GDG- Neither this Capital nor Harpers Ferry could long hold out against a...

CWMHTours at CWMHTours at
Wed Jan 25 18:19:23 CST 2012

I am a big fan of Meade and I think your appraisal is  correct.
I think that if Lee was not trapped north of the Pot R it was  not Meade's 
fault but rather Lincoln's for not stripping the garrisons of DC and  Balt-  
that was some 35k men.  Put them north of the Pot R and Lee was  trapped 
unless he went into the mountains.
But I think you over credit Darius Couch and the  militia.  Darius Couch 
was a great commander but he had militia.  They  were very unreliable.  They 
would only be useful for annoying Lee and  screening against forage 
expeditions.  I wouldn't credit them too much if I  were you.  It must have been very 
frustrating for Couch to go from  commanding a corps of combat veterans in 
the AoP to green militia in  Penn.
A  Loyal Neo-Anti Unionist,

In a message dated 1/25/2012 5:09:58 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
dherko at writes:

Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:
New member, retire LTC with 22 years in the  Infantry, QM, Ordnance and 
Transprotation Corps

Meade's history from  Gettysburg through Appomattox shows him not a man to 
rush in piece meal.   The only time Lee faced the entire AoP was at 
Sharpsburg and he did not win  their either with his "a team" in place.  

Lee did not have the  logisitcal support for an extended campaign above the 
Potomac and the  Confederacy had no plans to resupply.  After July 2nd, his 
medical trian  was already miles long, the charge just added to it.  
Pushing Meade off  on July 1st or 2nd would have stretched Lee's ability to 
support and protect  an elongated tail and fight Meade, while trying to 
reconstitute Stuart's  Division.  All while operating blind in enemy territory with MG 
Couch and  the PA militia at his back.

He had new Corps Commanders, who proved  unworthy, and several divisions 
below strength after a sharp fight.  He  did not have the combat power to 
defeat a General that was not going to make a  mistake, Meade was not agressive. 
 In the defense, Meade would have the  advantage of Hunt's Artillery and an 
endless supply of Ammo.  Lee would  have to strike Meade to maintain the 
initiative further depleating his  ranks.  The longer the campaign went the 
weaker Lee's forces got and the  more bold Couch would get unless Lee struck 
Couch, turning his back on  Meade.  Couch could earn his way back into 
Lincoln's good graces by doing  something big.  Attacking Lee's tail as Lee chased 
Meade to Pipe Creek  was just such an opportunity.
---- Jack Lawrence  <jlawrence at> wrote: 
> Esteemed GDG Member  Contributes:
> Andy,
> Meade had construcyed a multiple  fort defensive line of some 33 miles 
> DC.
> It is my  impression thoyugh that it wasa not fully manned,
> rom Coddington we  know that defending Pennsylvania was the bigger 
> than DC  though, with Stanton establishing the first ever National 
>  with a commanmd center i Harrisburg, under Curtain (even though it was a 
> flop).
> A I read your blurb (did not go into the OR  you cited), Halleck was just 
> pushing Hooker, whom he did noot like, a  little harder.
> Obviously, the AoP was the DC first line of  defense, which is that 
> is saying.
> But who  knows.
> To respond to some earlier speculation about a what  happens if Lee 
> the aoP in detail, which means renders it  militarily ineffective as a 
> fighting force, obviously they exfiltrate  to Dc and see if Bobby lee 
> to test his luck.
>  Lee, if he is smart, goes home anyway. He might try Philidelphia or 
>  baltimore though, as the British learned, it was defensible to a  fault.
> The Harrisburg thing is, IMHO, militarily  unsound.
> More certainly though is Lee is not going to defeat  Meade in detail, but 
> rather drive him off the fish hook. In which  case he goes back to Pipes 
> Creek.
> And Lee gets  degeated in detail.
> Regards,
> Jack
>  ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Andy Mills"  <amills at>
> To: "GDG"  <gettysburg at>
> Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 10:08  AM
> Subject: GDG- Neither this Capital nor Harpers Ferry could long  hold out 
> against a large force
> >  Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
> > In reading one of the articles  posted earlier ( 
> >  ) 
> > , on page 144, Halleck is quoted as to have said:   "Neither this
> > Capital nor Harpers Ferry could long hold out  against a large force. 
> > must depend for their security very  much upon the co-operation of your 
> > army"
> >
>  > It has been said in this forum that Washington was a nearly 
> > fortress and the ANV could never actually capture the  city.
> >
> > But this quote makes it seem that he feared  very much for the safety 
of DC 
> > and I have to believe Lincoln  would also feel this way, or Halleck 
> > wouldn't be able to send  such telegrams to the army.
> >
> > Did they see a reality  that is we don't see today?  Were the forces 
> > defending  Washington DC impressive on paper, but troops to which you 
> >  couldn't rely on when the fighting got heated?  In 1863, how many 
> > defended the capitol and were they mostly green troops with  short 
> > enlistments?   What makes us today claim DC was  unable to be taken 
> > the military men of the time thought the  exact opposite?
> >
> > I know there are a lot of questions,  but I am trying to figure out the 
> > differences in beliefs and if  this is all with the hindsight of 
history to 
> > know Lee / ANV /  Confederacy never had the capabilities the Union / US 
> > high  command believed they were capable of.
> >
> >  Thanks,
> >  
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