Civil War Interactive Discussion Board Home
Home Search search Menu menu Not logged in - Login | Register


Lee forced to surrender at Antietam? - Robert E. Lee - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
 Moderated by: javal1 Page:    1  2  Next Page Last Page  
 New Topic   Reply   Printer Friendly 
 Rate Topic 
AuthorPost
 Posted: Mon Sep 15th, 2008 12:07 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
1st Post
pamc153PA
Member
 

Joined: Sat Jun 14th, 2008
Location: Boyertown, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 407
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Hi folks,

We're coming up to the anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, and there's a question that I've wondered about ever since I first read up on and then went to Antietam years ago. It seems to me that, if McClellan had been more aggressive (ha!), attacked on the 15th before Lee had Jackson there, or put his reserves in on the 17th, and also had the reinforcement of Humphrey's and Couch's men on the 18th, would Lee have been forced to surrender, instead of simply withdrawing? Does that make any sense? I tend to think Lee was not a "quick quitter," so, no. But what do you all think?

Pam



 Posted: Mon Sep 15th, 2008 02:56 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
2nd Post
Captain Crow
Proud Southerner


Joined: Sun Jul 13th, 2008
Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma USA
Posts: 542
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

I've always believed li'l Mac blew a golden opportunity to put lee away for good at Antietam. If he'd committed his available forces en masse, especially before "up came Hill", then we would have considerably fewer battles to discuss here at CWI.



 Posted: Mon Sep 15th, 2008 10:55 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
3rd Post
gettysburgerrn
Member


Joined: Thu Mar 8th, 2007
Location: Masapequa, Ny, USA
Posts: 130
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

I think it would have been very difficult to compell a surrender of the AoNV even had Porters men been used. It wouldn't have been a pretty site but I dont think it would have been as bad as the Army of tennessee after Nashville..

ken



 Posted: Mon Sep 15th, 2008 12:14 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
4th Post
ole
Member


Joined: Sun Oct 22nd, 2006
Location:  
Posts: 2027
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Lee might have been compelled to retreat, but not likely to surrender. (McClellan was still McClellan.)

ole



 Posted: Mon Sep 15th, 2008 06:38 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
5th Post
Captain Crow
Proud Southerner


Joined: Sun Jul 13th, 2008
Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma USA
Posts: 542
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

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



 Posted: Mon Sep 15th, 2008 07:04 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
6th Post
HankC
Member


Joined: Tue Sep 6th, 2005
Location:  
Posts: 517
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Thrice, Lee was brought to bay during the war.

First, at Antietam on the 18th, he had his back to the Potomac, commanding an exhausted army and facing the far fresher and larger AotP. Lee's legions had marched back and forth the day before, were poorly fed and shod and been fighting defensively under the constant pounding of the long-range Union artillery. On the 18th, McClellan had Porter's fresh 5th corps and a couple of other divisions that had been defending Little Mac's left against a now dissolved CSA threat. McClellan knew esactly where Lee's flanks were and where his only escape route lay.

Similarly, after Gettysburg, Lee had his back to a river, only this time it was uncrossable.

Finally, the last time, at Peterburg, he could not withdraw from that citadel. We know the result of that pickle...


HankC



 Posted: Mon Sep 15th, 2008 10:14 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
7th Post
Captain Crow
Proud Southerner


Joined: Sun Jul 13th, 2008
Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma USA
Posts: 542
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

nicely stated HankC.



 Posted: Tue Sep 16th, 2008 01:16 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
8th Post
ole
Member


Joined: Sun Oct 22nd, 2006
Location:  
Posts: 2027
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

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.

ole



 Posted: Tue Sep 16th, 2008 01:30 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
9th Post
Mr Hess53
Member


Joined: Mon Sep 15th, 2008
Location: East Haven, Connecticut USA
Posts: 55
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Mac was a chump at Antietam



 Posted: Tue Sep 16th, 2008 01:48 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
10th Post
Crazy Delawares
Member


Joined: Fri Feb 22nd, 2008
Location: New Jersey USA
Posts: 143
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

