View single post by PvtClewell
 Posted: Thu Sep 25th, 2008 01:01 pm
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Joined: Wed Jun 13th, 2007
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 420

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Captain Crow wrote:
I think it would depend on how costly a victory was won at Gettysburg. Personally, as I've stated before in other topics, I propose that Lee's greatest blunder of the war was in fighting at Gettysburg at all. Even if Longstreet's assault had succeeded in breaking Meade's center and possibly routing the Union forces from the field, how much strength would Lee have had left to follow up with?

But Captain,

What choice does Lee really have? He can't stay on the Rappahannock line because his troops are facing starvation. He can't detach troops to try and attempt to relieve Vicksburg because he'll weaken his own forces protecting Richmond. Plus, he has an army with momentum after Chancellorsville and it's a prime time to do something with it. Moving north is a gamble and he knows it, but for him, it's a risk worth taking, especially if he can influence political opinion in a war-weary north to recognize the Confederacy (and that point, I think, is what makes the eastern theater legitimate). Plus, he can restock the grocery store with provisions appropriated from the north. Plus-plus, he draws the AofP out of Virginia.

And even if you're being Gettysburg specific, it was never Lee's intention to fight at Gettysburg, as you know. That battle was an unplanned meeting engagement that rapidly grew out of everybody's control, I think. (Apparently, none of Lee's lieutenants listened to him when he ket telling them not to bring on a general engagement. Orders is orders.)

Still, Lee destroyed two Union corps on the first day and nearly broke the Union line on the second day. He had the momentum for 48 hours. He was getting what he wanted. How could he leave when he felt so close to victory?

I will agree, though, that the cost of such a victory is likely prohibitive. But, then, that was Lee. Nearly all his victories were costly.

This is the private being insubordinate, capt'n. :)

Last edited on Sat Sep 27th, 2008 01:00 pm by PvtClewell

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