Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

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Plutodog
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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby Plutodog » Sat Oct 15, 2011 6:52 pm

float-lefthttp://americancivilwar.com/amazon/Store/stonewall_bio.jpg[/img]OK, Foggy, I'm not your antagonist on the question of whether Gen Jackson could have turned the War Between the States around if he'd survived, but I'm interested enough in it and your theory to start this thread.

Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson died in an outbuilding on the Chandler plantation in the rural community of Guniea Station. Today, the Jackson Shrine is part of Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park.Born in what is now the state of West Virginia, in the town of Clarksburg, Thomas Jonathan Jackson possessed a strong military background at the outbreak of the Civil War. His training in the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, recognition as a hero in the Mexican War, and his experience as an instructor at the Virginia Military Institute justified Jackson's rank of brigadier general at the first major battle of the Civil War near Manassas, Virginia. Upon that field, General Bernard E. Bee proclaimed, "There is Jackson standing like a stone wall," and a legend as well as a nickname was born.Jackson's military feats had elevated him to near mythical proportions, in both North and South, when in the midst of one of his most brilliant maneuvers, he was mistakenly shot by his own men on the night of May 2, 1863 at the The Battle of Chancellorsville. Confederate army commander Robert E. Lee decided that his indispensable and most capable subordinate should recuperate in a safe place well behind friendly lines. He selected this area, Guinea Station, as the best location for Jackson because of its proximity to the railroad to Richmond and its familiarity to the wounded general.The "Stonewall" Jackson Shrine is the plantation office building where General Jackson died. The office was one of several outbuildings on Thomas C. Chandler's 740-acre plantation named "Fairfield." This typical frame structure saw use primarily by the men for recreation as well as for work. Chandler kept records in the office and one of his sons once practiced medicine there, but with three of the Chandler boys away serving in the Confederate Army, the building no longer witnessed its ante-bellum level of activity.

[/break1]com/south/stonewall_jackson.html]http://americancivilwar.com/south/stone ... ckson.htmlSo, how would Gen Stonewall Jackson have changed history had it not been for a routine (for civil war battles) twist of fate? Was this one general the only hope for the old South to have prevailed? You have the floor, Foggy. :-k
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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby Piffle » Sat Oct 15, 2011 7:30 pm

Warning: Engaging in debate with Civil War buffs is fraught with danger. Not even the most minor of nits is likely to pass without notice. With that in mind, let the game begin:





float-lefthttp://americancivilwar.com/amazon/Store/stonewall_bio.jpg[/img]

Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson died in an outbuilding on the Chandler plantation in the rural community of Guniea Station. Today, the Jackson Shrine is part of Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park.





Born in what is now the state of West Virginia, in the town of Clarksburg, Thomas Jonathan Jackson possessed a strong military background at the outbreak of the Civil War. His training in the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, recognition as a hero in the Mexican War, and his experience as an instructor at the Virginia Military Institute justified Jackson's rank of brigadier general at the first major battle of the Civil War near Manassas, Virginia. Upon that field, General [highlight]Bernard E. Bee[/highlight] proclaimed, "There is Jackson standing like a stone wall," and a legend as well as a nickname was born.

[/break1]com/south/stonewall_jackson.html]http://americancivilwar.com/south/stone ... ckson.html

A surprisingly egregious error! The officer canonically credited with inspiring Jackson's nickname was Barnard (not Bernard) Bee. It should be added that the unfortunate General Bee received a mortal wound shortly after making this his most important contribution to the Confederate cause. He died of his wounds the next day.





As with nearly everything having to do with the Confederate officer corps, Bee's intentions in likening Jackson to a stone wall are still subject to debate. A few Civil War buffs maintain that Bee's simile was meant to criticize Jackson for holding his position rather than showing more initiative. This is, of course, a minority opinion but it serves to demonstrate that there are two sides to everything having to do with the "Recent Unpleasantness".

