Originally Posted by polishshooter
. . . keeping an "Army in Being," letting Lee and Marion conduct "Guerrilla" warfare when the British tried an "expedition" through the SAME areas the Union forces would have to try in 1863, all the while seeking and GETTING foreign recognition and support....
Wrong again, Polish. Had such a strategy been followed, Little Mac, or some other equally incompetent Yankee commander, would simply have taken Richmond and the war would have been over. The Army of Northern Virginia HAD to fight . . . real battles against real armies. The ONLY hope the Confederacy had for victory lay with one of three possibilities . . .
1. A decisive thrust of such magnitude and effect that the Union could not protect Washington, the Army of the Potomac in ruins. This was what Lee hoped to accomplish both in 1862 ending at Sharpsburg, and again in 1863 at Gettysburg. He nearly pulled it off.
2. Defeat of every thrust the Yankees made against the South in the hope that the Union would grow weary of the war and sue for a negotiated peace which would have given the Confederacy its independence. This nearly happened. Look at the Copperhead movement in the North and the draft riots in New York. Had it not been for Lincoln's steadfast resolve, I believe that is precisely what would have happened.
3. Full recognition of the Confederacy by Great Britain, France, and Russia and active participation in the Confederate effort by at least Great Britain. This almost happened with the Mason / Slidel incident. Absent some causus belli like that incident, one which would have precipitated war between the Union and Britain, recognition was simply not going to happen. While many in Britain favored the Confederate cause, Britain was not willing to appear as a supporter of slavery. Open recognition was simply not in the cards.