GDG- Lee & Harrisburg

CWMHTours at aol.com CWMHTours at aol.com
Tue Jan 24 18:08:05 CST 2012


Well, George-
 
As usual with your excellent refutation you blast my little  battleship out 
of the water  (Oh the humanity!).
 
I CAN see Lee sending over a div and cav across the Susq  R.  It's 
completely plausible.
 
But I can't see Lee sittin down W of the Rap R sin June ending  
correspondence with Ol' Jeff going "Gee I'd really like to capture  Harrisburg".
 
I can't see him being fixated on it.
 
Some people in the GDG play the board game of Risk.  When  you advance to 
take a "country" on the board you lose peices.  There is an  attrition level 
associated with any advancement going on.  Then you may  just have to have a 
battle to get into your goal.  So you lose more  pieces.  Then your enemy 
counter-attacks and you have a big battle and then  you lose more pieces.  
And if you don't have enough pieces after that  battle you lose the whole 
thing and there goes your advance and all the pieces  you invested in the 
assault.  Look at the Mule Shoe at Spotsylvania.   An issue of overwhelming force 
and neither side had it so they chewed each other  up. 
 
Do you play the game?  It is fabulous and if I ran West  Point or some 
other miltary academy I would require   the  cadets to play the game all four 
years.  It is so instructive.
 
I don't think Lee was sitting around itching to get  Hrsbg.  I see the Old 
Gambler as moving N to get the devastation out of the  S and maybe have an 
advantageous battle with the AoP.  Two maxims of  battle:  overwhelming force 
and balance.
 
By threatening Harrisburg Lee would have the initiative and  advantage.  He 
could knock the N off balance by threatening the  town.  As the Great Poker 
Player Lee's best asset was his focus on  manueverablity.
 
What happens when that manueverability goes away?  That's  his best card.
 
Picture the whole ANV in Hrsbg.  Half of his army is  either  drunk in the 
saloons or lost in the brothels of town, which with  the location of Camp 
Curtain  there must have had a  bustling business.  The AoP occupations of 
Frederick MD render interesting  witness to that.  Coddington goes into the 
problem a bit.
 
And let's say Lee does take Hrsbg- and clearly that could have  been done 
in June easily then the AoP comes up and renders siege. THEN other  forces 
are brought in from around the country.  Part of Rosecrans's army  could have 
been sent by rail in a few days.  There were 30k men in DC and  5k in Balt.  
Throw those in and Lee would be surrounded, cut off from  forage, and ammo 
would be running low.
 
And for what?   Harrisburg?
 
It was a RR town and junction.  Miltary value.  A  supply base.  Military 
value.  I think the Penn Central 4-track stone  arch bridge, N of town, was 
built by then.  Camp Curtain- a military  target.
 
But risk losing your army- ONLY army of the Conf in the east  protecting 
Richmond?
 
Lee's supply lines were to the Cumberland.  If he takes  his whole army 
across that massive river he's screwed.  
 
I can see him telling Ewell to send in a Div or 2 to  take the town...
 
He wanted to scare the beejeezus out of Andrew Curtian,  Darius Couch, 
Stanton and Lincoln.  He wanted to get the AoP out in the  open and destroy it 
"The enemy is there and we shall attack".
 
I think he would have bordered the town, scared the Yanks out  and sent in 
enough troops to destroy anything of military value and maybe  collect a 
ransom.  But,  think about it George, his army starts falling apart in town and 
eventually he is going to be  surrounded by the Yanks with no way to cross 
the Susq R and get back to the  Cumberland.
 
I'd like to see a good argument or position put forth that  lays the risk 
of Lee capturing the town versus being trapped and surrounded in a  Northern 
city with no communications to the South.
 
Can you give an argument or case stating how risking the  destruction of 
his army was worth the occupation of some little dinky capital  city with mud 
streets full of yokels?
 
Like playing the game of Risk there is a cost to every  movement.  
 
FOOTNOTE:  The RR bridge over the Susq R is just massive  as all hell  ( 
Sorry Margaret  ;-{)).  4 tracks.  I think it  was in place pre-Civil War.  
RE: the destruction of masonry bridges it is  very difficult.  Read Walker's 
efforts to destroy the C&O viaduct over  the Monocacy pre-Antietam.  I've 
been on it a 1000 times and can see  why.  I have sat-mapped the bridge a 
number of times tracing the RR lines  being a train nut.  It's worth a look.
 
FOOTNOTE:  I still think Jeff Davis had flies in  his eyes.
 
George-  do you like my new sign-off?
 
