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"Unfurl Those Colors!"

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  • Harry Smeltzer
    Rats. I was cruising along through Armstrong s book, thoroughly enjoying the ride. I was digging his approach and style. Really, I was. That is until I came
    Message 1 of 7 , Apr 11, 2008
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      Rats.

      I was cruising along through Armstrong's book, thoroughly enjoying the ride.
      I was digging his approach and style. Really, I was.

      That is until I came to page 109, and the author's discussion of SO 191.

      Maybe I'm nitpicking, I don't know. But here are three problems I had right
      off the bat.

      First, Armstrong describes the orders as outlining "the next phase of
      [Lee's] campaign." Sure, on Sept. 9 that's what they did. But to anyone
      discovering them on the 13th they described and operation that was to have
      been pretty much completed by then.

      Second, Armstrong says that the orders directed that "[t]he largest segment,
      three divisions under Jackson, was to recross at Sharpsburg, make a sweep
      through Martinsburg, Virginia, to capture or cut off the Federal Garrison
      there, and then to move on Harper's Ferry from the west." Try as I might,
      I've never been able to find anything in SO 191 that directed Jackson to
      move on Harper's Ferry, only to "take possession of the Baltimore and Ohio
      Railroad, capture such of them as may be at Martinsburg, and intercept such
      as may attempt to escape from Harper's Ferry." See Chapter 3 of Harsh,
      TATF. Regardless of what we may divine were Lee's intentions for Jackson,
      they are not articulated further than this in SO 191.

      Third, Armstrong is still using the old noon of the 13th time-stamp for
      McClellan's "I have all the plans" telegram to Lincoln, which I think Tim
      Reese has pretty convincingly shown was sent at midnight on the 13th-14th.
      This irked me when I read Rafuse's "McClellan's War".

      Am I being too picky? I'm having trouble moving past this.

      Harry



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Harry Smeltzer
      Aw crap. On page 114, in a paragraph that ends with a reference to Harsh s masterful study TATF, Armstrong takes as gospel the Walker account of his meeting
      Message 2 of 7 , Apr 12, 2008
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        Aw crap.

        On page 114, in a paragraph that ends with a reference to Harsh's "masterful
        study" TATF, Armstrong takes as gospel the Walker account of his meeting
        with Lee. That same conversation was pretty thoroughly discredited in the
        masterful study itself. And the whole analysis of the actions of the AotP
        in the wake of the discovery of the dated SO 191 seems does not address most
        of what Tim Reese has written on the subject, which shouldn't come as a
        surprise since none of it appears in the bibliography.

        Chapter 5 goes out with a whimper.

        But perhaps the value of the book will lay more with its tactical analysis
        of 2nd Corps than with its view of the big picture.

        Harry



        -----Original Message-----
        From: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com] On
        Behalf Of Harry Smeltzer
        Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2008 12:52 AM
        To: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [TalkAntietam] "Unfurl Those Colors!"



        Rats.

        I was cruising along through Armstrong's book, thoroughly enjoying the ride.
        I was digging his approach and style. Really, I was.

        That is until I came to page 109, and the author's discussion of SO 191.

        Maybe I'm nitpicking, I don't know. But here are three problems I had right
        off the bat.

        First, Armstrong describes the orders as outlining "the next phase of
        [Lee's] campaign." Sure, on Sept. 9 that's what they did. But to anyone
        discovering them on the 13th they described and operation that was to have
        been pretty much completed by then.

        Second, Armstrong says that the orders directed that "[t]he largest segment,
        three divisions under Jackson, was to recross at Sharpsburg, make a sweep
        through Martinsburg, Virginia, to capture or cut off the Federal Garrison
        there, and then to move on Harper's Ferry from the west." Try as I might,
        I've never been able to find anything in SO 191 that directed Jackson to
        move on Harper's Ferry, only to "take possession of the Baltimore and Ohio
        Railroad, capture such of them as may be at Martinsburg, and intercept such
        as may attempt to escape from Harper's Ferry." See Chapter 3 of Harsh,
        TATF. Regardless of what we may divine were Lee's intentions for Jackson,
        they are not articulated further than this in SO 191.

        Third, Armstrong is still using the old noon of the 13th time-stamp for
        McClellan's "I have all the plans" telegram to Lincoln, which I think Tim
        Reese has pretty convincingly shown was sent at midnight on the 13th-14th.
        This irked me when I read Rafuse's "McClellan's War".

        Am I being too picky? I'm having trouble moving past this.

        Harry

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Thomas Clemens
        Harry, I have noticed this too, and am disappointed, but not desparately so. Maybe it is alll those years of having to give a lecture to explain contrary
        Message 3 of 7 , Apr 12, 2008
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          Harry,
          I have noticed this too, and am disappointed, but not desparately so. Maybe it is alll those years of having to give a lecture to explain contrary opinions to well-established beliefs. A numbing effect eventually?

