GDG- Lee's Illness?

Tom Barrett tbarrett21 at
Sat Jan 28 14:03:06 CST 2012

I, too, go along with Pickett.  The AoP had something to do with it.

I'm still mystified as to why Lee persisted, unless he really didn't know
what he was up against.

If Lee was so sick that he wasn't able to make decisions, he would have been
obligated to "bench himself".  Sometimes that's a tough decision in itself,
just like the quarterback who convinces himself that he can go, only to find
out that he really can't.

Most historical records indicate that Lee was functional and firmly in
charge during the Battle.  If he was having a stroke or a heart attack I
don't think he could have been.

Lee wanted to meet and defeat the AoP piecemeal.  He just might have
succeeded, if the AoP had cooperated.  But they didn't.  By the second day,
most of the AoP was concentrated.  No more piecemeal. Lee must have either
known that or had a pretty strong hint.  Why did he persist? Just because
they were there?

I suspect one of two reasons:

a.  Arrogance.  He really believed in the superiority of the morale and
fighting skill of his troops, and really thought that the inferior AoP would
just melt away before them.

b.  Drugs. If he was taking anything for dysentery, it was likely an opiate,
maybe morphine.  Morphine has different effects on different people, but a
common effect, besides relieving diarrhea, is a euphoric sense of
omnipotence.  That's why junkies use it- not to stop diarrhea. And opiates
were readily available and heavily used.  The benefits were thought to
outweigh any side effects. (not unlike amphetamines in more recent wars)

I might not deify Lee, but I certainly don't think he was either dumb or

What WAS wrong?



-----Original Message-----
From: gettysburg-bounces at [mailto:gettysburg-bounces at]
On Behalf Of Mike Peters
Sent: Saturday, January 28, 2012 1:38 PM
To: Gettysburg Discussion Group
Subject: GDG- Lee's Illness?

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
As an add-on, I do not think that Lee's sickness affected his decision
making capabilities in any way. I do not think the South got beat at
Gettysburg because of any malady. I am from the Pickett school of thought.


Mike Peters 
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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