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Asbhby vs Stuartt - Other People of the Civil War - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Sun Mar 11th, 2007 01:47 am
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Doc C
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I hate to "what if" but what if Ashby had survived Jackson's Shenandoah Camp., how would he have compared with Steuart? Although he didn't do the end runs of Steuart, he was perplexing to the union generals of the valley as a rear guard.

Doc C



 Posted: Mon Mar 12th, 2007 12:57 am
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CleburneFan
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Maybe, just maybe Ashby would have been where Lee needed him when Lee needed him just prior to and at Gettysburg. But, of course, that is just speculation. So much happened in the Civil War, he might not have been at Gettysburg at all, but somehere else...had he survived.



 Posted: Wed Mar 14th, 2007 06:17 pm
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David White
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Stuart kicks his tail, Ashby had some issues and was not as smart or qualified as Stuart.



 Posted: Thu Mar 15th, 2007 12:41 am
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CleburneFan
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David White wrote: Stuart kicks his tail, Ashby had some issues and was not as smart or qualified as Stuart.

But what if Ashby had survived even with his "issues" and had also been at Gettysburg helping out Stuart or helping out Lee while Stuart was on his side exploit?  Lee needed "eyes and ears" and maybe Ashby could have provided them while Stuart captured a lengthy wagon train, etc.

Ashby might have been of assistance at the East Cavalry Field as well.

But these things are so speculative because they do assume that ALL other things would have been exactly as they were except for the one thing we are discussing. I mean if Ashby had survived but every single other thing had remained exactly as it was in history both on the Union and the Confederate sides. It is kind of a "Twilight Zone" exercise, but alternative history can be fun too.



 Posted: Thu Mar 15th, 2007 01:40 am
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Eric Wittenberg
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Ashby had absolutely no talent for any of the traditional roles of cavalry, which means that he would not have been of much use under Stuart. 

Instead, allow me to suggest an alternative.

Where Ashby would have truly excelled, given his ability to recruit large groups of men, would have been as a partisan commander.  In my humble opinion, had Ashby lived, he would have been John Singleton Mosby.  In other words, he would have been the most prominent Confederate guerrilla, and Mosby probably would have remained a scout and staff officer. 

I can't envision Ashby in the "regular" service serving under Jeb Stuart.  It wouldn't have happened.  Ashby would have chafed, and Stuart would not have tolerated it.

Eric



 Posted: Thu Mar 15th, 2007 02:19 am
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CleburneFan
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Many thanks for that informative reply. Now that would make a great "Twilight Zone" alternative history, Mosby scouting for Ashby. Eric, have you ever considered writing some Civil War fiction? With your extensive knowledge of the Civil War and especially cavalry, you would certainly have a solid basis for writing credible and exciting Civil War fiction. 

I don't want my question to seem frivolous. I realize there is still so much serious study and writing that needs to be done in non-fiction to enlarge Civil War scholarship, clear up myths and shed light on little known engagements and personalities. Anyone willing to dedicate their life to that is a hero to me. Still, there is always the lingering hope that someone will write a truly remarkable work of Civil War fiction for the 2000s.



 Posted: Sat Mar 17th, 2007 06:50 am
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Kentucky_Orphan
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But what if Ashby had survived even with his "issues" and had also been at Gettysburg helping out Stuart or helping out Lee while Stuart was on his side exploit?  Lee needed "eyes and ears" and maybe Ashby could have provided them while Stuart captured a lengthy wagon train, etc.


Interesting Cleburnefan, but what if Stuart had been killed leading Jacksons Corps at Chancellorsville? Wade Hampton in command of Conf. cavalry leading up to and during Gettysburg (if the battle would have ended up in Gettysburg that is)? Wade Hampton was every bit the cavalry commander Stuart was without the "flair". Doubtfull Hampton would have engaged in such an enterprise as Stuart got caught up in.



 Posted: Sat Mar 17th, 2007 01:43 pm
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CleburneFan
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I so totally agree with you, Orphan. That is why "what if...?" scenarios are so imponderable because every other factor would have to remain exactly the same, with only the one variable under consideration being changed.

I also agree completely that Wade Hampton would most likely never have done the run around Union forces as he headed up to Gettysburg. In fact, maybe few cavalry leaders would have done exactly what Stuart did, but that is what makes Stuart, Stuart. (And I am glad about it, because he makes such interesting reading. I'll go even further and say most Civil War cavalry officers on either side make compelling reading.)

Last edited on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 11:13 pm by CleburneFan



 Posted: Sat Mar 17th, 2007 10:11 pm
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Kentucky_Orphan
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I so totally agree with you, Orphan. That is why "what if...?" scenarios are so imponderable because every other factor would have to remain exactly the same, with only the one variabale under consideration being changed.


I couldn't have put it any better Cleburnefan, and the Civil War has more "what-if" discussions than any other period in American history. "What if Jackson had not been killed at chancelorsville" is usually followed up with "What if Ewell had not been wounded so badly just prior to second manasas". They are always interesting to discuss, because there is no way to say for certain what the results of these myriad "what ifs" would have been.

maybe few cavalry leaders would have done exactly what Stuart did, but that is what makes Stuart, Stuart

Exactly, and that is why he overshadows other men during the war like Wade Hampton.



 Posted: Tue Oct 23rd, 2012 03:50 pm
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Darryl
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Gents I agree on some of this but not on other parts. Ashby was a guerilla fighter plain and simple. He did not have the savvy of being a commander like Stuart. As for Stuart at Gettysburg, he was right where he was supposed to be on the night of 1 July. He had to take a roundabout route because he found two corps of Union troops in his path. When a commander finds the enemy sooner, or in a place he's not supposed to be, the orders become null and void. It becomes the commander in the field to decide to continue or turn back. He chose to continue. A Question, Why didn't Lee use the cavalry that Stuart left him? Most people do not mention it or just ignore the fact.
Wade Hampton was a fine leader, and commander, but he couldn't stay away from the front and the personal fighting one on one. Stuart wanted to groom him, and did to a point, but Hampton was wounded too much for Stuart to trust him to any larger commands than he had to. Eric, fine job, I like how you think.
I too am a fan of Cleburne and I believe that he should have had command of the Army of the Tennessee. Things would have been different. Also if Beverly Robertson hadn't had so many friends in the CSA congress, he would have taken the fall and the blame, as he should have, for Brandy Station.



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