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Alternative Antietam

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  • Alternative Antietam

    What do you think would have happened if General Lee's plant had NOT fallen into the hands of McClellan. Do you thinkn they would have won and pushed on for Washington? Or do you think the battle would have more or less ended up the same.
    The Texan has spoken, and approves of this message

  • #2
    A different battle, further north. The value in the lost order is that it allowed McClellan the confidence to concentrate his army further south. Untill he saw the order he didnt know if Lee intended to march all the way to north end of the Shenandoah valley, turn east out of one of the passes, or if it were a feint & Lees main force would actually reappear elswhere in Virginia.

    Once Lees army is identified in Maryland or Pennsylvania then McClellan would have to hasten north trying to concentrate dispersed corps, and still not knowing Lees ultimate intent. Or, if a large Confederate corps would appear in Northern Virginia and attempt to invest Washington DC or raid McClellans rear.

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    • #3
      Nothing would have been the same--Mac would not have moved fast enough to force Lee to concentrate at Antietam. And Lee could then move whereever he planned, probably Pennsylvania.

      My guess is Gettysburg would have been fought in 1862.

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      • #4
        Either that, or McClellan would have got his army disperesed, just enough that Lee could defeat one portion of it at a time in a couple of smaller battles.

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        • #5
          Mac was pretty good at keeping the troops in supporting distance of each other. He thouhght Lee outnumbered him 2 to 1, so he was very careful to avoid being chopped up piecemeal.

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          • #6
            What if Mac had sudenly grown some brass ones and ordered a coordinated attack by I, II, V, IX and XII Corps at Antietam? I think it would have been a very bad day for the ANV.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Parasocko View Post
              What if Mac had sudenly grown some brass ones and ordered a coordinated attack by I, II, V, IX and XII Corps at Antietam? I think it would have been a very bad day for the ANV.
              That's another What If? What if during the Antietam campaign, a more aggressive commander was in charge of the AoP? Sorry Crazy Texan, I'm not trying to hijack your thread.
              Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Parasocko View Post
                What if Mac had sudenly grown some brass ones and ordered a coordinated attack by I, II, V, IX and XII Corps at Antietam? I think it would have been a very bad day for the ANV.
                It was his intent to have the various corps attack in sync. But neither he, his staff, or his corps commanders could pull it off that day. This was a continual problem for many armys. Napoleon was one of the better ones at getting it right, tho he still had his bad days. Grant did ok in the west where he had a fair degree of control over his subordinates. But, in the east men like Butler & Sigel let him down, & replacing those 'political generals' was difficult. Lee also had a good sense of timing, and subordinates that dropped the ball at critical points.

                I will take the point about Mac keeping his army concentrated. His poor intel analysis & concequent fear did make him a believer in proper concentration of mass.

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                • #9
                  Grant never had to coordinate an attack by more than 2 corps at one time until he went East--not at Vicksburg, and not at Chattanooga.

                  Meade was so fed up with lack of coordination in attacks that he ordered the AoP reorganized into 3 corps to be able to get more men into one attack--and it almost worked in The Wilderness.

                  Cold Harbor was coordinated, but still failed.

                  Few attacks during the war succeeeded against a strong foe--Missionary Ridge is one of the notable exceptions.

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                  • #10
                    Timeline 191

                    Turtledove
                    EXTENSIVE
                    Alternate History.
                    For despite the silly sayings about violence never settling anything, history IS changed on the battlefield: ask the National Socialist German Workers' Party.
                    -Jerry Pournelle-
                    Introduction to 'Hammer's Slammers'

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                    • #11
                      Those books have been recommended and debated on other threads--like the science fiction and alternative history books threads.
                      I final WWII book is due out this summer.

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