Beyond the town of Gettysburg

AoNV needs time to recuperate before taking the offensive. Even Lee would be hesitant to launch a full out offensive.
This area should be receiving a lot of rain over the next week, making quick moves difficult. The rising Potomac threatened AoNV retreat OTL. It will threaten resupply ITTL.
 
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28 - A new kind of warfare
Chapter 28 - A new kind of warfare

While Robert E. Lee used the morning of July 5th to catch up on a few hours of sleep and refresh himself physically and mentally, most of his army was busy eating a warm meal and repairing damaged equipment. After his recovery, Lee found himself confronted with an unusual request.

A reporter from the local Cashtown newspaper had visited the outpost line and inquired about the possibility of a tour of Lee's camp. The battle, which had almost taken place almost in the backyard of Cashtown, was taken as a welcome opportunity to get a closer look at the grey invaders and perhaps gain some exclusive insights. While Lee was initially reticent, James Longstreet supported the idea. The war raged not only over land but also over public opinion and it seemed appropriate to counter the narrative of the Lincoln administration.

In the end, the reporter was allowed into the camp on the condition that he did not leave the side of a companion assigned to him. A conversation or interview with Lee himself was out of the question, but Longstreet was willing to sacrifice a few minutes, and a selected divisional commander was also to answer questions. Brigadier General William Mahone was chosen for the task of guide, especially because he was young and energetic and his brigade was in excellent and therefore presentable condition. Mahone led the man through the quarters and even had a regiment line up to be captured by a team of photographers on board.

Subsequently, the also very young Major General Robert Rodes was interviewed, who described very vividly how his division had finally broken through Meade's lines and forced him to retreat. Not without ulterior motives, however, he mentioned the bravery of the German-dominated XI Corps when describing his opponents, as many of their compatriots were based in Pennsylvania. The affair became emotional when Rodes described how he had held the dying Carl Schurz's hand and told the reporter his last words: "Tell my wife that I fell face to face with the enemy for our new home".

Before the man was finally complimented out of the army camp, Longstreet explained to him in few but clear words why Lee's army was here in the north. He pointed out that the Union troops had been ravaging Virginia for two years and that they wanted to show the Union citizens what it was like to be confronted with an enemy army on their own doorstep. The Corps Commander concluded that the invasion was not aimed at depriving the people of Pennsylvania of their freedom or imposing the values and laws of the South. Rather, it was to force Lincoln and his cabinet to let the South go. Unfortunately, that could not be achieved through diplomacy, but only through sheer force of arms.

The detailed article, which was subsequently published locally, was distributed throughout the state of Pennsylania within a few days. It gave the Confederate forces a human face and raised the question among an astonishing number of citizens why their fathers, sons and brothers were to die fighting these men.

790ea38c0ec5bb356df7dd5d3f0f1846.jpg
 
Before the man was finally complimented out of the army camp, Longstreet explained to him in few but clear words why Lee's army was here in the north. He pointed out that the Union troops had been ravaging Virginia for two years and that they wanted to show the Union citizens what it was like to be confronted with an enemy army on their own doorstep. The Corps Commander concluded that the invasion was not aimed at depriving the people of Pennsylvania of their freedom or imposing the values and laws of the South. Rather, it was to force Lincoln and his cabinet to let the South go. Unfortunately, that could not be achieved through diplomacy, but only through sheer force of arms.

The detailed article, which was subsequently published locally, was distributed throughout the state of Pennsylania within a few days. It gave the Confederate forces a human face and raised the question among an astonishing number of citizens why their fathers, sons and brothers were to die fighting these men.

Now that is an amazing use of propaganda and psychological warfare.
 

Deleted member 9338

To be honest I have not read the books, but my club wargamed the Gettysburg campaign back in 1998. The Confederates could take Baltimore, holding it and not getting wiped out is another matter.

I really liked the first novel, to be honest, in my eyes the only non-asb method to achieve destroying the AotP.

While the political impact and all in Grant Comes East were certainly intriguing and well conceived, I think the battles were poorly constructed. After having been bloodied at Cemetery Hill on July 1, prompting the change in attitude in the first place and after taking heavy casualties at Taneytown and Union Mills, I just can not imagine Lee throwing his men against the strongest fortifications in the world after having already achieved the largest victory of the war. Sickles was the obvious villain and although he was very self-assured I do not believe he would attack a reinforced Lee with 50,000 men out of whom nearly one half were green and not combat-probed. The defeat was sloppy written and Lee destroying two armies one after another just feels to be overkill.

From a narrative point of view, the third book was really good and I even got emotionally messed up when McPherson died with his newly wed wife at his side as well as when the final charge was obliterated but from a historical-accurate viewpoint? After Gunpowder River Lee should have immediately made a run for Virginia. Maryland produced not many volunteers already in 1862 and Baltimore was just not defendable under the premise that Washington could not be carried by force of arms. Nevertheless, not too bad for a politician...
 

