The Silent Mutiny at Gettysburg and The Maneuvers North of the Army of Northern Virginia: A. Roman

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The Silent Mutiny at Gettysburg and The Maneuvers North of the Army of Northern Virginia:  by  A. Roman

The Silent Mutiny at Gettysburg and The Maneuvers North of the Army of Northern Virginia: by A. Roman
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The Blue Ridge and the Valley, therefore, were the keys to Lee’s strategy. Once the Confederates crossed the Potomac the Great Valley beckoned, a fertile region that contained a vast quantity of supplies of all kinds. First, everything in the valleyMoreThe Blue Ridge and the Valley, therefore, were the keys to Lee’s strategy. Once the Confederates crossed the Potomac the Great Valley beckoned, a fertile region that contained a vast quantity of supplies of all kinds. First, everything in the valley had to be cleared up to Chambersburg.

Hence, Lee assigned this task to Ewell and his Second Corps. The beauty of General Lee’s invasion plan lay in its deception, its success predicated on the notion that the AOP would not follow the Army of Northern Virginia swiftly into Pennsylvania thus allowing time for the depleted ANV to forage and replenishing itself on the bountiful Pennsylvania farmland. Lee also surmised that if on the other hand, should the AOP follow the ANV into Pennsylvania, the ANV would have enough time to regroup and fight them on a battlefield of its own choosing.

Ultimately, he wanted to hit the forward units of the Union army first and have them fall back on the rest of the army causing a rout and a general retreat back to Washington. In the years following the war, 1866 to 1868, the maneuvering north of the ANV and the subsequent failure to deceive the Union army into staying south of the Potomac River in June 1863, never was an issue in Lee’s mind. Unfortunately, Lee expired soon after the war and he never had the time to make an educated evaluation and explain all the mysterious facts surrounding the campaign.

In defense of Lee’s apologists, it is important to understand the strength of “Lee’s mystique”, in regards to the General’s pronouncements on literature that critiqued his decisions. Lee’s mystique is defined perfectly by Alan T. Nolan, “Almost all of those who have written about Lee have accepted him entirely on his own terms- whatever he said about events or about himself, his actions and his reasons, is taken as fact.The battle at Gettysburg should not have been fought aggressively by the ANV and offensively based on what Lees original plans and objectives were for the 1863 invasion and it was by no means a chance meeting of the two armies.

In fact there was no need at all to engage the AOP at Gettysburg. The outcome of which held no strategic consequence or in furthering the Confederacy aims and ambitions, but once the battle was engaged it was not fought effectively by ANV for a myriad of reasons none being too mysterious other than very bad personal decisions made by General Lee and a silent mutiny led by his subordinate Generals who thwarted much of his strategic commands. After the war, Robert E. Lees long silence was implicit in covering up the mistakes that he made and the dysfunctional command staff he had promoted and brought up north with him that summer of 1863.



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