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 Posted: Sat Sep 27th, 2008 01:59 am
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ole
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I'm not so sure the AoNV was necessarily facing starvation, at least not immediately.

Of course not immediately. But it was looking at the dark end of the tunnel. History would not be kind to the general who didn't act when the ration box is nearing the end of the bottom.
 And of course as usual I strongly contend against the assertion that Lee could not hold the line and still send aid to Vicksburg. Keep in mind Meade was not exactly the prototypical offensive juggernaut when it came to taking the initiative. Also keep in mind that the AoNV was not the only force on hand.
Lee could have sent aid to Vicksburg, but he would have had to remain in place and hope that Meade/Hooker would not attack while he was weakened. (Remember that his ration box is being depleted.) And, although you are correct in your assessment of Meade, he could not have rested easy if he didn't whip up an offensive with Lee's army thus reduced. Lee was much too strong to be attacked where he was. Send off a quarter or third of his army and the temptation overwhelms.
Longstreet and a corps could have made all the difference at Vicksburg if dispatched in a timely manner. This also would have had the residual effect of keeping the substantial flow of goods from the trans-Mississippi dept. flowing. Also consider the possibility of Grant being bogged down in an extended campaign against a newly reenforced and properly led Army of Vicksburg.
Could have and might have. Unless Davis demanded the transfer (and put Longstreet in command over JEJ), it wasn't going to happen. It would make history a bit more interesting if Grant had personally crossed swords with a Longstreet outside of Vicksburg. I'm guessing that commander Longstreet would have ordered Pemberton to get out while the getting was good.

Re the "substantial" flow from the transMississippi: Vicksburg's importance was based on river traffic and it's railroad to Jackson. Early in 1863, the railroad was there, but there was precious little river traffic except for ferry boats -- not at all like it was in 1862.I doubt lincoln would have been so eager to bring Grant east until the job was done in the west. And I think most of us would agree that Grant's presence was the difference in the east.
Absolutely! Lincoln would not have brought Grant east until the west was secure.

ole

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