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CWDG Online :: View topic - J.E.B. Stuart and the Maryland Campaign
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J.E.B. Stuart and the Maryland Campaign
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Mark
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 11:36 am    Post subject: J.E.B. Stuart and the Maryland Campaign Reply with quote

Harry,

As promised, I have written down the reasoning behind my belief that Stuart's part of the Maryland Campaign was a success. I really do look forward to your comments and observations on what is below.

I have used several sources for this. Those being J.E.B. Stuart's 'Report of the Maryland Campaign', R.E. Lee's 'Report of the Maryland Campaign', Lee's Special Orders #191 and Major H.B. McClellan's 'Tribute to J.E.B. Stuart'.

I've identified the majot events that Stuart was involved in, during the Maryland Campaign, and the justifications of why Stuart did what he did. If you believe that Stuart took the wrong option, he clearly did so under Lee's orders.

1. The Invasion

Lee was clearly worried about the condition of the AoNV. He wrote that although "... not properly equipped for invasion, lacking much of the material of war, and feeble in transportation, the troops poorly provided with clothing, and thousands of them destitute of shoes ..." he decided to move into Maryland. His orders to Stuart were clear. Lee wrote that "... General Stuart, with the cavalry, remained east of the mountains, to observe the enemy and retard his advance."

2. 13th September

Whilst CSA forces occupied themselves at Harper's Ferry, Lee wrote of consequences of the lost 'Special Orders #191'. "In the meantime events transpired in another quarter which threatened to interfere with the reduction of the place. A copy of the order directing the movement of the army from Fredericktown had fallen into the hands of General McClellan, and disclosed to him the disposition of our forces. He immediately began to push forward rapidly, and on the afternoon of the 13th was reported approaching the pass in South Mountain, on the Boonsborough and Fredericktown road. The cavalry under general Stuart fell back before him, materially impending his progress by its gallant resistance, and gaining time for preparations to oppose his advance." Lee, being advised of the situation, ordered Hill to guard the Boonsborough Gap, and Longstreet from Hagerstown to his support.

The source of this information was Stuart. Stuart reported that "every means was taken to ascertain what the nature of the enemy's movement was; whether a reconnaissance feeling for our whereabouts, or an aggresive movement of the army ... information was conveyed promptly to the commanding general through General D.H. Hill, now at Boonsborough." Through advisement on the defensive qualities of the position, Lee had ordered the aforementioned advance of Hill and Longstreet.

3. 14th September

The Federals attacked the rear of the position held by Hill. Lee, on the action, wrote that "... Garland's brigade, which had suffered heavily in the first attack, was withdrawn, and the defense of it occupied by it intrusted to Colonel Rosser, of the Fifth Virginia Cavalry, who reported to General Hill with his regiment and some artillery. The small command of General Hill repelled the repeated assaults of the federal army and held it in check for five hours."

By this time, the Federals had forced their way through Crampton's gap, to the rear of McClaws. Lee wrote that "... information was also received that another large body of Federal troops had during the afternoon forced their way through Crampton's Gap, only five miles in the rear of McClaws. Under these circumstances it was decided to retire to Sharpsburg, where we would be upon the flank and rear of the enemy should he move against McClaws, and where we could more readily unite with the rest of the army. this movement was efficiently and skillfully covered by the cavalry brigade of General Fitzhugh Lee."

4. 15th September

As the Federal troops drew closer to CSA forces at Antietam, Lee wrote that the "advance of the enemy was delayed by the brave opposition he encountered from Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry, and he did not appear on the oppsite side of the Antietam until about 2pm."

5. 16th September

After the Federals had crossed the Antietam threatening the CSA held by Hood and Hill, Lee wrote that "General Jackson was now directed to take the position on Hood's left, and formed his line with his right resting upon the Hagerstown road and his left extending toward the Potomac, protected by General Stuart with the cavalry and horse artillery."

