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To: All
I wrote:

"the most blantanly pro-CSA of the small ones is his account of the military campaigns, and especially his claiming that the Army of the Potomac didn't get within 50 yards of the CSA lines at Fredericksburg."

I got the following reply:

"To anyone familiar with that battle claim is clearly a reference to the sunken road where confederates took up their position at the base of Marye's Heights. DiLorenzo's claim is a perfectly reasonable presentation of what historically happened there. Most estimates of the battle put the closest distance the federals made it toward the stone wall at about 50 yards away. The most liberal estimate claims that the distance of 25 yards reached by a small portion of a single division out of a failed charge by Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys. This is unlikely as Humphreys' attack, in which he originally ordered a bayonet charge on the wall, was nothing short of disastrous. It was wiped out in two sweeps with Humphreys himself having two horses shot out from under him and barely escaping back to the trench. Conservative estimates put the mark at between around 75 yards. What is definately known is that:

A.The closest position the yankees could even come close to holding was a ravine 150 yards back.
B. Not a single yankee force successfully made it to the wall in front of the road in front of the hill upon which the confederates staked their position during the charge, dead or alive.
C. Most of the casualties fell at around the 100 yard mark, the point where troops along the wall unleashed a full open fire."

26 posted on 6/21/02 7:57 PM Pacific by GOPcapitalist

******

Now, this matter has nothing to do with who was right in the Civil War. It has to do with DiLorenzo's bias and careless writing. So I would ask anyone interested to attend to a few simple points.

First, DiLorenzo writes this, of the Battle of Fredericksburg: "More than 121,000 Federal troops attacked 80,000 Confederates in 13 charges across an open plain, but not one of them got as close as 50 yards to the Confederate battle line..."

I will take as my authority here the West Point Atlas of the Civil War.

In this battle, the Union forces were divided into two wings, of nearly equal numbers, the right wing facing Marye's Heights, where the CSA I Corps, under Longstreet held the line, the left wing, a bit down stream, facing Jackson's II corps. The USA commander on the Federal left was Gen. Franklin.

Here is what the West Point Atlas says about events on the CSA right.

"The ...attack was made by Meade's division, supported by ... Doubleday and ... Gibbon. Major Gen. John Pelham's horse artillery delayed Meade initially, but, once Pelham was forced to withdraw, Meade drove forward through a weak spot and surprised and routed Brig. Gen. Maxey Gregg's brigade in the Confederate second line. Gibbon, advancing on Meade's right, was initially successful."

Much more happened, the Union troops were driven back, and the CSA follow up was stopped by heavy artillery fire, and so forth.

Here's the point.

I called this a small error, indicative of bias on the part of DiLorenzo. I think that just right.

Of course Fredericksburg was a severe Union defeat. At the same time, it is simply not true to assert that no USA forces got "within 50 yards of the CSA lines at Fredericksburg."

We owe a duty of veracity and piety to our ancestors, on both sides. Meade's men had the only big Union success at this awful battle, and they ought not be denied it in polemical and revisionist writing.

Second, and more importantly, Dr. D. inserts this error into an account meant to show that the CSA forces were both nearly invincible, and in a superior strategic position in the weeks before the second and final release of the Emancipation Proclamation [Jan 1, 1863], and that Lincoln issued the Proclamation to save an almost hopeless military position.

Now, this is all half-truth at best.

Lincoln was, in fact, fearful that the Proclamation would appear an act of desparation, and that is among the reasons why he waited to make it public until a Union victory ... the tactical draw, but strategic victory at Antietam. That battle, and the similar events at Perryville in October of 1862, restored confidence in the Union cause, both here and in Europe. It should be noted that, at this point, both New Orleans and Memphis, two of the largest cities in the CSA, were under Union control, as were the capitals of two of the CSA states. After Antietam and Perryville, Kentucky and Maryland would not go over to the Rebels. The Union forces would grow ever stronger from then on.

It is perfectly true that the awful losses inflicted in the frontal attacks on Marye's heights, and the retreat of the Army of the Potomac were deeply demoralizing to the army and to the Unionists, including Lincoln. It is also true that in the spring and summer campaigns in the East that followed the Winter of 1862-3, Lee's men suffered casualties never to be replaced, and that from then on, the CSA was on a losing trajectory.

