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What if Lee was Commander of Union Forces?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Janos View Post
    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.
    Wonder how that would affect his prepects as a future Confederate officer. Let alone the course of sucession in general. Its been suggested the Secretary of War was a pro southerner who canceled Lees orders for precisely the reason that he might defend the post.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
      Wonder how that would affect his prepects as a future Confederate officer. Let alone the course of sucession in general. Its been suggested the Secretary of War was a pro southerner who canceled Lees orders for precisely the reason that he might defend the post.
      I don't think it would have mattered much -- they didn't really consider him the A team until 1862 anyway. He could have been J Davis's clerk following VA's secession, just as he was anyway. I'm not sure anyone ever got caught in that mix.
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      • #18
        Never, he was a Virginian.
        You called down the thunder, well now you've got it! You see that? It says United States Marshal! I see a red sash, I kill the man wearin' it! So run, tell all the other curs the law's comin'! You tell 'em I'M coming...and hell's coming with me.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Cole Thornton View Post
          Never, he was a Virginian.
          Look at #3. We're waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay past that point.
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          • #20
            Originally posted by Janos View Post
            Look at #3. We're waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay past that point.
            I've been reading since I was 5. I guess no one can respond and second a previous stated opinion. Get a life.
            You called down the thunder, well now you've got it! You see that? It says United States Marshal! I see a red sash, I kill the man wearin' it! So run, tell all the other curs the law's comin'! You tell 'em I'M coming...and hell's coming with me.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Cole Thornton View Post
              I've been reading since I was 5. I guess no one can respond and second a previous stated opinion. Get a life.
              YES SIR!
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              • #22
                So really, the question has changed from "What if Lee stayed in the Union?" to "What would it take for Lee to stay in the Union?".

                Well, that could be easy: maybe Virginia snubbed Lee sometime in the past. Or maybe Henry Lee III had moved his family to Maryland way back when. Or maybe there were more like Lee in Virginia who opposed Virginia's secession from the Union.

                I think the last one would be the most likely to keep Lee in the Union, personally. He was a very devoted Virginian, but he also disagreed with Virginia's secession.

                So how would the civil war have turned out if Virginia had stayed in the union? Even if there was much disagreement with the decision (Maryland, for instance, had quite a few pro-Confederate sympathizers), I think that Lee would then have stayed in the Union.

                And if the Confederacy lost Virginia, then it looses a bit of it's power. I don't think that Lee would single handedly end the war with a year or so, but the events that would surround his staying in the Union could have wide ramifications. Perhaps the war would have cost less lives, but it still would have been a bloody struggle.

                If Virginia has just enough support to refrain from seceeding (think West Virginia on a bigger scale, perhaps), how would that have impacted the other secessionist states politically and economically?

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by daemonofdecay View Post
                  So really, the question has changed from "What if Lee stayed in the Union?" to "What would it take for Lee to stay in the Union?".
                  That's easy enough -- if he were still a Virginian, Virginia would have to stay in. If he were from another state, that state would have to remain in the union.
                  Originally posted by daemonofdecay View Post
                  Well, that could be easy: maybe Virginia snubbed Lee sometime in the past. Or maybe Henry Lee III had moved his family to Maryland way back when. Or maybe there were more like Lee in Virginia who opposed Virginia's secession from the Union.

                  I think the last one would be the most likely to keep Lee in the Union, personally. He was a very devoted Virginian, but he also disagreed with Virginia's secession.
                  Most of Virginia felt that way.

                  Jubal Early, for one, voted against secession, as a delegate to the secession conference. Remember that Virginia refused to secede over slavery, and only seceded when Lincoln called out volunteers to invade the South.
                  Originally posted by daemonofdecay View Post
                  So how would the civil war have turned out if Virginia had stayed in the union? Even if there was much disagreement with the decision (Maryland, for instance, had quite a few pro-Confederate sympathizers), I think that Lee would then have stayed in the Union.

                  And if the Confederacy lost Virginia, then it looses a bit of it's power. I don't think that Lee would single handedly end the war with a year or so, but the events that would surround his staying in the Union could have wide ramifications. Perhaps the war would have cost less lives, but it still would have been a bloody struggle.

