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OK, let's try Sickles - Daniel Sickles - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Sat Jul 14th, 2007 03:40 am
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PvtClewell
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After a relatively innocent start, this thread has really blossomed into something more than I could have imagined. I'm taken by the vitriol heaped upon Sickles by nearly all of us here even though most of us appear to support the Union cause and most of us seem to agree that Sickles' advance to the Peach Orchard subsequently screwed up the Confederates' attack, thus ultimately aiding the Union cause. Yet we despise the man because he's arrogant and unsavory, personality traits which really don't have much to do with his leadership (as it were) in the field that day. I guess I'm having trouble linking personality with performance results on this one. We pull for the Union, Sickles contributes to the final Union victory, costly as it is, and we still hate him in spite of it. Very interesting. By contrast, Grant wasted lives at Cold Harbor and he still ends up as president of the United States a few years later.

I think I'm getting a headache. Retired people shouldn't have to think this hard.



 Posted: Sat Jul 14th, 2007 07:00 am
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JoanieReb
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General Clewell wrote:

"Joanie is a happy girl. Pipe Creek what? The Confederacy is saved and gets recognized. Seccession now has a precedent, slavery continues for another 30 years or so, and by the 20th century, we're faced with an illegal immigration problem from African Americans crossing the Virginia border".

I would like to make clear that I believe, even if the Battle of Gettysburg had been "won" by the ANV, this would NOT have meant that the South won the war. 

The days of "Waterloo's" - that is, the single, definitive battle, was over. 

This is far too complex for me to get into right now, and certainly a different thread, but as long as the war was not being won by The South in the western theatre, it was not being won, period.

And, "winning" at G-burg, for The South, could have only been measured in degrees: the ANV was not going to stomp The AoP out of existence. 

Even if the ANV had put in a very good showing, once the balance sheets were balanced - well, hey - they would have lost more than they could have afforded to, anyway.  The war simply would have been prolonged, I think.....

Lincoln still would have been re-elected,  I'm almost sure.

But who knows? 

Certainly not me,

Your JoanieReb

 

 



 Posted: Sun Jul 15th, 2007 12:36 am
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PvtClewell
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Hmm. Nice points, Joanie.

I wish I could remember where I read it, but after the war, Lee thought if he could have won at Gettysburg, the south could have won the war. That comes from the man hisownself and it might have in it a few grains of reason and not just sour grapes. Hell, he's the one who lived it. Granted, both sides pummeled each other for four years without a decisive war-ending battle, but that doesn't mean a decisive battle couldn't have happened.

If Lee breaks the Union center at Gettysburg (which nearly happened on July 2), he now has an opportunity to roll up both shattered Union remnants and defeat them in detail, the military version of Nirvana. Although Lee is far from home and his supply base (which I want to say is in Winchester, not sure), the Union suffers yet another devastating defeat, this one far worse than Fredericksburg and this one with dire consequences. The Feds are now winless against Lee on every eastern field for 13 consecutive months. This victory possibly leads to European recognition, which then makes Vicksburg and anything in the west a moot point, because recognition gives the Confederacy legitimacy. Lincoln consequently has no chance in hell of re-election. He almost didn't anyway in 1864, despite the victory at Gettysburg. Wasn't legitimacy always the Confederate's holy grail?

I suspect even a depleted ANV after Gettysburg, even without a decisive victory but still in command of the field and with momentum, still opens up most of the above possibilities. If there's another battle, it's probably the battle of war-weary Washington DC, in which I think the dispirited Federals fold like last week's dirty underwear. The war's over.

Jeez, I hate being contrary. Here I am stuck in another counterfactual argument about something that never happened. When will I learn? :?

Sickles' move to the Peach Orchard, of course, makes all of the above counterfactual (the Private makes a nice segue back to the original thread).



 Posted: Sun Jul 15th, 2007 01:34 am
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JoanieReb
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General Clewell,

OK, this does it!  I only have 15 minutes to be on line right now, and I want to take an hour to address what you have just written.  And, I still want spend about three hours addressing earlier points in this thread.

Perhaps the maps that Joe has posted (Thank You So Much, Joe!!!!!) will relieve me of the time I'd put aside for map-drawing tomorrow, and I can use that time to address these points in more detail then.  I'll look into the maps later tonight, when I am busy Not Sleeping.

