Grant at Gettysburg

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Paul V McNutt, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. Paul V McNutt Paul V McNutt Banned

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    I did not think this was possible until I read the feedback from ACW Round Robin. Here is the P.O.D. Escaped slaves bring word of the approaching Confederate forces to Grants forces at Pittsburgh Landing. Losing the element of surprise, the Confederate forces at the Battle Of Shiloh suffered a devastating defeat. There few forces available to oppose Grant as he marched to Cornith and forced the town to surrender on April 16, 1862. Grant drive through Mississippi progressed steadily, he. and the troops that had marched down from Memphis, began encircling Vicksburg in late August. On October, 12 1862, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi surrendered. ( Columbus Day was never celebrated there again until it was made a Monday holiday in 1971.)
    After Grant´s victory at Chattanooga On May 20. 1863, Lincoln promoted him to General in Chief. He assumed this new command in early June, his opposing general Robert E. Lee was wrapping up final preparation for an invasion of the North, meant to divert Union forces from the invasion of Georgia. So when that battle happens in rural Pennsylvania, Grant is giving the orders. So what changes?
     
  2. mattep74 Well-Known Member

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    Question, why wait until 1971. After all, Vicksburg surrendered on 4th of july 1863 OTL and didnt wait until 1971 to celebrate it but "only" 1944.

    I guess the battle could happen the same way as OTL up to when Pickets Charge withdraw. With Grant in charge he would have attacked along the southern flank to trap the southern army
     
  3. lothaw Texan Nationalist

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    I don't know... as aggressive as Grant is, I could see him attacking on the second day, especially when Lee begans to lengthen his lines.
     
  4. usertron2020 Tolstoyan

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    The problem is Grant never encountered an army as insubordinate as the AotP (Thank you McClellan). Just because he gives an order doesn't mean it will be obeyed. Also, Grant is operating in a vacuum. He doesn't know the Corps Commanders, and they are each as different from each other as snowflakes. He is taking over from the egotistical yet curbstomped Hooker, not the chastened yet victorious Meade. Meade was VERY cooperative with Grant at his arrival. I can't see that behavior from Hooker. Moreover, Hooker's performance at Chancellorsville will have Grant primed to fire him anyway. He was determined that an officer be promoted from within the AotP to command the army itself. Since Reynolds (I Corps) had refused the first offer IOTL, it's reasonable he'd refuse again. Which left Meade again. If Grant is in charge since Mid-June the butterflies build up rapidly... If Grant reacts decisively, he could save VIII Corps before IT got curbstomped. But whether it got orders to concentrate with the main army, would the timing be right to allow it? And how would Lee react to the thought of facing Grant? Would he still invade Pennsylvania? I'd say yes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2010
  5. Paul V McNutt Paul V McNutt Banned

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    Thanks for reviving this usertron. how did you find it.
     
  6. usertron2020 Tolstoyan

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    I did an Advanved Search using "Ulysses" and "Grant" and mandated Story Threads Only. Unfortunately, most threads want to talk about President Grant! Huh?:mad::mad::mad:
     
  7. usertron2020 Tolstoyan

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    If Lee is going though with the invasion of Pennsylvania, some SERIOUS head-shrinking has to be done to figure out Grant's moves against Lee. I know alot of Grant and Lee fans will want to see an immediate "Clash of the Titans", but IOTL Grant had many weeks to settle in and prepare for a strictly offensive campaign into Virginia. ITTL, Grant has to improvise on the fly against an opponent who is on the move and as used to winning as he is.

    IOTL, Meade's immediate instinct was for defense, first at Pipe Creek and then (as things developed) at Gettysburg. ITTL? I wonder how aggressive Grant will be with an unknown set of tools (The AotP) at his disposal? If he can save VIII Corps and bring his forces to bear at Gettysburg would that in and of itself be the kind of aggressiveness he is known for? The question is, is Gettysburg looking like the first day of Shiloh? Uh-oh for Grant.:( Could it develop also into the second day of Shiloh? Uh-oh for Lee.:( I KNOW these are experienced armies. The Shiloh reference is for the potential for tremendous see-saw results in the battle(s).
     
