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What if Lee was Commander of Union Forces?

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  • What if Lee was Commander of Union Forces?

    What do you think would have happened if Lee had accepted Lincoln's offer to command the Union Army at the beginning of the Civil War?

    Is the war shorter?

    Grant never rises to fame and becomes president?

    Lee v. Jackson at Bull Run?
    Just like children sleeping, we can dream this night away... ~NY

  • #2
    Originally posted by Lweber1978 View Post
    What do you think would have happened if Lee had accepted Lincoln's offer to command the Union Army at the beginning of the Civil War?

    Is the war shorter?
    Not much, maybe a year or so. Capturing Richmond early on wont mean much to undefeated Carolinians, Mississippians, or Texans.

    Originally posted by Lweber1978 View Post
    Grant never rises to fame and becomes president?
    Depends on if Lincoln or Congress call for Lees replacement at some point for some alleged failure. Many of the problems the senior Union leaders had in the east were problems of undependable subordinates, whom they could not replace due to political connections. As a union commander Lee would have had to contend with the same situation. As commander of the Army of Nothern Virginia Lee was fortunate to have more reliable subordiates, and a wider ability to choose his commanders. As Union commander he would have been contending with the likes of Sigel.

    Grants fame gained in the west may have been enough particularly had he 'Marched To The Sea' rather than transfering to the east. Conversely a victorious Lee may have made a good reconcilliation Presidential candidate with his Vitginia family and property.

    Originally posted by Lweber1978 View Post
    Lee v. Jackson at Bull Run?
    Lee was not commanding any field force @ the time of the First Manassas. Johnson commanded the Confederate Army at that battle. Jackson was only a unproven brigade commander with a reputation as a school professor. So, the Confederate side of the battle is unchanged. What differences in decsion Lee might have made as Union commander vs McDowells I could not predict.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Lweber1978 View Post
      What do you think would have happened if Lee had accepted Lincoln's offer to command the Union Army at the beginning of the Civil War?
      There is no war if Lee is the Commander of Union forces.

      The only way that would happen is if Lincoln doesn't call up 75k volunteers to suppress the South. That means VA, NC, TN, AR, KY, and MO remain in the Union*. If VA secedes, Lee goes with it. If VA remains, Lee remains with it. These states seceded over the call-up. No call-up, no secession for these states.

      It's a heck of a paradox: the only way to get Lee in command is not to have a war.

      *For KY and MO, meaning that they have no divided loyalties in the form of duelling governments.
      Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
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      • #4
        *For KY and MO, meaning that they have no divided loyalties in the form of duelling governments.

        So does Virginia.
        "Ask not what your country can do for you"

        Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

        you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Half Pint View Post
          *For KY and MO, meaning that they have no divided loyalties in the form of duelling governments.

          So does Virginia.
          We try not to think about those upstarts in the hills much down here.
          Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Lweber1978 View Post
            Is the war shorter?
            The war would have been over in 1861.

            Tim
            "I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. I just kiss. I don't even wait. You can do anything... Grab them by the [redacted]. You can do anything."
            -The President of the United States of America.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by armor11 View Post
              The war would have been over in 1861.

              Tim
              You think the Confederates could have won that quickly???

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                You think the Confederates could have won that quickly???
                With only the deep south states? No way.
                Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
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                • #9
                  I think that it would have gone much differently. Grant would have stayed in the western theater and Sherman might not have gotten as much fame. The war would have gone much faster. 1862-63 maybe. Not too quickly because they would have to invade the southern states like Georgia and Alabama. Who would have surrendered the CSA to the Union, Jefferson or Jackson.
                  "All Glory is Fleeting"

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Napalm View Post
                    Who would have surrendered the CSA to the Union, Jefferson or Jackson.
                    You see, it's a package deal. The only way to get Lee to remain with the US forces is if Virginia remains in the Union. The only way to keep Virginia in the Union is not to call up Lincoln's 75K. If VA doesn't secede, Jackson also stays in the US. If Lincoln doesn't call up the troops, there's no war.

                    Neither Jefferson (Davis, I presume) nor Stonewall Jackson has to surrender to anyone.
                    Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
                    Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


                    "Never pet a burning dog."

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                    • #11
                      Lee was very staunch about his love and support for his State. I think Janos is right, VA has to stay for Lee to stay. With VA staying in the Union, there's no chance of the CSA lasting past '63.
                      If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

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                      • #12
                        One of the forgotton events of 1860 was the appointment of Col Lee to command Federal soldiers in Texas, Cant recall which regiment that was but the HQ was in San Antonio. Lees orders were abrutply changed and a another Army officer appointed instead. Shortly after a band of Texas 'militia' and local politicians surrounded the post and demanded it be turned over to the State of Texas. The commander accquiessed and marched his soldiers off leaving the bulk of the arms and Federal property in the hands of the Texas militia. This subsequently occured several other times in the South in the next week or two, until the refusal of the garrison at Charlestown.

                        Now Lee was a stickler for the book, had a enourmous sense of duty, and had a reputation of complete dependability. Would he have refused the Texan demand and called his soldiers to arms to protect the property he was entrusted with? if Lee had ordered his men to fire on the Texans to protect his responsibilities would any Confederate politician given him even so much as a privates enlistment?

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                        • #13
                          Lee Commander for the Union

                          Very good thread. I do agree the only way Lincoln gets Robert E Lee is if Va stays in the Union but then he gets Jackson, Pickett and a score of other Virginians as well as the regular grunts. could you imagine Custer serving under Stuart wow blows my mind. Think of this. today there would only be 49 states because W VA doesn't get taken away and become a state in 1863.
                          Lee did command a cavalry unit in Texas after his days as Superintendent at West Point. I believe the 2nd US Cavalry regiment he founded and led for 2 years. In the mid to late 1850's. This unit is still an active unit attached to the 1st Cav Division Ft. Hood Texas.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ceardog View Post
                            Very good thread. I do agree the only way Lincoln gets Robert E Lee is if Va stays in the Union but then he gets Jackson, Pickett and a score of other Virginians as well as the regular grunts. could you imagine Custer serving under Stuart wow blows my mind. Think of this. today there would only be 49 states because W VA doesn't get taken away and become a state in 1863.
                            Lee did command a cavalry unit in Texas after his days as Superintendent at West Point. I believe the 2nd US Cavalry regiment he founded and led for 2 years. In the mid to late 1850's. This unit is still an active unit attached to the 1st Cav Division Ft. Hood Texas.
                            Lee was susposed to take command of the Federal Army post at San Antonio in early 1861. The orders were canceled at the last moment by the Secretary of War. The San Antonio garrison was one of the first to be ordered out of the state by a Sucessionist government, and occupied by state militia. At least one historian has speculated Lee would have defended his post from the San Antonio milita with force.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                              Lee was susposed to take command of the Federal Army post at San Antonio in early 1861. The orders were canceled at the last moment by the Secretary of War. The San Antonio garrison was one of the first to be ordered out of the state by a Sucessionist government, and occupied by state militia. At least one historian has speculated Lee would have defended his post from the San Antonio milita with force.
                              I have no doubt at all that he would have done precisely that, in that situation. Lee never had any fear of using force...just ask John Brown.
                              Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
                              Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


                              "Never pet a burning dog."

                              RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
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                              http://www.sca.org
                              http://www.scv.org/
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