View single post by ole
 Posted: Tue Sep 16th, 2008 02:16 am
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Joined: Sun Oct 22nd, 2006
Posts: 2031

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remember we're discussing the question of Mac being uncharacteristically aggressive not being his usual self.

We are and we aren't. Uncharacteristically aggressive is faint praise. He moved in six days instead of the characteristic seven. (Please don't quarrel with the exact number of days. I don't want to look them up, and I know you get the drift.) Characteristically, he wasted precious time when he knew that if he moved promptly, he could catch Lee with his army scattered from Harpers Ferry to Hagerstown and the main gap in South Mountain pointing at the center.

When he got through South Mountain, he characteristically wasted more precious time -- enough for Lee to get all but A.P. Hill in position.Mac had a decided numerical advantage:approx.82,000 vs Lee's approx 45,000 as well as the famous special order 191 intelligence advantage. I think it's safe to say that there is a distinct possibility that Lee could have been defeated in detail. And this doesn't even take into account the potential of reinforcements from the massive Washington garrison. Lee could have been cut off from home, bludgeoned into submission by superior numbers, and ultimately forced to surrender imo. To illustrate my point imagine a persona such as U.S.Grant in charge of the Union forces during the Maryland campaign. If Mac had been that type of leader instead of what he was...well let's just say the table would have been set for a Confederate disaster."Could have been" is the operative word. McClellan fought the battle all wrong ==  making it three battles instead of one -- even so, his numerical advantage had the AoNV whupped and bloodied. But he was quite happy to give Lee a day of rest so that his boys could make a more comfortable trek across the Potomac; that is, when he was satisfied that Lee was going back home, his victory was complete.

This might not be the place to introduce the conviction of many historians, but I'm going to do it anyway. Many real historians believe that Mac and quite a number of his officers had no intention of destroying Lee's army; that they just wanted to molest it some and come to the negotiating table. Which might go a ways in explain why he didn't use his reserves to smash them.

Still, unless he and all of his men were captured or killed, I don't see Lee surrendering.


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