GDG- ISusquehanna River
CWMHTours at aol.com
CWMHTours at aol.com
Wed Jan 25 18:52:59 CST 2012
I don't have a problem with the idea of Lee crossing the Pot R at Whites
Ford (Ford- not Ferry- n the Ferry was mile+ down the river from the Ford.
Plus you had several other fords all the way down to Rowsers S of Seneca
I can see that. Plus it would scare the beejeeezers out of Lincoln &
A Loyal Neo-Anti Unionist,
In a message dated 1/25/2012 5:25:41 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
pennmardel at mchsi.com writes:
Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
Just to add a couple of points to what has already been said, further
evidence that Lee planned to cross the Susquehanna was Early ordering Gordon to
capture the Wrightsville-Columbia Bridge, a few miles northeast of York.
However, PA militia burned the bridge before Gordon could capture it. This
is what Early said about this incident in his report (OR, 27, II, p. 367):
"I regretted very much the failure to secure this bridge, as, finding the
defenseless condition of the country generally, and the little obstacle
likely to be afforded by the militia to our progress, I had determined, if I
could get possession of the Columbia Bridge, to cross my division over the
Susquehanna, and cut the Pennsylvania Central Railroad, march upon Lancaster
[about 15 miles east of the river], lay that town under contribution, and
then attack Harrisburg in the rear while it should be attacked in the front
by the rest of the corps...."
This statement seems to give credence to the plan for Lee to send his
troops across the Susquehanna, and, at the very least, attack and capture
Harrisburg. It should also be noted that Gordon later wrote that he planned to
send a contingent toward Philadelphia, however, there appears to be no way
to determine whether this was an exaggeration on his part.
At any rate, Early continues in his report:
"...relying, in the worst contingency that might happen, upon being able
to mount my division from the immense number of horses that had been run
across the river, and then move to the west, destroying the railroads and
canals, and returning back again to a place of safety."
The way I read this last part of his statement is that his division, and
by extension the rest of the army, would stay on the east side of the river
accomplishing whatever goals General Lee had in mind. However, if the ANV
ran into trouble in the form of a large number of Union troops, then they
could still retreat back across the bridge which had been secured to the
west bank and onward "to a place of safety." Those ANV troops further north
around Harrisburg would presumably retreat across the river in the same way
they forded the river initially.
In addition, when this subject came up on the GDG a while ago, I argued
that Lee did not have to rely on a single direction of retreat, specifically
retracing his steps back across South Mountain, but could have logically
moved south toward Washington and crossed the Potomac in that vicinity. As I
recall there were few, if any, who agreed with this scenario. But, as I
recall, there was no evidence given that this route of march was not
feasible for Lee's army to travel.
Regards, Tom Ryan
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