We play the Chargers twice this season. So I wish to take a Mulligan this week and discuss something else.
Once about 150 years ago, A President way down South named Jefferson Davis put together quite a Coaching Trio. The Confederacy was literally down to their last stack of chips as McClellan and the Army of the the Potomac knocked on the doors of Richmond. Head Coach Albert Johnson was wounded and Robert E. Lee takes over the Army of Northern Virginia. General Lee had two coordinators on his Rebel team.
In this exciting month's campaign, Jackson made great captures of stores and prisoners; but this was not its chief result; without gaining a single tactical victory he had yet achieved a great strategic victory, for by skillfully maneuvering 15,000 men he succeeded in neutralizing a force of 60,000. It is perhaps not too much to say that he saved Richmond; for when McClellan, in expectation that McDowell might still be allowed to come and join him, threw forward his right wing under Porter to Hanover Court House on the 26th of May, the echoes of his cannon bore to those in Richmond who knew the situation of the two Union armies, the knell of the capital of the Confederacy. Link
Confederate prospects looked bleak as McClellan moved his massive army to the Peninsula. Brigadier General Ambrose Burnside's troops were finalizing their conquest of eastern North Carolina and Union forces appeared invincible along the Mississippi River. Many Southerners feared that if Richmond were to fall, the Confederacy might collapse. Confederate hopes were pinned on the ability of the C.S.S. Virginia to hold Hampton Roads, and Major General John Bankhead Magruder's small "Army of the Peninsula" to delay the Union juggernaut's advance toward Richmond. Link
The Seven Days
Lee fashioned a bold plan. Leaving only 25,000 men south of the river to confront McClellan's 70,000, Lee prepared to strike Porter with 47,000 men. To deceive the Federals, he sent 1 division westward to the Shenandoah Valley, while at the same time recalling Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson and his 18,000 troops from the valley to a point north of Porter's unsupported right flank. Jackson, riding ahead of his men, conferred with Lee and other generals. The Confederate officers scheduled the offensive for June 26th. link
2nd Bull Run
Under these circumstances, the armies of the United States in Virginia being hopelessly separated, and the army of General Lee being large, well commanded, and elated with victory, the Government determined to call to the general direction of military affairs an officer whose reputation at that time stood very high, and who was in no way connected with politics--General Henry W. Halleck. link
So Lee drew up a new set of plans. He would divide his forces into four sections, sending Gen. Jackson with six divisions of 22,000 men to eliminate the 12,000-strong Federal garrison at Harpers Ferry to the southwest. The remaining three divisions of Lee's forces--18,000 men, under Gen. James Longstreet--would move northwest over the Catoctin and South Mountain ranges to Boonsboro and Hagerstown, a distance of 25 miles.
Later Jackson would rejoin Lee and Longstreet at Hagerstown. Then, using these mountain ranges to protect his right flank, Lee could move his combined Confederate forces northeast along the rail line to Harrisburg, the capital of Pennyslvania and a key rail center for the Union. Early on Wednesday morning, September 10, Lee's forces began leaving Frederick to carry out their assignments. Link
The battle was over by 5:30 p.m. Losses for the day were heavy on both sides. The Union had 12,401 casualties with 2,108 dead. Confederate casualties were 10,318 with 1,546 dead. This represented 25% of the Federal force and 31% of the Confederate. More Americans died on September 17, 1862, than on any other day in the nation's military history. Link
General Lee expressed concerns to Longstreet about the massing troops breaking his line, but Longstreet assured his commander, "General, if you put every man on the other side of the Potomac on that field to approach me over the same line, and give me plenty of ammunition, I will kill them all before they reach my line." Link
Chancellorsville is known as Lee's "perfect battle" because his risky decision to divide his army in the presence of a much larger enemy force resulted in a significant Confederate victory. The victory, a product of Lee's audacity and Hooker's timid combat performance, was tempered by heavy casualties and the mortal wounding of Lt. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson to friendly fire, a loss that Lee likened to "losing my right arm." Link
The End of the Southern Hopes
The Battle of Chancellorsville. On the Death of 'Stonewall' Jackson, the last Southern Offensive battle ever won concluded. General Lee would rework his Army command into three divisions led by Generals Longstreet, Ewell, and AP Hill. This new Confederate leadership was thrust into action quickly at Gettysburg in early July 1863.
The most controversial assessments of the battle involve the performance of Lee's subordinates. The dominant theme of the Lost Cause writers and many other historians is that Lee's senior generals failed him in crucial ways, directly causing the loss of the battle; the alternative viewpoint is that Lee did not manage his subordinates adequately, and did not thereby compensate for their shortcomings. Two of his corps commanders—Richard S. Ewell and A.P. Hill—had only recently been promoted and were not fully accustomed to Lee's style of command, in which he provided only general objectives and guidance to their former commander, Stonewall Jackson; Jackson translated these into detailed, specific orders to his division commanders. Link
The Kansas City Chiefs had an All-Star troika of Leadership in 2010. Todd Haley was the Wild Card. General Lee was nicknamed the King of Spades. General Lee was not as respected early in the War between the States as he was by its end.
Lee was ridiculed as the 'King of Spades' for his excessive digging of trenches around the capitol. These trenches would later play an pivotal role in battles near the end of the war
Romeo Crennel is the Defensive Genius, as General James Longstreet displayed in his Wartime exploits. Charlie Weis had a flair for the Offensive game plans, just as Thomas Jackson displayed for his season of 1862-1863. The Rebels were un-beatable with solid battle plans and then adjustments as the individual battles or multiple campaigns played out.
Can Todd Haley carry the positive momentum with just his Defensive Coordinator in 2011? How much is Charlie Weis' departure going to hurt?