6. 17th September

Of the attacks on Jackson's left, Lee wrote that "General Stuart, with the cavalry and horse artillery, performed the duty intrusted to him of guarding our left wing with great energy and courage, and rendered valuable assistance in defeating the attack on that part of the line."

7. 19th September

With the AoNV now in retreat, Stuart was tasked with the rear-guard. Of this Lee wrote that the "... enemy advanced the next morning, but was held in check by Fitzhugh Lee with his cavalry, who covered our movement with boldness and success. General Stuart, with the main body, crossed the Potomac above Shepherdstown and moved up the river. The next day he recrossed at Williamsport, and took position to operate upon the right and the enemy should he attempt to follow us."

8. October

Lee was again concerned about the condition of his army, with the need for rest and the destruction of the railroad surrounding Harper's Ferry. He once again called upon Lee to delay the enemy. He wrote that on "... 8th October General Stuart was ordered to cross the Potomac above Williamsport with 1,200 or 1,500 cavalry, and endeavour to ascertain the position and designs of the enemy. He was directed, if practicable, to enter Pennsylvania, to impede and embarrass the military operations of the enemy. This order was executed with skill, addres, and courage. general Stuart passed through Maryland, occupied Chambersburg, and destroyed a large amount of public property, making the entire circuit of General McClellan's army. He recrossed the Potomac below Harper's Ferry without loss."

The respect shown to Lee, by former colleagues, is demonstrated by the address made by Major H.B. McClellan in Richmond (1880). he described the incident by saying that "... his expedition into Pennsylvania, when he again electrified both nations by passing for the second time around McClellan's army as it lay on the banks of the Potomac - returning to the Virginia shore without the loss of man or horse, having accomplished one of the most wonderful marches on record."

9. Conclusion

Perhaps the last word on Stuart's performance should go to his commander-in-chief, Robert e. Lee, and the acceptance of Stuart's report. Lee wrote that "... I must also refer to the report of General Stuart for the particulars of the services rendered by the cavalry besides those to which I have alluded. It's vigilance, activity, and courage were conspicuous, and to its assistance is due in a great measure, the success of some of the most important and delicate operations of the campaign.

Harry, I hope this will have changed your opinion on Stuart's abilities.

Best wishes,

Mark
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark,

Here are a few of JEB's transgressions, based on what happened and when, as well as on Lee's daily dispatches to Davis (I am borrowing liberally from Harsh's "Taken at the Flood")

September 7:

In a letter to Davis written this day, Lee summarized the enemy's activities, stating that he believed they were still in the Washington defenses awaiting attack. While also recognizing a force at Darnestown, 12 miles from DC, it appears he felt that this full division was merely a reconaissance in force. The truth was, the enemy had only moved halfway to Darnestown. He also notes in this dispatch that Banks had command of one of the divisions, while he was in fact at the head of Pope's 2nd Corps. Lee also failed to note that Poolesville had been occupied by Federal cavalry that afternoon. All of this points to an unclear understanding of the position, structure and intentions of his opponent.

The operations on this day are the first indications that Lee would have difficulty getting the kind of info necessary to make his turning movement (which is what the invasion was) successful. All of this was dependent upon the diligence and persitence of Stuart. But the reports and memoirs of Southern cavalry depict his day as quiet. Von Borcke was spending most of his time arranging a dance. One staff member recalled "There was nothing to do but await the advance".

see TATF pp 116-117

September 8:

In another dispatch to the President, Lee noted "As far as I can learn the enemy are not moving in this direction, but continue to concentrate about Washington." By this time, the right wing of the AoP (1st & 9th Corps under Burnside) had advanced to Brookeville, 10 miles north of Leesborough. This extended the army's front to cover Baltimore. At the close of the day, the AoP had 66,000 men in a 16 mile wide battle line an average of 12 miles from the fortifications of Washington.

Somehow, Stuart missed this, as well as failed to report the considerable increase in Federal cavalry activity - Pleasonton had established a cav line from south to north Poolesville-Clarksburg-Damascus-Unity.

