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24 July 2015

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Fred

Col.,

That's a nice piece of writing.

turcopolier

fred

IMO it was their last good chance. pl

ex-PFC Chuck

Thank you.

Fred

Col.,

Destroying the II Corps would have been a shock to the North. It definitely would have had an impact on the election of '64.

On an unrelated note I found a copy of Lafayette Baker's book, "The Secret Service in the Late War". Should be an interesting read over the weekend.

turcopolier

fred

IMO given the state of the troops in the rest of Grant's force, the collapse of II Corps would have caused a general withdrawal far to the north. pl

Fred

Col.,

Hadn't Grant stripped DC of most of the heavy artillery units and turned them into infantry by that time?

turcopolier

fred

I don't think the heavy artillery got into the line as though they were infantry until after Grant crossed the James Bbt will have to look it up. pl

LeaNder

Fred, its available online in as any type of docs, even in Kindle version.

Haven't created a connection on my new Kindle yet to download my books. Strictly I was a bit hesitant to buy a new one, considering it broke down beyond "salvation" exactly after two years and one month after the European two-year guarantee.

http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/shopping/shopping-abroad/guarantees/index_en.htm

I have never had any other IT tool that didn't survive these two years for several years. Which yes, made me wonder. Maybe I should have simply used Amazon's reader and then converted the downloaded files.

Anyway, I shouldn't babble, here is the archive.or link to the book:

https://archive.org/details/secretserviceinl00bakeiala

Trey N

You have proposed an interesting and plausible counterfactual, Colonel. As a Southerner who had two grandfathers in the Confederate Army (one of whom died of disease while defending Charleston in the summer of 1863), I wish that your story was actual history.

IMHO, such a result might well have occurred if Longstreet had not been wounded in the Wilderness. No other general on either side came close to matching his record of organizing successful assaults: the flank attack that routed Pope's army from the field at Second Manassas, the attack en echelon on July 2 at Gettysburg that wrecked the Union III Corps, the assault at Chickamauga that routed 2/3 of Rosecrans' army from the field, and the flank attack he was leading at the Wilderness that threw back the Union II Corps. His only failure was "Pickett's Charge," which was probably doomed from the start but certainly did not benefit from his usual application of skill (the many lapses in the planning and execution of that attack probably resulted from his opposition to it from the get-go).

His physical debilitation in 1864 from heart trouble aside, Lee had always preferred to outline strategy and leave tactical details to his wing/corps commanders (similar to the German army's philosophy of "Auftragstaktik"). The only time he had directly commanded troops in battle was the failed 1861 campaign in the mountains of western Virginia. His loose command style worked wonderfully while Jackson and Longstreet were available to execute his designs, but not when Richard Ewell and A. P. Hill were his corps commanders. Hill followed up on his lackluster performance at Gettysburg by horrible bungling at Bristoe Station in October 1863, and Ewell's poor showing at Spotslyvania caused Lee to sack him shortly afterward.

Lee had indeed set a cunning trap for the Union army at the North Anna, and Grant blundered right into it. Too damn bad that Lee fell sick again at the critical time, and his immediate subordinates were not up to the task of executing his plan. It truly was a golden opportunity missed and, as you pointed out, probably the last real chance to reverse the outcome of the war in Virginia.

The Twisted Genius

pl,

Fred said it well. This is a nice piece or writing. I'm surprised how many battles in this war hinged on a single action or decision to determine their outcomes. If Grant didn't realize the danger his forces were in and pull them back, your tale of alternate history could have become a tale of history. How do you think the concurrent actions in the Western theater would play in your alternate history. Would the capture of Atlanta be enough to offset a Union disaster at North Anna. I would imagine Sherman's army would have been definitely been recalled to Virginia rather than to continue overland through the Carolinas. Would Thomas' eventual destruction of Hood's army at Nashville be enough to doom the Confederacy?

It's only because General Thomas is buried so close to my wife's family's plot in Troy, NY that I've taken an interest in him. He's quite remarkable as a military leader and as a man. He wouldn't stand a chance among the self-serving Walmart managers infesting our Army today.

turcopolier

TTG

If Grant's main effort in Virginia had collapsed it is likely that the political will behind the Union war effort itself would have collapsed. . pl

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