GDG- Lee's Military Management skills

CWMHTours at CWMHTours at
Mon Oct 17 10:32:18 CDT 2011

As for luck,  Lee wouldn't refuse it but I think he knew  he had the finest 
fighting force in the world.  Just look at the string of  victories,   some 
studied by military officers from all over the  world.
You say he didn't have a plan.  I agree in that he came  North with 
multiple options in mind depending on what the AOP did.
But Lee didn't need a plan.  Lee - and  Jackson, and Old Pete, could 
certainly read a situation and put together a plan  on the spot.  
Chancellorsville-  Lee's greatest victory some  say.  He had no plan when that started and, 
in fact, was taken by surprise  and had to improvise.
Seven Days to Antietam.  That  was all  improvisation.
Lee didn't need plans, nor would he want to be locked into  one, outside of 
positioning the ANV into a position of advantage.
I an sure he would agree with Patton's words, (Roughly like  this):  If you 
make a battle plan, go into battle and the battle doesn't  fit your plan 
you don't try to change the battle to fit the plan.  You  change the plan to 
fit the battle." 
Your  Most Obedient Servant,  

In a message dated 10/15/2011 12:35:23 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
tbarrett21 at writes:

Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:
I agree completely that Lee had that as a political  objective.

I think that, far more important than taking the fighting  out of Virginia
and gathering provisions (and shoes)from virgin territory  were the 

I think they were, in this  order:

1.  Activate the anti-war sentiment in the North.  A  strong anti-war
movement was without a doubt the best chance the South  had.  If Abe caved
and stopped the war, the South had a  win!

2.  Strengthen support in the South.  Davis needed to  show that he was
capable of going on the offensive to maintain the support  of his people.

3.  Show the Europeans that the southern cause was  strong and was worthy of
their support.


In order to  achieve that he had to achieve a decisive victory over whatever
AoP forces  opposed him.  

I contend that, with good intelligence and careful  planning he could have
done that.  Maybe not whupped the entire AoP,  but have carved out and
defeated some pieces, collected his shoes and gone  home proud.

That would have required a solid plan, capable of  flexibility for
contingencies.  He didn't have that, as far as I can  tell, at all!

I suspect that he was counting on luck and an arrogant  feeling that he 
easily handle whatever AoP people he ran  into.

That's why he failed.



-----Original Message-----
From: gettysburg-bounces at  [mailto:gettysburg-bounces at]
On Behalf Of  Crottyfour at
Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2011 11:31 AM
To:  gettysburg at
Subject: Re: GDG- Lee's Military Management  skills

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
One of the most important  military (political) objectives of Lee's  
Gettysburg campaign was to  convince the people of the north to end the war.
cause  political pressure on Lincoln's government to stop the war. The  time
defeat Lincoln was in the summer of 1864 when even  Lincoln though he 
couldn't be  reelected. Then comes September and  October of 1864 and the
doesn't  have the man power to stop  the Union victories. Why because they
them in  1863. The  only other way for the South to have defeated Lincoln 
would  have  been to remain in the Union.  The south lacked the military  

most of all the political skill to survive.  Daniel   
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