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 Post subject: Re: Forrest or Stonewall
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:25 pm 
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Stonewall hardly shines in the Peninsula Campaign, but he was new to corps command at the time. He did not reconnoitre effectively ahead of the Cedar Mountain battle either.

His Shenandoah campaign was largely made possible by Ashby winning the recon phase of the campaign - admittedly against very low quality Union recon (poorly trained and mounted cavalry, resulting in a Union reliance on a few companies of light infantry such as the 13th PA Reserves for their recon). Ashby could not discipline his cavalry but he could get the information Jackson needed.
He does well at 2nd Manassas and at Chancellorville. Lee and Jackson knew the weaknesses of Pope and Hooker and gambled successfully on this.
I would not fault him for his secrecy when many staff officers were prone to loose talk to impress at social gatherings.
Both excelled in handling Brigade/Divisional Commands, but are you not comparing apples and pears?
How about Forrest vs Sheridan?

Respecfully

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Ian Miller
bvt Lt Gen USV
3/XVI/AotT


Last edited by imiller on Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Forrest or Stonewall
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:44 pm 
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General Whitehead <salute>

Suh, my compliments!

I can see no aggreement coming from this lol. I do appreciate your enthusiasm in defense of your assertion that General Stuart's actions were paramount in how the battle turned out, however will continue to disagree.

General Hill precipitated the actions which led to the chain of events despite General Lee's orders that no engagement should be brought forward. General Reynolds moved to Gettysburg after it was obvious there was a determined attack underway; if this had not occurred the AotP would probably have continued moving to their Pipe Creek positions. After that, who knows what might have taken place. Things got out of hand.

Would things have been different if General Stuart had been in contact with the ANV on its march? No doubt. While it's an interesting thing to consider how the forces might have maneuvered differently with his presence, it's only a "what if?".

Highest regards,

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General Neal Hebert
Edward C. Walthall Division (2nd aka "Gator Alley")
II Corps, Army of the West
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 Post subject: Re: Forrest or Stonewall
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:11 am 
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While its true its a "What if", I can think of no situation that benefits from total ignorance of the enemy's movements versus sound intelligence of those movements.

Hill performed poorly as well as Heth. While they did violate Lee's orders they didn't do it intentionally. Heth thought he was advancing on nothing but militia. Later just cavalry. One regiment of cavalry leading Heth's division would have informed him of his error and also informed Lee that there was something down the road. But a brigade would have been the norm for and advancing column. From that point on the whole course of the battle would have changed. In what direction no one can know. For sure Lee would have known the day before the historic battle started what he faced and could have given orders appropriate to the situation.

Meade may or may not have realized the danger he was in in time to keep I and XI from being mauled. He probably would have retreated to Pipe Creek. Lee probably wouldn't have attacked him there. Meade would probably be replaced for falling back to Pipe Creek. Maybe the new general would be much worse than Meade. There is no way to tell how it would play out but for sure there would be no Pickett's charge and the ANV would probably return to Virginia a much stronger force as a result.

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 Post subject: Re: Forrest or Stonewall
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:36 am 
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General Whitehead

Am I correct that Stuart only had 3 of the 8 CS Cavalry Brigades with him, and that Lee was using the others as flank/rear guards to plug the gaps in the Blue ridge and protect the trains? Lee had cavalry, but assumed that Stuart would send him all the information he needed. Stuart became trapped by the AoP moving north faster than it had ever moved south.
Lee wrote to Ewell at 7:30 am on 28th June, directing him to Gettysburg with two divisions (wartime papers of RE Lee). From that moment the ANV was committed to move on Gettysburg, or else abandon Johnsons and Rodes divisions. The old Cashtown Road is steep and narrow, and Pender could not quickly reinforce Heth. Do you think Heth should have waited? If he drives back the cavalry with an immediate divisional attack, he still faces I Corps within an hour or so. If Lee had known on the evening of 30 June 30th that Buford was in Gettysburg with the left wing of the AoP within a days march, what would he have done with Ewell east of the mountains?

Respectfully

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 Post subject: Re: Forrest or Stonewall
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:29 am 
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Stuart did only take three brigades with him but they were the three best in his division. Worse they were his three best commanders. Two brigades, Robertson and Jones, were left covering the Blue Ridge passes. They were both suppose to follow the army once it became clear that the enemy had moved north. The problem with this was that Robertson was the poorest commander and the senior. He sat at the passes. They arrived at Gettysburg on the third day I believe.

Jenkin's moved with Ewell providing his Corps with some support but it was not his duty to find the AoP. Jenkins was not a good leader but did do his job of coving Ewell's Corps.

The Gettysburg Companion only lists five brigades at Gettysburg. Robertson's wasn't included. I guess he showed up so late that he had no part. I think their was a seventh brigade but it was a partisan brigade considered not fit for organized fighting.

Lee's problem was until Longstreet's spy showed up he didn't know he had a serious problem. By then even if he did decide to take over command of the cavalry it would be days before messages could be sent and the cavalry brought up. It was simply to late to fix the problem. Jenkin's didn't have enough cavalry to screen the whole army and he was far north of the main army leading Ewell's Corps.