  8. Anaxagoras 21st Century Jeffersonian

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    If events have gone differently in the West, then butterflies will ensure that events in the East have gone completely differently than they did IOTL. This scenario is therefore extremely unlikely.
     
  9. usertron2020 Tolstoyan

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    But not impossible. The geography and lines of communication almost mandate a collision at Gettysburg IF South-Central Pennsylvania is to be the battleground. We're not talking ASB here.
     
  10. usertron2020 Tolstoyan

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    Can Grant get effective command and control of the eastern forces in time? This thread has him arriving in mid-June. With typical Grant energy I could see VIII Corps being saved from being chopped up in time for them to get to the main army.:cool:
     
  11. usertron2020 Tolstoyan

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    Firstest with the mostest

    At this juncture with VIII Corps in the AotP and Meade still in charge (with Grant looking over his shoulder) much will depend on Lee's reaction to the news that Grant has taken over and placed Meade in charge of the AotP. Longstreet (and Ewell, if present) will make sure Lee understands the nature of the threat they now face. If the AotP is moving more rapidly, Lee will probably give the order to concentrate more quickly as well. Grant's problem will be one of exhaustion of his troops, for Lee getting in communication with his far flung army.
     
  12. usertron2020 Tolstoyan

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    The BOSS has ARRIVED!!

    I should have better understood the premise from the outset. It's not COULD Grant be in Gettysburg, COULD the battle occur there, but what would Grant himself, taking over in Mid-June, bring to the campaign and to the battle specific itself. Not as AotP commander, but in the role of General-In-Chief that he assumed in 1864.:eek:
     
  13. usertron2020 Tolstoyan

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    Where's my baton? We'll start will the brass!

    Gettysburg was a meeting engagement after all, with both sides drawn into battle against the wishes of their commanders. It was Meade IOTL who decided to change the site of battle from Pipe Creek to Gettysburg, but events quickly overtook the decisions of the Army Commanders. It was regimental, brigade, and divisional commanders who controlled the battle on the morning of July 1st, divisional and Corps commanders who controlled it on the afternoon and evening of the First Day. Meade, and Grant, would not have arrived until the nighttime, well after fighting had stopped. But Grant would have plenty of time to plan out actions for the next day.

    With I and XI Corps basically out of the battle (and the war, as it turned out), Meade and Grant would have to move to prepare for the battle on the second day. Without Meade's obsessive insistence on the Pipe Creek line (always thinking defense against Bobby Lee) the movement of the fresher Corps can continue. The AotP's biggest problem on July 2nd was the AoNV's always bringing in fresh troops more rapidly because of their lack of hesitation.

    Slocum's XII Corps would have arrived on their own as IOTL at Culp's Hill with no chiding needed from Grant. Without Meade's orders to hold back, Sickles' III Corps would arrive just after dark, with Hancock's II Corps coming up behind them. Eventually this put II Corps connecting to Cemetery Hill (what was left of I and XI Corps) over to Culp's Hill (XII Corps). Sickles' III Corps continued south to the foot of Little Round Top. Sykes' V Corps is following behind and due to arrive before dawn. IOTL, they made up the AotP reserve until VI Corps (Sedgwick) arrived in the afternoon of the 2nd day. Assuming Grant HAS saved VIII Corps, they would still be another full day behind and only represent a final reserve on the third day.

    Question: Does Grant make the mistake of leaving Little Round Top uncovered as IOTL? It was a brigade commander in V Corps who saw the error and covered the far flank. As Grant was a hands off commander who only stepped in to prevent overcaution or a missed opportunity, it's likely this action will initially go as IOTL.

    How does anyone see things going from here? It's at THIS point where Grant has the chance to COMMAND, or at least orchestrate the Battle of Gettysburg.:cool:
     
  14. Typo Banned

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    Gettysburg was almost an accident caused by two divisonal level commanders on each side. Admitly though Butler did set the battle because he saw the advantageous terrain. I'm sure there are some other hills in southern Penn to fight on.
     