          Thomas G. Clemens D.A.
          Professor of History
          Hagerstown Community College


          >>> "Harry Smeltzer" <hjs21@...> 04/12/08 9:28 AM >>>
          Aw crap.

          On page 114, in a paragraph that ends with a reference to Harsh's "masterful
          study" TATF, Armstrong takes as gospel the Walker account of his meeting
          with Lee. That same conversation was pretty thoroughly discredited in the
          masterful study itself. And the whole analysis of the actions of the AotP
          in the wake of the discovery of the dated SO 191 seems does not address most
          of what Tim Reese has written on the subject, which shouldn't come as a
          surprise since none of it appears in the bibliography.

          Chapter 5 goes out with a whimper.

          But perhaps the value of the book will lay more with its tactical analysis
          of 2nd Corps than with its view of the big picture.

          Harry



          -----Original Message-----
          From: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com] On
          Behalf Of Harry Smeltzer
          Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2008 12:52 AM
          To: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [TalkAntietam] "Unfurl Those Colors!"



          Rats.

          I was cruising along through Armstrong's book, thoroughly enjoying the ride.
          I was digging his approach and style. Really, I was.

          That is until I came to page 109, and the author's discussion of SO 191.

          Maybe I'm nitpicking, I don't know. But here are three problems I had right
          off the bat.

          First, Armstrong describes the orders as outlining "the next phase of
          [Lee's] campaign." Sure, on Sept. 9 that's what they did. But to anyone
          discovering them on the 13th they described and operation that was to have
          been pretty much completed by then.

          Second, Armstrong says that the orders directed that "[t]he largest segment,
          three divisions under Jackson, was to recross at Sharpsburg, make a sweep
          through Martinsburg, Virginia, to capture or cut off the Federal Garrison
          there, and then to move on Harper's Ferry from the west." Try as I might,
          I've never been able to find anything in SO 191 that directed Jackson to
          move on Harper's Ferry, only to "take possession of the Baltimore and Ohio
          Railroad, capture such of them as may be at Martinsburg, and intercept such
          as may attempt to escape from Harper's Ferry." See Chapter 3 of Harsh,
          TATF. Regardless of what we may divine were Lee's intentions for Jackson,
          they are not articulated further than this in SO 191.

          Third, Armstrong is still using the old noon of the 13th time-stamp for
          McClellan's "I have all the plans" telegram to Lincoln, which I think Tim
          Reese has pretty convincingly shown was sent at midnight on the 13th-14th.
          This irked me when I read Rafuse's "McClellan's War".

          Am I being too picky? I'm having trouble moving past this.

          Harry

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • David W. Gaddy
          Ref Digest 1004, Item 1a ( Rats! from Harry): I was so pleased to read Harry s comment on the conventional wisdom concerning the siege of HF (which wasn t
          Message 4 of 7 , Apr 12, 2008
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            Ref Digest 1004, Item 1a ("Rats!" from Harry):

            I was so pleased to read Harry's comment on the conventional wisdom
            concerning the "siege" of HF (which wasn't one, nor was conceived of
            being one, unless it was an even worse job of staff/logistical
            planning that it was). Harry, your point of departure was spot on.
            Instead, we have been fed for decades the pap based upon what
            happened, not what was ordered. (Even Lee was sensitive about this,
            after the fact, defensive of the "accepted" history and of the late
            Jackson.) I hoped (hope) to develop this, based upon the CS
            (non-)provision for coordination among "three converging bodies" of
            troops, wherein Jackson was left depending upon a detailed private as
            his "signal officer," with none provided to Walker and McLaws left to
            improvise. We should judge events based upon READING SO 191, as Harry
            has done. McLaws had the primary task of eliminating the HF garrison.
            Walker was to make certain no one escaped to the south and Jax was to
            eliminate the Martinsburg troops. Only one general had a "qualified"
            signal officer with him and that was Powell Hill, with Capt RHT
            Adams, both still chafing under Jackson's arrest (Hill) and leak
            investigation (Adams). Ironically, it was Adams who brought Hill to
            the side of the wounded Jackson six months later.

            Dave Gaddy
          • Harry Smeltzer
            I think Harsh has it right. Lee never really thought that the garrison at HF would hold out. The untenable nature of the place was well known from the
            Message 5 of 7 , Apr 12, 2008
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              I think Harsh has it right. Lee never really thought that the garrison at
              HF would hold out. The untenable nature of the place was well known from
              the beginning (see Joe Johnston in 1861), and it was pretty much assumed the
              garrison would flee, the only question being in what direction. Halleck
              unintentionally kicked over Lee's applecart by ordering Miles to hold out.
              It was that decision, or rather Lee's failure to consider that option on the
              9th, that wrested the initiative from the Confederacy. This was exacerbated
              by Lee's inaccurate intel regarding the movement of the AotP up to that
              point. The blame for that rests firmly on the shoulders of JEB Stuart, IMO.

