GDG- Inevitable defeat

CWMHTours at CWMHTours at
Tue Jan 24 11:33:37 CST 2012

A foot note....
In reading the history of Lee and Davis it is notable that it  would appear 
that they deliberately did not write down or record ver  batum their 
In the plot to kidnap Lincoln- which I believe it was, there  is no record 
of their discussions.  Nor much of any record of  anything.
If you consider that they had in mind the possibilty of losing  the war and 
being tried for treason then it makes sense for them to leave no  record.
It makes it difficult today for us to figger out what was  going on.
A  Loyal Neo-Anti Unionist,

In a message dated 1/24/2012 12:00:16 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
bunco973 at writes:

Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:
Thank you, Joad - great points to consider -  the meeting of Davis & Lee 
prior to the move north is (to myself), an  obsessive mystery. Especially 
the case of Davis himself - I'm surprised  his Mississippi-centricity did 
manifest itself in his decision, but I  guess Lee was a better debater than 
give him credit for. As per your  post - I guess it was a chessboard 
on Lee & Davis' part -  either some of Lee's troops are sent west to 
reinforce Vicksburg, or,  Grant will have to send troops east if Lee moves 
north. To only have been  a fly on the wall for that crucial meeting 
resulting in the Gettysburg  campaign.

Regards, Tom B.

-----Original  Message----- 
From: joadx1 at
Sent: Monday, January 23, 2012  11:35 PM
To: gettysburg at
Subject: Re: GDG- Inevitable  defeat

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:

I believe that the  greatest Civil War scholars themselves cannot answer 
any certainty  what Lee was thinking when he persuaded Davis that a move 
north would be  preferable than an attempt to relieve Vicksburg.  (It's 
remembering in this regard that Lee could have reasonably expected  
to do something and cannot be blamed that Johnston sat on his  hands.)

And I'm not a scholar of the war at all, just an interested  person.

But my sense of the matter, gleaned mostly from reading Catton  and 
McPherson, and from what I know of Lee himself (I have read Freeman's  
biography), is that Lee genuinely believed that a move north would be more  
effective, strategically, than a move west.  I think that he was  wrong in 
this, and that his thinking was restricted by his own very  
point of view, but I think he was sincere in it.  My  sense is that he 
thought if he could induce panic in the north (he did,  after all, come 
close to taking Harrisburg), that Grant would have to  send troops east, 
that at any rate that no besieging army could  withstand a Mississippi 
in a malaria ridden swamp.  Who knows  what would have happened if things 
not gone wrong with Stuart, who was  himself a victim of contingent 
circumstance?  What happened with  Stuart was not unlike what happened with 
Lee's orders during the campaign  that ended at Antietam: a contingency 
wasn't, and really couldn't,  have been
planned for.  Had Stuart returned to the ANV in a timely  fashion (not 
been blocked by the AoP), who knows what would have  happened?  If 
hadn't received Lee's plans, who knows what  would have happened in 1862?

In short, as McPherson argues in a number  of places, contingency had so 
to do with the outcome of the  war.  This is the real reason why I say that 
nothing was  inevitable.

-----Original Message-----
From: Tom  <bunco973 at>
To: GDG  <gettysburg at>
Sent: Mon, Jan 23, 2012 8:12 pm
Subject:  Re: GDG- Inevitable defeat

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

Tom  B.

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