I beg anyone with an interest in these matters to read pp 38-43 of The Real Lincoln and the to ask himself whether what he has read is anything like a dispassionate and true account of the "The Military Context."

Best to all,

Richard F.

49 posted on 06/22/2002 5:11:31 PM PDT by rdf
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To: rdf
Now, this matter has nothing to do with who was right in the Civil War. It has to do with DiLorenzo's bias and careless writing. So I would ask anyone interested to attend to a few simple points. First, DiLorenzo writes this, of the Battle of Fredericksburg: "More than 121,000 Federal troops attacked 80,000 Confederates in 13 charges across an open plain, but not one of them got as close as 50 yards to the Confederate battle line..."

In that case, one may see now that DiLorenzo was clearly referring to the charges on Marye's Heights, hence his assertion that the charges took place across an open plain. Your complaint is with Meade's temporary breach of the CSA right which, although it did happen, does not change or discredit anything DiLorenzo said. The open plains charges on Marye's Heights, themselves the core of the battle, were across the open plain, DiLorenzo's clear reference. All of them ended in disaster with not one man, dead or alive, reaching the wall.

I called this a small error, indicative of bias on the part of DiLorenzo. I think that just right.

And I asserted otherwise. I still assert otherwise as your own quote of DiLorenzo indicates that he was clearly referring to the charges on Marye's Heights, hence his mention of the open plain.

Of course Fredericksburg was a severe Union defeat. At the same time, it is simply not true to assert that no USA forces got "within 50 yards of the CSA lines at Fredericksburg."

But DiLorenzo did not say that. He said that none of the yankee charges across the open plain reached the confederate battle lines - an accurate statement. Meade sidestepped and hit the lines further up before being quickly overrun and repulsed. But he did not charge across the open plain on Marye's Heights, nor did he come within 50 yards of the confederate position on the wall at the hill's base.

We owe a duty of veracity and piety to our ancestors, on both sides. Meade's men had the only big Union success at this awful battle, and they ought not be denied it in polemical and revisionist writing.

Exactly where did DiLorenzo deny them? DiLorenzo's statement would have been innaccurate had they charged the wall and made it. But that did not happen. They did not even charge the wall. They slipped around the side of the other flank a good distance up the road. DiLorenzo does not mention that, as it did not affect the outcome of the battle or much of anything beyond a couple more casualties on both sides. But nowhere does he deny it either.

Second, and more importantly, Dr. D. inserts this error

What error? Your entire position is really a complaint that he didn't "highlight" a minor positive for the union in a battle that was a disaster for them. But that is not what yo are portraying it as. You portray it as a factual "error" for which he is to be faulted. But it is not. In reality, as indicated by the fact that he is clearly referencing the disastrous union charges across the plain, DiLorenzo made no error. He simply didn't highlight Meade's brief push on the line elsewhere, which you want to be included.

into an account meant to show that the CSA forces were both nearly invincible

Now that's an overstatement! DiLorenzo never portrays the CSA as some invincible and impregnable fortress. He only notes the historical fact that the confederates, for the first part of the war, were winning almost all the big victories. That fact is an undeniable part of history starting with the very first at Mannassas.

Lincoln was, in fact, fearful that the Proclamation would appear an act of desparation

Sure he did, and I believe DiLorenzo recognizes this, as he largely portrays it as that much.

As for pages 38-41, DiLorenzo is perfectly reasonable.

He starts off noting first Manassas - the first true battle of the war, and a major confederate victory.

He mentions the smaller western victories of the union in Tennessee. He puts Shiloh in perfectly reasonable context. It is considered a tactical union victory, but casualty wise the yankees suffered greater. More than anything else, Shiloh reaffirmed that the war was going to be a long one. He covers the events in Virginia throughout the next few months, which were predominantly either confederate victories or stalemates. Second Mannassas was another confederate win. Antietam was a stalemate, though you are correct it had effects in Europe - but not so much that the confederates lost something, but rather that they did not win it outright. Then there's the yankee disaster at Fredericksburg in December.

56 posted on 06/22/2002 11:19:30 PM PDT by GOPcapitalist
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