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 Posted: Sat Jun 9th, 2012 10:07 pm
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Vernon Dutton
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Would the Civil War been over 2 years earlier if McClellan had sent in the 5th Corps like he originally planned?



 Posted: Sat Jun 9th, 2012 11:35 pm
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Old Blu
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No.



 Posted: Sun Jun 10th, 2012 12:56 am
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CleburneFan
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Lee's Army of Northern Virginia was not the only Confederate army. Even if McClellan had defeated Lee, Union forces would still have had to defeat armies in the Western Theater such as the Army of Tennessee. Also there were Confederate forces in the Trans-Mississippi region and Eastern coastal areas of the Carolinas, Georgia and even a few in Florida.

In fact, it took weeks for the war to wind down even after Lee's surrender at Appomattox.

For a detailed examination of how painfully long it took to really end the Civil War after Appomattox, read:

"Out of the Storm: The End of the Civil War, April-June 1865" by Noah Andre Trudeau, Little Brown and Company, 1995

Last edited on Sun Jun 10th, 2012 01:02 am by CleburneFan



 Posted: Sun Jun 10th, 2012 01:43 am
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Vernon Dutton
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Thanks Cleburne Fan. I will read what you suggested.



 Posted: Sun Jun 10th, 2012 02:07 am
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CleburneFan
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Vernon Dutton wrote:
Thanks Cleburne Fan. I will read what you suggested.


This book might be tough to find in a standard retail bookstore because Civil War selections are quite limited in such stores and usually deal with the most popular Civil War topics.

What I do is order used books cheaply at Amazon.com. I've had very good luck with that because the used books usually come in like new condition.

Your local library might be able to get it for you too. Trudeau is a well known Civil War writer and one of my favorites.



 Posted: Sun Jun 10th, 2012 02:35 am
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Hellcat
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CleburneFan wrote:
This book might be tough to find in a standard retail bookstore because Civil War selections are quite limited in such stores and usually deal with the most popular Civil War topics.

Tell me about it. Twenty years ago I could go to the local bookstore (now the only one left in town that isn't a used book store and there's only one of those left) and they had like two and a half bookshelves dedicated to the war. Last time I went four or five years ago it about was like one and a half shelves. Two and a half bookshelves ain't a huge section but at least you could browse through a selection of different authors and topics on the war. The entire history section twenty years ago was probably about an 1/8 of the store, maybe close to a quarter of the store. The store was twice as large four or five years ago but the history section had shrunk to what the ACW section had been twenty years ago.

As for Antietam (Sharpsburg), the big thing would have been to prevent Lee from escaping. Even sending in the V Corps might not have mattered had Lee managed to escape. McClellan would have had to defeat Lee completely, not just a battlefield defeat but the destruction of the Army of Northern Virginia with the capture of Lee and his corps commanders. Particulary Jackson. Then attention would have had to be turned to the Western Theater to end the war two years sooner.

But given McClellan being McClellan, Lee might have suffered a complete defeat at Antietam (Sharpsburg), but I expect he probably would have gotten away.



 Posted: Sun Jun 10th, 2012 05:28 pm
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j harold 587
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I agree on all points Hellcat. Also have found ABE Books
(American Book Exchange)to be very helpfull in locating used or library reductions.



 Posted: Sun Jun 10th, 2012 06:24 pm
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CleburneFan
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j harold 587 wrote:
I agree on all points Hellcat. Also have found ABE Books
(American Book Exchange)to be very helpfull in locating used or library reductions.


I will have to check into American Book Exchange. I didn't know about it. Do you have to actually exchange a book? I prefer to keep my Civil War books.



 Posted: Sun Jun 10th, 2012 06:27 pm
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CleburneFan
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Even if McClellan had completely wiped out the ANV along with Lee, Jackson, Hill, JEB Stuart and so on, I don't think Jefferson Davis would have been in a mood to capitulate that early in the war. He wasn't even willing to capitulate after Appomattox.



 Posted: Sun Jun 10th, 2012 08:04 pm
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Mark
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I agree Cleburne, but would the Confederate public have supported him? I'm not sure. Either way, it would have been hard to replace the ANV as a fighting unit and as a psychological grounding point for the Confederate people.

Mark



 Posted: Sun Jun 10th, 2012 10:37 pm
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CleburneFan
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Mark wrote:
I agree Cleburne, but would the Confederate public have supported him? I'm not sure. Either way, it would have been hard to replace the ANV as a fighting unit and as a psychological grounding point for the Confederate people.

Mark


It's all speculation anyway because I find it difficult to imagine a scenario in which a general with McClellan's fighting style could ever have definitively defeated Lee at Antietam.

But let's just say that unlikely event did happen, it would have had an impact on morale in the South, no doubt. However, the South did face a seriously demoralizing double defeat in July 1863 when Lee left Gettysburg and Grant took Vicksburg. As daunting as that was, a substantial defeat in both theaters, the South continued to soldier on. Of course, Lee's army was still intact in spite of heavy losses.



 Posted: Mon Jun 11th, 2012 06:36 am
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As I pointed out, the war woulds have turned to the Western Theatern if the Army of Northern Virginia was destroyed and Lee and his Corps commanders captured. There were units in the Eastern Theater besides the Army of Northern Virginia, but were they enough to keep the Army of the Potomac from being sent west? Washington would have had to be defended, but without the threat of the Army of Northern Virginia there would have been a demand to send the bulk of the army to the Western Theater and probably maintain a corps or two to defend the capital.

Actually the call would have been first to take Richmond and then send the army west Something that McClellan had failed to achieve even before Lee took command thanks to his slow advancing and over estimating his opponent's fighting abilities. Let's not forget that he had a habit of inflating the fighting strength of the Confederate forces he faced, which at times was aided by clever deceptions on the side of the Confederates (like the use of Quaker guns and marching in circles with the changing regimental flags while out of sight to make your defense appear larger).

But if McClellan actually managed to destroy the Army of Northern Virginia and marched on Richmond, let's not say Davis simply would have stayed and mounted a defense of Richmond without considering a possible fall. Davis wouldn't have been stupid, he would have relocated the seat of government. The capture of the capital city would have been a major blow to the Confederacy, but the capture of the government would have been a bigger blow. If Davis could relocate the government then, even if he were to fall mounting a defense of the city in the hopes of being able to return the government to Richmond, he would have been likely to ensure the Confederacy could continue for a while longer. Forcing the Federal government to once more target another Confederate capital.

The only real way I can see of having a chance of ending the war two years earlier is as I stated in my first post. Utterly defea the Army of Northern Virginia, capturing Lee and his Corps commanders then turning to the Western Theater and defeating the major forces there.



 Posted: Tue Jun 12th, 2012 11:13 am
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j harold 587
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You do not have to exchange books. They are a clearinghouse for used books. All that I have purchased have been in excelent condition.



 Posted: Tue Jun 12th, 2012 05:21 pm
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csamillerp
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i was actually thinking on this subject not too long ago, and what i think is that if Lee had been defeated in 62 at antietam then the war may have lasted even longer. During the time of antietam Lee wasnt as beloved as he was after chancellorsville and even gettysburg, also the ANV in 1865 was on the verge of starvation and only comprised of about 23,000 men but not so during antietam the troops were for the most part healthy and strong. I think the confederates would have began a guerilla war in the east no matter how much Lee would have tried to persuade them to do otherwise. Can you imagine how much the war would have changed? Hell if lee had been destroyed at antietam then we may still have been fighting the war today



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