GDG- Harrisburg

John Lawrence jlawrence at kc.rr.com
Wed Jan 25 18:27:10 CST 2012


Nice synopsis.
I would quibble only with your argument regarding motive. But the underlying basis for this being the diversion it was is well founded.
Regards,
Jack


Tom Barrett <tbarrett21 at cox.net> wrote:

>Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
> 
>
>OK, for what it is worth (0) here's what I think.
>
> 
>
>I've read through Tom B's (the other one) excellent NPS Seminar papers...
>particularly Tony Nicastro's "Why G'burg" and Hewitts "Our whole force was
>directed..." - not that I could be tested on them, but enough to understand
>what they were saying.
>
> 
>
>As some of you know by now, they almost contradict each other.
>
> 
>
>The first clearly points to Harrisburg as the objective of the mission.
>
> 
>
>The second, in very great technical detail, shows that, although it was
>intended to look as though that was the objective, it was likely only a
>"demonstration", a feint with the intent of drawing the AOP toward
>Harrisburg, especially in the last days of June.
>
> 
>
>I think Lee had an objective in mind all along, but that it wasn't a
>physical objective.  I think he wanted to draw the AOP far enough north so
>they couldn't anchor on "Fortress Washington", to tire them and to spread
>them out and then to use his rested troops to jump the AOP Corps
>individually and to defeat them piecemeal.  The defeat of the AOP was his
>goal.
>
> 
>
>Harrisburg made a nice target for that plan.  Threatening it would make the
>Pennsylvanian politicians go nuts and demand help from the then-Hookers led
>AOP.  If they didn't react fast enough, well then, take the town and sack
>it.  He could keep wreaking havoc in the general area until he got the
>inevitable reaction he sought.
>
> 
>
>Hewitt points out that they were doing just that- seeming to threaten
>Harrisburg, but dragging their feet- not making the dash that one would
>expect if they were really intending to take the town before the defenses
>could be beefed up.
>
> 
>
>That kept them in a position to concentrate when the call came.
>
> 
>
>I really think they expected the AOP to come rushing up, and to be able to
>defeated tired disorganized groups of Yankees.
>
> 
>
>I don't think Harrisburg or the Susquehanna river mattered much to Lee.  To
>him it was simply a convenient place on the map.  If the AOP were to come up
>on the East, he'd move East.  If not, he'd stay on the west bank.
>
> 
>
>I also think, Halleck not withstanding, that the ANV, as a field army
>designed for maneuver, wanted no part of "Fortress Washington" and siege
>operations.  They were a field army out to defeat another field army.
>
> 
>
>Enough words for now...
>
> 
>
>Regards,
>
> 
>
>TB 
>
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