|View single post by peon|
|Posted: Mon Jun 14th, 2010 08:19 pm||
peon wrote:How would you have handled the situation at Harper's Ferry differently than then Colonel Lee did? He was ordered to retake the federal arsenal that had been occupied by John Brown and his followers.
I read here that the order was to capture Brown (granted Buchanan had slavery sympathies, but he still wanted Federal troops involved instead of Virginia militia).
Lee's own report mentions only special order 194.
This page suggests the order was only to take command of the available forces.
So I'd like to see special order 194 before I change my view on that.
As for his eagerness to attack one can see it in his own report even.
"Having taken measures to halt, in Baltimore, the artillery companies ordered from Fort Monroe, I made preparations to attack the insurgents at daylight. But for the fear of sacrificing the lives of some of the gentlemen held by them as prisoners in a midnight assault, I should have ordered the attack at once.".
"As soon after daylight as the arrangements were made Lieutenant J.E.B. Stewart, 1st cavalry, who had accompanied me from Washington as staff officer, was dispatched, under a flag, with a written summons, (a copy of which is hereto annexed, marked A.) Knowing the character of the leader of the insurgents I did not expect it would be accepted."
"The result proves that the plan was the attempt of a fanatic or madman, which could only end in failure; and its temporary success was owing to the panic and confusion he succeeded in creating by magnifying his numbers."
And here he states his preconceived notions about Brown.
"That they were headed by John Brown, of some notoriety in Kansas,"
Here is another report on how negotiations went
" Stewart hailed Brown and called for his surrender, but Brown at once began to make a proposition that he and his men should be allowed to come out of the engine-house and be given the length of the bridge start, so that they might escape. Suddenly Lieutenant Stewart waved his hat, and I gave the order to my men to batter in the door.".
And how Brown was "apprehended" (not killed on the spot only by mistake).
"As he said this, Brown turned his head to see who it was to whom Colonel Washington was speaking. Quicker than thought I brought my sbaer down with all my strength upon his head. He was moving as the blow fell, and I suppose I did not strike him where I intended, for he received a deep saber cut in the back of the neck. He fell senseless on his side, then rolled over on his back. He had in his hand a short Sharpe's- cavalry carbine. I think he had just fired as I reached Colonel Washington, for the marine who followed me into the aperture made by the ladder received a bullet in the abdomen, from which he died in a few minutes. The shot might have been fired by some one else in the insurgent party, but I think it was from Brown. Instinctively as Brown fell I gave him a saber thrust in the left breast. The sword I carried was a light uniform weapon, and, either not having a point or striking something hard in Brown's accouterments, did not penetrate. The blade bent double."
As for his previous offer of cease fire it's for example in the list of events I linked to earlier.
In the end, both Lee and Lincoln were the products of their time and the society they were a part of. Those who insist on trying to apply 21st century values to the 19th century are, in my view, engaging in a foolish enterprise.
I can admit that his views on slavery as an institution are ambigious as I have already stated myself. However not his rejection of the Northern Republicans and their right to determine the issue, I do not believe he had some profound divided loyalties in that regard.