TATF pp 121-122

Sept. 9 to follow...

Harry
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

September 9:

In his morning dispatch to Davis, Lee declared that "nothing of interest" had occured. Then he stated: "From reports that have reached me, I believe that the enemy are pushing a strong column up the River by Rockville and Darnestown, and by Poolesville towards Seneca Mills [strangely, Poolesville is 10 miles WEST of Seneca Mills]. I hear that the commands of Sumner, Sigel, Burnside and Hooker are advancing in the direction above mentioned."

Lee saw nothing alarming in the fact that 4 corps had reached Poolesville, only 15 miles from Lee's position. Harsh says here that Lee "failed to grasp, or Stuart failed to provide him with the information that would allow him to grasp, the fact that the Federal advance had become serious within the last two days".

There are a lot of problems with Lee's dispatch, including the misunderstanding of where Poolesville was. Lee also stated that the enemy was hugging the river. But by the 9th the right flank of the AoP extended 15 miles to the NW (Middlebrook and Brookeville), and Union cavalry was at Damascus, even further north.

TATF pp 120-130

Sept 9, part deux:

At this point Lee had composed SO 191, committing the critical mistake that would cause him to divide his army the next day. In addition to being wrong in his belief that the garrison at Harper's Ferry would flee, and in his assumptin that the movement could be completed by the 12th, Lee was also wrong about the postition of the Federal army. "Either Lee misinterpreted the information he was receiving from his cavalry chief, or Stuart was supplying faulty intelligence."

Nothing indicates that Stuart, on the 9th, was under the impression that the enemy's advance was "pressing in a menacing way". His staff rose late after the celebrations of the previous evening, and, according to Von Borcke, an early skirmish did not keep the staff from spending a liesurely and serenade filled afternoon and evening with the Cockey family in Urbana. No sense of urgency whatsoever in Stuart's actions.

But Lee's perception of the Federal position was that they were about one third of the way to Frederick, or about 12 miles from Washington. In fact, they were 17 miles from Washington, halfway to Frederick. Lead elements of the AoP were only 10 miles from the Confederates at Moncacy.

TATF p165

It is up to this time that the effects of Stuart's performance are most serious, because with the issuance on the 10th of SO 191 composed on the 9th (not with their discovery on the 13th), Lee lost the initiative in the Maryland Campaign. Would Lee have issued those orders if he had an accurate picture of where the enemy was situated, and of how qucikly they had moved up to that point? I doubt it. While you have lumped this period into the paragraph titled "The Invasion", there was a heck of a lot more to that period than I think you are considering.

More later Mark (I've got more Post Its), but I sincerley hope that this so far has caused you to reevaluate Stuart's performance (if not his abilities, which I did not question directly) in the Maryland Campaign.

Harry
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry,

I hope you've had a chance to look at my earlier post. It is quite clear that Lee had no issues with the quality of intelligence provided by Stuart. As I wrote earlier, Stuart's main task was initially to observe and harrass the enemy in Maryland.

I'd like to start with an earlier aside, you made, about Stuart's dancing. My guess is that you were referring to the grand ball held at Urbana. If so, I'm sure you will recall that Urbana was the centre of a 20-mile-long screen, placed by Stuart. As it happened, the ball was disturbed by a Federal attack on a CSA outpost, repelled by the 1st Carolina Cavalry. I believe you suggested that Stuart had failed to screen the main body south who were intent on destroying Federal outposts endangering CSA supply lines. I think Stuart was doing a pretty good job here, but that's my opinion.

I think you also suggested that Lee separated his forces due to faulty intelligence. I must admit, I don't agree with this either. It was part of the aforementioned plan to remove the Federal outposts, and one with which Longstreet disagreed.

Lee was aware on the 10th, as he had already been advised by Stuart, that the AotP was moving from Washington to Frederick. He was also aware, from northern newspapers, that McClennan was back in command. Lee told General Walker about his views on McClennan that day. He said that "He is an able general but a very cautious one. His army is in a very demoralised and chaotic condition, and will not be prepared for offensive operations - or he will not think it so - for three or four weeks. Before that time I hope to be on the Susquehana."

