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(1863) Battle of Gettysburg
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morris crumley
Dunwoody
GA USA
Posts: 2408

Where could Lee have shifted his left to?
Posted on: 10/20/2019 12:48:47 PM

At the conclusion of the 1-July fighting, Lee asked Ewell his opinion as to attacking on that flank on the second day. When he was told it would be the strong point of the Federal line, and knowing of Longstreet`s advice to move by the right, Lee did consider shifting to the right, not for the purpose of satisfying Longstreet`s proposal...but for the purpose of shortening his own "very much" extended lines. If he does as Longstreet suggests, then it would mean shifting his base of logistics and supply, moving under the easy observation of "those people" and exposing his army to attack in motion. All very difficult, and dangerous things to do. If he remains, as he wound up doing, he is in position of having very little coordination and concert of action while his opponent has a compact interior line, easy to shift resources and support from one end to the other, or any points in between.

Should Lee have contracted his lines, while still covering his original supply and communications line, and if so, where should he have anchored his left?

Respects, Morris
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"You are a $70, red-wool, pure quill military genius, or the biggest damn fool in northern Mexico."
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre
PA USA
Posts: 991

Where could Lee have shifted his left to?
Posted on: 10/26/2019 8:46:10 AM

Morris,

In reality Lee had no "base of logistics and supply" and he was left with the ammo he could carry while living off the land for his food. In theory the "base" would have to be back in Virginia, say Winchester, and there weren't enough wagons and teams in the Confederacy to keep a flow of supplies running between there and Lee to sustain the ANVA. Remember they were running out of ammo on the retreat and couldn't get a resupply until reaching Falling Waters. Supply needed either a waterway or a railroad within about 25 miles for the wagons to be able to supply a army. For one reason that if you pushed it much farther to much of the capacity of a wagon had to go to the supplies to keep the wagon and team moving.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
morris crumley
Dunwoody
GA USA
Posts: 2408

Where could Lee have shifted his left to?
Posted on: 10/26/2019 11:51:29 AM

The point I was making is that , regardless of whether the wagons were going an coming to resupply Lee from his Winchester base, and before the fighting on day two..when ammunition was not low, Lee was anchored by the Cashtown Gap. It was not only the route of the march...but would be his "escape hatch" in the event of catastrophe. If he decides to contract his lines at Gettysburg, where does he anchor his left so as to cover this "line of supply?"

Jackson, before his death, had assigned Hotchkiss to create a detailed theater map of the areas involving northern Virginia, Maryland, and Central Pennsylvania. This map, ironically no longer for use by Jackson, would basically be all that Lee had to work with in preparation for his Pennsylvania campaign. During the period of time after Chancellorsville, Lee was very much extended in his efforts - re-organizing into three corps, selling Richmond on his Northern campaign, and getting the preparations going in the first place. He did not attend to the problem of detailed mapping.

Of the several gaps along the way, Cashtown Gap was wider, had less degrees of grade elevation, and a good road, ideal for getting a large army to the battle, and away from it if needed.

Respects, Morris
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"You are a $70, red-wool, pure quill military genius, or the biggest damn fool in northern Mexico."
Larry Purtell
Little Meadows
PA USA
Posts: 870

Where could Lee have shifted his left to?
Posted on: 10/26/2019 7:55:42 PM

If Lee shortens his left, does the AOP move in and take over his former position? I have never heard a guess where Lee would have taken position had he moved Ewell to the center or right of his line. Behind Hill? Far right to reinforce Longstreet? If Meade stays true to form he will counter anything Lee does.
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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre
PA USA
Posts: 991

Where could Lee have shifted his left to?
Posted on: 10/27/2019 10:53:40 AM

Morris,

But west of the Blue Ridge isn't the only route back to VA. The AOP moved to Gettysburg using roads to the east of the Blue Ridge and they didn't leave garrisons to deny their use to the ANVA as routes of retreat.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
morris crumley
Dunwoody
GA USA
Posts: 2408

Where could Lee have shifted his left to?
Posted on: 10/31/2019 1:10:51 PM

I guess what I`m getting at is, if Lee had shifted his left...as he considered doing...should he have conformed the line so that the route to Chambersburg and Hagerstown remained covered? Should he shift his left further to the south, and utilized those routes? Lee had sated clearly that his lines were over-extended, and a shift to the right might be needed...before Ewell made that visit to Lee`s hq and, without Early`s input, determined that he could maybe, possibly, attack on the left after all.
Obviously, he wanted no part of Longstreet`s suggestion to flank the position entirely...so, I have never heard any decipher of where he might have shifted his left to, and what considerations would have dictated his movement to the right.

Respects, Morris
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"You are a $70, red-wool, pure quill military genius, or the biggest damn fool in northern Mexico."
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre
PA USA
Posts: 991

Where could Lee have shifted his left to?
Posted on: 11/1/2019 12:35:22 PM

Morris,

"Obviously, he wanted no part of Longstreet`s suggestion to flank the position entirely..."

But isn't entirely flanking the then know Union position exactly what an attack "up the Emmitsburg Road" does? The early recon says that the Union line ends before you reach the Round Tops and that there is only a signal station on the Round Tops. For maybe the only time in the war Lee is guilty of stubbornly sticking to the original plan when the tactical situation had changed to the point of making that plan untenable.

As for your question I believe I've read that the idea was to march 2nd Corps behind the other two and have it come into line as the right flank next to 1st Corps. Heth was not in line so he could move up next to Pender and cover the road leading to the west side of the Blue Ridge.

I do agree with the idea that Meade would try and counter but would he think that it was just a first move in a plan to get between him and Washington? That's the 500lb elephant in the room because the AOP had two orders defeat Lee while protecting Washington and never ever forget the second part.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
morris crumley
Dunwoody
GA USA
Posts: 2408

Where could Lee have shifted his left to?
Posted on: 11/1/2019 1:05:46 PM

Not in relation to what Longstreet favored. He advised flanking the position and making the fight somewhere else- between Meade and Washington, not a flank attack.

The entire exchanges between Hood and Longstreet were over Hood`s wanting to be allowed a true "flank attack." and Longsteet`s repeated refusal on the grounds that the Commanding General would not allow such.

So based upon what you have read, then Lee`s consideration was to shift to the extreme right, while still anchoring the left as to hold onto Chambersburg Pike.

As Larry and you both say, Meade would not just sit there and not react. The withdrawal of the 2nd corps, might invite a move against Lee`s left...but Meade was very concerned about any movement around his own left...and his ability to defend Washington.

Respects, Morris
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"You are a $70, red-wool, pure quill military genius, or the biggest damn fool in northern Mexico."

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