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4697Re: [TalkAntietam] Re: "Unfurl those colors!"

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  • G E Mayers
    May 11, 2008
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      Dave,

      Interesting you mention the West Point Napoleon Club. Apparently
      R E Lee had something to do with it and also was instrumental in
      the "Napoleon Room" at West Point....

      Yr. Obt. Svt.
      G E "Gerry" Mayers

      To Be A Virginian, either by birth, marriage, adoption, or even
      on one's mother's side, is an introduction to any state in the
      Union, a passport to any foreign country, and a benediction from
      the Almighty God. --Anonymous
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: <DPowell334@...>
      To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Saturday, May 10, 2008 8:05 AM
      Subject: Re: [TalkAntietam] Re: "Unfurl those colors!"


      >
      >
      > In a message dated 5/9/2008 2:42:53 P.M. Central Daylight Time,
      > hjs21@... writes:
      >
      > I guess a lot depends on what one's definition of "win" is.
      >
      > If "win" means the complete destruction of the enemy in the
      > field in one
      > stroke - adopting the attitude of the Italian entry in the
      > Gumball Rally:
      > "Whatsa behind me (Washington), she's a no imbordant" - then
      > the reserves should
      > have been committed to the offensive, or Burnside not ordered
      > forward and set
      > up a defensive line (discounting the idea that committal of
      > the reserves could
      > be further delayed until Burnside's operations were more fully
      > developed).
      > You've set up a false dichotomy, here. Reserves should only be
      > committed
      > when a war-ending stroke is at hand? It's not an either/or. Nor
      > is he "risking"
      > losing Washington. there are what, 50,000 troops there,
      > including two veteran
      > corps who have been refitting for two weeks? the rhetoric here
      > doesn't match
      > reality.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > If "win" means anything short of the enemy's destruction but
      > more than
      > adopting a strictly defensive posture, maybe things should
      > have gone just as they
      > did.
      >
      > Yes, by no means risk anything. Fortunately, War is never about
      > risk...
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Sorry, when I wrote earlier about Mahan and reserves, I should
      > have been
      > clear that the situation perhaps did not justify committing
      > them to the
      > offensive per his idea of when that was appropriate.
      >
      > I'm interested to hear what you think happened up to that
      > point (West Woods
      > and the fall of the Bloody Lane) to indicate that complete
      > overthrow of the
      > enemy was a likely enough outcome to support committing the
      > reserve to the
      > offensive.
      >
      >
      >
      > Again, we only commit the reserve to guarantee the "complete
      > overthrow" of
      > the enemy? I don't buy it. More importantly neither do
      > Napoleon, Clauswitz, or
      > Jomini. I think that the routing of the Rebel center out of
      > Bloody Lane is
      > THE classic moment to commit reserves, by any military
      > definition I have ever
      > studied. His center is overthrown, and he only has a scratched
      > together line
      > of guns to cover the hole. Give him time, and he WILL recover.
      > Deny him that
      > time, and opportunities unlooked for may come your way.
      >
      > Reserves are used to convert incomplete victories into
      > something more. I
      > think that the emphasis on that word is critical. Mahan and
      > Halleck pay it lip
      > service, but they don't really mean it, and Mac follows that
      > lead - which is
      > why he never became a great general.
      >
      > The thing that always strikes me about these guys is that for
      > all their
      > great study of Napoleon and Jomini, they never grasped the
      > essence of what they
      > were studying. It's as if they decided to emulate the Wormsers,
      > Alvinci's, and
      > Mack's of the era rather than their hero.
      >
      > I don't recall for sure, but I think Mac was at the Pry House
      > when the
      > sunken road fell, and he could observe it well enough. That
      > moment always makes me
      > think of Napoleon at Borodino, withholding the guard after the
      > fall of the
      > Great Redoubt, and being castigated by history for his fatal
      > hesitation. A
      > wonder it never occurred to the head of the West Point Napoleon
      > Club.
      >
      > Dave Powell
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
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      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
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