View single post by sgtredleg
 Posted: Fri Sep 23rd, 2011 05:56 am
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sgtredleg
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Wow!
That is a lot of fodder to chew on Pender! But to your point, why did Lee change his tactics after Chancellorsville?
I'm not as well versed as many of the scholars and analysts that I am being introduced to on this site, but I do have some informed opinions and I'm always interested in discussing the many facets of our "War between the States".
I think Lee and Jackson were a powerful team to contend with on the battlfield. They understood the huge payoff potential of calculated risk taking. And they were not afraid to rise to the occasion.
This venturous teamwork, combined with the stability of Longstreets Corp, fostered a winning (can do) attitude amongst the subordinate commanders and their commands.
Thus, the string of victories, that you so eloquently noted, were attained by the Army of Northern Virginia during the 1st half of the war.
After Chancellorsville, General Jackson was no longer in General Lees toolbox.
The restructuring of the Army into 3 Corps, (2 with Commanders of unknown capacity in those positions), was a huge burden upon General Lee. Initially, he probably did not realize how involved he needed to be in Corp ops decision making.
As Division Commanders AP Hill an Ewell were aggressive fighters, but they were always under Jacksons close scrutiny.
On the other hand, as Corps commanders at Gettysburg, General Lee allowed them a free hand that they had not been used to. I think this "sudden" latitude in decision making shackled AP HILL and Ewell into an overcautious approach to any given matter.
At Gettysburg, General Lee needed to make a statement to the world. It was a do or die moment for the South. The ultimate gamble for the Army of Northern Virginia. Yet, General Lee did not have the other half of the risk taking equation with him. General Jackson was dead.
Without Stuarts eyes and after the 1st day at Gettysburg, I think General Lee began to realize the full import of his situation.
He needed to rely on Longstreets Corps for stability, yet Lee himself needed to micromanage the battlefield.
Personally, I think Longstreet had good ideas on how to defeat the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, but General Lee, noting the fragmentation of the ANV, probably elected to use a more direct hand in leading the Army. (essentially, my way or the hiway)
After the loss at Gettysburg, I think General Lee could read the writing on the wall. The great gamble did not payoff, so it then became a war of attrition.
In the later years, General Lee often stood in the gap of his fragmented, ill and constantly shuffled Corps commanders.
Instead of winning battles by taking calculated risks, General Lee now fortified and waited for the Yanks.

So what does this all mean?
I would venture to say that without the teamwork of General Lee and General Jackson, the ANV lost a huge advantage of bewildering the Yanks. Being at such an multi-faceted disadvantage to the Northern Aggressors, the Southerners needed the enterprising leadership of Generals like Lee and Jackson to more equalize the equation.
As noted before, without the Lee and Jackson risk taking component and Longstreets WARHORSE stability the Army of Northern Virginia would be a different animal. That animal was created during Gettysburg.

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