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2236FW: [TalkAntietam] Re: McClellan has the 'fasts'

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  • Harry Smeltzer
    Jul 12, 2005
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      Yes, that had a lot to do with it. In fact, Lee never anticipated that the
      garrison would hold out (the untenable nature of the place was well known to
      both sides).that's why SO 191 directed Jackson to Martinsburg and not HF.

      But Lee never anticipated that the Federal army would be so hot on his heels
      even before the operation was to have been completed (the 13th).

      As far as Stuart goes, here's a little background from a series of postings
      I made on another forum:

      Here are a few of JEB's transgressions, based on what happened and when, as
      well as on Lee's daily dispatches to Davis (I am borrowing liberally from
      Harsh's "Taken at the Flood" - for more details, see the referenced pages)

      September 7:

      In a letter to Davis written this day, Lee summarized the enemy's
      activities, stating that he believed they were still in the Washington
      defenses awaiting attack. While also recognizing a force at Darnestown, 12
      miles from DC, it appears he felt that this full division was merely a
      reconnaissance in force. The truth was, the enemy had only moved halfway to
      Darnestown. He also notes in this dispatch that Banks had command of one of
      the divisions, while he was in fact at the head of Pope's 2nd Corps. Lee
      also failed to note that Poolesville had been occupied by Federal cavalry
      that afternoon. All of this points to an unclear understanding of the
      position, structure and intentions of his opponent.

      The operations on this day are the first indications that Lee would have
      difficulty getting the kind of info necessary to make his turning movement
      (which is what the invasion was) successful. All of this was dependent upon
      the diligence and persistence of Stuart. But the reports and memoirs of
      Southern cavalry depict this day as quiet. Von Borcke was spending most of
      his time arranging a dance. One staff member recalled "There was nothing to
      do but await the advance".

      See TATF pp 116-117

      September 8:

      In another dispatch to the President, Lee noted "As far as I can learn the
      enemy are not moving in this direction, but continue to concentrate about
      Washington." By this time, the right wing of the AoP (1st & 9th Corps under
      Burnside) had advanced to Brookeville, 10 miles north of Leesborough. This
      extended the army's front to cover Baltimore. At the close of the day, the
      AoP had 66,000 men in a 16 mile wide battle line an average of 12 miles from
      the fortifications of Washington.

      Somehow, Stuart missed this, as well as failed to report the considerable
      increase in Federal cavalry activity - Pleasonton had established a cav line
      from south to north Poolesville-Clarksburg-Damascus-Unity.

      TATF pp 121-122

      September 9:

      In his morning dispatch to Davis, Lee declared that "nothing of interest"
      had occurred. Then he stated: "From reports that have reached me, I believe
      that the enemy are pushing a strong column up the River by Rockville and
      Darnestown, and by Poolesville towards Seneca Mills [strangely, Poolesville
      is 10 miles WEST of Seneca Mills]. I hear that the commands of Sumner,
      Sigel, Burnside and Hooker are advancing in the direction above mentioned."

      Lee saw nothing alarming in the fact that 4 corps had reached Poolesville,
      only 15 miles from Lee's position. Harsh says here that Lee "failed to
      grasp, or Stuart failed to provide him with the information that would allow
      him to grasp, the fact that the Federal advance had become serious within
      the last two days".

      There are a lot of problems with Lee's dispatch, including the
      misunderstanding of where Poolesville was. Lee also stated that the enemy
      was hugging the river. But by the 9th the right flank of the AoP extended 15
      miles to the NW (Middlebrook and Brookeville), and Union cavalry was at
      Damascus, even further north.

      TATF pp 120-130

      Sept 9, part deux:

      At this point Lee had composed SO 191, committing the critical mistake that
      would cause him to divide his army the next day. In addition to being wrong
      in his belief that the garrison at Harper's Ferry would flee, and in his
      assumption that the movement could be completed by the 12th, Lee was also
      wrong about the position of the Federal army. "Either Lee misinterpreted the
      information he was receiving from his cavalry chief, or Stuart was supplying
      faulty intelligence."

      Nothing indicates that Stuart, on the 9th, was under the impression that the
      enemy's advance was "pressing in a menacing way". His staff rose late after
      the celebrations of the previous evening, and, according to Von Borcke, an
      early skirmish did not keep the staff from spending a leisurely and serenade
      filled afternoon and evening with the Cockey family in Urbana. No sense of
      urgency whatsoever in Stuart's actions.

      But Lee's perception of the Federal position was that they were about one
      third of the way to Frederick, or about 12 miles from Washington. In fact,
      they were 17 miles from Washington, halfway to Frederick. Lead elements of
      the AoP were only 10 miles from the Confederates at Monocacy.

      TATF p165

      It is up to this time that the effects of Stuart's performance are most
      serious, because with the issuance on the 10th of SO 191 composed on the 9th
      (not with their discovery on the 13th), Lee lost the initiative in the
      Maryland Campaign. Would Lee have issued those orders if he had an accurate
      picture of where the enemy was situated, and of how quickly they had moved
      up to that point? I doubt it.