So, what did I mean by, "This does it"?   Just this:  General Harold had mentioned the possibility of meeting up in G-burg in October to walk things thru.  I'm game!  I LOVE trips to G-Burg - if anyone else can make it, I'd love to give it a shot. 

Very early this morning, I was checking out the "popularity" of different threads.  With the "That Hill" one, we are on our way to beating out the most popular NASCAR thread:  I find that gratifying!

Joanie

Last edited on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 06:08 am by JoanieReb



 Posted: Sun Jul 15th, 2007 02:08 am
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JoanieReb
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General Clewell,

I can barely keep up as it is, but I think our exchange here could lead to two interesting threads.

A "lite" one:  What do members envision the world would be like today if the Conferacy had succeeded in seceding, and

If the ANV had "won" (whatever that might constitute) G-Burg, would it have lent support to the western campaigns, and what would be the outcome, there?  I think that with the fall of Vicksburg, it is a moot point, it was over, there, anyway.  But, the western theatre continues to overwhelm me, and I am pretty ignorant in that regard.

I still think that the South's resources were too depleted for a final Confederate victory at this time.  A victory would depend on either the North being too demoralized, or European support, and I honestly do think, victory or no at G-burg, niether would happen, even if it "came close".

Thanks,

Joanie



 Posted: Sun Jul 15th, 2007 06:21 am
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ole
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Thank you, General, you've finally given me something to disagree with.

"If" the Rebs break through on the 3rd day would presuppose that Pickett's Division gets the support it was supposed to have. Just what would the the survivors do on that ridge with nearly half the Union Army on either side of them. They are very tired, probably low on ammo, and quite disorganized. Of course, the troops that broke will also be disorganized, but there are still 3 relatively unbloodied Corps.

They do not sweep the Yanks out of the way, nor do they destroy the AoP. They do not rush triumphantly to Washington; they do not pass go and do not collect $200.

Even if Ewell manages to get Cemetery and Culp's Hills, the seizures would leave the ANV in no condition to proceed. He would have a victory of sorts in Pennsylvania, but he would have to go home in worse shape than he was.

ole



 Posted: Sun Jul 15th, 2007 07:39 am
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Kentucky_Orphan
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I believe that a decisive battle was still possible during the ACW time period, and that Lee could have defeated the AoP in keeping with battles like Austerlitz. That being said, even if Lee had destroyed the AoP, from a purley military standpoint he would have been much like Hannibal in his invasion of Italy. That is, he would have been too strong for any federal force to challenge, yet too weak to take Washington. He could roam free for a time creating varrying levels of Havok, but to what end?

Yet, perhaps northern support for the war would have collapsed following such a decisive battle? I don't think there is a man alive today, regardless of their knowlede of all aspects of America during this period, who could say what the reaction would have been with any degree of confidence.

As for Sickles, say what you will about the man, but he was a fighter. If his actions at Gettysburg had proved advantageous people would be saying" Thank God Sickles did what he did, and not listen to that idiot Meade. All good officers take the initiative and make moves based on their own discretion at times...". Was he the type of personality I would like to have been closely associated with? Of course not, but why should that make him a bad General?

 



 Posted: Sun Jul 15th, 2007 12:18 pm
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PvtClewell
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Ole writes: "Even if Ewell manages to get Cemetery and Culp's Hills, the seizures would leave the ANV in no condition to proceed. He would have a victory of sorts in Pennsylvania, but he would have to go home in worse shape than he was."

All of which alludes to a previous point you yourself made — what the heck is Lee doing there anyway? His incursion into Pa., therefore, is really lost before it even begins. Even if he fights and wins a decisive battle in Pa., he can't go on? (I agree with you about him being low on ammo and still facing a bunch of angry Yankees — that's factual — but my argument is weighted by the prospect that a rebel victory in the north is more than the north can bear by this point. Maybe Lincoln is so frazzled he replaces Meade. With whom? Hancock (wounded on the third day)? Sedgewick? Couch? And then what?)

Does that mean Lee should have remained on the Rappahannock after Chancellorsville to fritter away the offensive momentum he's gained?