              Harry



              -----Original Message-----
              From: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com [mailto:TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com] On
              Behalf Of David W. Gaddy
              Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2008 4:46 PM
              To: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [TalkAntietam] Re:"Unfurl Those Colors!"



              Ref Digest 1004, Item 1a ("Rats!" from Harry):

              I was so pleased to read Harry's comment on the conventional wisdom
              concerning the "siege" of HF (which wasn't one, nor was conceived of
              being one, unless it was an even worse job of staff/logistical
              planning that it was). Harry, your point of departure was spot on.
              Instead, we have been fed for decades the pap based upon what
              happened, not what was ordered. (Even Lee was sensitive about this,
              after the fact, defensive of the "accepted" history and of the late
              Jackson.) I hoped (hope) to develop this, based upon the CS
              (non-)provision for coordination among "three converging bodies" of
              troops, wherein Jackson was left depending upon a detailed private as
              his "signal officer," with none provided to Walker and McLaws left to
              improvise. We should judge events based upon READING SO 191, as Harry
              has done. McLaws had the primary task of eliminating the HF garrison.
              Walker was to make certain no one escaped to the south and Jax was to
              eliminate the Martinsburg troops. Only one general had a "qualified"
              signal officer with him and that was Powell Hill, with Capt RHT
              Adams, both still chafing under Jackson's arrest (Hill) and leak
              investigation (Adams). Ironically, it was Adams who brought Hill to
              the side of the wounded Jackson six months later.

              Dave Gaddy





              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • G E Mayers
              Spot on, Harry! 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
              Message 6 of 7 , Apr 13, 2008
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                Spot on, Harry!

                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: "Harry Smeltzer" <hjs21@...>
                To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2008 5:21 PM
                Subject: RE: [TalkAntietam] Re:"Unfurl Those Colors!"


                >I think Harsh has it right. Lee never really thought that the
                >garrison at
                > HF would hold out. The untenable nature of the place was well
                > known from
                > the beginning (see Joe Johnston in 1861), and it was pretty
                > much assumed the
                > garrison would flee, the only question being in what direction.
                > Halleck
                > unintentionally kicked over Lee's applecart by ordering Miles
                > to hold out.
                > It was that decision, or rather Lee's failure to consider that
                > option on the
                > 9th, that wrested the initiative from the Confederacy. This
                > was exacerbated
                > by Lee's inaccurate intel regarding the movement of the AotP up
                > to that
                > point. The blame for that rests firmly on the shoulders of JEB
                > Stuart, IMO.
                >
                > Harry
                >
                >
                >
              • flagflop
                Harry, Generally agree. Lee (or staff?) either under-estimated or was unrealistically demanding in time allocation, and seems to have under-estimated the
                Message 7 of 7 , Apr 14, 2008
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                  Harry, Generally agree. "Lee" (or staff?) either under-estimated or
                  was unrealistically demanding in time allocation, and seems to have
                  under-estimated the difficulty of getting arty on Elk Ridge/Md Hgts
                  and the resistence Kershaw would encounter. In So Hist Coll at Chapel
                  Hill, there is a McLaws complaint of being blocked from prompt
                  movement by failure of Longstreet to move ahead, prompting McL to
                  seek an alternate route. (This is an "off-the-top" long ago recall on
                  my part.)
                  Dave Gaddy
                  --- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, "G E Mayers" <gerry1952@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > Spot on, Harry!
                  >
                  > 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: "Harry Smeltzer" <hjs21@...>
                  > To: <TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com>
                  > Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2008 5:21 PM
                  > Subject: RE: [TalkAntietam] Re:"Unfurl Those Colors!"
                  >
                  >
                  > >I think Harsh has it right. Lee never really thought that the
                  > >garrison at
                  > > HF would hold out. The untenable nature of the place was well
                  > > known from
                  > > the beginning (see Joe Johnston in 1861), and it was pretty
                  > > much assumed the
                  > > garrison would flee, the only question being in what direction.
                  > > Halleck
                  > > unintentionally kicked over Lee's applecart by ordering Miles
                  > > to hold out.
                  > > It was that decision, or rather Lee's failure to consider that
                  > > option on the
                  > > 9th, that wrested the initiative from the Confederacy. This
                  > > was exacerbated
                  > > by Lee's inaccurate intel regarding the movement of the AotP up
                  > > to that
                  > > point. The blame for that rests firmly on the shoulders of JEB
                  > > Stuart, IMO.
                  > >
                  > > Harry
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
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