View single post by Hellcat
 Posted: Wed Jan 22nd, 2014 07:11 am
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Root Beer Lover

Joined: Tue Nov 15th, 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 981

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I kinda got the greenhorn bit when you said shot your foot off. What I was getting at was the idea of Jackson in command that I don't think he would have pursued in this instance. As much of a hard fighting, hard driving commander as he was, I believe he was also a practical man. In this instance he'd have probably been quite POed about the situation, but I think he would have realized his own army was in no shape to follow. Or maybe he wouldn't have been POed and just thankful that for the time being he had driven off the enemy's first major incursion in the east.

But I think what we haven't really looked at, or at least I haven't looked at, is not an immediate pursuit but rather a subsequent offensive assault in the weeks and months following the battle. I believe Ball's Bluff was one of the last notable battles in the Eastern Theater in 1861. The Army of the Potomac versus..... the Army of the Potomac. Or more accurately elements of both armies were engaged at Balls Bluff while the armies themselves didn't actually fight the battle. Fist Bull Run (Manassas) is July 21, 1861, Ball's Bluff is October 21, 1861. Three months after Bull Run (Manassas). We know in that time McClellan replaces McDowell and sets about turning his army into the Army of the Potomac we're familiar with. Could the Southern Forces have been reorganized faster by Jackson and launched an attack on DC by say August 21st? Was there enough of a defense around the capital to have even stopped him if he did launch his own offensive a month later?

We know that in 1861 the following forts were in use or in construction on the Arlington Line:
  • Fort Ellsworth
  • Fort Lyon
  • Fort Williams
  • Fort Worth
  • Fort Ward
  • Fort Reynolds
  • Fort Jackson
  • Fort Richardson
  • Fort Albany
  • Fort Scott
  • Fort Runyon
  • Fort Craig
  • Fort Tillinghast
  • Fort Cass
  • Fort Barnard
  • Fort Woodbury
  • Fort Bennett
  • Fort Corcoran
  • Fort Haggerty
  • Fort Ethan Allen
  • Fort Strong
  • Fort Buffalo

Now some of these didn't begin construction before August 21, at least one began during August. So not all of these were in place if Jackson had attacked a month after Bull Run (Manassas). And he might not, scratch that, probably would not, have attacked along the Arlington Line, but I don't feel like going through all the forts protecting the capital during the war that were either already in use by the end of 1861 or had started construction by the end of the year. That list right there is an impressive enough list, but would they have been able to have either repelled Jackson, or worn him down enough that McClellan could have dealt with him with an army he was still training? And would Little Mac have pulled his usual and over estimated Jackson's forces, possibly even causing him to retreat from the capital? It seems that while he might have over estimated Jackson's forces, he would have been forced to stay and defend the capital.

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