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20395[civilwarwest] Re: Wilson Creek, et. al.

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  • L.A. Chambliss
    Aug 13, 1999
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      My very favorite "What If?" about Wilson's Creek involves the following
      scenario--What If it had been Franz "I Fights Mit" Sigel who had been
      killed in the battle, and Nathaniel "I Fights Mit D*mn Near Anybody,
      Including My Bosses" Lyon who had survived?

      Lyon may have been lacking in tact, civility, manners, and great tactical
      judgement (although almost nobody had great tactical judgement this early
      in the war, IMHO), but he absolutely had the "damn the torpedoes, full
      speed ahead!" attitude so rare in Union commanders.
      If he would have stayed just a little further back from the firing line,
      and ridden a slightly less conspicuous horse......Alas.

      Whereas Sigel could have performed his most useful duty, inspiring German
      immigrants to enlist in the Federal army, just as well from Valhalla as he
      did on Earth. This would have had the added benefit of sparing his troops
      his battlefield "leadership", which made Lyon's look sterling in
      comparison.

      However, I think it is time for a writeup in CWI about Fremont. His
      adventures in St. Louis durn near cost the Union the state that Lyon gave
      his life to save, and he (Fremont) hasn't got half the kicking around by
      history that he deserves. ;)

      Laurie (Xan) Chambliss
      Civil War Interactive
      www.almshouse.com

      > 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.
      >
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