GDG- Lee - Harrisburg

John Grim jgrim1941 at
Fri Jan 27 11:33:25 CST 2012

Esteemed Members

Most of us know the usual facts of Lee's advance in June towards
Harrisburg.  I subscribe to the side that believes Lee went north to take
the war away from Virginia so crops could be harvested and replanted and
that troops might be drawn away from Grant and that there might be
political advantage to be gained.  I cannot picture Lee being successful
east of Harrisburg with the river at his back and having to contend with
Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and its forts as well as the various
units of the Union army gathering around him.  Yes, militia units were not
regulars but they can picket railroads, bridges, guard POW's and generally
get in the way.  Lee's communications and supply lines would be extended
further and further and he would be further away from the protection of the
mountains and their passes.  As it was it took him 10 days to get back to
Virginia from Gettysburg.  He may have been able to live off the land near
Harrisburg but where would his munitions and replacements come from??  How
long could he stay away from Richmond with only Corse and Jenkins covering
that area?  I just don't see it but I am willing to consider other
opinions.  Lee's operation was not a go for broke.  He had limited goals
and limited expectations.   Getting his wounded back to Virginia would
probably have been impossible from east of Harrisburg and he probably would
not have gotten his Gettysburg wounded back.

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