View single post by David White
 Posted: Tue Aug 14th, 2007 03:05 pm
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David White
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Pvt. Clewell:

I'd argue that Lee did not lose offensive capability at Gettysburg at all.  That didn't occur until he became trapped/joined at the hip to Richmond/Petersburg, which would be my decisive moment for the unimportant but bloody eastern theater.  Think about it, the Wilderness was defending Virginia but Lee launched the attack there and very effectively too.  He launched another one with Ewell at Spotsylvania but the latter screwed that one up.  That summer, for the third year in a row Confederate troops traipsed indecisively ;)  through Maryland.  This time they came closer to a coup de grace by nearly capturing the Yankee capital and almost killing its commander in chief (at least until JWB got in on the act, pardon the pun, but by then it was too late to be effective).  Heck I might even be wrong about when Lee lost his offensive capability because Lee was still attacking at Ft. Stedman just a few weeks before he surrendered.  I'm sorry; Gettysburg is just a very interesting bloody event that didn't resolve a thing.  But then it was in the unimportant theater.

Now to give the east some props, the geography of the Confederacy probably was such that the east was where the south had to strike some sort of decisive blow.  The Shenandoah was the perfect launching pad for invasion, the rivers in the tidewater helped protect the vital RR junctions of Richmond and Petersburg when Lee was not strong enough to attack.  I think Lee knew this and that is why he blew off the west where the rivers tended to not favor the defensive but allowed dagger strikes deep into the heart of the decisive theater of operations.  The south never had the manpower to defend it.  The south's greatest chance for success was to have all the four CS offensives in the summer and fall of 1862 to result in victories, none did, so to me those Union victories or avoidance of defeat were the decisive period of the CW starting with Lee's failure in the first Maryland Campaign at Antietam on September 17, Van Dorn's at Corinth, Bragg's in Kentucky and ending technically with Confederate defeat at Prairie Grove on December 7, 1862.

Last edited on Tue Aug 14th, 2007 03:06 pm by David White

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