... rall and a much needed work on this important battle. However, I would like to share a rea= ction I had to one small portion of a prelimary excerpt andJul 22, 2004 1 of 49View Source--- In email@example.com, "James2044" <james2044@h...> wrote:
> I have an "Advanced unedited reading copy" of Timothy B.I am excited about this book and i have faith that it will be excellent ove=
> Smith's "Champion Hill Decisive Battle for Vicksburg" to review.
> This is not the "published" HB version of the book and I can only
> give first impressions at this time....
rall and a much
needed work on this important battle. However, I would like to share a rea=
ction I had to
one small portion of a prelimary excerpt and the email exchange with Ted Sa=
resulted. I feel satisfied that with the exception of the issue I raised t=
he book is going to
> Savas Beatie LLC
> Dear Sir:
> I have been eagerly awaiting the publication of the
> new book "Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for
> Vicksburg". Thus I was excited to discover that
> excerpts could be read on your website. But, after
> reading these excerpts, I became so bothered by one
> particular passage that I have felt moved to comment.
> On page 191 of the excerpt from Chapter 8 appears the
> "Despite his dislike of McClernand, Grant probably
> considered him a better tactician and a more reliable
> field commander than McPherson. Despite what Grant
> later wrote, this conclusion seems evident in the
> tasks Grant assigned McClernand. The advance down the
> west side of the Mississippi River through Louisiana,
> arguably the most important assignment of all, had
> been given to McClernand. The honor of establishing
> the all-important bridgehead on the eastern side of
> the Mississippi, where heavy fighting was expected to
> take place, was given to McClernand and his XIII
> Corps. It was McClernand who was tasked with leading
> the march inland against an uncertain foe through
> difficult terrain. It was McClernand who competently
> waged the battle of Port Gibson and handled his corps
> well thereafter. In similar circumstances but facing a
> far weaker opponent at Raymond, McPherson had fed his
> men piecemeal into the action and was ill-prepared to
> follow up his expensive victory. To McClernand fell
> the task of finding Pemberton's army, and his
> divisions, on Grant's orders, led all three prongs of
> the advance on the morning of May 16."
> In my opinion, the author's claim has no basis in
> research or logic and it has lessened my enthusiasm
> for the book. I had hoped for thorough research and
> well reasoned analysis. I am now concerned that my
> hopes are not to be realized.
> In order to argue his case, the author asks the reader
> to set aside "what Grant later wrote", implying that
> Grant changed his view of McClernand over time. But
> what Grant wrote later is consistent with what he
> wrote at the time of the Vicksburg campaign. For
> example, on December 14, 1862 Grant wrote to
> General-in-Chief Halleck that McClernand was
> "unmanageable and incompetent" while at the same time
> praising McPherson as "worth more than a division of
> Ignoring the statments Grant himself made on the
> subject, the author claims that his conclusion is
> suppported by Grant's task assignments during the
> Vickbsurg campaign. Yet when one actually examines
> Grant's task assignments throughout the campaign the
> author's conclusion is not evident at all.
> During the initial efforts to find a way around
> Vicksburg in February and March of 1863, Grant
> intended that McPherson would take charge of any
> success achieved through either the Yazoo Pass or Lake
> Providence routes; Sherman was given the task of
> overseeing the canal effort across De Soto point and
> managing movements from the mouth of the Yazoo such as
> the Steele's Bayou expedition; while in comparison
> McClernand was relatively idle. Only as a result of
> mitigating circumstances did Grant subsequently give
> McClernand any important task assignments.
> The author refers to the movement from Miliken's Bend
> to Hard Times as "arguably the most important
> assignment of all". I suppose such an argument could
> be made, but that does not answer the question as to
> why Grant chose McClernand to lead this movement. I
> have seen no evidence that indicates Grant selected
> McClernand because he felt McClernand was more
> reliable or more capable while at the same time there
> is evidence that Grant acted from other motives. On
> April 12, 1863, Assistant Secretary of War Dana wrote
> to Secretary of War Stanton with an update of Grant's
> operations. In this letter Dana gives a number of
> reasons why Grant assigned McClernand to lead: he was
> "exceedingly desirous of this command"; he was the
> senior Corps commander; he was "believed to be an
> especial favorite of the President"; "the position
> which his corps occupied on the ground here when this
> movement was first projected was such that the advance
> naturally fell to its lot"; and "McPherson, whom
> General Grant would really much prefer, is away at
> Lake Providence".
