View single post by David White
 Posted: Wed Aug 15th, 2007 03:55 pm
 PM  Quote  Reply  Full Topic 
David White

Joined: Tue Sep 6th, 2005
Location: Texas USA
Posts: 909

  back to top

For the sake of argument, I propose we accept TD's definition of a raid, which is a bit like defining pornography but as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, I know it when I see it.

A raid is an attack made to accomplish a specific purpose in enemy territory with no intention of gaining or holding terrain.

So stating it again above, it perfectly describes every Confederate invasion of the Civil War (except maybe the Nashville campaign where Hood had the delusional goal of recapturing Tennessee).  All had a specific purpose and using Gettysburg as an example, it was to win a victory in enemy territory.  Lee certainly did not plan to hold any of Maryland or Pennsylvania just traipse all over the countryside for the balance of the summer and head home for the fall, ergo a raid (granted of massive proportions and duration but a raid nonetheless).

In stating no Confederate army ever had offensive capability I meant that at no time did the south have the capability of taking and holding by way of example Harrisburg and southern Pennsylvania, all they could do was perform --wait for it, here comes that word—raid southern Pennsylvania and perhaps temporarily hold and destroy critical infrastructure in and around Harrisburg.

As to my two cents on the battle/raid/campaign debate; simply in my simple mind, battles last hours, raids last days and campaigns last weeks.  Any of the former events could be contained within the bigger event, e.g. Champion Hill/Grierson’s Raid/Vicksburg Campaign. In the case of Gettysburg, I see the campaign as one big raid with several battles at places like Brandy Station, Winchester, Westminister, Hanover and oh, a little sleepy crossroads town in Adams County, PA too.

 Close Window