GDG- ANV Reorganization

Matt Diestel agatematt at gmail.com
Tue Jan 31 15:54:43 CST 2012


>
> Esteemed GDG Member Don Herko  Contributes:
>


> I was one of the posters to talk about Davis taking troops from Lee for
> Vicksburg.
>
> The strategic situation with respect to Hooker and the AoP, did not force
> Lee to make the decision to go North.  In fact, after Hooker's jaunt into
> the Wilderness, he had no stomach for Lee.  On top of that, Hooker lost
> many regiments that were only 24 month enlistees.
>
> Lee could have waited and tested his new Corps Commanders in a more
> limited engagement and not try the most agressive operation in his career.
>
> Hill and Ewell proved unworthy in continued operations in 1863 and 1864.
> A more limited operation might have clued Lee into that possibility and he
> could have turned again to Stuart.  I am in no way a big fan of Stuart, but
> he was a potential Corps Commander.  Then Wade Hampton and Fitz Lee are
> Division Commanders and Lee is directing:
>
> Longstreet with four Divisions (Hood, McLaws, Pickett, Anderson)
> Stuart with four Divisions (Hill, Early, Rodes, Ewell)
> Hampton Cav Dvn
> Lee Cav Dvn
> Pemberton with Arty Reserve
> Of Course I would have made Trimble my Chief of Staff
>
> that is just my two cents
>
> VR Don Herko
>
> This is a potentially a winning team against Hooker in a late Summer Early
> Fall Campaign near the Fredricksburg Area.
>
>      Agree with you, Don, that Stuart --- especially given his handling of
the II Corps at Chancellorsville after Jackson's fatal wounding. However,
disagree on keeping the ANV at only two infantry corps.
     Given that the average ANV division was decidedly larger that its AOP
counterpart and given the ability of a single commander in that day and age
to competently handle a corps of 30,000 to 35,000 men on a battlefield ---
especially given the limited communication (couriers and signal flags)
available, Lee was most correct in his reconfiguration of the army into
three corps --- a project, if memory serves, which was contemplated prior
to the loss of Jackson.
    Without a doubt, Longstreet, who deserves to be ranked as the best
corps commander -- in terms of both combat and administrative abilities ---
in either army during the war (His closest rival, IMHO, would be Hancock.)
would be a lock as Lee's senior corps commander.
     Also, Stuart would be an excellent choice to head up either old corps
     That leaves the question: Who would command the newly constituted III
Corps?
      There would seem to have been only one officer with both  the
background and experience --- and was readily available --- to take up that
assignment and that was Hill --- D.H. Hill, that is. Yes, I know he was a
boil on everyone's butt when it comes to his disposition and the well known
conflict with Lee and the mutual less than cordial feeling that existed
between him and President Davis. But he was always good friends with
Longstreet and the two of them would be likely to work together in a smooth
manner.
     Unfortunately, in the end the appointment of the new corps commanders
went to Ewell and the wrong Hill in a prime example of personality over
ability. Besides, if Bradley could get along with Patton ...
     The cavalry in the ANV had become too large for one man who properly
control as well. Agree that it should have been divided into two divisions
but definitely believed it needed a corps commander in overall control and
my choice would be Wade Hampton.
     Therefore, my dream ANV reorganization would look like this
      I Corps: Longstreet with three divisions (Hood, McLaws, Pickett)
      II Corps: Stuart with three divisions (Hill, Early, Rodes)
      III Corps: D.H. Hill with three divisions (Anderson, Heth and a newly
organized third division under Pender)
      Cavalry Corps: Hampton with two divisions (Fitzhugh Lee, Rooney Lee)
       Artillery Reserve. Pemberton would remain in a largely
administrative position.
       Army Headquarters Staff: Ewell as chief of staff and Trimble as
Inspector General.
                With regards,
                   Matt


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