I love "What if's", if only for discussion's sake.
The 2nd Delaware (the "Crazy Delawares" as McClellan would call them after the battle) was one of the units that was right there; ready to split the rebel army when they had to be ordered three times to fall back (hence the sobriquet).
Now, to the question: I believe Lee would've used both Jackson and Longstreet to rally the men, as well as himself (ala Wilderness) to establish a line of defense, however sparse, in order to allow most of the army to retreat across the river.
Porter most likely would've been pensive about committing to an all out push. He wasn't McClellan's friend for nothing.
It's an excellent question. Certainly worthy of more thought than I've just given it now. But, I always enjoy reading what others post and learning from them than I do hearing my own "gas."



 Posted: Tue Sep 16th, 2008 06:22 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
11th Post
ole
Member


Joined: Sun Oct 22nd, 2006
Location:  
Posts: 2027
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

It's an excellent question. Certainly worthy of more thought than I've just given it now. But, I always enjoy reading what others post and learning from them than I do hearing my own "gas."
Beware, Crazy! It'll drive you nuts bouncing between books and battles and theaters. About 20 years ago I was deep into Antietam and buying books and maps and all that. I had not finished my books (although I kept buying them) when I got diverted into Gettysburg and began buying books and maps on that. Then I met a fellow traveller who got me into the western theater. Then I got into this and another group who diverted me into constitutionality of secession and whether slavery was the chief cause of secession and the subsequent war. And so it goes on.

ole



 Posted: Tue Sep 16th, 2008 10:18 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
12th Post
susansweet
Member


Joined: Sun Sep 4th, 2005
Location: California USA
Posts: 1420
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

But Ole, you know you love it . 

Susan



 Posted: Wed Sep 17th, 2008 12:23 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
13th Post
Captain Crow
Proud Southerner


Joined: Sun Jul 13th, 2008
Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma USA
Posts: 542
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

I feel like a historically obsessed ping pong ball LOL! Last summer it was Gettysburg. A few mos later the western theater bug bit me....now it's Trans-Mississippi's turn...oh and that doesn't include the 6 WW2 eastern front books I was just given...or the books on Confederate rams, torpedoes, and submarines I bought while in Vicksburg....oh yeah I have a board game on Champion hill on order...a reenactment to photograph in two weeks...a trip to Arkansas to see my sister and to see all the civil war stuff she has stashed including my G.G.Grandfather's parole paper from Appomattox...it is truly never ending...and yes I do love it..even these rhetorical "what-if" discussions.



 Posted: Wed Sep 17th, 2008 05:29 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
14th Post
susansweet
Member


Joined: Sun Sep 4th, 2005
Location: California USA
Posts: 1420
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

I understand exactly what you are saying Captain.  Just when I get interested in one thing something else pops up or a new book gets added to my list. 

Keeps me busy .

Susan



You have chosen to ignore Southern Son. click Here to view this post


 Posted: Thu Sep 18th, 2008 11:16 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
16th Post
Captain Crow
Proud Southerner


Joined: Sun Jul 13th, 2008
Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma USA
Posts: 542
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Southern Son wrote: Wait, i thought we were still talkin about antietam???

By the way, lil mac thought he had driven lee from the battlefield, he was wasting cannonballs on lee's "retreating" army. Lee's army was just moving on. Antietam was a draw for both sides
That's technically true but in the thinking of the times withdrawing from the engagement or "leaving the field to the enemy" was usually claimed as a victory by the opposing side. And in the case of Antietam Lee's strategic objectives were not achieved, his troops were fought to the breaking point, and in the end he was forced to return to relative safety across the Potomac. Or should I say he was allowed to return by LIL Mac. I still contend that in the realm of "what if" there was ample opportunity(and the means at hand) to put Lee away for good. Would this have ended the war? No probably not. But the loss of it's principle fighting component in the eastern theater, as well as possibly three of it's best field commanders would definitely have severely shaken the confidence of the Confedrate government and dealt a crippling blow to civilian as well as military morale.
MacClellan had yet another chance to live up to the hype surrounding himself and his abilities as a commander and as always...totally blew it.
Was this on purpose as Ole suspects? Who knows? He did have a massive ego and definite political ambitions coupled with a well documented disdain for Lincoln's abilities as commander in chief so I think it's not to be discounted entirely as a reason for letting Lee off the hook.