I have already written a lot on the intelligence provided by Stuart on the 13th. A bit more detail concerning this was that the first intelligence came from a Frederick resident and southern sympathiser, who was present when McClennan received the message and then slipped through northern lines.

Stuart, during the campaign, completed all possible tasks that could be given to a cavalry commander. Screening, reconnaisance of intelligence and terrain, communications, protecting the flank in a major battle, delaying superior forces in order to gain his commander more time, offensive operations in enemy territory without supply lines, organising the rear-guard of a retreating army, propaganda 'icon', celebrity at grand balls, etc. Oh, he also was instrumental in repositioning the artillery, on the left, at Antietam a number of times. I'm not sure what else could be expected, and certainly Lee seemed to be rather grateful in his report at the end of the Maryland Campaign..
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry,

Yes, I have re-evaluated Stuart's performance. However, the answer remains the same.

I believe that you raised two issues, but there are three.

1) Intelligence that may have been faulty but may have been misunderstood or not particularly relevant. Suffice it to say, that when the time came Lee knew who he was up against and that his opponent was aware of splitting his forces. Nothing that has been written has implicated Stuart in supplying faulty information.

2) Stuart failed to pass on intelligence? Again, there is no evidence that this is the case. This is markedly different to what Lee said during and after Gettysburg!

3) Lee is known to have made a number of blunders. Firstly, underestimating his opposition at Harper's Ferry. Secondly, underestimating the speed of the opposition, and relying on the legenday slowness of McClennan. Remember, he told Walker that in his opinion they wouldn't see McClennan for the best part of a month. Thirdly, splitting his forces into four, thus giving McClennan the incentive to make an early strike.

Best wishes,

Mark
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark,

Yes, I read your post and am aware of Lee's reports. I'm hoping you read my posts as well...

I think it's clear that Lee did not have a good idea of the whereabouts, intentions or composition of his opposition, as detailed in my above posts, up to and including the time he issued SO 191. I know you've provided detail on Stuart's intel gathering on the 13th, but the horse had left the barn by then. And JEB wasn't quite done fouling up even then (but that is a post for later).

I did not say Lee divided his force BECAUSE of faulty intelligence, but rather in the face of it. I do not think Lee would have conducted the campaign in the same way if he had had better intelligence.

The earliest newspaper report that McClellan had moved his HQ out of the city (to Rockville) did not appear until the aftrnoon of the 8th, and was a simple announcement with no detail. There is of course the possibility that Lee may have acquired a paper by the 9th, and from this simple announcement "designed" his entire compaign, but it is unlikely, and even Sears admits that it was during this time Lee's supply of papers dried up (he was no longer in friendly territory, and paperboys were not making stops at his HQ). Interstingly, Lee at this time identified heads of divisions and corps in the Federal army by name (sometimes correctly, sometimes not), but never mentions McClellan. There is no contemporaneous evidence that Lee knew McClellan was in command and in pusuit as of the 9th.

The Walker account has been thoroughly discredited. It's pretty much BS. In addition, I believe Walker sets the date of the meeting as Sept. 8. In fact, he probalby met with Lee on the 9th. This is the date Walker states in his report (which is much differenct from his account written 24 years later) he received his orders from Lee. No big deal, but just one piece to the puzzle.

It's very odd that Lee decided to discuss grand strategy with Walker, not an intimate, when he very rarely discussed it with anyone beside Davis, Longstreet and Jackson. Yet Walker would have us believe he did, though McLaws and Hill, also put on detached duty in the orders, were not so clued-in.

Walker's account is quite detailed and delightful, with Lee tracing routes on a map with his finger. One of the details which escaped Walker's otherwise incredibly precise memory was the fact that both of Lee's hands were in SPLINTS at the time, and he sure wasn't tracing routes on a map with his fingers. And the route that he doubtless did not trace with his finger would not have been as described by Walker, because Lee's communications did not run through Manassas, nor would he describe his new line as entering the valley at Staunton, because it would have entered it 50 miles north of there.

