GDG- Lee - Harrisburg

Jack Lawrence jlawrence at
Fri Jan 27 19:55:59 CST 2012

You know, I have driven by multiple times but I have never gone down there.

We have (or had) an esteemed member a couple of years ago who offered the 
tour; dunnoo if he is still with us.

I'll betchee he can give a more coherent story than I can. some of that 
stuff comes from vaguly recalled memories of the Camp Curtain monthly 

You might try the camp curtin group, come to think of it.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: <CWMHTours at>
To: <gettysburg at>
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2012 7:04 PM
Subject: Re: GDG- Lee - Harrisburg

> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
> THNX Jack-
> Are the pits extant?
> A  Loyal Neo-Anti Unionist,
> Peter
> In a message dated 1/27/2012 8:00:41 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
> jlawrence at writes:
> Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:
> Ft. Couch was erected for the  emergency.
> IIRC, it was part of Halleck,s plan to raise a national  militia and man
> this
> and other defenses.
> It was built by free blacks an  manned by whatecer was at hand.
> It was supposed to simply cover the  approaches to anotherr fort on the
> river-name escapes me.
> Couch kept  the main body across the river and I am no sure a crossing v
> I am doing  this by memory, but the civilian population was just not
> concerned enough  to actually join this militia and defe n harrisburg. 
> Most
> reinforcements  came from a new york militia that was not all that
> effective.
> Halleck  was unwilling to release federal troops, even Pennsylvania units,
> and  pretty much left the defenses up to the Governor.
> He did authorize the  raising of emergency colored units for the 
> emergency.
> One unit was raised  and were put to work defending the Wrightsville
> bridge.
> This is the only  colored unit that was involved in the Campaign.
> The colored troops were  put together with some white volunteers and put 
> to
> worg digging gun  pits.
> The white guys apparently resented being relegated to do colored  wpork,
> and
> just left.
> The pits were abandoned after the bridge was  burned.
> Regards,
> Jack
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From:  <CWMHTours at>
> To: <gettysburg at>
> Sent:  Friday, January 27, 2012 3:24 PM
> Subject: Re: GDG- Lee -  Harrisburg
>> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
>> Good post  Andy-
>> Was Ft Couch prepared just for the '63 invasion or had  it been  there
>> before?  How extensive was it?    Was it upgraded with more  cannon after
>> the
>>  invasion?  I've heard of it but know nothing about  it.    Were there
>> covering
>> batteries to guard it   flanks?
>> A  Loyal Neo-Anti Unionist,
>>  Peter
>> In a message dated 1/27/2012 12:48:10 P.M.  Eastern Standard Time,
>> amills at writes:
>>  Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:
>> I don't think Lee ever planned  or envisioned  reaching so far as
> Baltimore
>> or  Philadelphia.  I think he realized  Harrisburg was about as far as 
>> he
>> could go.  He wasn't going to get there  with the AOP in  his rear and
> even
>> if
>> he conducted a Cannae type battle, he  is  still forced to retreat back 
>> to
>> Virginia for the inability to  continue an  advance (or even holding the
>> ground
>>  gained).
>> I think we see this  as part of the reason for  Pickett's Charge.  He
>> didn't
>> have the  capabilities  to disengage and fight another battle as his army
>> was almost out   of war material to continue.  A battle that occurs even
>> further  north  exacerbates this need and regardless of its outcome, Lee
> is
>> still
>> forced to  fall back.
>>  However:  a direct attack on Harrisburg also had  to contend with  Fort
>> Couch (I think called Hummel's Heights at the time  [correct  me if
> wrong],
>> which
>> is a great little site with some  earthworks still  visible if you ever
> get
>> a chance to  visit).  I am not sure how well  manned it would be, but a
>>  crossing can't occur until this fort is taken, at  least in my
> estimation
>> as it
>> had a commanding view of any river   crossing.
>> Thanks,
>> -----Original  Message-----
>> From:  gettysburg-bounces at
>>  [mailto:gettysburg-bounces at]
>> On Behalf  Of John  Grim
>> Sent: Friday, January 27, 2012 12:33 PM
>> To:   gettysburg at
>> Subject: GDG- Lee - Harrisburg
>>  Esteemed GDG  Member Contributes:
>> 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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