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RE: [TalkAntietam] Re: Special Orders 223 and 224

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  • Thomas G. Clemens
    For some reason I saw Gerry s comment, but not Larry s . I disagree with the concept of McClellan dallying about SO 191. He received it approx. 10 -11 in the
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 26, 2011
      For some reason I saw Gerry's comment, but not Larry's .

      I disagree with the concept of McClellan dallying about SO 191.
      He received it approx. 10 -11 in the morning, authenticated by Pittman. He already had troops marching that day, but this intell gave him pause, not encouragement. He knew Lee was divided already, columns reported marching noth and south, Halleck's warnings about CS guys crossing the Potomac to attack DC, etc. 191 narrowed that front to Harpers Ferry and Hagerstown. No numbers attached, and talk of "commands" detached but rejoining "the main body at Boonsboro or Hagerstown." This suggests a large army, even though divided, it still has a main body. We know that was small, but McClellan didn't. And please don't get into the psycho-babble Sears "McClellan is timid" crap, I have looked and NOBODY gave Mac a number smaller than 75K. Top figure was 150K. You're only as good as you intell.
      So after receiving 191 and digesting it, McClellan asked Pleasonton to verify it. This was intercepted intell, and SOP is to verify by another source. Pleasonton replied around 6:30 and McClellan issued his orders for attack shortly after. In fact, 2 Ninth Corps division moved into Middletown Valley during the night, refuting the idea that nobody was marching that day, or night.
      Finally, even if McClellan had been imbued with the foresight of a mystic and the combativenes of a Prussian and pushed his corps recklessly forward at noon, Hagan's Gap on Catoctin was held by Reb cavalry & artillery until mid-afternoon, no matter how many troops were moving toward it. With a start from Catoctin at approx. 3:00, no real attack could be launched by darkness at South Mt. I just don't see the dallying.

      From: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com [TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com] on behalf of G E Mayers [gerry1952@...]
      Sent: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 3:42 PM
      To: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [TalkAntietam] Re: Special Orders 223 and 224


      I think you will find Harsh's comments regarding that phase of the campaign
      in TATF to be of interest as bearing upon this counter-factual.

      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: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com<mailto:TalkAntietam%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com<mailto:TalkAntietam%40yahoogroups.com>]On
      Behalf Of eighth_conn_inf
      Sent: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 12:43 PM
      To: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com<mailto:TalkAntietam%40yahoogroups.com>
      Subject: [TalkAntietam] Re: Special Orders 223 and 224


      Replacing Porter, usually cautious general and close friends with
      McClellan, with Hooker who is generally seen as more aggressive, would have
      made a favorable difference for the AOP. And to make hindsight even more
      fun, Mansfield IMO would have done better than Franklin in any event perhaps
      not only moving more quickly and aggressively at Crampton's Gap but also in
      testing McLaws in Pleasant Valley.

      Franklin's and Couch's performances on the 13th-15th were tepid at best. I
      haven't seen any derogatory comments about Mansfield from McClellan but have
      read those from him re Franklin.

      I believe, unlike others, that the day McClellan dallied after finding
      S.O. 191 was the day which would have saved HF even with Franklin cowed in
      Pleasant Valley since McLaws would not have made a stand there if Miles in
      HF was standing strong. McLaws would have been forced to retreat downriver
      and cross at Point of Rocks or Berlin depriving Lee of this force at
      Sharpsburg. If Lee had known however that HF was not and would not be taken,
      and that McLaws would not be available for at least a couple of days, IMO he
      would have retreated over the Potomac at Boteler's and moved upriver to
      Williamsport to cross. Then the chase up the Cumberland Valley would have


      --- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com<mailto:TalkAntietam%40yahoogroups.com>, Jim Rosebrock <pointsalines@...>
      > I know we shouldn't be indulging in what ifs here but I was reading
      McClellan's Wartime Papers (Sears) and there are his letters/telegrams of
      September 6th asking Halleck and Lincoln to suspend Special Orders 223 and
      224 that relieved Porter (Fifth), Franklin (Sixth) and Griffin from duty and
      put Reno in at First Corps and Hooker at Fifth Corps. As we know, Halleck
      did suspend the orders leaving Porter, Franklin and Griffin (and Reno) in
      place and awarding Hooker the First Corps.
      > McClellan had Joseph Mansfield enroute from Washington to take command
      of Twelfth Corps. What if instead, he gave the Sixth Corps to Mansfield? I
      know it is more likely, given his preference for West Pointers that
      Mansfield would probably have stayed at Twelfth Corps to displace Alpheus
      Williams. McClellan would not have trusted him with an independent command
      as important, and one of the conservative West Pointers already there
      (Slocum, Smith or even Couch) would have been more likely elevated to
      command Sixth Corps. But with Mansfield in command, Crampton's Gap would
      have been a different fight I believe.
      > And just imagine Sep 17. With Reno at First Corps, there would have
      still been an aggressive fight there I think. Joseph Hooker at Fifth Corps
      and by George McClellan's side might have injected a little more offensive
      spirit into the center of the line.
      > I already have picked this apart as I write it, but on a snowy Western
      Maryland day here at home, the intellectual exercise is a bit interesting.
      Anyone else interested in speculating today?
      > Jim
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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