Lee’s Bold Plan for Point Lookout

The Rescue of Confederate Prisoners That Never Happened

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SKU: 9780786435555 Categories: , ,

About the Book

In July 1864, while hemmed in by Grant at Richmond, General Robert E. Lee conceived a bold plan designed not only to relieve Lynchburg and protect the Confederate supply line but also to ultimately make a bold move on Washington itself. A major facet of this plan, with the addition of General Jubal Early’s forces, became the rescue of the almost 15,000 Confederate prisoners at Point Lookout, a large Union prison camp at the confluence of the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. With international recognition hanging in the balance for the Confederacy, the failure of Lee’s plan saved the Union and ultimately changed the course of the war.
This work focuses on the many factors that contributed to this eventual failure, including Early’s somewhat inexplicable hesitancy, a significant loss of time for Confederate troops en route, and aggressive defensive action by Union General Lew Wallace. It also discusses various circumstances such as Washington’s stripped defenses, the potential release of imprisoned Southern troops and a breakdown of Union military intelligence that made Lee’s gamble a brilliant, well-founded strategy.

About the Author(s)

Retired attorney Jack E. Schairer lives near Madison, Wisconsin. In addition to professional articles, his previous work includes a novel and a book of poetry.

Bibliographic Details

Jack E. Schairer
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 265
Bibliographic Info: 79 photos, maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3555-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8930-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

1. Introduction      3

2. Lee Was an Audacious Man      8

3. Plans to Capture Washington and Point Lookout      23

4. Trevilian Station      29

5. General Hunter Fails to Move in the Shenandoah Valley as Directed      36

6. Lee’s Bold Plan, Phase I      53

7. Early’s Fateful Decision      70

8. Washington’s Defenses Undermanned      74

9. Point Lookout Prison Camp Vulnerable to Attack      89

10. Early Tarries on the Upper Potomac      98

11. A Lack of Shoes Causes Delay      110

12. Grant Fails to Meet Early’s Threat      113

13. Early Hindered by Lack of Cooperation with Mosby      122

14. Washington’s Defenses Depleted by Removal of Troops to Maryland Heights      126

15. Seaborne Attack on Point Lookout in Conjunction with Early’s Forces Called Off      130

16. Wallace Aggressively Contests Early’s Move to Frederick      136

17. General Ransom Costs Early Time      143

18. Hunter and Howe Fail to Move to Threaten Early      147

19. Confederates Fail to Secure Bridge at Monocacy Junction      154

20. Early Delayed by Battle of the Monocacy      157

21. Johnson-Gilmor Raid Toward Baltimore and Point Lookout      164

22. Wallace’s Retreat to Baltimore Aids Early’s Advance on Washington      170

23. Hot Weather Slows Early’s Move on Washington      173

24. Early Loses Opportunity to Enter Washington at Fort Stevens      176

25. Veteran Reserve Troops and Convalescing Officers Help Defend Washington      185

26. Quartermaster Employees Serve in Washington’s Defense      192

27. Lack of Intelligence on Washington Defenses Handicaps Early      196

28. Actions at the Blair Mansions a Minor Factor in Early’s Failure to Enter Washington      200

29. McCook’s Force Outside Fort Stevens Deters Early’s Assault      205

30. Convalescing Union Troops Help Defend Washington      207

31. Lincoln Under Fire at Fort Stevens      210

32. Foreign Recognition of the Confederacy and Lincoln’s Problematic Reelection      213

33. Epilogue: Early Reconsidered      221

Chapter Notes      225

Bibliography      243

Index      251