2425Re: AoP Cavalry on Maryland Campaign
- Jan 7, 2006--- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, "Brian Downey" <bdowney@a...> wrote:
> I'm not arguing Eric's qualifications or reputation on cavalry
> operations. He's the man. No discussion.
> He made a statement about McClellan picketing the Harpers Ferry Road
> that raised a question in my mind about just how, exactly, he would
> have been able to get his troopers there.
> I didn't want to get into a what-if discussion with Eric on the blog -
> hardly worth his time. Perhaps this group would like to consider it:
> Look at a map and picture the relative positions of the AoP and the
> various elements of the ANV during the period 13-19 September.
> Remember that McC couldn't even get a courier through to HF to tell
> them to hang on prior to its surrender ...
> So, how much Federal Cavalry would he have had to send down Pleasant
> Valley to break through from that direction on or after September 15?
> Would that have been a fight worth making? Was there another route
> to the HF Road south of Sharpsburg open to McClellan anytime before
> September 19th? Wasn't most of the ANV between the AoP and Sharpsburg
> from the 14th onward?
> Eric alluded to Col. "Grimes" Davis' break-out from HF (14-15 Sept)
> and that they joined the AoP by the HF Road. Suggesting, perhaps, that
> Pleasonton could have taken the same path, in reverse. Well ... not
> exactly. Davis apparently took his men onto the HF Road only part of
> the way to Sharpsburg. He then headed north and west, captured a
> train of Longstreet's wagons near Williamsport (!) and ended up in
> Greencastle, Pennsylvania (!!) on 15 September. He did not join the AoP.
> Ah well, I'm probably over my head here, and it's all hypothetical
> --- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, Marc73@a... wrote:
> > In a message dated 01/04/06 11:42:39 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
> > gerry1952@f... writes:
> > Eric certainly knows his cavalry............For better or worse, I
> do not
> > think there is a finer scholar out there on that question.
> > Very respectfully,
> > G E "Gerry" Mayers
> > I must agree with Gerry...I have learned so much from Eric over the
> > including tours and the written word.
> > Marc Riddell
> > 83rd PVI
> > 2nd USSS
> > Potomac Legion
> > Cent'l PA Rowing Association-President
> > _http://www.rowpa.org_ (http://www.rowpa.org/)
> > "Have You Flogged Your Crew Today?"
> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
I think we've credited McLaws with too much control over Maryland Hgts/Elk Ridge prior to becoming alarmed at what was going on behind him in the Pleasant Valley passes, and drawing his attention. My impression is that his men held a fairly narrow approach along the ridge line and eastern slope, but had not swept over the western slope nor established control over the road under the railroad crossing and past Salty Dog...the escape route for the Union cavalry's (Grimes Davis') night passage.
McLaws' approach march to HF appears to me to have been in three columns--one (Kershaw-Barksdale) on Elk Ridge toward Md Hgts, one (Anderson) along South Mountain toward Sandy Point, and McLaws' main body along the floor of Pleasant Valley, the three probably coordinating their advance by signal. With the sounds of firing behind, McLaws had to divert attention to his rear guard at the passes, while at the same time pushing guns forward toward the south end of Md Hgts. It's almost as though no thought was given to the western slope or the river road below it.
Mac had no telegraphic communication with HF, and the small signal unit posted on Md Hgts withdrew ("on their own"), effectively denying visual signal communication to the east at the very time its was most needed. (I've found no indication that signal communication was attempted between McLaws and D.H. Hill, Longstreet, or GHQ either.)
Maybe I should save this for "Harpers Ferry on the Web"!
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