A  Loyal Neo-Anti Unionist,
Peter  

 
In a message dated 1/24/2012 5:11:19 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
georgeconnell at mac.com writes:

Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:
Peter,

Some relevant items from my  Gettysburg notes:

• During the Antietam Campaign when  General John Walker, just up from 
Richmond with his two-brigade division,  reported to Lee at Frederick, he says 
Lee told him that the Army was going to  Harrisburg, destroy the Pennsylvania 
railroad bridge, and then go to  Philadelphia, Baltimore, or Washington. 
(B&L, vol. 3). See also R. E. Lee,  Vol II, pp. 360-1 for on his thoughts on 
operating east of the Susquehanna  during this campaign.

• Dorsey Pender, June 28, 1863,   June 28, 1863: "I hope we may be in 
Harrisburg in three days..." Lee's  Lieutenants, Vol III, pp.76-77.

•  Lee to  Ewell:  “If Harrisburg comes within your means, capture it.” 
O.R., 27,  pt.3. p.914

• ..."orders were...issued to move upon  Harrisburg. O.R., 27, pt. 2, p.. 
316.

• June 28: Ewell  ordered Rhodes to cross the river and capture Harrisburg. 
Rich Kohr,  Gettysburg LBG, 8/6/6

•  Lee’s orders to Hill on  June 28 were to follow in trace of Early, 
cross the Susquehanna downstream  from Harrisburg, and seize the railroad 
between Harrisburg and Philadelphia.  James Robertson, General A. P. Hill, p. 204

• "Then 'Jeb'  started the entire column for Carlisle, vis Dillsburg. He 
chose this objective  because he reasoned that if the SOuthern infantry had 
advanced to the  Susquehanna and were not in the vicinity of York, they must 
be around Carlisle  or Harrisburg." Lee's Lieutenants, Vol III, p. 137.

•  Lee: “To-morrow, gentlemen, we will not move to Harrisburg as expected, 
but  will go over to Gettysburg and see what General Meade is after.” 
Gettysburg  Nobody Knows, pp 110-111.

• Lee was going to Harrisburg.  So say the document and spontaneous 
utterances. He changed his mind because of  a lack of cavalry to block the passes. 
Tony Nicastro, LGB, in a lecture to the  Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield 
Guide class, 6/27/6

•  In Lee’s perfect world: he would dig in at Cashtown, block the passes,  
wait for Stuart, and head for Harrisburg if possible. Tony Nicastro, LGB, 
in a  lecture to the Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide class, 6/28/6

Now  that's ten citations from eight respected sources; I have more but it 
gets  repetitious. 

You can moan, you can grumble, and you can speculate, but  what you cannot 
do is doubt any longer. Lee was going to Harrisburg (and other  points east 
of the Susquehanna)--and he was taking a lot of infantry with  him.


Regards,

George
26ª11'56"N    81ª48'19W"

On Jan 24, 2012, at 4:01 PM, CWMHTours at aol.com  wrote:

> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
> George....
>  
> I love you Man....
> 
> But I DO doubt it......
>  
> Think of the consequences for Lee.
> 
> Before capturing  a big city like Hrsbg he would have an intact  artmy.  
He 
>  takes that army on the wrong side of the  river.
> 
> Look at  the Confederate occupation of Frederick in the  CW.  Before Ant. 
 
> they lost a lot of men getting drunk in the town, not to   mention 
Jackson 
> falling asleep during the sermon in the  Presbytyrian  church.
> Occupying a city for ANY army is fraught  with  danger.  You don't just 
go 
> in and parade  around.  You risk losing  control of yo0ur army.
> 
>  Lee was in the N only to threaten the N, not to capture a  city.
>  
> And, Sir, please tell me what benefit Lee would gain fro being   on tne 
> wrong side of the Sus R when his supply lines were in  the  Cumberlaand?  
> Politely, I would like to hear an  argument for Lee going  into 
Harrisburg.  To me 
> it makes no  sense.
> 
> So I do doubt it.,
> 
> A  Loyal  Neo-Anti Unionist,
> Peter  
> 
> 
> In a message  dated 1/24/2012 3:34:20 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
>  georgeconnell at mac.com writes:
> 
> Esteemed  GDG Member  Contributes:
> Peter,
> 
> There is absolutely no doubt that  Lee  intended to capture Harrisburg. 
To 
> do that, he would have  to move infantry  east of the Susquehanna. How 
long 
> they would  stay is another question and very  much depends on how much 
time he  
> had before the AoP would have been  close.
> 
>  Regards,
> 
> George
> 26ª11'56"N     81ª48'19W"
> 
> On Jan 24, 2012, at 2:32 PM, Dave Gillespie   wrote:
> 
>> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
>> The  Susquehanna  River is extremely low once it gets past  Harrisburg,
>> where it is also  very low.  I have seen a  good deal of the
>> Susquehanna, both in  South Central PA (I  grew up in Carlisle, PA) and
>> in South Central New  York,  where it is much deeper, yet narrower.  It
>> is a  fascinating  river.
>> 
>> Thanks,
>> Dave  Gillespie
>> Parsippany,  NJ
>> 
>> On Tue,  Jan 24, 2012 at 2:28 PM,   <CWMHTours at aol.com>  wrote:
>>> Esteemed GDG Member  Contributes:
>>>  Jeff and Andy bring up some good issues.
>>> 
>>> The  Susq R is an amazing river basin and the largest water   source of 
 
