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Thread: US Civil War Experts needed

  1. #46
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triple C View Post
    Shouldn't the modern rule that combat halves weapon accuracy apply to Civil War?
    Probably even less than half.

  2. #47
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    A problem that bothers me for a while is why didn't the CSA put even more emphasis on raiding?Southern cavalry leaders like Forrest,Stuart or Morgan achieved considerable success during the war.Was it because of significant Federal forces dedicated to LOC protection,or was it because of CSA leadership strategic priorities?Or was it because of logistical problems of supporting forces deep behind Northern lines?

  3. #48
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    Raiding is not a decisive engagement

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    and can actually be harmful when the decisive engagement rolls around. lee was blinded at gettysburg because stuart took his cavalry raiding.
    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 Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    and can actually be harmful when the decisive engagement rolls around. lee was blinded at gettysburg because stuart took his cavalry raiding.
    Exactly.

    Sending small forces such as Mosby's riders out to raid is ok. Sending large portions of your recon elements out for a raid can lead to disaster.

  6. #51
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    And Van Dorn and Forrest collapsed Grant's first attack on Vicksburg.Stuart making a mistake and Lee losing control of his subordinates doesn't mean the concept is unsound.There is a time and place for everything.And no matter how I look at it,Stuart's absence,while of course detrimental,was not the decisive factor in Lee's defeat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    And Van Dorn and Forrest collapsed Grant's first attack on Vicksburg.Stuart making a mistake and Lee losing control of his subordinates doesn't mean the concept is unsound.There is a time and place for everything.And no matter how I look at it,Stuart's absence,while of course detrimental,was not the decisive factor in Lee's defeat.
    Probably not, but I wonder how different the battle would have gone had Stuart been with Lee? Maybe Stuart takes and holds the high ground east of Gettysburg until Hill arrives. Or maybe Lee learns that the Union forces are closer than he thinks, and he decides not to gather his troops there. There are mountainous areas along the Chambersburg pike where Lee could have held off Union forces for a long time while Early took the long way to rejoin him.

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    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Then Meade's stand would have been S of Gettysburg,as planned initially.What puzzled me was Longstreet's divisions losing precious time during their deployment on the 2nd.Without that they have 2-3 extra hours to maul Union left(they did a fair job as it was) combined with a full assault by Ewell's corp instead of the piecemeal commitment during that night.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    Then Meade's stand would have been S of Gettysburg,as planned initially.What puzzled me was Longstreet's divisions losing precious time during their deployment on the 2nd.Without that they have 2-3 extra hours to maul Union left(they did a fair job as it was) combined with a full assault by Ewell's corp instead of the piecemeal commitment during that night.
    Maybe, or maybe Lee would not have attacked the Pipe Creek position. I think the defeat they inflicted on the Federals on the first day caused Lee to underestimate the Union army. Had that first day not happened, who knows what he would have done.

    From what I have read, that delay was caused by taking the wrong route, basically not knowing the ground. During the march, Longstreet discovered that the route they were taking would cover ground that could be easily seen by Union forces, so they decided to take a different route that took longer. Another problem that might have been avoided if Stuart had been present.
    Last edited by Johnny W; 07 Jul 09, at 21:51.

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    Failure to recon the approach route was a failure of Longstreet and Lee's staffs.What the heck were they doing in the morning between 7AM and 10AM?Also it was a display of inflexible leadership,because they could have inverted the divisions once a mistake has been discovered,instead of marching the troops for hours.They spotted the lack of defense at Little Round Top without Stuart being present.

    p.s I have the impression that only Waterloo has been talked about as much as Gettysburg.Both have an almost mystical aura.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    Failure to recon the approach route was a failure of Longstreet and Lee's staffs.What the heck were they doing in the morning between 7AM and 10AM?Also it was a display of inflexible leadership,because they could have inverted the divisions once a mistake has been discovered,instead of marching the troops for hours.They spotted the lack of defense at Little Round Top without Stuart being present.

    p.s I have the impression that only Waterloo has been talked about as much as Gettysburg.Both have an almost mystical aura.
    Lee did send out a staff officer, Captain Johnston, to do reconnaisance. It seems that he didn't do a very good job. Plus the situation changed during the time between his recon efforts and the march.

    No doubt that Lee and Longstreet should have made a greater effort in this regard in light of Stuart's absence. But imo, scouting and recon was still Stuarts jobs, and he bears the brunt of the blame for any deficiencies in that area.

    I agree that both Waterloo and Gettysburg have a mystical aura. Primarily due to the scope of the battle, generals who were approaching legendary status (Lee and Napoleon), and the size and scope of the battles.
    Last edited by Johnny W; 08 Jul 09, at 13:58.

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    Stuart's Raid did have an effect on the aftermath of the battle, however.

    Stuart tore up the rail lines to the west of the Union rail depot at Westminster, MD which forced the wagons to go 1 way for 40 miles ot get to Gettysburg. The AOP was in dire straights logistically from 2-8 July 63 (many horses in the pursuit starved to death).

    As for raiding in general, it had a very limited effect strategically. It could provide a local effect but most rail line destruction was repaired within days. Read about teh Wilson-Kautz Raid in 1864, for example.

    One of the few raids which did succeed was Grierson's Raid as part of the Vicksburg Campaign. It served to draw resoruces away from the Confederates which allowed Grant toslip across the Mississippi unnoticed.

    Van Dorn's raid the previous winter had soem effect but all it did was to help Grant decide to take the water route to Vicksburg as opposed ot the land route.
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    johnny,



    the difference being that lee thought smashing through the federal center would give him that waterloo win. i don't think grant really thought the cold harbor attack would give him that. for him, cold harbor was just another attrition battle, but so badly managed that he acknowledged that he gored himself much worse than lee did.
    Eric,

    Grant did think that he could win it there. Just a week earlier he had included this in a dispatch to Halleck:

    Chapter LIV. Grant, Ulysses S. 1885–86. Personal Memoirs

    Lee’s army is really whipped. The prisoners we now take show it, and the action of his army shows it unmistakably. A battle with them outside of intrenchments cannot be had. Our men feel that they have gained the morale over the enemy, and attack him with confidence. I may be mistaken, but I feel that our success over Lee’s army is already assured. The promptness and rapidity with which you have forwarded reinforcements has contributed largely to the feeling of confidence inspired in our men, and to break down that of the enemy.
    Having extended the lines for some six miles and with Lee defending with his back against the Chickahominy River, he thought that a breakthrough would leave Lee's lines exposed to flanking attacks with no where to run. Recent research has posited that the losses were 4000 for Grant and 1500 for Lee - not the one sided ratio that stuck as the statistics in the immediate aftermath of the battle.
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Of course, soem would say I am an idiot because I live in central Virginia but wrote abotu the Western theater.....
    But my guess is your professors also lived in central VA, and so it was smart to move the thesis battle to neutral ground
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by Shek View Post
    But my guess is your professors also lived in central VA, and so it was smart to move the thesis battle to neutral ground

    That obvious, huh?
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