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Posted By: on: 08/27/2000 14:19:47 EDT
Subject: RE: Gettysburg and should Meade have persued Lee?

Message Detail:
The Army of the Potomac did inflict almost 5000 casualties on the ANV during the retreat, which was approximately 8-10% of the ANV's effective strength, which is not to be taken lightly. 10% by today's military standards is a blood bath.

Of the seven corps in the Army of the Potomac, 3 veteran corps commanders were taken out of action due to wounds, including a badly wounded Hancock and a dead John Reynolds, leaving inferior officers in command of the corps they were from. It is hard to orchestrate pursuit of a beaten, but still dangerous foe with such a drastic change of command. Meade still was new to army command. Also, many brigade and regimental commanders were out of action due to injury or death.

The men in the AoP had for the most part been marching many miles for days in the heat coming into Gettysburg and had seen and been a part ofthree days of the most brutal fighting known up to that time. Many were literally exhausted, both physically and emotionally, and were not up to pursuing.

Lee's army, though beaten, was still in reasonably good spirits, and would have put up a good fight if Meade had brought battle to them. Remember, the wounded animal, backed into a corner and with no real way of escape, is often the most dangerous, and this was the seeming state of the ANV at the time, beaten once, but far from defeated.

Great efforts by Stuart, who was looking to redeem himself, and the rest of the ANV cavalry protected the retreating army, and I personally feel that a major pursuit by the AoP could have been very dangerous given the state of the armies and the men in the ranks at the time.

JR

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