There is much more on this which you can read in TATF, but suffice to say that there is enough wrong with Walker's account to indicate that most of it did not happen.

As far as your concluding statement goes, we'll never agree. The evidence is in my mind conclusive that Stuart did not provide Lee with accurate intelligence at the critical early stages of the campaign.

Harry
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark,

You snuck another post in there while I was writing mine.

Lee did indeed underestimate the speed of his opponent. This was primarily because he was not given accurate info regarding the movements of his enemy.

Walker's account is garbage, and not supported by any other account.

I really prefer to base my judgements of perfomance on what was done, when it was done...what was known, what was not known. And I try to use contemporary accounts as much as possible. Post-action reports are not contemporary by definition. Lee's correspondence during this period gives us an idea of what he knew, or thought he knew. And he was wrong.

Harry
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2004 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark,

"1) Intelligence that may have been faulty but may have been misunderstood or not particularly relevant. Suffice it to say, that when the time came Lee knew who he was up against and that his opponent was aware of splitting his forces. Nothing that has been written has implicated Stuart in supplying faulty information."

The facts are clear that Lee did not have accurate intel regarding the movements or position of his enemy during the period I have described.

"2) Stuart failed to pass on intelligence? Again, there is no evidence that this is the case. This is markedly different to what Lee said during and after Gettysburg!"

Maybe he did not fail to pass it on. I think it more likely that he did not have it to pass on. Which is not good.

"3) Lee is known to have made a number of blunders. Firstly, underestimating his opposition at Harper's Ferry. Secondly, underestimating the speed of the opposition, and relying on the legenday slowness of McClennan. Remember, he told Walker that in his opinion they wouldn't see McClennan for the best part of a month. Thirdly, splitting his forces into four, thus giving McClennan the incentive to make an early strike."

McCLELLAN - Not McClennan. Walker's account is no good. But you did hit the nail on the head here. Stuart had nothing to do with Lee being wrong about how the garrison at Harper's Ferry would react. But he had a whole heck of a lot to do with Lee being unaware of the speed AND WHEREABOUTS of his opponent.

Harry
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2004 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry,

Thanks for your very detailed replies, which I've thoroughly enjoyed reading. Very interesting too! It's given me a lot to think about. I think what we have proved is that there are a lot of ambiguities with what was written at the the time, and has been since.

At the end of the day, I guess we're not going to agree about some of this. I believe that Stuart's major task was to screen the CSA, and this is what he did. I too have my doubts as to whether all of Stuart's intelligence would, or could, have been correct, but that's the nature of intelligence gathering. Lee's duty was to sort out the 'wheat from the chaff'.

I accept that Walker's account is not a valid defence, but I thought what the hell ... Similar controversies existed after Gettysburg with Generals all blaming each other and reporting events in meetings that may/may not have happened.

I think our most impotant disagreement is why Lee split his forces. I still believe his underestimation of McClellan (even after he was aware that he may have his plans) is what caught Lee out. This happened to be the one time his opponent chose to move his troops with alacrity, as even he had spotted the opening. Lee had a history of splitting his forces. Notably, the Seven Days' Battles, 2nd Manassas and later in the Gettysburg Campaign. To suggest that Lee split his forces due to faulty intelligence is highly debatable, as the reason was to attack federal outposts and Longstreet was aware enough of the intelligence available to oppose the plan.

Can we at least agree that Stuart did screen the CSA, and delayed opposing Ferderal forces materially? I think this is important as it would suggest that Stuart could have achieved this task (if so required) during the Gettysburg Campaign. Something that we disagreed with each other previosuly.

Harry, thank you for taking time to debate this with me. It's sure been fun, but the issue had stretched my brain by my last post yesterday evening! I had orders, reports, and rebutals coming out of my ears.