Kentucky writes: "As for Sickles, say what you will about the man, but he was a fighter. If his actions at Gettysburg had proved advantageous people would be saying" Thank God Sickles did what he did, and not listen to that idiot Meade. All good officers take the initiative and make moves based on their own discretion at times...".

Hear, hear. Nicely done. Although the 'Thank God..." quote is probably what Sickles actually said about himself, LOL.

In the end, I think Sickles' actions DID prove advantageous for the Union. He just doesn't get the adulation — either now or from his peers — because he's such an arrogant scumbucket.



 Posted: Sun Jul 15th, 2007 12:37 pm
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PvtClewell
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I finally found that quote from Lee. It comes from David Martin's book 'Gettysburg July 1' and it's on page 563 (it's a huge book, but a great read). Lee is talking to Rev. J. William Jones ad Professor James J. White at Washington College in Lexington, Va., after the war. Martin writes that Jones says "using an emphasis I cannot forget, and bringing his hand down on the table with a force that made things rattle, 'If I had had Stonewall Jackson at Gettysburg, I would have won that fight, and a complete victory there would have given us Washington and Baltimore, if not Philadelphia, and would have established the independence of the Confederacy.'"

The quote is footnoted "as quoted by John B. Gordon, 'Reminicences of the Civil War,' p. 154." (OK, I admit anything Gordon writes is a questionable resource. But you have to figure this interview between the three parties did take place.)

Is Lee, who was there, correct, or is he engaging in counterfactual argument, too (because Jackson isn't there)? The point is, Lee thinks a victory at Gettysburg wins the war.



 Posted: Sun Jul 15th, 2007 03:45 pm
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ole
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Is Lee, who was there, correct, or is he engaging in counterfactual argument, too (because Jackson isn't there)? The point is, Lee thinks a victory at Gettysburg wins the war.

Lee also thought Pickett's Division (with tattered remnants of two others) could cross a mile of open ground, under cannon fire all the way, and break through Hancock's Corps. And Gordon was a chief cheerleader on the Canonize Lee and Jackson Fan Club.

ole



 Posted: Sun Jul 15th, 2007 06:34 pm
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PvtClewell
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Now we're ragging on Lee. Does that mean Alan Nolan's book, 'Lee Considered,' which was roundly criticized by such ANV scholars as Bud Robertson and Robert Krick for finding too much fault in Lee when it was published back in 1991, is now worth reconsidering, as it were?

So much for segues to Sickles. Let me try one more time. If we want to courtmartial Sickles for disobeying orders, do we feel the same way about Longstreet, who might have been disobeying Lee on July 2 and July 3, and Hood, who might have disobeyed Longstreet by heading toward the Round Tops instead of the road on July 2? Heck, ol' Stonewall, when he was alive, was trying to courtmartial just about everybody in his command, wasn't he?



 Posted: Sun Jul 15th, 2007 09:14 pm
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ole
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Neither Lee nor Meade was vindictive. If Lee blamed Longstreet for his foot-dragging, I've never seen mention of it. Meade was much too busy to do battle with Sickles, if he had wanted to.

Sickles has some defenders. (I've seen a couple; really I have!) I have no use for his disobedience nor his claim that he won Gettysburg. Let someone else defend him.

As for Longstreet on the 2nd Day, I'll go a little way with Krick, who leans to the idea that Longstreet should not have followed Lee's orders, as the situation was so clearly different than expected. Some harsh condemnations from Krick.

ole

Last edited on Sun Jul 15th, 2007 09:20 pm by ole



 Posted: Wed Oct 24th, 2012 06:57 pm
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Darryl
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David, Sickles did follow command procedure, it was only when the order change was not forthcoming did he take action. He did have Hunt to look over the ground and give his opinion. Meade did come up to see what was transpiring. When he saw the confederate attack developing he knew there was no chance to change things and made plans to send troops to support the open flank. As it turned out, it was the right thing to do. I've looked and walked the ground several times, and if I had been given that piece of the line to defend I would have screamed bloody murder. It sucked! I would have changed the position but given myself room to manuver and protect the flank if needed. I'm no lover of Sickles either, he was pompous ass and crook, but he lived in an era where he could and did get away with it.



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