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 Posted: Tue Aug 14th, 2007 09:03 pm
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PvtClewell
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David,

We might be debating definitions now. I called it a raid because every resource book I checked called it Early's Raid. He intended to raid Point Lookout to release 17,000 confederate prisoners.

History calls Antietam the Maryland Campagin and Gettysburg the Gettysburg Campaign, and Early's foray a raid, so that's good enough for me. Somebody else, a military person perhaps, may have to make the distinction for me.

But I got lost in the logic that your conclusion, based on what you called my criteria, that all confederate armies therefore had no offensive capability escapes me. Lee is basically on the offensive up until Gettysburg, and he isn't after Gettysburg. Why. Because Grant's got 120,000 guys with guns on the other side of the river and there's nothing Lee can do about it except fight them when they cross over. But he's not gonna be the guy to start another 'campaign' northward because he's got what, 65,000? Even Mr. Audacity knows better than that.

I gotta go, too. See you later tonight.



 Posted: Tue Aug 14th, 2007 10:02 pm
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Texas Defender
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Pvt Clewell-

   A raid is an attack made to accomplish a specific purpose in enemy territory with no intention of gaining or holding terrain. It might be done for a number of purposes, such as capturing prisoners, destroying specific targets, obtaining information on enemy units, or disrupting the enemy's plans by distracting him or forcing him to react.

   The raiding force always withdraws after accomplishing its mission (or not). Surprise and speed of execution are of great importance for a raid to be successful.

   Does this help?   :D

 

 



 Posted: Tue Aug 14th, 2007 10:50 pm
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javal1
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TD -

Why wouldn't Gettysburg then better be called the Raid On Gettysburg? Surely Lee didn't intend to hold it. Not arguing, just trying to understand the rationale of the definition.



 Posted: Tue Aug 14th, 2007 11:12 pm
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Texas Defender
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Javal-

   The situation at Gettysburg cannot be called a raid on Gettysburg, because it was not Lee's objective. If it had been a specific target that Lee planned to destroy and then withdraw, then it would fit the definition. An example from US history was when the British burned WDC in 1814 and then withdrew.

   Gettysburg began as a meeting engagement. That happens when a moving force, incompletely deployed for battle, engages a moving (or static) enemy about which it has little or no intelligence.

   In such a situation, the commander of the advancing forces must choose one of three main options: (or in some cases a combination of them).

1) Attack directly from march formation as advancing units become available. (This is what happened in the beginning.)

2) Recon the enemy and maintain contact until other units can be committed in a coordinated effort.

3) Break contact and/or bypass the enemy force.

   When the situation was developed at Gettysburg, it ceased to be a meeting engagement.



 Posted: Tue Aug 14th, 2007 11:25 pm
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javal1
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TD -

Thanks for the clarification. So "the battle of Gettysburg which occured during Lee's raid on PA" would be accurate. That would, of course, leave the question - was Antietam a raid or a battle? And can an event be both a raid and a battle or is it an either/or thing?



 Posted: Wed Aug 15th, 2007 12:03 am
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Texas Defender
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Javal-

    Antietam and Gettysburg, I think, were both battles and campaigns.(At least, I've seen them referred to as campaigns).  A campaign is usually described as a series of military operations conducted for a specific purpose.

   In both cases, the main objective for Lee seems to have been to win a decisive battle on northern soil. The benefits of this could have led to the demoralization of the northern population and/or foreign recognition of the CSA.

   Thus, it can be said that the Battle of Antietam was part of the Antietam Campaign, and a standoff there did not lead to Lee's main objective. Likewise, the Battle of Gettysburg was part of the Gettysburg Campaign. Obviously, a defensive victory there for the north did not achieve Lee's objective. Perhaps they are called that because those battles were the end of those campaigns, etc.

   Anyway, some things lend themselves to labels better than others.



