Saturday, June 29, 2013

June 29, 1863 (Monday): Attack Richmond?

Defenses of Richmond

June 29, 1863-10. 45 a. m.
(Received June 30, 9 a. m.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
    I called to-day a council of my general officers. There were present Major-General Peck and Brigadier-Generals Gordon, Terry, Getty, Harland, and Foster. I submitted to them the proposition whether it would be advisable, with the force I have, to make an attack on Richmond. Their opinion, without knowing mine, was promptly and unanimously given in the negative. I have deemed it proper to advise you of the result of my consultation with them, and of my concurrence with them. I have planned a very important movement, which will be made the day after to-morrow, and will occupy four days. A demonstration against Richmond will be made at the same time. Wise is at Bottom's Bridge, and Pickett between Hanover Junction and Richmond. Our pickets are in sight of the enemy, near Tunstall's Station. It ha been raining most of the day. I will write you by mail.

     JOHN. A. DIX,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 27, Part 3, Page 412.

Lost sight of in most accounts of the Gettysburg campaign is the presence of Union troops so near to Richmod.  Dix had perhaps 20,000 men with which to threaten the capital, the Confederacy a lesser number, much of which consisted of scratch troops put together on an ad hoc basis.  When Dix speaks of Pickett at Hanover Junction, it is of a small portion of his command retained for the defense of Richmond when they were recalled from around Petersburg.  Could Dix have taken Richmond?  The works around the city would have represented a significant obstacle, but the atempt should perhaps have been made for at least the psychological impact on the administration and public opinion.

No comments:

Post a Comment