 Posted: Mon Apr 4th, 2011 10:50 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
17th Post
Hellcat
Root Beer Lover


Joined: Tue Nov 15th, 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 898
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

                                                GEO. B. MCCLELLAN."

"FREDERICK CITY, MD., September 13, 1862, 11 P.M.
("Received 1 P.M., September 14.)


"MAJOR-GENERAL H. W. HALLECK,
"General-in-Chief:


       An order from General R. E. Lee, addressed to General D. H. Hill, which has accidentally come into my hands this evening,--the authenticity of which is unquestionable,--discloses some of the plans of the enemy, and shows most conclusively that the main rebel army is now before us, including Longstreet's, Jackson's, the two Hills's, McLaws's, Walker's, R. H. Anderson's, and Hood's commands. That army was ordered to march on the 10th, and to attack and capture our forces at Harper's Ferry and Martinsburg yesterday, by surrounding them with such a heavy force that they conceived it impossible they could escape. They were also ordered to take possession of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; afterwards to concentrate again at Boonsborough or Hagerstown. That this was the plan of campaign on the 9th is confirmed by the fact that heavy firing has been heard in the direction of Harper's Ferry this afternoon, and the columns took the roads specified in the order. It may, therefore, in my judgment, be regarded as certain that this rebel army, which I have good reasons for believing amounts to 120,000 men or more, and know to be commanded by Lee in person, intended to attempt penetrating Pennsylvania. The officers told their friends here that they were going to Harrisburg and Philadelphia. My advance has pushed forward to-day and overtaken the enemy on the Middletown and Harper's Ferry roads, and several slight engagements have taken place, in which our troops have driven the enemy from their position. A train of wagons, about three-quarters of a mile long, was destroyed to-day by the rebels in their flight. We took over fifty prisoners. This army marches forward early to-morrow morning, and will make forced marches, to endeavor to relieve Colonel Miles, but I fear, unless he makes a stout resistance, we may be too late.
       A report came in just this moment that Miles was attacked to-day, and repulsed the enemy, but I do not know what credit to attach to the statement. I shall do everything in my power to save Miles if he still holds out. Portions of Burnside's and Franklin's corps move forward this evening.
       I have received your dispatch of ten A.M. You will perceive, from what I have stated, that there is but little probability of the enemy being in much force south of the Potomac. I do not, by any means, wish to be understood as undervaluing the importance of holding Washington. It is of great consequence, but upon the success of this army the fate of the nation depends. It was for this reason that I said everything else should be made subordinate to placing this army in proper condition to meet the large rebel force in our front. Unless General Lee has changed his plans, I expect a severe general engagement to-morrow. I feel confident that there is now no rebel force immediately threatening Washington or Baltimore, but that I have the mass of their troops to contend with, and they outnumber me when united.


GEO. B. MCCLELLAN,
Major-General


McClellan's supposed to have had Lee's plans according to this letter, yet he doesn't decisively win at Antietam (Sharpsburg). He won the battle strategically, but tactically it's been said to be a draw. I'm not certain he could have forced Lee to surrender if he couldn't decisively win the battle even with Lee's battle plans in hand.

 



 Posted: Wed May 4th, 2011 02:57 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
18th Post
Braggcom19
Member
 

Joined: Sat Apr 30th, 2011
Location: Arizona USA
Posts: 8
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

It is much easier to say what could have happened at Sharpsburg/Antietam than what actually did occur along the banks of Antietam Creek. One of the most studied battles of the war, on both sides of the Mason/Dixon Line. One thing is certain, it would have been difficult for McClellan to have attacked Lee on the 15th.