 Posted: Wed Aug 15th, 2007 12:46 am
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PvtClewell
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This is for KO

I think the Union command structure is sorely lacking at Antietam. At the corps level were Joe Hooker (1st Corps),
Edwin Sumner (2nd Corps)
Fitz John Porter (5th Corps)
Wm. Franklin (6th Corps)
Ambrose Burnside (9th Corps)
Alpheus Williams (12th Corps, after Mansfield is killed)

Most of those guys are gone before the year is out and it's already September. Burnside and Hooker each eventually took a turn as AofP commander — so judge them for yourself.

I will say leadership at division level is decent, at best, but if Special Order 191 falls into my lap and the best I can do with that knowledge is earn a draw with twice as many man as Lee, the first place I look for performance issues is my commanders.



 Posted: Wed Aug 15th, 2007 12:57 am
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Texas Defender
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Javal-

   I see that I neglected to address one of your questions.

   A battle is a conflict between two forces (presumably of forces large enough so that it isn't referred to as a skirmish). That definition is so broad that it would cover just about any hostile encounter. But the term " battle" to me implies a large scale action. A raid is a specific kind of offensive operation that more often than not involves relatively small forces.

   I do not see how any single event can be thought of as being both a raid and a battle, unless you include raids under the broad definition of any hostile encounter. (Now you have me scratching my head here). Clearly, its possible that a battle can break out during a raid, either at the objective (if there is a specific one), or at some other place. It is also possible that a raid could lead to a battle between larger forces.

   Lets say for example that the raiding force has hit its objective and is now trying to withdraw to friendly territory. (The withdrawal is often the most difficult phase of the raid). In this scenario, the enemy hornets' nest has been stirred up, and a large enemy force is pursuing the raiding party as it tries to withdraw.

   The commander of the friendly forces decides to send additional units forward to cover the raiding force as it attempts to regain friendly lines. This could result in a battle being fought, usually beginning in a meeting engagement between the pursuing enemy units and the friendly units advancing in the opposite direction.

   Then you have a whole new ballgame.

PS- Going back to Antietam and Gettysburg, I would call them battles in the Maryland and Pennsylvania Campaigns, respectively. In each case, the main event of the campaign turned Bobby Lee homeward again.

Last edited on Wed Aug 15th, 2007 09:27 am by Texas Defender



 Posted: Wed Aug 15th, 2007 02:55 pm
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David White
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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.



 Posted: Wed Aug 15th, 2007 08:44 pm
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PvtClewell
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David,

I surrender. I think we've reached a critical mass impasse. Clearly, neither one of us is going to budge from what we believe (maybe a good thing, I guess). See you on the next thread.



 Posted: Wed Aug 15th, 2007 09:25 pm
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David White
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Okay Pvt Clewell.  I guess if this was the Punic War Interactive Discussion Board I would have to slay you but since it is CWI, I will parole you, distribute rations and allow you to take your mount home with you, providing you don't take up further discussions on the "Value of Gettysburg" thread ;)



 Posted: Wed Aug 15th, 2007 11:46 pm
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CleburneFan
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Luckliy this isn't Punic War Interactive, so I have the courage to say that while I've  never seen the Battle of Gettysburg referred to as a raid, Lee's campaign north did involve dozens of raids. The second purpose of Lee's incursion into Pennsylvania was the vital one of replenishing supplies, especially food supplies for his army and its horses and mules.

Thus all along the way, raiding parties went out to procure livestock, poultry, produce, fodder for horses and mules, bridles, harnesses, brushes for the horses, saddles, wagons, and a wealth of other "plunder" such as whiskey, cigars, even calico cloth, toys, and every odd and end available that soldiers believed they could use. 

These raids were conducted all during the march to Pennsyvania, during the heat of battle at Gettysburg and even during the retreat afterward. In fact, Lee's retreat was complicated by the need to protect all the livestock and goods collected during the campaign. Wagons full of merchandise and fodder lengthened Lee's trains considerably, slowing their progress back to the Potomac. 

While Lee suffered a serious military setback at Gettysburg and lost a frightful amount of his manpower, the quantity of goods his men brought back from the campaign was enough to sustain the army for several months. Not only that, the highly successful raids relieved pressure on Virginian farmers who were able to harvest their crops while the ANV was out of state.