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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby Foggy » Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:41 pm

I've read a couple biographies of Jackson. He confounded the Union generals again and again after that first battle. He tended to show up where they least expected him, and I'm pretty sure he never suffered any major defeat. Very rapid movements, unlike so many Civil War generals who dragged their feet. Writing from vague memory while drugged and in pain, but I think he was Lee's most valuable general. I don't remember all the details, but I remember reading a long explanation about how Lee's other generals made some mistakes at Gettysburg that Jackson wouldn't have made. And if Lee's army had been successful at Gettysburg, there was nothing stopping them from marching directly to Washington, D.C. and capturing the city, which might have ended the war with the Confederacy victorious.I'll try to write more on this after I get some recovery.
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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby Mikedunford » Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:53 pm

So, how would Gen Stonewall Jackson have changed history had it not been for a routine (for civil war battles) twist of fate? Was this one general the only hope for the old South to have prevailed? You have the floor, Foggy. :-k

I think Jackson's performance was one of the reasons Lee managed to escape Antietam with most of his force. Nevertheless, I think Antietam sealed the fate of the Confederacy. With the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln did succeed in making it much more difficult for a European power to intervene on behalf of the CSA. Without outside help, I don't think it mattered how good the Confederate generals were. Ultimately, the North had more men, more manufacturing, and more resources. Even if one Confederate soldier really could outfight any two from the North, they're still screwed if the North puts three times as many troops into the field.

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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby Suranis » Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:59 pm

Well there was one thing. Shoes. The battle of Gettysburg happened because Lee was trying to avoid the Union army and capture a Shoe factory and its supply of shoes, as the Confederate Army was critically short on basic supplies at this point and needed to steal shoes to keep itself marching. The Union army was looking for Lee's but was in totally the wrong place, but for some reason I cant remember had posted a forward brigade in Gettysburg and Lee ran straight into it, and Lee couldn't withdraw as he would have liked as he needed the shoes.Gettysburg happened by accident, and was over shoes. One of the Ironies of history.
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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby wavey davey » Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:05 pm

A surprisingly egregious error!

Wait! That's not merely an egregious error. It's much worse than that. It's a howling error!(Actually, I don't know the first damn thing about it. I just like finding excuses to say that something is a howling error).

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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby Plutodog » Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:18 pm

[offtopic]

A surprisingly egregious error!

Wait! That's not merely an egregious error. It's much worse than that. It's a howling error!(Actually, I don't know the first damn thing about it. I just like finding excuses to say that something is a howling error).

Reminds me of this:

"There will be no supper tonight," she will sometimes cry upon my return home."Why not?" I will ask."Because I have been screwing the milkman all day," she will say, quite oblivious of the howling error she has made."But," I will wearily point out, "even given that the activities of screwing the milkman and getting supper are mutually exclusive, now that the screwing is over, surely then, supper may, logically, be got."

[/break1]blogspot.com/2006_02_01_archive.html]http://hey-city-zen.blogspot.com/2006_0 ... chive.html 8>[/offtopic]
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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby listeme » Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:55 pm

I'm don't call myself a civil war buff, but I did write not one but TWO papers on the book "I Rode With Stonewall" by Henry Kyd Douglas, which I had found in a library discard bin a long while back. People don't know what they throw away. I have no idea where the papers are, but I found the book.Anyway, HIS flowery wording of the naming is all the way on page 10:http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6180/6248399828_8a3d61b013_z.jpgVerbalististan is located walking distance from Manassas battlefields. (Long walk, but still walkable.) If you walk along the river banks, you can't tell that they were once full of blood. It's quiet and beautiful, but I wouldn't call it peaceful ever.*Sorry about the iPhone pic.
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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby ZekeB » Sat Oct 15, 2011 10:40 pm

Verbalististan is located walking distance from Manassas battlefields. (Long walk, but still walkable.) If you walk along the river banks, you can't tell that they were once full of blood. It's quiet and beautiful, but I wouldn't call it peaceful ever.

Ye must be careful. The only VA battlefields I've been to are Petersburg, where I lost a Great Uncle, and Ball's Bluff. I plan on visiting the rest of the major ones, probably next May.

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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby Piffle » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:04 pm

I've read a couple biographies of Jackson. He confounded the Union generals again and again after that first battle. He tended to show up where they least expected him, and I'm pretty sure he never suffered any major defeat. Very rapid movements, unlike so many Civil War generals who dragged their feet. Writing from vague memory while drugged and in pain, but I think he was Lee's most valuable general.

