GDG- Inevitable defeat

atmackeyjr at atmackeyjr at
Tue Jan 24 07:10:59 CST 2012

I think you're far more right than not in saying Lee's best hours were with Jackson, though I would caution that he did very, very well on the defensive in the Overland Campaign.

As to why he moved north in the Pennsylvania Campaign, I don't think we'll ever know with 100% certainty.  Avoiding losing troops to the west may very well have been part of his thinking.  He himself said that he wanted to subsist his army in enemy territory, give Virginia farmers an opportunity to bring in a good crop without armies in the way, and disrupt the Federals' plans for their own defensive.  Of these stated objectives, he did disrupt any plans Hooker may have had for an offensive, and he was able to collect massive amounts of supplies not only for immediate consumption but also for transport back to Virginia.  If he had the unstated objective of avoiding sending troops to the west, he did that as well, but I think we can postulate that if that was one of his objectives it was because he felt that a victory in the north would siphon off troops from Vicksburg.  We'll never know about that part, but the nice thing about counterfactuals is that either way we argue, as long as we extrapolate from known historical facts, we're all 100% correct.  : )

I believe we can say with near certainty that Lee always planned to win victories in battles, so whatever he hoped to accomplish in the Pennsylvania campaign depended, at least in part, on defeating the Federals.

Best Regards,
Al Mackey

-----Original Message-----
From: Tom <bunco973 at>
To: GDG <gettysburg at>
Sent: Mon, Jan 23, 2012 11:12 pm
Subject: Re: GDG- Inevitable defeat

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
  Disclaimer : I respect Lee, and a big fan of Longstreet - but - I 
onestly feel Lee's finest hours was the Jackson episodes, thus deferring to 
ost of Dave's post. IMHO - Lee was an accomplished strategist - Jackson was 
he tactician, deferring to your post of the Lee-Jackson combo. Sometimes I 
onder (at the risk of getting slammed in this group), whether Lee headed 
orth, besides the tried and true reasons, to stave off the chance of losing 
ome of his command to the West (Vicksburg especially). Commanders don't 
ike to lose troops to another command, maybe an ego thing ;-D. Not saying 
ee's best interests for the Confederacy were not in his heart, but the 
cceleration of his movements after meeting with Davis was  (to me) a bit 
uspect. If my musings are wrong, so be it, as I'm sure this esteemed group 
ill put me in the right direction - just a thought, though! (Have to go 
ack to lurker mode - starting to put my fat in the fire !!)
om B.

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