GDG- ISusquehanna River

CWMHTours at CWMHTours at
Wed Jan 25 18:57:33 CST 2012

You know of course that the bridge is guarded by a pair of  57mm guns don't 
you?  No one in the CW could fight back against  those.
;-{)  !!!!
A  Loyal Neo-Anti Unionist,

In a message dated 1/25/2012 5:37:49 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
jlawrence at writes:

Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:
The rub here is the difference between what they  where doing and why they 
were doing it.

Lee was going to create  mischief as far and wide as possible, whike 
maintaining his lifeline to  the Cumberland Valley. He could never slip 

Your i  terpretation to read "....if the ANV ran into trouble in the form 
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  
safety". acknowledges they were only going to stay until they got  bit.
Which affirms the real mission here. To create  enough trouble  force the 
This was simnply a raid and,  once the aoP DID move north, Lee called it  



----- Original Message ----- 
From:  "Tom Ryan" <pennmardel at>
To: "GDG"  <gettysburg at>
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 4:25  PM
Subject: Re: GDG- ISusquehanna River

> 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 
> 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 
> defenseless condition of the country  generally, and the little obstacle 
> likely to be afforded by the  militia to our progress, I had determined, 
> 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 
>  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 
> 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 
> 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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