 Posted: Thu Aug 16th, 2007 02:16 pm
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David White
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Just to clarify Cleburne Fan, Gettysburg was a battle that resulted from a raid not that the battle was a raid.  Now, collect your rations and horse and go home until properly exchanged ;).

(BTW, lest someone thinks I'm trying to stifle this interesting debate, I'm not and I'm just joshing with PC and CF).



 Posted: Thu Aug 16th, 2007 08:37 pm
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Kentucky_Orphan
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PvtClewell-

Just becuase Burnside and Hooker failed and/or were poor  Army commanders does not mean they were inferior corps commanders. Burnside certainly was not great, but neither was he the bumbling fool many historians have made him out to be (as a corps commander), and Hooker was a superb corps commander, I believe every bit as good as some of the names so revered by many today

Sumner also was very solid, proving to be a capable corps commander in the seven days, and handled a corps ably at  Antietam and his wing  at Fredricksburg well (though in all instances fortune and luck were not with the federals-poor army commanders were)

Mansfield was never really tried- though his corps fought reasonably well, his replacement did all he could do in a bad situation after his commander fell and made no serious errors. Porter was solid (though a Little Mac lackey-that didn't earn him any awards when Mac was sacked).

Remember, the only reason we remember most corps commanders is because they were part of a winning army-if Johnston had not been shot in the seven days, would we remember Longsteet as a great corps commander? How about Hardee? Who talks about him, though he handled a corps well?



 Posted: Thu Aug 16th, 2007 08:51 pm
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Kentucky_Orphan
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Even if Lee accomplishes the Austerlitz chimera so coveted by military thinkers of the time, he would have been like Hannibal following Cannae-too strong to challenge, too weak to conquer. The objective was too diminish the norths will to continue fighting by winning a decisive battle against the AoP, and relieve the pressure on Virginia. Though Lee was not seeking to hold Gettyesburg, he did seek a decisive battle with a Northern army, thus it is a campaign not a raid. You don't raid, by any definition, the main body of the enemy while seeking to utterly destroy it.

Just thought I would add my two cents to the raid/campaign discussion...



 Posted: Fri Aug 17th, 2007 01:00 am
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PvtClewell
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KO,

And a good two cents it is.

All I'm saying about Antietam is look at the results. In war, results are what matters. The Union had twice as many men, it had Lee's plans, and it still couldn't produce a victory. In my mind, it all reflects on leadership. The real stars in the Union flag were still at division or even brigade level at Antietam. They would ascend soon enough.

David,
Although it may look like I'm taking my marbles (or losing them) and going home, I'm not really. But I've spent the past month on this board climbing hills, promoting Gettysburg and even defending Sickles, for God's sake. I pretty much ran out my spool of arguments on this thread. I've googled this and researched that more than I ever imagined and I'm whipped. I PM'd a friend on this board and told him I pretty much felt like I've been writing a term paper, so I just need a little mindless break right now. Call it a tactical retreat.



 Posted: Tue Sep 25th, 2007 05:08 pm
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sweetea
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War! War! War!  Is that all you men talk about?  (Trying unsuccessfully to sound like Scarlet O'Hara, btw.)

Of the battles, skirmishes, contacts, raids, etc. mentioned... I would go with Antietam, even though I live reasonably close to GB.

By the time Antietam was determined, Great Britain COULD have thrown in with the South.  After 1 1/2 years of the war, the South was unable to free themselves and had little left in the way of usable resources.  Plainly, they had problems standing and providing for themselves.  Britain didn't go in when they saw this.

Possibly, would Gettysburg be so obsessively held to by some people because it was a fight which occurred IN and AROUND a town?

Vicksburg was much more important than Gettysburg.

 

Ok... so shoot me for mouthing such heresy!  I tells it as I sees it.:D

 

 



 Posted: Tue Sep 25th, 2007 09:09 pm
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ole
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Bang!



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