> Thus, according to Dana, Grant would have preferred to
> McPherson but he was unavailable. Dana also claims
> that Grant felt the need to accommodate McClernand
> because of his status and political influence. In
> addition, Dana indicates that Grant was aware of
> geographic and logistical constraints that made
> McClernand's force the logical choice to move first.
> Dana's account is consistent with Grant's prior
> statements regarding McClernand and McPherson and is
> supported by a basic understanding of the position of
> forces at the time. Nowhere is it indicated that
> Grant made this choice because he thought McClernand
> was more reliable or a better tactician; while his
> feeling that McClernand was less reliable and less
> competent are well documented. Also telling is the
> way McPherson was pushed to catch up as soon as
> Likewise, the fact that McClernand crossed the
> Mississippi first and met the enemy near Port Gibson
> does not answer the question of why he was in this
> position. Was it reliability or availability? The
> justification given by Dana above continues to apply
> in this situation and McClernand only continued to
> lead as long as Grant had no other option at hand.
> But as soon as Grant could arrange it, McPherson took
> the lead. McPherson led the army in securing the
> crossing of Bayou Pierre and chasing the enemy across
> the Big Black at Hankinson's Ferry. When Grant
> changed the direction of movement toward the railroad
> east, McPherson was moved around McClernand so that
> McPherson could handle the primary task while
> McClernand continued to play a secondary role. As
> shown, when he had the option, Grant selected
> McPherson over McClernand.
> The author also presents McClernand's position
> immediately preceding the battle of Champion Hill an
> indication of Grant's opinion of him relative to the
> other Corps commanders. This may be so, but not in
> the way the author claims. McClernand was in this
> position because he was covering the army's rear while
> Sherman and McPherson assaulted Jackson note how
> Grant did not assign McClernand to that task. Since
> Pemberton began to advance while McPherson and Sherman
> were still in Jackson, Grant was forced to rely on
> McClernand to meet Pemberton. Note how Grant rushed
> McPherson to catch up to McClernand.
> Regarding the battle of Raymond the author makes a
> series of assertions that I find highly questionable.
> While it is true that Gregg was a weaker opponent than
> Bowen had been, McPherson also had a smaller force
> than had McClernand. As a result, at the battle of
> Raymond McPherson did not enjoy any better odds than
> McClernand had at the battle of Port Gibson. It is
> not clear why the author makes the accusation about
> McPherson feeding his force into action piecemeal.
> McPherson deployed his first division before the
> action began. His second division was still coming up
> the road and as elements of it reached the battlefield
> it was committed where needed. Compare this to Port
> Gibson where McClernand engaged first with Carr's
> Division then added Hovey's Division then Smith's
> Division and finally part of Logan's Division.
> Regarding follow-up, the author again seems to have
> the facts confused. McPherson's men advanced from the
> battlefield to the town of Raymond before night
> brought a halt to the movement and the next day they
> advanced to Clinton. In contrast, McClernand's Corps
> went into camp at the end of the battle of Port Gibson
> and it was not until the following day that Port
> Gibson was occupied. McClernand also suffered almost
> twice as many casualties at Port Gibson as McPherson
> suffered at Raymond, thus comparatively McClernand's
> victory had been the expensive one.
> I would appreciate if you could copy this letter to
> the book's author.
> William Keene
"Theodore P. Savas" <editorial@...> wrote:
> Dear William
> Thanks for your very thoughtful candor. I found it
> very interesting.
> In fact, you put your finger on the pulse of one of
> our editorial issues
> we struggle with with most books, including this
> one. Given its extensive
> length (the finished book is 520 pages, nearly
> double the average length),
> many deeper analysis issues that are not directly
> related to the story
> have to be pared down, thinned out, or eliminated.
> The whole
> Grant-McClernand relationship was one of those.
> We hope you will read the book with an eye toward
> the larger picture of
> communicating the story of the battle of Champion
> Hill, and its impact on
> the campaign. It is a story long, long overdue, and
> one we believe to be
> very well done.
> I have emailed this to the author (who is away on
> his honeymoon).
> Thanks again for your comments. We appreciated them
> very much.
> Kind regards,
Has Ed Bearss made any comments or has he given a review on the book, Champion Hill Decisive Battle for Vicksburg by Timothy B. Smith?Dec 15 5:43 PM 49 of 49View Source
Has Ed Bearss made any comments or has he given a review on the book, “Champion Hill Decisive Battle for Vicksburg” by Timothy B. Smith?