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 Posted: Tue Dec 6th, 2011 02:57 am
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csamillerp
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Agreed hellcat. I think Lee realized that the only way for the south to win was to invade the north, destroy the AOP and march on washington... he knew that time was the biggest issue. He couldnt just defend against invasion, eventually even if he held out long enough, the war would have closed in around him when other theaters were taken by federal armies. Even if Gettysburg would not have happened, if lee had never invaded in 1863, i dont think Lee would have had another chance. He did the best thing he could by invading, one last shot.



 Posted: Tue Dec 6th, 2011 09:31 am
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BHR62
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IF the Army of the Potomac had been destroyed at Gettysburg then ya the war would probably be a done deal.

But Meade was too capable a general to let his army be destroyed. But if they were just defeated then the Confederate victory doesn't mean much at Gettysburg. Grant would have either been sent east after Vicksburg or a big chunk of his army would have gone east for reinforcements. Grant himself either accompanies his troops or he replaces Rosecrans as commander of the Cumberland Army. Even though Rosecrans had manuevered Bragg out of central Tennessee back to Chattanooga...Lincoln thought he was a much too slow mover. Chickamauga and Chattanooga possibly never happen, at least the way they did. Back east the militia in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey would have been sent to be a pain in the arse to Lee. Slowing him down without actually doing battle would have been their job. Inflict casualties here and there. Buying time for troops from the west to arrive.



 Posted: Tue Dec 6th, 2011 11:36 am
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Mark
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Ok Hellcat, I think I see where we disagree. I'm assuming that a Confederate victory at Gettysburg would likely have not have totally destroyed the AOP. I'm imagining something akin to the 2nd Bull Run retreat. With a rout off the battlefield and rallying at the next opportunity. In this case, I think probably Baltimore (which was already being fortified by Union militia) would be where the AOP would regroup. I'm thinking they would be ready to fight again in a week or two.

CSAmiller and Albert, I think you are underestimating the difficulty of crossing a river during the Civil War. Yes, Lee would have to try and get Stuart to seize the bridges, but that would be a difficult mission to accomplish. The example of the retreat from Gettysburg is a good example. The ANVs pontoon bridge over the Potomac was destroyed by a Yankee raiding party on July 4. The ANV arrived on July 6 and they were not able to cross until July 13. But, that was crossing into friendly territory at a place that had already been reconnoitered. Even if it was defended by militia, it would be dangerous business to force a crossing under fire. At Fredericksburg, for instance, the Federals had to blast the river front buildings into oblivion with heavy artillery to give the landing parties a chance. In regards to the militia in general, even if they were not the AOP, they still could have been a thorn in the side of the Rebels. They were present at a number of early skirmishes in the Pennsylvania invasion. In fact, the War Department created a whole new department for them (see the Department of the Susquehanna). As you pointed out, their job was to hold the Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh line (which is why Lee could not have gone straight for New York--all the roads go through one of those towns). They never won a big battle, but they did hold up the advance by doing what I described--burning bridges over creeks, felling trees, etc. See the occupation of York for an example.

Anyway, I'm enjoying the conversation!

Mark



 Posted: Tue Dec 6th, 2011 12:45 pm
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Hellcat
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Speaking as one of those who have been on the opposite side of the debate,  I'd have to agree that the conversation has been enjoyable.

Last edited on Tue Dec 6th, 2011 12:46 pm by Hellcat



 Posted: Tue Dec 6th, 2011 11:43 pm
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Mark
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I am wondering, are we thinking too much about tactics and not enough about logistics? Does anyone know what the ANVs supply situation was by the end of the Gettysburg? I would expect they were low on ordinance and medical supplies. While they could (and did) get food and horseflesh from the countryside, I think other logistics would have been a severe handicap on any further ANV operations.

Mark



 Posted: Thu Dec 8th, 2011 01:25 am
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csamillerp
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I do agree with that Mark, if Lee had routed the federal army at gettysburg or any other battlefield during the campaign his biggest concern would have been resupplying ammunition to his army. He would have had to take a city that had an armory by suprise, not giving the federals a chance to destroy their stock. But i think if Lee had destroyed or routed the federal army, he wouldnt have been able to turn back... not abandoning his best chance for victory. Lee understood the affairs of the confederacy probably better then most, i think he knew he had to win and thats why he took the losses he did at gettysburg because he was giving it his all.

