|View single post by cklarson|
|Posted: Sat Aug 9th, 2008 07:20 am||
Excellent point about the most crucial factor of the war was that the Northern people were willing to keep on going, especially in the East with the A. of P., whose morale seemed good for a long time, amazingly.
Lee's best chance of succeeding in his aggressive tactics was in the first year of the war. If he had achieved a knock out blow to the Army of the Potomac at a time when Grant and Rosecrans had not yet achieved victories in the West, the "soft" policy Unionists like McClellan may have prevailed with a negotiated peace or England or France might have intervened. Otherwise, by 1864, the geographic attrition of the South had mostly been achieved and VA was one big mopping operation in a way. Lee also failed in sending reinforcements to other commands. If he had sent some to Johnston or Hood before Atlanta, it might not have been taken before the Nov. elections and Lincoln may have lost.
But you do have to worry about someone, that is Lee, who never understood or was in denial about the strength of the defensive given the long range of rifles and muskets at the time and no one had developed tactics to deal with it early on.
One commentator has noted that when the war started there were about 6 or 7 "star" generals of the Union army. At the end, not one was still in this pantheon. So it was in the first year of the war that the Union was most vulnerable, when it hadn't sifted and winnowed its general in combat yet. In a way, you can say, the South never did that. Lee stayed in VA and Davis stuck with his personal favorites whether they were victorious or not.
BTW, let us not forget, it was Meade at G-burg, not McClellan. I have heard a good defense of Meade--that is, for not following up on Lee's defeat. As I remember, it was basically that his army was too pooped out.