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Thread: What if . . .

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    What if . . .

    Stonewall Jackson hadn't been shot and killed at Chancellorsville? How would the outcome of the Civil War been affected, or has his legend superceded what his impact would have been?
    "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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    Banned Defense Professional Bluesman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    Stonewall Jackson hadn't been shot and killed at Chancellorsville? How would the outcome of the Civil War been affected, or has his legend superceded what his impact would have been?
    I definitely think there would've been an impact. For one thing - maybe the BIGGEST thing - if he hadn't gone down before his corps went back into action that night at Chancellorsville, it is completely conceivable that he may have broken through to the fords...and then what? Stuart was a stop-gap stand-in, and was in NO WAY ready to take over a huge formation in the middle of an action that he didn't even know the particulars about. There's no question that Jackson was The Man that could've led his troops the river, and the rout that the Army of the Potomac was currently undergoing MAY have been infinitely worse.

    Even if the AoP survives, and faces off against Lee at Gettysburg two months later...who here thinks that Jackson, tactical master with a peerles eye for key terrain, would've let the Federals beat him to the top of Culp's Hill, while he was closer, had more troops, and was unimpeded?

    Whether there would've been any further errors during that battle cannot be known, of course, but I feel completely confident that Jackson would've instantly seen that Culp's was the Confederate's left-flank key to the entire Federal line along Cemetary Hill, just as the Round Tops were the key on the right. And with Jackson on Culp's I cannot see any possible way Meade sticks to the Cemetary Hill line at all. The battle MUST have taken on a completely different character if that had happened, possibly one of pursuit of a Federal army that had just taken a whale of a beating that first day. And remember: every step BACK from Gettysburg for the Federal army was a step AWAY from Washington, too: Lee was effectively on the DC side of the battlefield, so if Meade yields...

    So in the two battles immediately following his fall, I believe the impact would've been, if not decisive, VERY dam' important.
    Last edited by Bluesman; 09 Nov 07, at 09:26.

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    Has anyone here read Harry Turtledoves Great War, American Empire, and Settling Accounts series? Not quite the same thing, but interesting novels.

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    lwarmonger,

    Has anyone here read Harry Turtledoves Great War, American Empire, and Settling Accounts series? Not quite the same thing, but interesting novels.
    yeah- great series. premise there is different, though.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    bluesman,

    well, i reckon if Jackson survived there wouldn't have been a battle of gettysburg- once the butterfly flaps its wings, things start a-changin'. )

    again going on a tangent, have you read newt gingrich and william forstchen's "gettysburg" series? quite an interesting premise- they submit that if the union had lost gettysburg, the war would have ended almost a full year earlier...with a union victory
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    [QUOTE=astralis;424845]bluesman,

    well, i reckon if Jackson survived there wouldn't have been a battle of gettysburg- once the butterfly flaps its wings, things start a-changin'. )

    again going on a tangent, have you read newt gingrich and william forstchen's "gettysburg" series? quite an interesting premise- they submit that if the union had lost gettysburg, the war would have ended almost a full year earlier...with a union victory
    They also did a book together called 1945 about an alternate history where Germany never declared war on the United States. A good book, but I can't seem to find the rest of the series online (and since it ended with the United States preparing to commit its carrier fleets to fight a jet armed Luftwaffe in the Second Battle of Britain it should have had a sequell at least).

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    And back to the original topic, I think it is very likely that another victory would have spelt either the collapse of the AoP, or at the very least complete demoralization. There are only so many times an army can lose decisively to a smaller force and still have confidence in one's leadership (the Soviets were "helped" by the NKVD in that department).

    After that, the South would have to be recognized as an independent nation (what happened out west wasn't actually that critical in the first stages of the war... both European and American eyes were focused east of the mountains).

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