> the
>>> Ches Bay.  Goes all the way up into  southern  NY  state.
>>> 
>>> Extremely  wide.  Just north of  the state border with MD  there is a  
huge
>>> dam, the  Conowingo.  some 30-40 mi north of  that is 3 Mile   Island.
>>> 
>>> Someone  correct me but if I recall correctly  rocks are  apparent in  
low
>>> water on the R at  Wrightsville.
>>>  
>>> I cannot imagine any sane Conf  commander putting  any  significant 
> number of
>>> infantry east  of  the river during the GTYSBG  campaign.  You might as 
  
> well
>>> wave goodbye as  they marched off to   Johnson's  Island.
>>> 
>>> If I wuz Ewell I'd  put cavalry that could  move fast east of  the 
river 
>  but
>>> not infantry.
>>> 
>>> In  magazines like American Heritage I have read stories of   loggers  
> putting
>>> log rafts a good mile long down the river  from  NY.  Pretty  amazing 
> stories.
>>>  
>>> The  Susq  R is an earthquake fault.   Interesting on  the East  Coast. 
 
> The
>>>  Hudson also is an earthquake fault, oddly   enough.  If I lived  in 
> Manhatten I
>>> wouldn't be able to sleep   knowing that.  And certainly in a high rise.
>>>  
>>> If  you go online you can see that the southern half of  the C  Bay is  
a
>>> crater from a meteor striking it  millions of years  ago.
>>> 
>>> The Conowingo  Dam basin is an environmental  issue (No politix  
here!).   
> The
>>> overflow is full of  phosphates which are  killing the bay (I  need my
>>> crabs!).  And more  frighteningly the dam has pretty much silted up   
to 
> water  level
>>> with silt.  The silt is full of heavy metals,   which scares  experts, 
and
>>> costs me sleep at night  worrying  about it.
>>> 
>>> Cadmium, lead,  mercury, etc. It is  pretty  scary.
>>> 
>>>  That's my story, along with the  57mm's gun in Wrightsville and  I  am
> 
>>> sticking to  it.
>>>  
>>> 
>>> A  Loyal Neo-Anti   Unionist,
>>> Peter
>>> 
>>>  
>>> In a message  dated 1/24/2012 1:50:30 P.M. Eastern  Standard Time,
>>> amills at jplcreative.com writes:
>>>  
>>> Esteemed  GDG  Member Contributes:
>>>  Jeff:
>>> 
>>> Out of  curiosity:  is the  dam in  which you refer, the one just below 
 
>  City
>>> Island across from the city?
>>>  
>>> Thanks,
>>> 
>>> -----Original  Message-----
>>> From:  gettysburg-bounces at arthes.com   
> [mailto:gettysburg-bounces at arthes.com]
>>> On  Behalf  Of Jeff  Burk
>>> Sent: Tuesday, January 24,  2012 1:42 PM
>>> To:  GDG
>>> Subject:  Re:  GDG- Inevitable defeat
>>> 
>>> Esteemed GDG Member  Contributes:
>>> Your  point  about the river being  shallow is true today.  However 
that 
> is
>>> because  the river has been dammed upstream.  during the  war  the   
river
>>> flowed free.
>>> 
>>>  
>>> Namaste
>>> 
>>> Jeff   Burk
>>> 
>>> 
>>>>  ________________________________
>>>> From:    "CWMHTours at aol.com" <CWMHTours at aol.com>
>>>>  To:   gettysburg at arthes.com
>>>> Sent: Tuesday,  January 24, 2012  1:14  PM
>>>> Subject: Re: GDG-  Inevitable  defeat
>>>> 
>>>> Esteemed  GDG  Member  Contributes:
>>>> The river at that  point is frequently shallow  in  summer  droughts  
but
>>>> very wide and quite an  obstacle. Very   rocky.
>>>> 
>>>> A smart and  careful  commander would not want to put more  than    an
>>>> expeditionary force that could have been  sacrificed  on  the east 
side 
> of
>>> the   river.
>>>> Harrisburg was no significant  military goal  other than being a   
state
>>>> capital and RR   center.
>>>> 
>>>> Thre are 2 57mm guns sitting  on the west side of the   river  there.
>>>>  
>>>> A  Loyal  Neo-Anti   Unionist,
>>>> Peter
>>>> 
>>>>  
>>>> In a message dated 1/24/2012  2:22:49  A.M.  Eastern Standard Time,
>>>> mdblough1 at comcast.net    writes:
>>>> 
>>>> Esteemed  GDG  Member  Contributes:
>>>> Tom-The  militia destroyed  it in order to  keep the  Confederates 
using 
>  it
>>> to
>>>> cross over  the the eastern  shore of the Susquehanna.  Harrisburg  is 
 
