GDG- ISusquehanna River

CWMHTours at CWMHTours at
Wed Jan 25 19:06:53 CST 2012

Excellent comments  George!
Semper Fi! Mac!
A  Loyal Neo-Anti Unionist,

In a message dated 1/25/2012 5:58:43 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
georgeconnell at writes:

Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:
I have no problem with this interpretation Jack, as  long as you recognize 
it's just an opinion. Keep in mind though, Lee, at one  point envisioned 
himself and at least two corps on the east side of the  Susquehanna, with is a 
bit more than "mischief." 

I think we all need  to remember that none of us know what Lee had in mind. 
We can only use the  hints in the historical record to speculate. I, for 
one, think his ties to the  Cumberland Valley were important, but not nearly 
as important as seizing an  opportunity to destroy the AoP. Keep in mind that 
Meade had orders to stay  between Lee and Washington/Baltimore. If Lee were 
to move east, Meade would  have had to move even farther east to follow his 
orders. Before long, the  Cumberland Valley becomes less and less relevant.

Hoping for a reply  that contains more than ten words, I remain you Marine 
Corps  friend,

26ª11'56"N   81ª48'19W"

On Jan 25,  2012, at 5:37 PM, Jack Lawrence wrote:

> 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 that 
> Your i  terpretation to read "....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".  acknowledges they were only going to stay until they got bit.
> Which affirms the real mission here. To create enough  trouble  force the 
AoP north.
> This was simnply a raid and, once  the aoP DID move north, Lee called it 
> Regards,
> Jack
> ----- 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 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. 
>> "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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