GDG- Lee - Harrisburg

John Lawrence jlawrence at
Fri Jan 27 15:41:55 CST 2012

Of course this was after Lee shot down the initial plan to reinforce the west.

George Connell <georgeconnell at> wrote:

>Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
>It's a fact that Lee spent two days in Richmond (I think it was two; I'm on a trip and away from my books) with Davis going over options. It's also a fact that Davis and his entire cabinet (with one vote against--that being Reagan, the postmaster general and a pretty smart guy) voted in favor of the move into Pennsylvania. These were not shy men, nor men of limited intelligence, but rather men of considerable experience, some of whom had vested interests in the West. I don't think Lee pulled a fast one.
>When you consider the options carefully, sending troops west was not a good idea. I have explained why before and would be happy to do so again after this trip. Sending Lee and troops that way would have been a lot better, but then who would replace Lee. I think the fundamental problem at that point in the war was that the Confederacy lacked sufficient competent top-level commanders. This was less a troop-strength problem than a find-a-good-aggressive-commander problem.
>26ª11'56"N   81ª48'19W"
>On Jan 27, 2012, at 12:33 PM, John Grim wrote:
>> 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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