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What if General Lee had resigned after Gettysburg?

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  • What if General Lee had resigned after Gettysburg?

    After the defeat at Gettysburg, on August 8, 1863, Lee tended his resignation to President Jefferson Davis in which he stated, "I have no complaints to make of anyone but myself." What if his resignation had been accepted? Is it possible that General Longstreet would've replaced Lee? If not, who would?

    For instance,what would Longstreet do to rebuild the Confederacy and restore morale after Gettysburg? Would he have ensured Britain's involvment for example? Would we have seen an unsteady armistice signed at Appomatox? Or maybe it would've been "too little-too late" for the South?
    Last edited by Sign&Print Name; 30 Oct 07, 08:52.
    Hitler played Golf. His bunker shot was a hole in one.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Sign&Print Name View Post
    After the defeat at Gettysburg, on August 8, 1863, Lee tended his resignation to President Jefferson Davis in which he stated, "I have no complaints to make of anyone but myself." What if his resignation had been accepted? Is it possible that General Longstreet would've replaced Lee? If not, who would?

    For instance,what would Longstreet do to rebuild the Confederacy and restore morale after Gettysburg? Would he have ensured Britain's involvment for example? Would we have seen an unsteady armistice signed at Appomatox? Or maybe it would've been "too little-too late" for the South?
    Longstreet? What's he got to do with it? Does your question presuppose that Old Pete is the next commander of the ANV?
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Janos View Post
      Longstreet? What's he got to do with it? Does your question presuppose that Old Pete is the next commander of the ANV?

      No, not necessarily. I used Old Pete as an example. I don't know who would have replaced Lee if his resignation had been accepted.
      Hitler played Golf. His bunker shot was a hole in one.

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      • #4
        If J. Davis accepted Lee's resignation, Longstreet--who else-- would have become the commander of the ANV, which leaves the Chickamauga reinforcement question wide open.

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        • #5
          I can't imagine Longstreet being advanced to command the ANV. Davis was a political animal who would have appointed someone he had more confidence in, regardless of his qualifications. I can easily imagine him appointing Bragg to command the ANV, but there are certainly other candidates.

          No matter who he appointed (to get back to the initial question) -- it would have shortened the war significantly.
          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/
          http://www.scouting.org/

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          • #6
            Davis didn't have confidence in anyone else. He wasn't going to pullJoe Johnson from the west or use Beauregard, and no other general had senority over those two. Also Davs knew that the morale of the ANV was a big factor, so who but Longstreet would make sense?

            Why would he pull Bragg from the Army of Tennessee? He was already known as Hell on retreat, which would not inspire confidence. Besides, Davis would have to replace Bragg and start a chain reaction. And again, who would replace Bragg?
            Last edited by grognard; 01 Nov 07, 07:40.

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            • #7
              If Lee resigned either a ANV would have fallen apart sometime in 1864 or Lee would have come back to the army. Lee held that army together long after it should have fallen apart.
              wasn't it at the Battle of the Wilderness and again at Spotsylvania that the rebel troops wanted him to go to the rear because he was too close to the front, promising to close the gaps if he would just stay back? And at Appomatox, when he worried about what the country would think, a staff officer replied "The country be damned....you are the country to these men"

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              • #8
                Originally posted by grognard View Post
                Davis didn't have confidence in anyone else. He wasn't going to pullJoe Johnson from the west or use Beauregard, and no other general had senority over those two. Also Davs knew that the morale of the ANV was a big factor, so who but Longstreet would make sense?

                Why would he pull Bragg from the Army of Tennessee? He was already known as Hell on retreat, which would not inspire confidence. Besides, Davis would have to replace Bragg and start a chain reaction. And again, who would replace Bragg?
                Agreed. It would either be Lee or Jefferson Davis himself to serve as Commanding General of the Army of Northern Virginia and I could easily see Davis resigning his post as President of the Confederacy, leaving Vice-President Stephens in charge, in favor of Davis taking up the Senior Army Post.
                Last edited by johnbryan; 02 Nov 07, 20:17.
                "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by johnbryan View Post
                  Agreed. It would either be Lee or Jefferson Davis himself to serve as Commanding General of the Army of Northern Virginia and I could easily see Davis resigning his post as President of the Confederacy, leaving Vice-President Stephens in charge, in favor of Davis taking up the Senior Army Post.
                  Given Davis' personality, he would not have resigned as president. Davis always thought that he was right in an argument or debate, and took an opposing point of view personally or considered the opponent an idiot for holding that view. That means Davis would be a lousy subordinate because he would disobey orders he thought were wrong. IMHO Davis as army commander vs. anyone else as president would make the Johnson-Davis or Beauregard-Davis quarrels seem like border clashes compared to total war.

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                  • #10
                    I strongly recomend Thurbers short piece of historical analysis on the subject of what if Grant had been drunk at Appomattox. Probablly one of the more insightfull pieces on the Civil War & undeserving of its obscurity.

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                    • #11
                      It's so obscure I can't even find it--of course Ididn't look under James Thurber of Caspar Miliquost fame.

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                      • #12
                        Of course you didnt

                        I'm dithering over if it more fun to let readers here search for the Thurber material. Or let the cat out.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by johnbryan View Post
                          Agreed. It would either be Lee or Jefferson Davis himself to serve as Commanding General of the Army of Northern Virginia and I could easily see Davis resigning his post as President of the Confederacy, leaving Vice-President Stephens in charge, in favor of Davis taking up the Senior Army Post.
                          I can't imagine Davis resigning for any reason -- it just isn't in his personality. As I said before, he would have appointed one of his cronies and I don't believe that Longstreet would have wound up with the ANV. Who takes over from Lee; however, is meaningless in the long term. No matter who takes over, the war would be shortened dramatically.
                          Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
                          Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


                          "Never pet a burning dog."

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

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Janos View Post
                            I can't imagine Davis resigning for any reason -- it just isn't in his personality. As I said before, he would have appointed one of his cronies and I don't believe that Longstreet would have wound up with the ANV. Who takes over from Lee; however, is meaningless in the long term. No matter who takes over, the war would be shortened dramatically.
                            So name a crony or two.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Parasocko View Post
                              At Appomatox, when he worried about what the country would think, a staff officer replied "The country be damned....you are the country to these men"
                              I think that was the result of a staff conference that Lee held just hours before the surrender. Lee was angered at the suggestion of surrender but it was those words that convinced Lee that surrender was the only option to consider.
                              Hitler played Golf. His bunker shot was a hole in one.

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