Stuart screwed the pooch and the ANV paid the price for it. It of course didn't help things that every Corps and a good number of division commanders seem to go out of their way to make things worse.

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Chatham Grays
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 Post subject: Re: Forrest or Stonewall
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:03 pm 
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Imboden's Command was Brigade strength but mostly partisans - they were the Rearguard moving north and Train Guard for the withdrawal. Imboden bluffed the Union Cav at Falling Waters.
7th Va Cav (Jones Bde?) had been more like partisans under Ashby but were more disciplined under Grumble Jones,

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 Post subject: Re: Forrest or Stonewall
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 2:20 pm 
General Hienz,

You may not be impressed with lee's victory at Chancellorsville, but I promise that the Yankees who were there at the time were!!!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Forrest or Stonewall
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:21 pm 
Jefferson H. Davis wrote:
General Hienz,

You may not be impressed with lee's victory at Chancellorsville, but I promise that the Yankees who were there at the time were!!!!!!



not really. They were pissed at the incompetence of their generals, Hooker and Howard.


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 Post subject: Re: Forrest or Stonewall
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 10:10 pm 
not sure I buy the "it was all Stuart's fault" explanation for the CSA defeat at Gettysburg. Agreeed, he was incommunicado and out of command control. But for Stuart to maintain contact with the AotP which was strung out on south-north axis (Leesburg-Frederick-Emmitsburg-Gettysburg), Stuart would have to have had to isolate himself from the AoNV and position himself BETWEEN the Blue Ridge Mountains and the AotP, correct? In that scenario, I'm sure the Union Cavalry would have screened Stuart from the main Union columns advancing north (can you say "Brandy Station" ?). Had Stuart been in the lead of Ewell's Corps, he would have been at Harrisburg and/or York-Wrightsville and/or Hanover Junction. Stuart's orders were to screen the right flank of Ewell's Corp, but it was Hill's Corps that initially made contact at Gettysburg rather than Ewell. Can't blame Stuart for that. Lee surely must have guessed that the AotP would follow him and screen him from Washington DC. And Lee must have known at the end of Day 2 and on Day 3 what he was up against. I submit that Lee's previous successes against the AotP, especially Chancellorsville, led him to believe by his own admission that his army was invincible, hence Day 3 and Pickett's Charge. After the war, it was convenient to blame Stuart - he was dead - and Longstreet - who converted to the Republican Party - rather than Lee for the defeat at Gettysburg.


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 Post subject: Re: Forrest or Stonewall
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:59 am 
If you think they were't impressed, why was Grant having to say wha he had to say at the Wilderness later on? I'll give you that they were mad at their leaders, but they were extremely impressed also. I get that you are not a fan of General Lee, but quoting percentages of armies lost in battles between armies of such vast size differences is hardly fair to the man leading the smaller army. and the fact remains that he did more with less, than just about any general in history. Without him, the war would have ended much sooner. Perfect? No, but the best this particular war had to offer on either side.........As for Gettysburg, I would like to know how things would have come out on Picketts Charge, had Stuart accomplished his 3rd day objective (brilliant plan which did not work out)........I blame Custer for it, as much as Stuart though......


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 Post subject: Re: Forrest or Stonewall
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:13 am 
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I am not saying it is "all" Stuart's fault, but his failure was the most significant. His orders were:

"If General Hooker's army remains inactive, you can leave two brigades to watch him, and withdraw with the three others, but should he not appear to be moving northward, I think you had better withdraw this side of the mountain tomorrow night, cross at Shepherdstown the next day, and move over to Fredericktown [Frederick, Maryland]."

Only if he made his ride around the AoP was he to first link up with Ewell which made since at the time the order was issued. If he had been able to make his ride in a timely fashion (AoP stayed in Virginia) he would have linked up with Ewell before he left Maryland.

If he had been at Frederick he would have been positioned exactly between the ANV and the AoP which is where the cavalry was suppose to be. The Union cavalry would obviously follow and also be between the two armies. That is what cavalry is suppose to be doing not capturing mules and wagons.

There is no way to tell whether this would have resulted in Lee being better informed or making better decissions but at least it made it possible. What it became is the first major error by Lee's commanders which was followed by many more errors by his major commanders.

That doesn't remove blame from Lee. He, as army commander, is also responsible for recognizing when his plans and his subordinates are failing and adjusting his plans accordingly. With 20/20 hind sight Lee should have realized that his campaign had been compromised by Stuart and that his command structure was failing and retreated back across the mountains after the first day of Gettysburg. But at the time this wasn't as obvious as it is now. Ewell had preformed well during the campaign right up to the afternoon of the first day. Hill in the past had risen to the occassion. Longstreet's failures were yet to be seen. And the first day looked like the beginnings of a great victory.