 Not so on the 16th, the Army of the Potomac was, for the most part up. An all in attack on the 15th would have found no more than 20,000 Johnny Rebs to fight because the following divisions did not arrive until the 17th, the first two early, perhaps 7:30 or eight o'clock and Powell Hill not until late on the 17th.

 McLaws 4 brigades (Kershaw's South Carolinian's, Cobb's Georgians, Barksdale's Mississippians and Semmes' mixed Brigade) along with Andersen's Division of I Corps which contained 6 Brigades, 3 led by Cols; those being Alfred Cumming (Wilcox's), W Parham (Mahone's)  and Carnot Posey Feaatherston"s) and three Brigades led by Brigadiers; those being Armisted's Virginians, Pryor and Wright's mixed Brigades, did not arrive on the field untile early on the 17th and obviously Powell Hill's "Light" Division consisting of 6 brigades; commanded by Lawrence Branch. Maxey Gregg,James Archer and Dorsey Pender, John Brockenbrough and Edward Thomas, did not arrive until late afternoon.

I have read many different numbers for the confederates on the Field on the 16th, ranging from 17,000 to 20,000. Makes little difference, if McClellan had attacked at his earliest on the 16th he would very likely have killed or captured R E Lee himself.

What then did happen; Lee's brilliance at fighting under long odds  and with his back to the wall, Longstreet's tenacity didn't hurt a thing but more importantly McClellan's infamous Inertia played right into the army of Northern Virginia's hands. Newton was right, an object not in motion tends to stay not in motion... especially if that object was named McClellan. Lee later said he hated to see McClellan go... sooner or later they'll find a General I can't figure out. He found a bunch of them a little farther north the the next summer. Too bad Mac didn't sleep in on the 16th and turn the reins of the Army over to any number of aggressive Generals, some still brigadiers such as Winfield Scott Handock who at Sharpsburg/Antietam commanded a Brigade under General Baldy Smith in Franklin's VI corp.

Michael Bragg

 




 Posted: Thu May 5th, 2011 06:26 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
19th Post
bolaman1975
Member
 

Joined: Sun May 16th, 2010
Location: Frostburg, Maryland USA
Posts: 26
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

You also have to remember one thing. Lee knew his opponent. He would have not attempted this campaign against the likes of Grant. If you look at most of Lee's campaigns he did things that no other general would have done. He was a skilled tactician and very good at knowing his opponents strengths and weaknesses. LIL Mac was neither. I mean he had Lee's battle plans and still didn't believe it. He could have taken out most of the the confederate force, before Jackson arrived. I do believe that Lee would not have surrendered. The Army of N. Va would have be crippled and you wouldn't have had Gettysburg and the war would probably been over by 1863. The Union army had a chance to throw there overwhelming numbers at Lee while he had only about 1/2 of his army. And at that the Union would have had superior numbers advantage of ground. So if Mac had done what i said here the Confederates would have lost an enormous amounts of troops and moral. And i do believe that the war would have ended sooner. Cause if you really think about it, by 1863 the western theater was pretty much a Union stronghold. You had Bragg out there and Johnson and they really weren't able to bring any really strong victories. Just my 2 cents.



 Posted: Thu May 5th, 2011 06:33 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
20th Post
bolaman1975
Member
 

Joined: Sun May 16th, 2010
Location: Frostburg, Maryland USA
Posts: 26
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

i read alittle more up there and the question posed i didn't think about. if Mac had thrown his force at the rebels then split them then sent the corp that watched to go behind Lee the possibility of Lee being cut off was a possibility. because if we assume that the Delaware men had cut them in 1/2 and a hole corp was waiting for them in there rear. WOW imagine that the war ending in the east in sept 1862. Cause really what would have Jackson been able to do? if Mac had gotten some good high ground and Lee trying to fight 2 armies one in his front and one in his rear. What choice would he have had? very interesting.



 Current time is 04:36 amPage:    1  2  Next Page Last Page  
Top




UltraBB 1.17 Copyright © 2007-2008 Data 1 Systems
Page processed in 0.4419 seconds (7% database + 93% PHP). 28 queries executed.