GDG- Lee - Harrisburg

Tom bunco973 at
Fri Jan 27 14:54:02 CST 2012

Sometimes I
wonder whether Lee headed
North, besides the tried and true reasons, to stave off the chance of losing
some of his command to the West (Vicksburg especially). Commanders don't
like to lose troops to another command, maybe an ego thing ;-D. Not saying
Lee's best interests for the Confederacy were not in his heart, but the
acceleration of his movements after meeting with Davis was  (to me) a bit
suspect. <<<<<<

I had posted the above last week - thought I was one of the few that felt 
this way. Just a theory - but it's almost like "See ya Mr. Davis - we're 
leaving now - I'll be in touch". A few weeks later, Lee advises that he has 
to cut off communications back to Richmond due partially to manpower 
shortages. As an aside - back to Harrisburg - there has to be some strong 
reasons that initially Lee is looking at Harrisburg - Ewell at Carlisle - 
Early/Gordon at Wrightsville - another words, a full Corps north & south of 
Harrisburg (whether to entice the AOP, raid the city, or invest it for a 
short time). I join with the "Lee was decoying the AOP  to hasten north" on 
the premise that supposedly Lee felt the AOP wasn't moving fast enough north 
for him (Stuart not communicating same to Lee). Lee was in the land of 
plenty, but subsisting 75-80,000  men would only go so far in PA. 
Logistically, that's a long stretch from PA, back through the Shenandoah to 
VA. I realize that's oversimplifying the matter, but that's how I see it, I 
truly think he would have been better taking another foray into Maryland - 
but I don't wish to go into what if territory.

Tom B.

-----Original Message----- 
From: Andy Mills
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2012 1:23 PM
Subject: Re: GDG- Lee - Harrisburg

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
It makes perfect sense though if the real motivation was simply to keep his 
precious ANV together and not have part of it shipped off to Vicksburg.  Lee 
couldn't be straight with Davis about this and came up with the crop story 
as a sidebar to his real motivations.  When asked why troops shouldn't be 
sent to Vicksburg, Lee couldn't simply state "because I don't want to send 
them."  He had to present a valid case for keeping them assigned to his 

Just don't ask me to prove this, but this is my belief of the true reason he 
invaded the North - to keep the ANV intact, the army he had "nurtured and 
created" (yes, I am aware technically the army existed prior to his command, 
but no one in the Confederacy remembers an army pre June 1862).


-----Original Message-----
From: gettysburg-bounces at [mailto:gettysburg-bounces at] 
On Behalf Of dherko at
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2012 1:00 PM
Subject: Re: GDG- Lee - Harrisburg

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:

that is exactly the shortsidedness of Lee's strategy he convinced Davis to 

Crops are planted in the Spring and harvested in the fall.  Lee could not 
possibly stay up North for that length of time.  He could not have possibly 
protected Virginia's corps for an enitre planitng season.

As for Vicksburg.  By late June, Vicksburg was gone.  Once Lee convince 
Davis of a course of action, the garrison's fate was sealed.  Had Lee won on 
July 3rd (before he really planned to fight Meade) Pemberton had 
surrendered, he was just trying to negotiate a better deal.

Until Grant came East, there was not a Northern General that could lace 
Lee's boots on the tactical battlefield.  Lee however, fought for Virginia 
and Vriginia alone.  He completely failed to understand the implications of 
losing Vicksburg.  He was resistant to send troops to the Carolina coast, 
did not want Longstreet to go to Chickamauga.  He was myopic on Strategy, he 
protected Virginia and Virginia was in the fight until the end.


 -to unsubscribe for Archives 

More information about the Gettysburg mailing list