Deleted member 9338

Love the last chapter. I have a few thoughts, General Couch will be coming south from Harrisburg and there is the Harpers Ferry garrison. Can the Union cut off Lees retreat and use Couch's troops to fill out the Union ranks. As many are from New York, I am sure they would like to join with General Sickles.
 
At first many thanks for all of your kind replies.

Love the last chapter. I have a few thoughts, General Couch will be coming south from Harrisburg and there is the Harpers Ferry garrison. Can the Union cut off Lees retreat and use Couch's troops to fill out the Union ranks. As many are from New York, I am sure they would like to join with General Sickles.
I think Couch might be best used in guarding the Susquehanna. Marching directly south in Lee's rear with untried troops seems a recipe for disaster. And if he leaves Harrisburg open, a rebel cavalry brigade or two might just pay a short visit for propaganda purposes. Besides Couch and the militia at Lancaster there wont be any more for a few weeks, because the Draft Riots are only days from happening and I do not see them getting butterflied away.

Concerning possible reinforcements for Lee: I have identified 13 combat ready brigades in Virginia and the Carolinas, so there is definitely manpower available and many of those were used to bolster Lee in Petersburg in 1864. But my major problem is, that those were not used to strengthen Lee OTL after the loss at Gettysburg and Longstreet being west with two divisions, so I do not have any clue why they should be sent to him when he is successful.
 
I wonder how much arms could be captured at harpers ferry?
Would it make a good diversion?
 
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So, seems the Union and Slaver forces are pretty evenly matched. Things are NOT over yet.

But where should the rallying point be? In this respect, Meade prevailed. The Pipe Creek line was probably the most formidable position between Cashtown and Washington. During the night, marching orders were issued to all army units as well as to French and Lancaster. On July 5th, every Union soldier within reach would march towards Union Mills while Couch would continue to secure the Susquehanna crossings. Now Lee had the burden of deciding which course to take.
Hehe, seems Union Mills is a popular location for ATL 1863 battles.
Before the man was finally complimented out of the army camp, Longstreet explained to him in few but clear words why Lee's army was here in the north. He pointed out that the Union troops had been ravaging Virginia for two years and that they wanted to show the Union citizens what it was like to be confronted with an enemy army on their own doorstep. The Corps Commander concluded that the invasion was not aimed at depriving the people of Pennsylvania of their freedom or imposing the values and laws of the South. Rather, it was to force Lincoln and his cabinet to let the South go. Unfortunately, that could not be achieved through diplomacy, but only through sheer force of arms.

The detailed article, which was subsequently published locally, was distributed throughout the state of Pennsylania within a few days. It gave the Confederate forces a human face and raised the question among an astonishing number of citizens why their fathers, sons and brothers were to die fighting these men.
While I'm pretty sure much of the CSA soldiers are using this invasion as an excuse to plunder material and take slaves, this is a pretty good propaganda move. I expect the north won't take this without its own propaganda response though.
 
I think the confederate leadership was worried about union advances from the Norfolk area and from North Carolina were in fact an poorly executed union advance actually occurred . Also at this time Charleston was under heavy attack as well.
 
Meade has already attacked Lee once. Seems like Lee would use South Mountain as a shield and try and bait Meade into trying it again, given that he still has plenty of ammunition for his artillery. I don't think Lee would attempt to strike a prepared position the entire Army of the Potomac is holding without substantially softening it up first. He only attempted a high risk/high reward gambit like Pickett's charge after mauling the better part of 3 union corps.

Luring Meade into another meeting engagement gives Lee a lot more options, and if Meade doesn't go for it then at the very least Lee is keeping the union army out of Virginia for the harvest. Meade is highly unlikely to detatch forces to make a move on Richmond and leave Lee in his rear. The pressure from DC is going to be on him to send the AoNV packing, sooner rather than later. I could see this resulting in something like the Mine Run/Bristoe campaigns, held much farther north. I don't see Lee being allowed to operate unimpeded in western Maryland without an army being sent to come at him from the west in the long run, though. The forces that were allocated to relieve Chattanooga are probably going to be sent east eventually if Lee doesn't withdraw, particularly if this butterflies Chickamauga.
 
While I'm pretty sure much of the CSA soldiers are using this invasion as an excuse to plunder material and take slaves, this is a pretty good propaganda move. I expect the north won't take this without its own propaganda response though.
It is, of course, propaganda. Maybe it won't have an impact, but the margin between Lincoln and McClellan in Pennsylvania in 1864 was only 2,8%, so...

Meade has already attacked Lee once. Seems like Lee would use South Mountain as a shield and try and bait Meade into trying it again, given that he still has plenty of ammunition for his artillery. I don't think Lee would attempt to strike a prepared position the entire Army of the Potomac is holding without substantially softening it up first. He only attempted a high risk/high reward gambit like Pickett's charge after mauling the better part of 3 union corps.