While I can't think of any major defeat, Jackson had at least a few lackluster performances that left the military historians unimpressed by the results achieved versus the relative resources at hand and posture of the enemy, etc. Off the top of my head, Cedar Mountain and Kernstown come to mind as less-than-stellar performances.





But I don't think there's any doubt that Jackson was Lee's most valuable subordinate. Lee also had a great deal of confidence in Longstreet, who was more defensive-oriented than the bolder Jackson. This allowed for an organization consisting of two great corps -- one that could always be depended upon to repel a superior enemy (Longstreet) and the other that was reliable in creatively attacking it (Jackson).





Lee so trusted Jackson that he also had no difficulty putting Jackson in the position of an independent commander. Lee, it should be noted, was not just a brilliant military strategist in his own right, but he recognized that delegating authority effectively to capable subordinates was a strength, not a weakness. It is inconceivable to me that any of the top Union generals, as timid and frightened of political repercussions as they were, would have delegated an operation as flexible and daring as Jackson’s Valley Campaign. Sure Jackson performed brilliantly; but he was also given the charter and the means to do so.





I see Lee as being like one of those exceptional football coaches who can correctly assess the talent he has at hand and then design a system that optimally exploits his talent. (This in contrast to coaches who have their favorite systems and then try to re-train players or buy new ones to fit their systems.)





I don't remember all the details, but I remember reading a long explanation about how Lee's other generals made some mistakes at Gettysburg that Jackson wouldn't have made. And if Lee's army had been successful at Gettysburg, there was nothing stopping them from marching directly to Washington, D.C. and capturing the city, which might have ended the war with the Confederacy victorious.

My gruesome pontification continues…





When Jackson was killed at Chancellorsville, the two-corps model of organization was no longer viable. That is, the available talent no longer fit the system and the system had to change. The army was quickly organized into three corps with Richard Ewell commanding the Second Corps and A. P. Hill commanding the new Third Corps. Neither Ewell nor Hill were Jacksons and the brunt of the reorganization took place during the month before Gettysburg.





I’ve long thought that the first day of Gettysburg is not sufficiently appreciated in understanding the result. To make a long story short, near the end of the first day, the Confederates had prevailed for the most part, even if they had taken a bloody nose or two. Nevertheless, had the division commanders on site been bolder, it is probable that they could have continued on and taken Cemetery Ridge – thus gaining the “high ground”.





However, they were under general orders not to undertake a general engagement until Lee had closed up with the remainder of the army. Interpreting the order literally, the first corps commander to reach the scene (Ewell) waffled and the initiative was lost.





And so the great question: Had Jackson been in command of his corps, would he have sized up the opportunity and continued on to take the ridge on his own initiative? My guess is “yes” but we’ll obviously never know.





As for the rest of the conjecture – pressing on to take Washington, DC, for example – I have my doubts. So soon after a major engagement the scope of Gettysburg, with all the firepower Meade had at his disposal, this would have been easier said than done. But who knows?





Another point of conjecture is that a resounding Confederate victory at Gettysburg and a continuation of the invasion of the North might have (1) resulted in more support from Europe and (2) fueled the political malaise in the North and increased calls for ceding the South and ending the war. But again, who knows?





One other tidbit to throw in: IMO, Jackson’s stature in the collective memory of the South benefited by what I’ll call the “Athlete Dying Young” phenomenon (a reference to A.E. Housman’s poem). Stonewall died when things were going well for the Confederate Army in the East. Many men still had shoes (even if it was a quest for shoes that actually led to the confrontation taking place in Gettysburg, which I doubt!), and the worst of the critical shortages had not yet been felt. And perhaps most important of all, the Union Army had not yet found a commanding general willing to stand toe to toe with Lee.





In short, it was a mighty convenient time for Old Blue Light to leave the scene.

