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 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

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