suggest this, Confederate CEV is consistently better on too many occasions for it to be chance or any specific general) but the very fact you're pouring scorn on McClellan for not attacking an equally sized enemy should surely show the problem here.

As for "until the coming of Grant", there are several strands of thought about why Grant succeeded but there are a few facts that must be remembered.
- Grant did not attack Lee head on and break through him in one go.
- I cannot find a case where Grant launched a larger attack on Lee than McClellan did on 18th September 1862.
- Grant had an army twice the size of Lee, McClellan did not.

certainly waitiing those precious 24 had no perceptible effect on gaining any sort of advantage to McClellan, while it ceertainly did for Lee.
It absolutely did. The difference between an attack on the 16th and an attack on the 17th is the arrival of two Union corps (9th and 12th) able to spend the whole day fighting, plus a division (Morell) available in the morning and two (Franklin's two) available in the afternoon. The troop arrivals for McClellan more than doubled his strength compared to an attack on the 16th, while the troop arrivals for Lee did not.

As for Yorktown, attacking any time before the arrival of any substantial reinforcements would have been beneficial, I believe.
In which case there's a problem, because of when it was that the reinforcements arrived and what caused them to do so.
Most of the reinforcements for Magruder arrived after the 28th March, but the problem is that most of McClellan's forces were also still arriving on that date. Remembering that the time taken to march to the Warwick line was two days, then based on the arrival dates for McClellan's divisions you have:

Advance on the 28th to reach the Warwick line on the 30th:
McClellan only has two divisions to advance with (Porter and Smith, because Hamilton is needed to guard Newport News). Magruder has a total strength in the Warwick line of 14,500 effectives (as only the 3rd VA, 14th NC, 19th MS and 26th AL have arrived as reinforcements so far).

Advance on the 30th to reach the Warwick line on the 1st:
Couch's division has landed (they unloaded on the 29th) so McClellan now has three divisions to advance with.
Magruder has a total strength in the Warwick line of 16,250 effectives (as now the 9th, 10th and 11th AL have also arrived, all of them on the 31st).

Advance on the 1st to reach the Warwick line on the 3rd:
Same situation.

Advance on the 2nd to reach the Warwick line on the 4th:
Magruder's strength has risen to 18,900 Effectives, as Wise and Hampton's cavalry, the 13th NC, the 24th GA and the 2nd LA have all arrived.
Sedgewick's division has also landed, and four divisions would be available to advance.

Advance on the 3rd to reach the Warwick line on the 5th:
Historical situation. Magruder's strength was 19,450 effectives.
Casey's division has arrived in the convoy with McClellan, and there were five divisions available to advance (Hamilton was swapped for Casey as Casey was not a division ready for the field.)


The trigger for the reinforcements arriving was Heintzelmann's demonstration on the 27th, which alerted Lee that McClellan was concentrating a large army on the Peninsula. Remove that and you can absolutely have a major Union advance before the Confederates reinforce, but absent that the Confederates can reinforce quickly.

Arrival dates at the Warwick line and number of Confederate defenders per Union division:

30th: 7,250 per division
1st: 5,400 per division.
4th: 4,725 per division.
5th: 3,890 per division.

McClellan's date of advance was the best that could be managed given Heintzelman spooking the enemy. This is probably just coincidence because McClellan pushed forwards as soon as he landed on the Peninsula.
If Heintzelman had not spooked the enemy, then the possible ratio is:

Advance on the 3rd with five divisions, reach Magruder on the 5th: 2,500 per division if Magruder has not been reinforced, or 2,900 per division if Magruder only got reinforced by what could be moved in in two days.


That's the missed opportunity!
 
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speedylee

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1. What army?
The regular infantry regiments managed to deploy the impressive "army" of just one under-strength battalion at that battle... and it had a lot of new recruits in it.

By early 1861 all infantry companies was deployed all over the west. One company here, and two companies there. They very, very rarely did even battalion drill.
25% of the army was surrenders in Texas by the Traitor General Twiggs.

The regular army was in no position to effect the battle. Other than covering the retreat.

The two armies was close to even in numbers and attacking is way harder than defending. That is the case for experienced troops and both armies had plenty of issue even keeping battalion level formations when moving on an actual battlefield.
And yet it was better organized than was the Confed army, which was my point.
 