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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby Piffle » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:18 pm

Well there was one thing. Shoes. The battle of Gettysburg happened because Lee was trying to avoid the Union army and capture a Shoe factory and its supply of shoes, as the Confederate Army was critically short on basic supplies at this point and needed to steal shoes to keep itself marching. The Union army was looking for Lee's but was in totally the wrong place, but for some reason I cant remember had posted a forward brigade in Gettysburg and Lee ran straight into it, and Lee couldn't withdraw as he would have liked as he needed the shoes.Gettysburg happened by accident, and was over shoes. One of the Ironies of history.

True to my warning that almost everything about the Civil War is subject to debate, this story is often told but I ain't buying it. My assessment of the "shoe story" is that it is not true on the whole but may be based on some lesser anecdote having to do with shoes. First, researchers have tried unsuccessfully to find any record whatsoever that there was a shoe factory in Gettysburg. Almost certainly, there was not.Which takes us to the second-tier explanation: there was a rumor that a freight train containing a carload of boots/shoes was in town. Again, there's no contemporary support for this either but it's impossible to ascertain whether it is true that there was a rumor, if you catch my drift.My thinking is that Gen. Harry Heth (not Lee's best and brightest divisional commander) thought he might be able to plunder some supplies and misjudged the Union troop strength. (He thought there were only a few militia pickets.)While he bit off more than he could chew, he wasn't trying to chew shoe leather and the idea that Lee so desperately needed the shoes that he couldn't withdraw is not credible at all.

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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby A Legal Lohengrin » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:24 pm

Well there was one thing. Shoes. The battle of Gettysburg happened because Lee was trying to avoid the Union army and capture a Shoe factory and its supply of shoes, as the Confederate Army was critically short on basic supplies at this point and needed to steal shoes to keep itself marching. The Union army was looking for Lee's but was in totally the wrong place, but for some reason I cant remember had posted a forward brigade in Gettysburg and Lee ran straight into it, and Lee couldn't withdraw as he would have liked as he needed the shoes.Gettysburg happened by accident, and was over shoes. One of the Ironies of history.

The shoe story sounds nice, but is a myth.

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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby ZekeB » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:28 pm

Gen. Lee's plan was to march up into Southern Pennsylvania and then down toward Washington from the north. There were enlisted troops who may have had designs on shoes, but if a shoe factory was the objective, Jeb's cavalry alone could have taken care of that.Lee knew the tide was turning against the South and his invasion plan was essentially a last chance to get a compromise while the getting was good.

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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby Piffle » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:41 pm

Gen. Lee's plan was to march up into Southern Pennsylvania and then down toward Washington from the north. There were enlisted troops who may have had designs on shoes, but if a shoe factory was the objective, [highlight]Jeb's cavalry alone could have taken care of that[/highlight].

Uh, ya think? The trouble was, nobody knew where Jeb's calvary was at the time.And THAT was a big part of the problem. Jeb was off exercising the plume in his cap by taking his long right-hook ride to the east. Not even Lee knew where he was and there's the rub: The Confederates entered Gettysburg blind thanks to Jeb's worst performance of the war.

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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby ZekeB » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:42 pm

Ya piffle... that's why I said "if that were the plan."

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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby Piffle » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:45 pm

Ya piffle... that's why I said "if that were the plan."

Gotcha, my friend.

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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby Sterngard Friegen » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:53 pm

The 26 year old major who accidentally shot Stonewall was promoted to colonel and became a general by the end of the war. He died in 1867 at the age of 29.According to Wikipedia.

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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby Plutodog » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:59 pm

