Lee 1863: 2 or 3 Corps?


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    I know there are only a few of us into the Civil War, but have been wondering about something.
    If Jackson had not been mortally wounded and had have been at the head of his famed 2nd Corps, would Lee with the 37 Inf Brigades allowed him by Jeff Davis and considering the difficulties involved in moving large numbers, still have wanted at least three Corps to invade the North? He took advantage(if that is possible to say after the tragedy of Jackson’s death) of creating a third Corps.  
    I believe he probably wanted more than two, but then would Ewell or Hill Have got it,or would he have stuck to the tried and tested Longstreet/Jackson combination and left those two to detach Divisions for independent duties, eg marching on Harrisburg, as they saw fit?


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    Hi Cromwell. I suppose my question really was: would Lee have invaded the North with two corps( as he had done in 62) or would he have created a third?
    Was Jackson’s wounding and subsequent death the only reason he created that third corps?
    I agree those five NV brigades would have made all the difference at Gettysburg, but I was not factoring them into my equation.
    Grant rightly reduced his corps when he came East. Just wonder if Lee should have enlarged his in 63 as he would have known the Army of the Potomac had seven. It is a hard one on which to speculate,  as the Longstreet/ Jackson system had worked so well until now.
    I can only imagine the heartache of Jackson’s loss and the strain he must have faced coming to the decisions he did that summer.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    That is what I think. Lee would not change a winning system. Finding the right subordinates is not easy. He had to replace those found unfit in 62 on inheriting the command and it knew how close he came to success in early Autumn with his new generals, so why change?
    It was the wounding of Jackson that forced his hand and we will never know if he was planning it anyway.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    Hampton for the cavalry: he was not even West Point, so Lee would not have considered him had it not been for Jeb’s death.
    Pender, we know of course. I am certain if he had not died,  he would have got Hill’s corps when he started falling ill in the Summer of 64
    I think the allegation was started by Longstreet and probably on learning AP Hill was promoted to Corps command. He did not like Hill and thought he too quickly promoted to Major General. I think it was Longstreet thinking he was being impartial, but he too was blinded by his section: the Deep South.
    Before their falling out, Longstreet was very fond of fellow Georgian McLaws and S Carolina’s RH Anderson. Both these non Virginians ranked the upstart (in Longstreet’s thinking) AP Hill as Brigadier and in McLaws’ case as Major General too.
    To summarise, I think it was only Hampton who was overlooked and that was a question of military training, not birth state.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    To add: I think it was the political, but as it turned out good Generals, Howell Cobb and Robert Toombs who earlier brought the allegation. They did prove themselves, but in 62 or early 63, when Lee still had a good pool of trained men from which to choose. This early in the war Lee was never going to give a Division to a man who had not attended a Military Academy. He had been a soldier too long to do that and had seen bad appointees in Mexico(Pillow certainly).
    It would take the exhaustion of other possibilities before he turned to this decision. Kershaw Gordon and Mahone are the examples and when he finally promoted them, it was the right choice.



  • Two Corps if Jackson is alive, three without Jackson.


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