Robin Lesjovitch

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But you're talking at this point about only a few batteries being able to "wreck" an entire corps - at long range. (Realistically you'd have at most four batteries able to point at the Confederate 2nd Corps.)
I certainly agree there'd be a cost, but...
I wrote of guns the rebs could not answer...the casualties would come in 3rd corps from 4 or 5 batteries hitting already chewed up infantry. 2nd corps casualties would come from attacking mutually supporting guns and infantry and the bulk of killed and woulded on the CSA sde would happen there.


...50% casualties from seven brigades?
The average brigade strength of the Confederate army at Gettysburg was roughly 2,000 men per brigade (all told) as there were ca. 40 brigades. How exactly are those ca. 3,000-3,500 casualties you're thinking of going to be inflicted?
If it's mostly by guns, then we're talking about nearly 200 casualties per gun directed at stopping the advance, which is a massive outperformance of what can normally be expected.
the only way the CSA forces could throw 2nd and 11th Corps out of the Gettysburg area would have been to continue the assault that drove the Feds uphill..the only way without sustaining huge casualties. Lee gave no orders for that.
The "lost opportunity" here would be driving the Federals out of Adams County on 1 July. That might have been done, but I think only with a Pyrrhic victory on Lee's part



Where do the numbers come from, is what I'm getting at - is that the June 30 1863 strength reports? Are they PFD or Present?
You can't just conjure a new corps-scale manoeuvre force out of nowhere in a few days, you need to do the work of withdrawing them and consolidating them and that might affect the whole of Lee's campaigning so he doesn't go to Gettysburg in the first place. (They also need artillery, and there simply weren't many guns available.)

As for what Hill could do, he could pressure the Union into withdrawing south of the Warwick line and then reoccupy and fortify it - which would completely skotch any Union overland campaign! (Contemporary returns give D.H.Hill's Dept. of NC plus the Defences of Richmond a total of ca. 30,000 Present - and nearly that in PFD - so Hill has quite a lot of force available if opportunity presents itself.)
before the area was reorganized, there were 19,000 men facing Richmond. Hill commanded the Richmond defenses only for defense, as he kept his HQ in Petersburg and only had leave to defend from Ft Fisher to Richmonf in Lee's absence. The "Warwick Line" was a fantasy from months previous. Jeff Davis wanted Wilmington-Petersburg-Richmond defended.
 
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Saphroneth

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I wrote of guns the rebs could not answer...the casualties would come in 3rd corps from 4 or 5 batteries hitting already chewed up infantry. 2nd corps casualties would come from attacking mutually supporting guns and infantry and the bulk of killed and woulded on the CSA sde would happen there.
Okay, so you've assigned four or five batteries to delivering long range fire against the Confederate 3rd Corps. Call it 27 guns.

Now think about how many casualties you're actually expecting those ~27 guns to actually do.


As for the 2nd Corps attack, well, we started with 54 guns so there's a maximum of ~27 guns on that side as well.
You've previously indicated that the thing causing the casualties would be "the guns that the Confederates could not answer", but guns cause casualties over time - so you'd need the Union infantry on the ridges to be capable of holding back the attack more or less by themselves to create the situation where the Confederate troops are in the area to take casualties.
(This is before considering that the Confederates did actually have guns as well - 3/4 of the Union number in their army - so I suspect they could in fact "answer".)
 

Saphroneth

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before the area was reorganized, there were 19,000 men facing Richmond. Hill commanded the Richmond defenses only for defense, as he kept his HQ in Petersburg and only had leave to defend from Ft Fisher to Richmonf in Lee's absence. The "Warwick Line" was a fantasy from months previous. Jeff Davis wanted Wilmington-Petersburg-Richmond defended.
But those Union men are exerting pressure on Richmond - they're why Hill was left with such a significant force in the Dept. of NC in the first place. Withdraw them and either there's more men to march north and join Lee or there's the scope for a bit of proactive defence.

As for the Warwick line, the river still exists. But even just reoccupying Yorktown with a single brigade and some guns makes a Union advance overland or up the York logistically impractical - it would mean any attempt to supply close to Richmond except via the James river needs to clear Yorktown, which would impose a delay of weeks.
 
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