      Sept. 10:

      There is no evidence to suggest Stuart did anything on this most crucial day
      to gain information or tighten security. Members of Stuart's staff described
      the tenth as another day of rest at HQ for JEB. However, it does appear that
      Stuart was effectively screening the movements of the ANV. Stuart's
      inactivity this day implies he was as ignorant of what was going on behind
      Pleasonton's screen as Pleasonton was of what was happening behind Stuart's
      screen. Stalemate. Bad news for the Confederates was that Stuart did not
      pick up on the ten mile advance of 6th Corps to a point 12 miles from
      Frederick, and more egregiously did not notice that Sumner's 2nd Corps had
      moved to Damascus, only 5 MILES from Stuart's HQ at Urbana.

      TATF pp 180-181

      Sept. 11:

      On the 11th, Lee still was not aware of the close proximity and speed of the
      AoP. Nothing Stuart told him prevented him from making the next move in his
      plans for dividing the army. He sent the "main body", Longstreet, on toward
      Hagerstown. The ANV now consisted of 5 separate columns (Jackson, McLaws,
      Walker, Hill & Longstreet). Lee really wasn't worrying about defending South
      Mountain gaps because he wanted to draw the enemy west of the mountain. But,
      he did not want him to cross until his army had concentrated. His leaving
      only Hill's division of less than 8,000 men as the rear guard clearly
      indicates he was not aware that his enemy was gaining on him.

      It's harder to fault Stuart as much here, because SO 191 indicate that the
      time had come to shift the cavalry front. But in light of what was going on
      at the time, Stuart moved too early and to casually. He lost contact with
      both wings of the Union army. When he contracted his front, uniting two
      brigades on the route from Frederick through Urbana and sending one far
      north away from active operations, he uncovered Walker and McLaws as well as
      the National Turnpike in the center.

      Later, Stuart sent a dispatch to Lee saying that he expected Frederick to
      fall to Federal cavalry in "several days" (it would be occupied by Federal
      INFANTRY in two). He raised no alarm. He and his staff did have a "lively
      little dance" with some "spirited Irish girls" that night. At least Munford
      was attempting to keep the enemy back, acting as the rear guard of the army.
      He delayed their advance at Sugar Loaf Mountain, and later on the outskirts
      of Urbana, while Stuart and his staff "lingered in the verandah with the
      ladies" of the Cockey family (wonderful hosts, those Cockeys).

      TATF pp 188-189

      Sept 12:

      Now things were getting hairy. The Harper's Ferry movement was taking longer
      than expected. Combined with the unanticipated speed of the Federal advance,
      this meant Lee had less time to work with. Stuart had been unable to
      penetrate Pleasonton's screen to determine if he was dealing with a
      reconnaissance or the advance of the main infantry body. He therefore sent
      Fitz Lee eastward, thus depriving himself of more than a third of his
      available cavalry. Fitz, in a move which I'm sure Eric would appreciate,
      moved so far north that he took himself out of the campaign for two days.
      That evening he was in Westminster, 25 MILES northeast of Frederick!!! His
      whereabouts are unclear from that point until he arrived at Boonsboro on the
      evening of the 14th.

      Even though Stuart had an inkling that something was up, the increased
      Federal pressure does not seem to have bothered him too much. He knew that
      this was the day that Harper's Ferry was scheduled to fall (according to SO
      191); he figured everything was on schedule. He had heard nothing of the
      delays of McLaws and Walker - not only was he unclear on the activities of
      the enemy, but it appears he was also a little foggy on just what was
      happening in his own army. Quoting Harsh more directly than I have been,
      "The eyes and ears of the Confederate army, while neither blind nor deaf,
      saw and heard very little on September 12."

      Stuart continued to reform his line in order to guard the rear of an army
      based in Hagerstown, and in the process, though not by design, re-covered
      McLaws' rear (as far as Stuart knew, the Harper's Ferry operation was
      wrapping up). This shifting left only Hampton's brigade to cover Frederick
      and the center of Lee's rear. Stuart figured Frederick would fall to Union
      cavalry in a day or so. But around noon, Hampton's scouts reported a large
      Federal force moving up the National Road toward the town. Hampton was
      unprepared and pulled back west of Frederick leaving a provost guard of 24
      men to contest the enemy's advance. This enemy advance was the van of
      Burnside's 9th Corps, Cox's Kanawah Division.

      TATF pp 205-206


      -----Original Message-----
      From: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com] On
      Behalf Of Jeff Beckner (PWC Magazine)
      Sent: Tuesday, July 12, 2005 8:30 AM
      To: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [TalkAntietam] Re: McClellan has the 'fasts'

      Don't know the details on Stuart, but I'd say the unexpected refusal of
      the boys in blue to get out of HF at a sensible time had more to do with
      screwing things up.

      -----Original Message-----
      From: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com]
      On Behalf Of Harry Smeltzer
      Sent: Monday, July 11, 2005 6:03 PM
      To: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [TalkAntietam] Re: McClellan has the 'fasts'

      Lee's miscalculation (due to Stuart's failures) regarding the speed,
      direction and disposition of the Army of the Potomac in the days leading
      to splitting his army spelled the failure of the Maryland Campaign.


      -----Original Message-----
      From: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com]
      Behalf Of James2044
      Sent: Monday, July 11, 2005 5:56 PM
      To: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [TalkAntietam] Re: McClellan has the 'fasts'

      --- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, "Jeff Beckner \(PWC Magazine\)"
      <jbeckner@f...> wrote:
      > Mac as a bulldozer....this was in the fiction section, right?

      Lee didn't think so in the Fall of 1862.



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