  15. usertron2020 Tolstoyan

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    Follow the thread, not arguing against its existence

    I think you mean Buford. Butler could hardly have made a decent decision either way, and wasn't any where near the AotP anyway. Also, this is about GRANT AT GETTYSBURG, not COULD IT HAVE HAPPENED? It's taken as a given that as of the Ides of June Grant takes over as General-In-Chief with Meade as AotP Commander, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
     
  16. usertron2020 Tolstoyan

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    For Paul V McNutt

    I have sent a direct email to Paul V McNutt about my desire to take this discussion group to the next level and turn it into a story thread. I know, I know, "Aren't you doing that already UT? You [obscene gerund][anatomically explicit epithet]!":eek: As far as I know this is legal, particularly with a discussion group that's been dormant for 14 months. If there are legal implications, by all means sing out.

    Personally, I am scared witless at the thought of going for my own TL, esp. in the ACW. But Gettysburg AND Grant? Wow, couldn't turn that down.:D

    Opinions anyone?

    PS Sent an email to Idi the Admin too. Hope I don't get curbstomped.:eek:
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2010
  17. usertron2020 Tolstoyan

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    If orders are not obeyed...

    Before I get officially started, one final note. I suggested the inclusion of VIII Corps in the Battle of Gettysburg but for reasons of politics (rebellious West Marylanders) and insubordination the VIII Corps couldn't have been brought to bear by Julius Caesar, much less Ulysses S. Grant. Though the thought of Caesar having Generals Robert Schenck (VIII Corps Commander) and Robert Milroy (2nd Division Commander) crucified has a touch of whimsy to it.
    OTL, Milroy let his division be curbstomped by Ewell's Corps (Confed Corps and Divisions were about 60% larger than Union) because he wouldn't obey orders to evacuate and convinced himself (and Schenck, sitting in Baltimore) he could hold out. In fact, it was the destruction of his division that finally convinced Washington that an invasion was in progress. The rest of VIII Corps finished up with the Marylanders, linked up with what was left of Milroy's division and headed for Gettysburg. By the time they got there they could only join Meade's pursuit force, ironically because by this time they were the best rested troops Meade had.

    So, for all practical purposes, Grant's inclusion ITTL will only affect Schenck being removed and Milroy being court martialed, rather than facing a court of inquiry.
     
  18. usertron2020 Tolstoyan

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    Here goes nothing...

    OK, I got email clearance from Paul V McNutt that I officially have his permission to run this as a story thread. POD is now Mid-June but all actions are considered ITTL as the same as IOTL except where Grant has an effect on events. That puts everything up to the night of the first day of the battle going into the second day, with the following changes:
    II, III, V, and VI Corps each reach the battle zone 4-6 hours sooner as there is no way Ulysses S. Grant allows a defensive obsession like the Pipe Creek Line to be created. Without the delay, these forces are allowed to reach Gettysburg at a time preventing their involvement in the actions of the first day, but better rested with more time to deploy. For that matter, Meade, Grant, and the Corps commanders have SOME time to get some sleep before the next day's battle.
    However, Uncle John Sedgwick's large VI Corps cannot reach the battle by dawn. Even Grant's prodding cannot change this. Very late morning is the best he can hope for, and he is forced to make plans accordingly.
     
  19. Hyperion Banned

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    Okay, I have a question.

    If the POD for this timeline is a major Union victory at Shiloh, how would that effect the war entirely if Shiloh turns from a close run battle, into a hypothetical route.

    This would basically be moving up events in the western theaters by well over a year.

    That and it would be one major morale blow to the Confederates.
     
  20. mattep74 Well-Known Member

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    If we also take into account that Grant might post a division or two on the roundtops i can see him proping Lees line to find the flank. IMHO the OTL battle was won by the feds for staying on the defensive 99% of the battle.

    IF a battle with Grant in command goes as OTL the first two days and there is a Picket charge, i can see Grant ordering a counterattack as Longstreets battered brigades fall back