GDG- ISusquehanna River

George Connell georgeconnell at mac.com
Tue Jan 24 19:35:24 CST 2012


Margaret,

I don't understand why so many esteemed members of this group want to assume that Lee would have sent as small a force as possible across the Susquehanna and then pulled it back as soon as possible.

If Lee intended to move Ewell's Corps and Hill's Corps across the river (as he stated) it's a pretty safe bet he wasn't going to leave Longstreet's on the other side of a water barrier. I think it's not unreasonable to speculate that Lee, the most audacious commander of the war, might have been willing to fight the AoP east of the Susquehanna. There are some caveats, however. He would need all his cavalry with him; detailed information on the locations of the various Union corps; and the confidence that the AoP corps were exhausted, strung out by a rushed pursuit, and not in position to provide meaningful support to one another.

Risky? You bet. But Lee was never afraid of risk. History has a number of audacious commanders burning their boats and telling troops "We win or we die."

Regards,

George
26ª11'56"N   81ª48'19W"

On Jan 24, 2012, at 7:20 PM, Margaret D. Blough wrote:

> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
> Tom-The Second Corps was just across the river from Harrisburg and prepared to move when Lee called it back after learning that the AOP was on the move and already north of the Mason-Dixon line. I think Lee was quite serious about Harrisburg. I don't believe he meant to occupy it for any significant length of time, just long enough to score a PR coup (Andrew Curtin of PA was one of the leaders of the "War Governors" supporting the President) and do damage to the rail hub in Harrisburg. 
> 
> 
> Regards, 
> 
> 
> Margaret 
> 
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Tom" <bunco973 at optonline.net> 
> To: "GDG" <gettysburg at arthes.com> 
> Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 7:08:00 PM 
> Subject: Re: GDG- ISusquehanna River 
> 
> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes: 
> Sorry, more specifically , re: your below posts on Harrisburg - the same 
> link - but the article " Our Whole Force Was Directed ........... ". On Pg. 
> 103 - "Why Harrisburg" (scroll down in the PDF to Page 103._ 
> 
> Regards, Tom B. 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> -----Original Message----- 
> From: Tom Barrett 
> Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 5:26 PM 
> To: 'GDG' 
> Subject: Re: GDG- ISusquehanna River 
> 
> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes: 
> 
> When we discussed this in some detail a couple of months ago, I was left 
> with the impression that most everybody agreed that Lee, being in possession 
> of some common sense, and being able to read maps, was using Harrisburg the 
> way a matador uses a red cape. His real intent was to have the AOP rushing 
> wildly after him (like a bull) and to defeat it piecemeal. 
> 
> Sending a force into Harrisburg was a good idea. Preferably cavalry. But 
> it made no sense for him to get a slow moving force trapped on the East side 
> of the Susquehanna until AFTER he'd sent the AOP home with its tail between 
> its legs. (Then he could move on to Boston, Buffalo, Syracuse or wherever.) 
> 
> Of course, things never got that far, but I think he would have "sacked" 
> Harrisburg, wrecked the railroad, burned the warehouses, and waited for the 
> inevitable reaction- but waited on the West side of the river. 
> 
> Regards, 
> 
> TB 
> 
> -----Original Message----- 
> From: gettysburg-bounces at arthes.com [mailto:gettysburg-bounces at arthes.com] 
> On Behalf Of George Connell 
> Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 5:10 PM 
> To: GDG 
> Subject: Re: GDG- ISusquehanna River 
> 
> 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" 
> 
> 
> 
> 
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