Wednesday, July 1, 2009

If Stonewall Had Lived

Since today is the anniversary of Day 1 of the Battle of Gettysburg, I want to advance a pet theory of mine. It's always enjoyable to engage in these what-ifs.

I think the South would have won at Gettysburg if Stonewall Jackson had lived beyond Chancellorsville. He would have performed one of his brilliant flanking maneuvers a la Second Bull Run and Chancellorsville. Though he had not performed the same magic at Antietam, I think it could have happened at Gettysburg. Regardless of Stuart's failure of reconnaisance there, Stonewall would have surveilled the ground and found a weakness. His implementation made Lee's grand tactical thrusts in 1862 possible.

For these reasons, I think Jackson's death was a catastrophe for the Confederacy. The South's chief asset during the war was its brilliant military leadership. Once Stonewall was gone, the South lost an irreplaceable asset.

What do you think of my theory? I am interested in your views.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


  1. If Jackson were along for the whole campaign, the whole thing would be different. There would only be two corps (maybe - Lee was thinking about going to three corps in the spring of 63), for one and who knows if there even would have been a battle at Gettysburg (since it was Heth/Hill who brought on the battle).

    Today we might just be "celebrating" the day that Harrisburg fell.

    Lots of variables.


  2. I think there is alot of validity to this. Thought I don't feel like placing a whole turn around in one man's hands is right, but it is when it's Jackson. He would of definitely turned the tides of battle. I see his ability to capitalize on mistakes of his foes and to improvise when needed would of came handy when Sickles pulled out of his assigned position.

    Plus if Hood would of had another group of men to help charge up Little Round Top, he would of been able to turn their lines up there.

    If Jackson would of lived, Saturday we may of been singing Dixie.

  3. I'm sorry but this is a lot of nonsense brought on by the "VA History" and the Blind Worship of Jackson.
    First of - I don't understand how is it that he would've "surveiled the ground" due to the Cavalry absense...and "found the weakness".
    Second - suppose he did and by some magic was able to get the Yankees off the Culps and Cemetery Hills. Yeah, so? Off the Army of the Potomac goes to Pipe Creek Line and I DO NOT fancy Rob't E. Lee trying to assault THAT position
    Third - everyone seems to conveniently forget that Jackson was a stickler of orders, thus I propose to all of you here that if received an order that stated "Take that hill if practicable (discretion) but DO NOT bring on a general engagement" (direct) - he'd stop dead in his tracks
    Fourth - a unbiased look at Jackson's performance on the field uncovers that he is not "so great of a General". he is more LUCKY than brilliant. Unquestionably Chancellorsville is his finest hour but... is he "learning on a job" or was it a fluke?
    Which Jackson comes to Gettysburg? That in itself may decide a lot
    Finally to those who still wishfully thinks that had the South won at gettysburg we all'd be singing Dixie - please remember that NO MATTER WHAT happens in Gettysburg or immediate area on any of the given days - come July 4th GRANT WILL TAKE VICKSBURG!