Luring Meade into another meeting engagement gives Lee a lot more options, and if Meade doesn't go for it then at the very least Lee is keeping the union army out of Virginia for the harvest. Meade is highly unlikely to detatch forces to make a move on Richmond and leave Lee in his rear. The pressure from DC is going to be on him to send the AoNV packing, sooner rather than later. I could see this resulting in something like the Mine Run/Bristoe campaigns, held much farther north. I don't see Lee being allowed to operate unimpeded in western Maryland without an army being sent to come at him from the west in the long run, though. The forces that were allocated to relieve Chattanooga are probably going to be sent east eventually if Lee doesn't withdraw, particularly if this butterflies Chickamauga.

Meade was defence-oriented in the first place and I do not believe he would attack near the South Mountain area again. It is a position too good to be conventionally assaulted and he only did so in the first place because he thought Lee was weaker than he was. Lee also cannot forage the area indefinitely, so he has to follow Meade, but that does not mean to throw himself upon the Pipe Creek line. He certainly won't leave without at least testing those defences. Concerning the pressure from Washington: Meade did not let himself be disturbed by those calls in the aftermath of Gettysburg OTL and Lincoln as well as Halleck are not stupid. They know, that there is no one else at that point who is both capable and willing to command the AotP and changing leadership again within few weeks will not do the army any good. The threat of Lee's army is geographically contained, Meade is still between him and Washington and the battle near Cashtown was a very close affair. At some point, Meade will have gathered enough reinforcements to go on the offensive again, it is not a question if but when the balance of powers shifts again.

Again, many thanks for the input!
 
Both sides are quite wounded. I forsee both sitting in place for a week of so until the rains clear. Then both will be hoping to draw the other into their prepared defenses. Stuart goes on yet another deep ride somewhere. In mid-late July, there will be some decent sized meeting engagement. Circumstances determine if that leads to another large battle.

Most likely no AoNV troops get sent to Georgia. Alt Chickamauga is a Union victory. Bragg retreats to Dalton.
If Roscrans get the reinforcements he recieved historically, there is set of engagements around Dalton that forces the CSA further towards Atlanta before winter.
If those reinforcements go to the eastern theater instead, Bragg might be able to hold on in Dalton
 
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Most likely no AoNV troops get sent to Georgia.
I totally agree under the premise, that Lee is still on the northern side of the Potomac in mid to late August. This might put an earlier end to Braxton Bragg's career imho. I plan to switch to the other theaters when the immediate action in Maryland and Pennsylvania is over, although the west in 1863 is not my particular field of great knowledge.
 
29 - The Pipe Creek Line
Chapter 29 - The Pipe Creek Line

As early as June 30, 1863, before George Meade's army had engaged in combat with the Confederate forces, the commander had planned to establish a reception position along Pipe Creek just south of the Maryland-Pennsylvania border. This line had been selected by Meade's engineers and ran along a slope called Parr's Ridge from Middleburg to Manchester. The Army of the Potomac reached Union Mills, which was the center of the line, on the evening of July 5th after a forced march. The rearguard, formed by John Buford's Division, had been harassed all day by rebel cavalry brigades under Hampton and Chambliss, but had not been seriously attacked. The original plan had been to keep Corps II in reserve at Uniontown, but due to the reduced manpower of the Federal infantry this was logistically impossible without exposing part of the position. Meade also had to adapt the arrangement of the other units to the changed circumstances. From Middelburg in the southwest to Manchester in the northeast, the I, III, XI, II, XII, VI and V Corps took up positions one after the other.

Pipe_Creek_Line.jpg

Union line at Pipe Creek

The position was nothing less than formidable, with an impressive difference in height. Nevertheless, before nightfall on July 5, the Confederate horsemen began to look for weak points. Northern reinforcements had made use of the railroads and embarked on trains at Harpers Ferry and Columbia Pennsylvania. Detours, but quite comfortable compared to walking in bad weather, brought nearly 20,000 men to Westminster on July 7 and 8, respectively. However, at daybreak on July 6, Lee's Army of Northern Virginia broke camp and followed Meade south. By the evening of the same day, the bulk of the infantry reached Littlestown and Lee sought assessments from his cavalry leaders on the state of enemy positions.

Unionmills_Gathering.jpg

Union positions and approach routes
 
Most likely no AoNV troops get sent to Georgia. Alt Chickamauga is a Union victory. Bragg retreats to Dalton.
If Roscrans get the reinforcements he recieved historically, there is set of engagement around Dalton that forces the CSA further towards Atlanta before winter.
If those reinforcements go to the eastern theater instead, Bragg might be able to hold on in Dalton
While a Union victory at Chickamauga would be nice, I hope that keeping Rosecrans rather than Thomas in charge wouldn't hold that theater back too much overall.
 
Longstreet must be studying where to flank the enemy line...
Longstreet is in a sort of awkward situation right now. His 'strategic offense - tactical defence' doctrin worked out really well and certainly raised Lee's level of trust in him, but his corps is in no condition to lead any sort of flanking movement due to being reduced pretty bad. Early is new to corps command and Hill is not the most innovative in the bunch. However, there will be a young man with a really creative idea (borrowed from another young man OTL having the same idea roughly a year later).
 
If it what I think it might be that would only work during a prolonged static campaign. It took a month to do and that was with experienced personal which the confederacy lacked.
 
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