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General Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
AoT II/1/3 (CSA)


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 Post subject: Re: Forrest or Stonewall
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:11 am 
Jefferson H. Davis wrote:
I get that you are not a fan of General Lee


In a previous post in this thread, I gave Lee due credit for being an excellent commander. However, he was only human: he made some mistakes, got lucky at times and sometimes not, took risks which sometimes paid off and other times didn't. The fog of war envelopes every commander and the friction of war impedes every commander's goals and plans. Despite the elevation of Lee to near mythic status - above reproach or criticism - by the "Lost Cause" crowd after the war, Lee cannot be held blameless for Gettysburg. Because time was against the Confederacy in the war and perhaps over-confident in his soldiers, Lee attempted a decisive battle of annihalation and failed. But that failure was not so great or neither so disastrous for the Confederacy and his AoNV as others in the West as evidenced by the fact that the AoNV fought on for almost 2 more years.


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 Post subject: Re: Forrest or Stonewall
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:40 am 
Jefferson H. Davis wrote:
they were extremely impressed also


I think the Union soldiers always RESPECTED the fighting qualities of Johnny Reb, which to me is not quite the same as being "impressed" which implies inferiority & superiority. Using your yardstick of "impressed", you would have to acknowledge that the Confederate soldiers were "impressed" by the Union soldiers at Missionary Ridge, Franklin & Nashville TN, Little Round Top and the Angle at Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Atlanta.... et al...

Jefferson H. Davis wrote:
If you think they were't impressed, why was Grant having to say what he had to say at the Wilderness later on?


sorry, don't know what Grant said. But interesting you should bring up the Wilderness. Because when Grant ordered the movement south to Spotsylvania CH after the horrific fighting in the Wilderness in which helpless wounded soldiers burned to death - unlike previous Union commanders in Virginia which had always withdrawn north behind the nearest river after fighting the AoNV - the Union soldiers CHEERED!!
"Our spirits rose," recalled one AotP veteran who remembered this moment as a turning point in the war. Despite the terrors of the past three days and those to come, "we marched free. The men began to sing." For the first time in a Virginia campaign the Army of the Potomac stayed on the offensive after its initial battle.
So how "impressed" could they have been ?


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 Post subject: Re: Forrest or Stonewall
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:17 pm 
KWhitehead wrote:
I am not saying it is "all" Stuart's fault, but his failure was the most significant. His orders were:
"If General Hooker's army remains inactive, you can leave two brigades to watch him, and withdraw with the three others, but should he not appear to be moving northward, I think you had better withdraw this side of the mountain tomorrow night, cross at Shepherdstown the next day, and move over to Fredericktown [Frederick, Maryland]."


Cavalry was a valuable asset . Just my opinion, but I think Lee was more distressed by not knowing where and what Stuart was doing - anxious that perhaps Stuart had met with disaster ? - rather then not knowing where Meade's army was. Assuming that Stuart had obeyed the order above, the question then to be asked is what where Meade's orders to the Union cavalry? I assume that they - or a portion of it - would have been tasked with protecting and screening the left ( western) flank of Meade as he moved north. And in that scenario, a clash with the Union Cavalry screen at Frederick (?) would have prevented Stuart from ascertaining complete details of Meade's location and disposition. But I agree, Stuart did not contribute much to Lee's Gettysburg campaign.


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 Post subject: Re: Forrest or Stonewall
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:00 pm 
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Meade was managing his cavalry very well. He had Buford's division between him and Lee. Buford was at Fairfield on the 29th blocking the southern passes then moved to Gettysburg to cover the South Mountain passes. Kilpatrick's division was screening Stuart and covering Meade's right, moving through Littlestown to Hanover where there was a minor clash with Stuart forcing Stuart to move futher east to Jefferson and then turn north away from the battle. Gregg's division was following Stuart coming up through Westminster.

Lee only had Jenkins brigade which was split. One part covering Early's advance to York. The other covering Rodes division initially at Harrisburg area then moved toward Gettysburg to Heidlersburg. The only other cavalry available that wasn't joy riding was Imboden's partisan brigade which was covering the Army wagon train behind Longstreet.

But Meade had a very important advantage over Lee. Lee was in enemy territory. Every move he made was being reported to the Union army by wire. He didn't need his cavalry to be in contact. Just no one out cutting wires and blocking roads. The result was on the 28th when Meade took command he knew the location of every division in the ANV.

Meade's 4:30 pm June 30th dispatch to Halleck says:
"Ewell in the vicinity of York and Harrisburg"
"The cavalry [Stuart] .. have passed on up through Westminster and Hanover, some 6,000 to 8,000 strong"
"Longstreet at Chambersburg"
"A. P. Hill moving between Chambersburg and York"

Shortly before midnight (10:40 pm June 30) his orders included the following information:
"A. P. Hill's Corps, composed of Anderson, Heth and Pender, is massed back of Cashtown,"
"Ewell is coming over the mountains from Carliste. One of his escort was captured today near Heidlersburg."

For the Civil War this is as good as it gets without capturing the enemy's orders.

Lee had the problem that no contact could mean no problem or that Stuart had come to harm. Ignorance of the enemy's positions is the worse possible thing that can happen to a commanding general. With it he loses the initiative. From now on Meade has control of the battle. He decides where it will be fought and when.

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General Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
AoT II/1/3 (CSA)


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