Here's an off topic question: IF England would not recongnize the Confederacy then why did they have Col. Freemantle at Gettysburg?



 Posted: Thu Dec 8th, 2011 02:08 am
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Hellcat
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They did capture equipment and supplies during the campaign leading up to the battle. The question there is how much? We know that the artillery was running low on supplies, if not entirely out, by the end of Pickett's Charge. But Lee sent his wagon trains away from Gettysburg with the captured equipment and supplies. This was in defeat. And the wagon train did come under attack during the retreat, resulting in the capture if supplies and prisonners.

We go back to the idea of Lee winning the battle and destroying the Army of the Potomac then the question becomes how many supplies does he manage to capture following the battle before he turns south. Lee would have to be an utter fool not to try to capture as many supplies from his defeated foe as he could before continueing as he couldn't be effectively resupplied.



 Posted: Fri Dec 9th, 2011 12:05 am
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omar
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I think England was hedging by having Freemantle with the south, you know a case of "We will throw them a bone and make it look like we are interested and if they hit on a big victory and it looks like the south is going to pull of the bid for Independence than they can jump in and play the opportunist and try and get something out of it, but if they lose than England haven't lost anything by sending some observers.



 Posted: Sat Dec 10th, 2011 02:13 am
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Hellcat
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I'm beginning wonder why he was there. Finding a copy of Freemantle's Three Months in the Southern States: April, June, 1863 (http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/fremantle/fremantle.html) has him saying in the preface that he had a wish to witness the war first hand and the reason he choose the Southern side was "the foolish bullying conduct of the Northerners." I'd thought he'd been ordered to be the Queen's observer in the South, but that doesn't sound like he was ordered.



 Posted: Sat Dec 10th, 2011 01:12 pm
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Mark
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Without having done any research, he may have been ordered to observe the war in general, and just decided that the Confederate side was a more interesting place to do that. Just a guess.

Mark



 Posted: Sat Dec 10th, 2011 04:52 pm
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fedreb
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I may be off track here but I always thought that Freemantle had taken a leave of absence from the British Army and was travelling as an independent observer.



 Posted: Sat Dec 10th, 2011 06:56 pm
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Hellcat
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On the Fremantle question, this seems of interest:

While serving in Gibraltar Fremantle met Capt., Raphael Semmes, who so captivated him with tales of the American South, that on leaving Gibraltar he applied for leave of absence from his Regiment, which he used to travel to America where the civil war was about to enter its third year. Despite his subsequent achievements in later life, the American civil war is arguably the event for which Fremantle is probably most remembered, due to him being the only British Officer present at the battle of Gettysburg as an observer and guest of Confederate General Longstreet.


 
In 1863 he wangled six months leave of absence in order to visit America, but not in any official capacity. He was not "Her Majesty’s observer," as depicted in the movie, but simply on a private vacation. He did however have the good sense not to risk the blockade and a possible repeat of the Trent Affair—but in reverse. One can imagine Mr. Lincoln’s face upon hearing that one of Her Majesty’s Guards Officers had been apprehended trying to enter the Confederacy on a blockade runner.

 


The full thing is here: http://colfremantle.com/active_service.html, and here: http://colfremantle.com/journey.html. Also checking the full site may prove interesting as it also includes an article on the British view of things: http://colfremantle.com/

Last edited on Sat Dec 10th, 2011 07:01 pm by Hellcat



 Posted: Sat Sep 22nd, 2012 03:16 am
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sallieparker
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fedreb wrote:
csamillerp wrote: If Lee had won on the 2nd day of gettysburg he would have had the man power to maybe take baltimore. If he had taken baltimore where the majority of it's citizens was pro south Lee could have made up for the losses he suffered at gettysburg.
Lee marched into Maryland in '62 with all flags flying and bands playing "Maryland my Maryland" with the intention of filling his ranks with pro rebel Marylanders and the response was underwhelming, why would it be different this time? Admittedly it would be on the back of a victory but if those pro southerners had not joined up to fight pre '63 I think it unlikely that they would do so now, volunteers were getting hard to find and conscription was the way of filling the ranks at this point in the war.