On The Trail of Stonewall JacksonBy James ConawaySunday, March 8, 1992; Page W23© The Washington PostWashington is a mere hundred miles from the most spectacular Civil War terrain. Forget Antietam, Gettysburg and the siege of Richmond: For physical beauty and sheer audacity in battle, nothing equals the Shenandoah Valley campaign of Stonewall Jackson, the "pious blue-eyed killer" who pushed his men so hard in the spring of 1862 that their shoes fell apart. His was a masterful, bloody blitz of such cunning that it has been studied ever since by tacticians, among them Rommel and Patton.I wondered what it would be like to follow the route taken by the most famous lemon-sucker ever to be a general. Jackson's little army snaked its way through riverine country with some epicurean possibilities, a great advantage then and now, since battlefields alone don't quite do it for me. Camp-following requires some concomitant good eating, or fly-fishing, and the Shenandoah offers both, as well as the usual distractions of hiking, canoeing, 'rooming (collecting mushrooms) and searching for overpriced objects in A-word shops.I figured such a trip could probably be done in a long weekend. The original Shenandoah campaign lasted more than a month, with scholars disagreeing over the actual dates. Some say it began immediately after the battle of Kernstown, just below Winchester, Va., in late March 1862, when Jackson suffered a tactical defeat at the hands of Gen. Nathaniel Banks's larger forces and moved his ragged troops south toward New Market, determined to try again. Others say it began a bit later, after Jackson slipped eastward out of the Shenandoah on May 2 -- a feint toward Richmond meant to deceive his adversaries -- then put his weary men on railway cars and shipped them back into the valley two days later.Whenever it started, the "valley campaign" would take on the qualities of a holy war. Thomas Jonathan Jackson would rise in the estimation of his 17,000 troops from a strange, brooding near-incompetent -- "Old Tom Fool" -- to a charismatic genius protected by divine grace from Union bullets.

Rest at the link:[/break1]washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/local/longterm/tours/civilwar/jackson.htm]http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/lo ... ackson.htm
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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby Hektor » Sun Oct 16, 2011 8:02 am

Well, I sincerely believe that because of Jackson's needless death at Chancellorsville, that battle was a victory that the Confederacy could not afford. At Gettysburg, the Army of the Potomac though pressed piecemeal into action, was fairly well led. Certainly if Jackson was there, especially on the first, but even on the second, his tendency to take bold and aggressive action might have made the difference. My question is would it have mattered? I share Mike Dunford's view that the Emancipation Proclamation was key in keeping the European powers from intervening, the one thing that might have enabled a Confederate military victory. Post 1862, the only realistic course for southern independence was for Lincoln to be defeated in the 1864 election. I tend to view Gettysburg the same way that I view Midway. Even had the United States not had the good fortune it had at key moments of each battle and the enemy had prevailed, the US had too many soldiers, too many factories, and a will to win. The best case scenario would have been the destruction of the Army of the Potomac, something Lee didn't manage even at Chancellorsville. More likely Jackson might have enabled a Chickamauga in the east. In that case, the remnants of the Army of the Potomac could have fallen back on the fortifications of Washington. Still one must remember that after Chickamauga came Chattanooga. Vicksburg would have fallen on the 4th of July regardless of whether Jackson was at Gettysburg. If Lee had won, quite likely Lincoln would have turned to Grant to pick up the pieces just as the President did after Chickamauga.

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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby A Legal Lohengrin » Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:42 am

Well, I sincerely believe that because of Jackson's needless death at Chancellorsville, that battle was a victory that the Confederacy could not afford. At Gettysburg, the Army of the Potomac though pressed piecemeal into action, was fairly well led. Certainly if Jackson was there, especially on the first, but even on the second, his tendency to take bold and aggressive action might have made the difference.

My belief is that even if the hypothesis that Jackson's presence at Gettysburg would have turned the tide, the only difference would have been that Gettysburg would have been a victory that the Confederacy could not afford. While Gettysburg may have had some positional significance and there may have been some resources in the vicinity, it was not, in and of itself, of great strategic importance, nor would its fall have been a great catastrophe, unless accompanied by a total rout of the Union forces.





I also don't see how Jackson's presence would necessarily have prevented catastrophic blunders such as the unfairly-named Pickett's Charge or prevented inevitable heavy losses by Confederate forces that would have occurred with a victory or a loss. The nature of the terrain guaranteed close engagement of infantry in many areas as well as open terrain well-defended by artillery. There were excellent commanders on both sides entirely capable of exploiting these natural features, and both sides did so.