Best wishes,

Mark

PS. What's this I read about you not liking anything from the south? I'm sure that can't be true!!!
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2004 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark,

Again, I'm not saying Lee divided his forces because of faulty intelligence. I'm saying that if he had accurate intelligence, he may not have divided his forces. It's a question of priority. The reason for his movement would have been the same, regardless. Not so the propriety.

Harry
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2004 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harry,

Good morning. It's still morning here, so you must've had a bit of an early start.

Can we please leave intelligence aside for one moment, beacuase I'd like to go back to that later. But, do you agree that Stuart provided an adequate screening (as per Stuart's initial orders), of the CSA forces in Maryland, prior to the federal attack at South Mountain?

Best wishes,

Mark
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2004 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark,

I'd say Stuart did an OK (not outstanding) job as far as screening is concerned, though Pleasonton was able to establish an effective cavalry screen which enabled McClellan to develop a pretty good picture of the composition (with the exception of effective numbers but then, who could have suspected that the ANV regiments would be at mere fractions of their Virginia numbers in Maryland?) and dispositions of the Confederate forces. Yes, even without SO 191.

I would also note that I consider the intelligence gathering (scouting) function of the cavalry at this stage to have been much more important for the ANV than screening. Remember, Lee WANTED to draw the AoP out of the defences of Washington, and to bring them to battle on ground of his choosing, at a time of his choosing. It was much more important for Lee to know the movements of his enemy than it was for him to shield his movements.

Harry
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PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2004 2:20 pm    Post subject: Screening Reply with quote

Harry,

Well, Stuart doing an OK job of screening is better than 'screwing the pooch' in this area. :roll:

With regards to the effectiveness of Stuart's screening, surely Stuart was only following Lee's orders at this time. Going back to Lee's intial orders, prior to the start of the campaign, Stuart was ordered to remain east of the mountains to "observe the enemy and retard his advance".

Stuart remained east of the mountains setting his screen in a 20 mile length running from north to south, centred at Urbana. This was the logical position for the screen, as it was the route that McClellan would use to attack Lee in Maryland and thus relieve Harper's Ferry. McClellan had to cross the Catoctin Mountians and in particular South Mountain. As we know, Federal cavalry was already probing the screen due to the attack on the outpost close to Urbana.

The question I would ask is where would you have placed the screen instead? In my opinion the screen allowed Stuart to delay the Federal Forces at Crampton's Gap whilst being close enough for support from D.H.Hill when the Federals attacked.

With regards to intelligence gathering, I'll go back to that later. Suffice it to say that Lee's orders were clear on where Stuart should place his orders and what his tasks were ie. observing, delaying and then defence.

Before discussing the intelligence issues, you raised previously, can we clarify that you had no issues with Stuart's performance post 13th September?

Best wishes,

Mark
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PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2004 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Before discussing the intelligence issues, you raised previously, can we clarify that you had no issues with Stuart's performance post 13th September?"

I've already discussed the most crucial intelligence failures up to the tenth. By the 13th, the horse had left the barn. But I do have some more problems with Stuart from the tenth on, straight up to his habitual misuse of his artillery (like Evelington Heights and Chantilly) which forced the abortion of the Confederate turning movement on the 17th.

But let's say you are right, and that Stuart's failures were a result of Lee's orders. If that is the case, what makes you think Lee would have used Stuart any more wisely in Pennsylvania? Either way, I don't see how we can predict stellar performance in the realm of intelligence (the most important of the two functions) if Stuart had been with Lee up to the point of engagement. Especially not based on their perfomance as a team in September 1862.

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PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2004 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Picking up where I left off...

Sept. 10:

There is no evidence to suggest Stuart did anything on this most crucial day to gain information or tighten security. Members of Stuart's staff described the tenth as another day of rest at HQ for JEB. However, it does appear that Stuart was effectively screening the movements of the ANV. Stuart's incativity this day implys he was as ignorant of what was going on behind Pleasonton's screen as Pleasonton was of what was happening behind Stuart's screen. Stalemate. Bad news for the Confederates was that Stuart did not pick up on the ten mile advance of 6th Corps to a point 12 miles from Frederick, and more egrigiously did not notice that Sumner's 2nd Corps had moved to Damascus, only 5 MILES from Stuart's HQ at Urbana.