                  If Virginia has just enough support to refrain from seceeding (think West Virginia on a bigger scale, perhaps), how would that have impacted the other secessionist states politically and economically?
                  The only thing that would have kept Virginia in the union is Lincoln not calling out troops. That calling out of troops also forced 5 other states out of the US -- NC, TN, KY*, MO*, and AR.

                  This is the paradox I spoke of earlier -- the only way to make Lee commander for the USA is not to have a war. Jackson felt the same way.

                  The one that I have studied recently is A P Hill. He signed his commission when it appeared VA was not going to secede. I wonder what he was thinking.


                  *Both of the states had two state governments during the war, one of which in each case seceded and was recognized by the CSA.
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                  • #24
                    What would it take for Lee to remain with the Union?

                    So, if Col Lee, Commadant of the San Antonio Post and the US Army Dept of Texas, had ordered his soldiers to defend the Federal property and fire on the local milita what are the consequences?

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                      So, if Col Lee, Commadant of the San Antonio Post and the US Army Dept of Texas, had ordered his soldiers to defend the Federal property and fire on the local milita what are the consequences?
                      Well, while the US might still not have gotten Lee as a leader, we might also see him refused service by the CSA for his actions there (or shuffled into a smaller role as a leader of a Virginia militia regiment somewhere).

                      However, if the confederacy took it personally and kicked him out (very unlikely, and I think Virginia would still support the man), he might be removed from the equation entirely.

                      Duty seemed to define Lee, and to me he has a bit of that tragic hero element in him. As so I think it would take a very large event in his past (or the past of virginia) to make him pro-union enough to fight against the confederacy.

                      And I also agree that Virginia would have to stay in the union to cause Lee to fight for the US. So thats were I got the notion of maybe Virginia being split a little more amongst the pro-union and pro-confedracy types. Imagine if it wasn't just west Virginia, but also the northern half of Virginia as well: how would Lee respond if the population was pretty much split? Would his secondary allegience to the Union sway him to stay in the Union?

                      As goes Virginia, so goes Lee.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by daemonofdecay View Post
                        Duty seemed to define Lee, and to me he has a bit of that tragic hero element in him. As so I think it would take a very large event in his past (or the past of virginia) to make him pro-union enough to fight against the confederacy.
                        Substitute "Virginia" for the "the Confederacy" and you're right.
                        Originally posted by daemonofdecay View Post
                        And I also agree that Virginia would have to stay in the union to cause Lee to fight for the US. So thats were I got the notion of maybe Virginia being split a little more amongst the pro-union and pro-confedracy types. Imagine if it wasn't just west Virginia, but also the northern half of Virginia as well: how would Lee respond if the population was pretty much split? Would his secondary allegience to the Union sway him to stay in the Union?
                        No, I suspect Lee would do his best to subdue those in rebellion against his home state -- and there are very few places in Virginia more conservative and "Lee-like" than the Northern Neck -- it's where my family is from, too. NN isn't going anywhere.
                        Originally posted by daemonofdecay View Post
                        As goes Virginia, so goes Lee.
                        Absolutely, and Jackson, too.
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                        • #27
                          I will venture out on a limb and say that NC probably wouldn't have succeeded if Va hadn't. North Carolina was a very pro-union state and one of its reasons for succession was probably the fact that it was surrounded. Without Va and NC the Confederacy would loose a large portion of its fighting power.

                          As for Lee being in command of the AoP I have always wondered this and will have to sleep on it.
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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Airchallenged View Post
                            I will venture out on a limb and say that NC probably wouldn't have succeeded if Va hadn't. North Carolina was a very pro-union state and one of its reasons for succession was probably the fact that it was surrounded. Without Va and NC the Confederacy would loose a large portion of its fighting power.
                            Absolutely right. NC seceded for the same reason VA did.
                            Originally posted by Airchallenged View Post
                            As for Lee being in command of the AoP I have always wondered this and will have to sleep on it.
                            I can't see how it could happen.
                            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.scv.org/
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