>  on
>>> the
>>>> east and this would have enabled  the  Confederates to   attack the 
city
>>>  from
>>>> both sides. While Lee initially ordered the   bridge's  destruction,  
> the
>>>  ANV
>>>> generals on the scene saw the   advantages  to saving it and  tried to 
> save
>>>  it.
>>>> The Susquehanna is  not one of the wildest rivers  in  the  world but
>>> bridges
>>>>  were  needed to  cross it and with that bridge out there   wasn't 
another
>>> until
>>>> Harrisburg. The hope  was to destroy sections so it  could  be   
rebuilt
>>> later
>>>> but, in the  days  before dynamite, that sort of  precision  wasn't  
>  easily
>>>> obtained. The Columbia-Wrightsville  bridge  was a  wood &  stone 
covered
>>>  bridge
>>>> believed to  be the  longest such bridge  in the world at  the time 
and  
> the
>>>  flames
>>>> that  destroyed the wood, leaving  only  the granite  supports.
>>>> 
>>>>  
>>>> Regards,
>>>> 
>>>>  
>>>> Margaret
>>>> 
>>>> -----  Original  Message  -----
>>>> From: "Tom"    <bunco973 at optonline.net>
>>>> To: "GDG"     <gettysburg at arthes.com>
>>>> Sent: Monday, January 23,  2012  10:38:11  PM
>>>> Subject: Re: GDG-  Inevitable  defeat
>>>> 
>>>>  Esteemed  GDG Member    Contributes:
>>>>>>> And
>>>> in fact,  if  you  think about it, the damn  thing IS still made of   
big
>>>> granite  blocks. Now just how are you going  to   knock the darn thing 
> over
>>>> without  a
>>>> whole lot  of valuable time and   trouble?  <<< It was destroyed, by  
>  fire
>>>> (not the granite supports   of course),  by  Union militia.
>>>> Regards, Tom  B.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>  
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> -----Original  Message-----
>>>> From:   CWMHTours at aol.com
>>>> Sent: Monday, January 23, 2012   9:28  PM
>>>> To:  gettysburg at arthes.com
>>>> Subject: Re:  GDG-   Inevitable defeat
>>>> 
>>>> Esteemed GDG   Member  Contributes:
>>>> Dave,
>>>>  
>>>> Respectfully Sir,
>>>>  
>>>> I think  we  disagree,   sir.
>>>> 
>>>> Where is it  written that  Lee disagreed  with Jackson about    
destroying
>>>> infrastructure in the North? I  think Lee  was  just about as  
> aggressive as
>>>>  Jackson was in   bringing the war to your opponent. for   example, 
> Antietam,
>>> 
>>>>  Gtysbg,
>>>> & Monocacy.
>>>>  
>>>> I am not  dispersing  you personally. I just  see  Lee & Jackson as 
> being a
>>>>  balanced   combination.
>>>> 
>>>> By  the time of 2nd Man Lee   could see the Hammer and the   Anvil.
>>>> 
>>>> The  Hammer was   Jackson.
>>>> 
>>>> The Anvil was the   wonderful  James Peter  Longstreet, the Old  
>  Warhorse.
>>>> 
>>>> Also, just curious,  I   don't  recall reference to Lee being  
concerned
>>> about
>>>> destroying  the RR  bridge  over the Susq. R.  being a big concern of 
>  his.
>>> And
>>>> in fact, if you  think   about it, the damn thing IS still made of   
big
>>>>  granite blocks. Now just how  are you going to knock  the darn   
thing 
> over
>>>> without a
>>>> whole  lot  of  valuable time and  trouble?
>>>>  
>>>> Lee's 3 raids up north where just that.   Raids.  Move overwhelming  
> forces
>>>> up  north and attack piecemeal in    overwhelming  force.
>>>> 
>>>> The purpose of going   north for Lee was  to  de-stabilizing the North.
>>>>  Everything else was a subset.
>>>> 
>>>> A  Loyal   Neo-Anti Unionist,
>>>>  Peter
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>  
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>  
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