> I don't have a map handy, but couldn't Sherman have started Hooker's
> men (~20,000) marching from Dug Gap (not too far away) through Snake
> Creek Gap on the heels of McPherson? That way, Mac would have known
> that he had sufficient force available--certainly enough to hold a
> defensive position against Johnston. With Mac's troops already
> there, the Confederates couldn't keep Hooker out. Even if, Johnston
> noticed Hooker moving, it would have been too late.
> If such a move was planned in advance, it would have been even
> easier; I can see no likely way in which Johnston could have noticed
> that Hooker's men--if kept behind McPherson's--would have been
> noticed in time for the Rebels to have done any better. The
> Confederates didn't see Mac going through the gap with the first
I agree in general with this proposition, but you wouldn't want to
leave Dug Gap open for a flanking move would you? This requires
bringing troops from farther north to fill the gap (so to speak).
Such sideways movements by entire armies were not unheard of, but were
more complicated and thus more prone to error. Such a move might also
tip your hand to Johnston.