An expensive victory at Gettysburg would have to be followed soon by further advances to more strategically important and, therefore, more heavily defended targets in larger cities with exploitable resources. While I am speculating, I also believe that a spirited defense by the North of its own territory would be far more popular than what much of the war comprised until then: highly costly fighting in Southern territory by troops with no home turf advantage. I simply don't believe the South would have the materiel to sustain a siege in the North of the sort of targets they'd have to be able to threaten to force a peace. I also think that any serious incursion into Northern territory would basically drive Copperhead sentiment nearly entirely underground.





I think the South's only strategy that could have led to a victory or at least a stalemate would have been a scorched earth attrition strategy, with Southern forces slowly retreating while destroying everything behind them, making each foot of ground taken cost as much as possible and leaving it as useless to the advancing troops as possible. Anyone whose property had not already been destroyed by the advancing front would have strong incentives to support their troops to the greatest extent possible.





Meanwhile, the already strong disapproval of continued fighting in the North would only sap morale and public resistance even more. If the only thing Northerners felt they were getting out of the war was rationing, economic chaos, public unrest and a steady stream of the dead bodies of their relatives and friends, the war would eventually become politically unsustainable.





In short, I think that any tactical errors made at Gettysburg were minor compared to the blunder of having come North in the first place. The South had to break their military before something like Sherman's March to the Sea was possible, and any long-term occupation of some portion of the North would be a strategic salient, as it were, open to attack from all sides, difficult to keep supplied, and a lightning rod for Northern fury. I think it could actually have ended worse for the South had they won a short-lived victory at Gettysburg.





N.b. I am not an expert on the Civil War, although I grew up in Gettysburg and have therefore been exposed to enough tour guide spiels to sound as if I might have a clue what I'm talking about. I'm sure an expert could rip the foregoing to shreds fairly easily.

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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby ZekeB » Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:48 am

Truth of the matter is, Hector, if Lee hadn't concocted that awful plan known as Pickett's Charge, Gettysburg may have turned out differently. I suspect it would have been a draw, like Antietam. The Union held the high ground and Lee's army wasn't large enough to overcome that. A draw at Gettysburg may have drawn the war out for an additional year, perhaps. I don't know if Stonewall would have advised Lee of a better plan or not.

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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby John Thomas8 » Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:59 am

I also don't see how Jackson's presence would necessarily have prevented catastrophic blunders such as the unfairly-named Pickett's Charge

If Jackson takes the high ground (there no reason to believe that Lee wouldn't given Jackson the authority to do so) the first day that Pickett ended up charging, there's no charge and Meade ends up with Union Army standing around with it's collective thumb up its behind because it lacked viable military leadership.Meade acquitted himself quite well, given his abilities, and he did what was militarily necessary to provide himself with the chance to win. However, if Jackson occupies the positions that Pickett charged, Gettysburg becomes Fredericksburg Part II.

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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby Suranis » Sun Oct 16, 2011 12:28 pm

If that had happened the Union Army could have simply withdrawn. As mentioned above Gettysburg itself was of little strategic significance and there was little reason to fight there at a disadvantage. Since they knew where he was they could simply have allowed Lee to move and then hit him at a time of their choosing. Gettysburg is only significant today because the battle was the what Lee was desperately trying to avoid and it broke the Confederate army. If it hadn't been Gettysburg it would have been somewhere else. Lee needed to avoid the Union army to do his mythical march on Washington. The fact that he had blundered right into it meant he had failed before a shot was fired.
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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby John Thomas8 » Sun Oct 16, 2011 12:39 pm

If that had happened the Union Army could have simply withdrawn

And done nothing of note, again. Drawing Britain and France that much closer to coming in on the side of the Confederacy.Gak.

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Gen Stonewall Jackson: A twist of fate?

Postby Suranis » Sun Oct 16, 2011 12:57 pm

Why do you think Britain or France would have come in on the side of the confederacy? I've never heard that speculation over on this side of the pond. Slavery was extremely unpopular in England at the time and The British empire was focused more on expansion in Africa, and the France were focused on Indochina. I know its probably one theory on how the south could theoretically have won but I don't see it as very viable personally. Besides The Confederates were losing ground in the west for pretty much the entire war regardless of what Lee was doing.The Union Army blocked Lee heading north at Gettysburg and that would have happened if they had captured the high ground on the first day or not.
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