TATF pp 180-181

Sept. 11:

On the 11th, Lee still was not aware of the close proximity and speed of the AoP. Nothing Stuart told him prevented him from making the next move in his plans for dividing the army. He sent the "main body", Longstreet, on toward Hagerstown. The ANV now consisted of 5 separate columns (Jackson, McLaws, Walker, Hill & Longstreet). Lee really wasn't worrying about defending South Mountain gaps because he wanted to draw the enemy west of the mountain. But, he did not want him to cross until his army had concentrated. His leaving only Hill's division of less than 8,000 men as the rear guard clearly indicates he was not aware that his enemy was gaining on him.

It's harder to fault Stuart as much here, because SO 191 indicate that the time had come to shift the cavalry front. But in light of what was going on at the time, Stuart moved too early and to casually. He lost contact with both wings of the Union army. When he contracted his front, uniting two brigades on the route from Frederick through Urbana and sending one far north away from active operations, he uncovered Walker and McLaws as well as the National Turnpike in the center.

Later, Stuart sent a dispatch to Lee saying that he expected Frederick to fall to Federal cavalry in "several days" (it would be occupied by Federal INFANTRY in two). He raised no alarm. He and his staff did have a "lively little dance" with some "spirited Irish girls" that night. At least Munford was attempting to keep the enemy back, acting as the rear guard of the army. He delayed their advance at Sugar Loaf Mountain, and later on the outskirts of Urbana, while Stuart and his staff "lingered in the verandah with the ladies" of the Cockey family (wonderful hosts, those Cockeys).

TATF pp 188-189

Sept 12:

Now things were getting hairy. The Harper's Ferry movement was taking longer than expected. Combined with the unanticipated speed of the Federal advance, this meant Lee had less time to work with. Stuart had been unable to penetrate Pleasonton's screen to determine if he was dealing with a reconaissance or the advance of the main infantry body. He therefore sent Fitz Lee eastward, thus depriving himself of more than a third of his available cavalry. Fitz, in a move which I'm sure Eric would appreciate, moved so far north that he took himself out of the campaign for two days. That evening he was in Westminster, 25 MILES norhteast of Frederick!!! His whereabouts are unclear from that point until he arrived at Boonsboro on the evening of the 14th.

Even though Stuart had an inkling that something was up, the increased Federal pressure does not seem to have bothered him too much. He knew that this was the day that Harper's Ferry was scheduled to fall (according to SO 191), he figured everything was on schedule. He had heard nothing of the delays of McLaws and Walker - not only was he unclear on the activities of the enemy, but it appears he was also a little foggy on just what was happening in his own army. Quoting Harsh more directly than I have been, "The eyes and ears of the Confederate army, while neither blind nor deaf, saw and heard very little on September 12."

Stuart continued to reform his line in order to guard the rear of an army based in Hagerstown, and in the process, though not by design, re-covered McLaws' rear (as far as Stuart knew, the Harper's Ferry operation was wrapping up). This shifting left only Hampton's brigade to cover Frederick and the center of Lee's rear. Stuart figured Frederick would fall to Union cavalry in a day or so. But around noon, Hampton's scouts reported a large Federal force moving up the National Road toward the town. Hampton was unprepared, and pulled back west of Frederick leaving a provost guard of 24 men to contest the enemy's advance. This enemy advance was the van of Burnside's 9th Corps, Cox's Kanawah Division.

Sorry so much detail here, but this should give some idea of how "in the dark" Stuart had been up to this point.

TATF pp 205-206

OK, time for a break. But I think you are off the "mark" in your assumption that screening was more important than scouting for the CSA cavalry in this operation.

Harry
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