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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 4:05 pm 
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Location: Panhandle of Texas
Has anyone else read Retreat from Gettysburg: Lee, Logistics, and the Pennsylvania Campaign by Kent Masterson Brown? Just finished it up yesterday and found it a very interesting read. If nothing else, his descriptions of the huge number of horses and mules that the ANV used and needed and the incredible number of wagons and the length of those trains should give everyone pause to think on the logistics for American Civil War armies. The author describes how impoverished the ANV was during the winter of 1862/1863 and that even though Gettysburg was a tactical defeat for the South the livestock and other foraged materials allowed them to last through 1864 and keep the army together. Therefore the campaign as a whole should be rated at least a strategic draw. I would say that the psychological damage to the confidence of the ANV and the South as a whole had to hurt enough to rate it a strategic minor defeat, especially coming with the fall of Vicksburg. I'd recommend this book for a good read.

General Mark Nelms
6/3/IX/AoO
"Blackhawk Brigade"
Union Military Academy Instructor
Union Cabinet Secretary


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 4:42 pm 
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Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
<b>The author describes how impoverished the ANV was during the winter of 1862/1863 and that even though Gettysburg was a tactical defeat for the South the livestock and other foraged materials allowed them to last through 1864 and keep the army together. Therefore the campaign as a whole should be rated at least a strategic draw</b>

The problem that I have with this theory is that I understood that the main goal of Lee's invasion was to take pressure off of Vicksburg and perhaps destroy the Army of the Potomac, forcing Lincoln to come to the negotiation table. Since this was an abject failure, I don't see how you can rate the campaign other than a serious strategic defeat, although tactically it was a minor one...


Major General Philip Roubaud
1/XX
Army of the Cumberland
United States of America


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 1:37 am 
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The campaign also allowed a full unterrupted harvest season in the Shenandoah Valley, which was something of a breadbasket for the Confederacy. That was an objective that was very much on Lee's mind when he went north. On the other hand the battlefield result ended all hope of European intervention which was certainly a strategic result.

Lt. Gen. Ed Blackburn
I/I/VI/AoS
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 3:52 am 
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I think on a tactical level the campaign was a draw and that was how Lee viewed. If you focus only on the ANV, the casualties and captures for the entire campaign, the sustaining of the army and the clearing of Northern Virginia and the valley of enemy, it was a success. The lack of a tactical victory at Gettysburg puts it back to a tactical draw.

However, on a strategic level the campaign was a failure. It was intended to cause an embarrassment to the Union by showing the Confederacy had the power to take the war to their soil and it was intended to draw troops away from Vicksburg so that it would fall. Instead it provided the Union with its first real victory in the East and it was to late to affect Vicksburg. The twin successes of Vicksburg and Gettysburg did much to sustain the Lincoln administration through the next year of war and discourage the opposition that had been gaining strength.

LG. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
1/1/III AoM (CSA)


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 5:17 am 
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I cannot remember where I read it, I think it is in Foote, but the Confederacy did not have a food shortage issue in 1863. What they had was a distribution problem that could not or would not get food from outside of VA to the ANV on a consistent basis.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 5:44 am 
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Jim,

I've just been reading Stephen W. Sears book on Chancellorsville, and he says that was the situation. The supplies were available, but they just didn't have the means to transport them, the 56 miles of track between Richmond and Hamilton's Crossing lacked adequate siding so they could only run a single train at a time going and returning. He also says that due to the state of the engines, rolling stock and track, the trains were neither long ones or fast ones, this limited the railway to sending just 2 trains a day to the ANV

Lt General Malcolm Hunt
2nd Bde
Granite Infantry Div.
III Corps
AoG
CSA


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 7:12 am 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Jim Pfleck</i>
<br />I cannot remember where I read it, I think it is in Foote, but the Confederacy did not have a food shortage issue in 1863. What they had was a distribution problem that could not or would not get food from outside of VA to the ANV on a consistent basis.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

True. Part of the reason for Lee wanting to move north was to feed his army from enemy supplies and give the South a chance to harvest crops in the valley.

LG. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
1/1/III AoM (CSA)


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