Thursday, May 06, 2004

I think it may be pretty obvious by now that I enjoy reading history, but I also enjoy reading fiction. There are a few middlin' decent authors who can combine the two and write alternate history. Some of these counterfactuals are interesting, some are downright stupid... but I enjoy reading them regardless.

One of the things I have grown weary of are people who (always) use Gettysburg as the point of divergence for the late unpleasentness. Despite that petty annoyance, I came up with a counterfactual of my own last night... based on Gettysburg. With one minor little change...

You can blame Rankin Rob for this because he set this train in motion.

On the evening of the second of May 1863, General Jackson is wounded as he conducts a late night reconnaissance. Next in the chain of command is A.P Hill, who is wounded a few minutes later. Command of Jackson's corps then fell to Jeb Stuart. Stuart did a good job of sorting Jackson's Corps out in the darkness and got them back into some semblance of order by daybreak. He then did a respectable job of fighting Jackson's Corps the next day (even against some hasty entrenchments Hooker's men were able to throw together the night before).

After things settled down and the smoke cleared, Lee reorganised the Army of Northern Virginia into three Corps, Longstreet, A.P. Hill and Dick Ewell.

Here is my what if... Stuart is left in command of Jackson's Corps.

Yes I know the Ewell and Hill and everybody and their brother was senior to him, but think about it. Gettysburg campaign follows pretty much as it did with that one change (ok, I'll admit, Brandy Station would have been a LOT different) until the first day at Gettysburg. I do understand that a lot of things would diverge because of this command structure change, but for the sake of argument, let's say it's only some minor deviations.

Do you think Stuart would've lollygagged around like Ewell did the evening of July First?

" possession of the heights, if practicable."

I don't think Stuart would have misinterpreted that... Jackson wouldn't have either.

I know this may sound rather silly, but the more I thought about it, the more interesting it seemed to me. I'd like to see someone (a historian) with a first-rate knowledge of the Eastern Theatre write an article along these lines.

Doubt it'll happen, but I think it would be a good read.