20393[civilwarwest] Re: Wilson Creek, et. al.
- Aug 13, 1999Terry Bieberly wrote:
>Interesting and informative post. I, for one, hope to be able to visit
> I come to you quite new at all this, but excited at the opportunity
> being afforded to me. I am woefully inadequate in many areas of Civil
> War history, but I am willing and hopefully, capable of learning. I
> look forward to being enlightened by all of you.....
that battlefield one day. Most of us are woefully inadequate when it
comes to the Western Theater of operations in the Civil War. Wilson's
Creek, though small in comparison to many battles in the war, played an
important role. We all tend to use the "casualty" count as a yardstick
for the importance of a battle or as who won or who lost. For instance
at Wilson's Creek the Confederates are considered the victors. But at
what cost. The Federals killed or wounded 214 Confederates for every
1,000 of their own troops engaged, whereas the Confederates inflicted
only 81 casualties on the same basis. Interesting numbers. There is a
lot of "what ifs" in this battle. What if Lyons had not been killed?
Would he have ordered the same retreat as Sturgis did? What if the
Confederates had vigorously pursued the Federals in their retreat? The
questions go on and on.
The same type questions can be asked of many of the battles in the west.
What if Bragg had vigorously pursued "ole Rosey" after Chickamauga. Even
failing that why didn't his (Bragg) engineers properly fortify
Missionary Ridge after they reached Chattanooga? Even though the ridge
has no "natural" military crest, with the time they had one could have
been constructed and with it in place no army in the world could have
taken the ridge the way the Federals did. How about Shiloh, would the
outcome of the war have been changed had A.S. Johnston not been killed?
How about the Atlanta Campaign. What would have happened if Joe Johnston
had not squandered one of the finest armies the Confederates ever
fielded with his delay and retreat tactics, and stopped the Federal army
dead in their tracks. The topics are virtually endless in this area.
It is my hope that as this group grows and matures the knowledge we
impart and gain will make us all better "keepers of the history of the
war." I know there are many in the group like me that have a totally
deficient reservoir of knowledge when it comes to the war in the west.
However, on the other hand, their are those amongst us that have a vast
amount of knowledge in this area and if the past is any indication of
the future they are more than willing to share.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Dick (a.k.a. Shotgun)
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