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  • lee at gettysburg

    One of the reasons Meade lost his command of the Army of the Potomac is because he didn't not follow Lee aggressively enough after his casualties on the third day. Lee withdawing with his full strength might not have cost Meade his command. Imagine Meade trying to push his men through the woods around Cold Harbor. Grant kept advancing even with 50,000 plus casualties. I believe if Meade kept the command of the AOP and Lee had 20,000 more men the war would have dragged on. Without the great "Gettysburg" victory and increasing draft riots in the north you might have had a political solution with Lincoln not being reelected. Atlanta may not have even fallen because the extra forces would have been needed in the northern portion of the south to fight Lee.

  • #2
    Technically, Meade retained command of the AoP to the end of the war. It's just that in 1864-65 the commander of all Union forces was with the AoP. I do agree however with your premise that if Lee had not suffered the casualties of Gettysburg days 2-3 the balance of the war might have been quite different. Either Johnston would have had additional men to oppose Sherman or Lee additional men to oppose Grant. Consider also the possibility to addtional men to finish off Rosecranse at Chickimaugua. If the Army of the Cumberland is forced to surrender... Let's just say that this would have been akin to Saratoga. Here also would be the south's best opportunity to strike a blow. The south needed to destroy a Union army on southern soil, where it could be cut off. That was their only chance for a truly big victory. On northern soil it would have been near impossible to destroy a Union army.
    Rev. (Mr) Jody R. Walter

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    • #3
      I agree on both accounts, but i always thought that Lee was a being "leaned-on" by J.Davis to gain a northern field victory so as to get some recognition from the rest of the world (Europe). As with a lot of the fields at the time, there seemed alot of useless real estate hard fought over.
      Also Lee, like most of the rest of the officers, was a west pointer. Well schooled on Napoleon's tactics (mass artilery, quick troop movements, and quickly switching sides of attack) (~40 some years old) and had the map plan from the American revolution (~91 some years old) as how to win against overwhelming men/supply. Very true on being "Lee's Saratoga", he should have struck early, gained the ground, and fought his usual defensesive battle. Isn't it odd that the southern side started the beginning phases of "trench-warfare" (which of course lasted into WWI) and he needed an all out attacking victory in the north to secure the south's status as a nation to the world.

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