GDG- A little clarification please.

George Connell georgeconnell at
Thu Jan 26 20:31:53 CST 2012

Your take on foreign intervention is thoughtful and very likely right, but also retrospective. There is very little likelihood that Confederate leaders would have believed this at the time.


26ª11'56"N   81ª48'19W"

On Jan 26, 2012, at 4:37 PM, dherko at wrote:

> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
> But by this time recognition by European powers was not a probable course of action.  If they did not step in during the crisis involving the detention of European diplomats, they were not going to step in.  The Emancipation Proclamation closed that door.  European workers would not allow their governments to side with the slave owning south.  Slave supported industries were in direct conflict with them.
> Motivating the press was another thing, however, if Lee did not back down when he was at the tactical disadvantage on the evening of July 1st, "if he is there I will attack him there" flys in the face of this stream of thought that he would capture Harrisburg and just give it back right in the face of Union opposition fro mpotentially multiple directions.
> Lee could have been trapped in Harrisburg, a population of only 13,000 residents, a palce potentially not big enough to provide cover for his Army.  Harrisburg, much like the Georgia capital was more small town than large industial center.  There was some value, but not like Philly Baltimore or DC   
> ---- Tom Ryan <pennmardel at> wrote: 
>> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
>> Keith,
>> My understanding of Lee's intent regarding the invasion was to capture an
>> important town or city.  The capture would be sufficient to embarrass the
>> Federal government, and impress potential foreign allies such as Britain and
>> France.  There was no need to hold the captured location for any length of
>> time in order to accomplish these goals.
>> One of Lee's objectives was to motivate the Northern population to press
>> Washington to bring about a peace settlement, and the capture of a major
>> city or town would fit the bill nicely along those lines.
>> It should also be noted that Lee wanted to lead the Peace Democrats
>> (Copperheads) and others who favored a settlement with the South to believe
>> the South was serious about ending the war and reuniting with the North.  As
>> he mentioned to President Davis in his proposal along these lines, there
>> would be no intent to actually rejoin the Union once a ceasefire/settlement
>> was reached.
>> It appears that Lee was being more than a bit devious in this respect.
>> In a lengthy and revealing message to President Davis on June 10, 1863 (as
>> the invasion was about to get underway), Lee made a number of observations
>> of how the war could be won by other than debilitating military means.  The
>> following excerpt sums up Lee's approach:
>> "Should the belief [in the North] that peace will bring back the Union
>> become general, the war would no longer be supported....  When peace is
>> proposed to is not the part of prudence to spurn the
>> proposition...[to] those who wish to...believe...that it will result in
>> bringing us back to the Union.  We entertain no such aspirations...the
>> desire of our people for a distinct and independent national existence will
>> prove as steadfast under the influence of peaceful measures as it has shown
>> itself in the midst of war."  See OR, 27, III, pp. 880-82.
>> Suggest you read this entire lengthily message.  It is one of the most frank
>> and revealing missives that Lee wrote during the Gettysburg Campaign, and
>> perhaps during the entire war.
>> Regards, Tom Ryan
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