Leading With Lee

Essay by TheCalling123Junior High, 8th gradeA+, January 2005

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The road to Gettysburg was long and antagonizing. The roads were rocky and the soldiers were tired. Yet, this trip was indeed necessary. The invasion of a confederate army in the union land would help support a southern peace offensive. Since there was much war-weariness in the North this would enrage the northerners. Besides there was no choice this battle had to be fought either sooner or later and Robert E. Lee, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, thought it was better sooner before he lost another great soldier like "Stonewall Jackson", who was lost at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Also, the march northward would give Virginia some temporary relief of the sight of fighting armies which had left much of the state in waste. In plain English, the invasion was a matter of limited objectives and Lee's army was going to have to fight anyway, so it might as well be north of the Mason Dixon line! Lee's march began on June 3, 1863.

His plan was quite simple- Lee would move his troops beyond Blue Ridge, Virginia across the Potomac, and then march eastward threatening Philadelphia and Baltimore, while cutting off Washington's communication with the rest of the country. This plan was also intended to put pressure on Union General Joe Hooker forcing him to have to attack the confederate troops. Lee blended an offensive strategy with defensive tactics. That's what Robert E. Lee, a West Point graduate, was known for, strategy and tactics. However by June 28, Lee had learned that the Army of the Potomac was north of the Potomac River instead of south where he had anticipated, and that General Hooker was replaced with Union General George Gordon Meade, one of Robert E. Lee's rivals. After learning that, Lee called his troops...