The problem with the invasions of the North (there were at least three, counting 1862, 1863, and Jubal Early in Chambersburg in 1864) is that the Southerners took the easiest and most natural route from Virginia, up through the valleys that extended north of the Shenandoah into western Maryland and south-central Pennsylvania. This was not a useful or sympathetic region, and it stretched the supply line so badly that Lee never made it to Harrisburg or Altoona, his intended targets. A better strategy would have been to invade pro-Southern tidewater Maryland and Baltimore, but the risks and costs must have struck Lee as overwhelming.



 Posted: Tue Sep 25th, 2012 09:02 am
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Hellcat
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That get's me to wonder something here. What were the defense around Washington like in the summer of '62. We know what was there when Early tried his raid in '64 and we know the defenses of the capital were begun before '62. But had Lee tried marching on the capital then what would he have faced? And how quickly would McClellan moved?



 Posted: Fri Nov 16th, 2012 11:15 pm
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sallieparker
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On reflection, I realize that Lee favored the western route in order to conceal his movements as well as to save his strength. JEB Stuart's cavalry corps did get ensnared in this perimeter network when they entered Maryland en route to Pennsylvania in late June '63; and this of course is why Stuart was late to Gettysburg.

DC had a double layer of troops and fortifications for most of the war. There was the army and its works in and around Washington City proper, and then the outer ring with encampments and pickets going out to Manassas and beyond. Counting the Adjutant General's file clerks, troop strength in this whole area seems to have been at least 50,000 for most of the war (my approximation). McClellan's complaint during the Peninsular campaign was that too many of his divisions were being appropriated for defense of the Capital. An extraordinary map from late in the war: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/1865_Washington.jpg



 Posted: Tue Sep 3rd, 2013 12:58 am
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glenhunter
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I am wondering, are we thinking too much about tactics and not enough about logistics? Does anyone know what the ANVs supply situation was by the end of the Gettysburg? I would expect they were low on ordinance and medical supplies. While they could (and did) get food and horseflesh from the countryside, I think other logistics would have been a severe handicap on any further ANV operations.

Mark


 

I'd have to agree wholeheartly.......



 Posted: Tue Oct 1st, 2013 12:01 am
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sallieparker
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The supply chain was very much on Lee's mind as well as on Jeb Stuart's. That's one reason why Stuart was late to the Gettysburg party; he captured a vast number of supply wagons and brought them with him. But the idea had never been to get pinned down at Gettysburg. That was accidental. The plan was to cut the Pennsylvania Railroad by capturing Altoona, and maybe Harrisburg; knock out the Federals decisively; and if necessary move on towards Philadelphia and points south. If Lee had not lost touch with Stuart's cavalry, this is how the campaign would have played out.

It was a bold roll of the dice on Lee's part, but it was the only sensible choice he had. Lee knew that eventually the brute force of Federal arms and armies would eventually defeat him if he gave 'those people' sufficient time. Therefore it was imperative to wipe them out as soon as possible.

Again, not a mad idea. The Federals had been crushed in nearly every major land battle for the past year: Second Manassas, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville. The one time they had a semi-win, Antietam, they were so hamstrung by nutso DC politics that they couldn't build upon the victory. Instead McClellan got fired, to be replaced by a string of unfortunates and blowhards. By June 1863 the Federals looked incompetent and crazy, and the Confederates had a clear edge. Lee needed just one more Chancellorsville, one decisive Cannae, to put the matter to bed. So that was Lee's game.



 Posted: Wed Jan 15th, 2014 11:05 pm
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bolaman1975
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kind of think that it would have been symbolic...he would never been able to hold that ground. every force available in the northeast would have come after him. but he lost so this all just what if...lol



 Posted: Sun Jan 19th, 2014 07:44 am
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wondering
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sallieparker wrote:
Lee needed just one more Chancellorsville, one decisive Cannae, to put the matter to bed.

You're right. Not sure if he was too proud or scared to maneuver. The agony and the ecstasy of Gettysburg. Enjoyable thread.

(Edit: Saturday night drinks get to talking ... no offence, pass the flask before treading that long field.)

Last edited on Mon Jan 20th, 2014 06:21 pm by wondering



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