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27928Re: Book Review - "Confusion Compounded: The Battle of Raymond"

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  • slippymississippi
    Jun 28, 2004
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      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "b_schulte70"
      <brettschulte@b...> wrote:
      > I thoroughly enjoyed reading this pamphlet. Grabau has an
      > interesting style and kept me interested throughout. I read the book
      > in two sittings. It consists of 92 pages, mostly text, although the
      > book does contain 9 maps, an excellent ratio and one that I'm
      > looking forward to when I read Ninety-Eight Days...
      > a pamphlet of this size. There was no index, but considering this
      > book was a Blue and Gray Education Society pamphlet, that is to be
      > expected. It may be very difficult to fins this pamphlet, as I
      > bought mine from the bookstore at Vicksburg National Battlefield.
      > I would instead recommend buying Ninety-Eight Days, since this
      > pamphlet is basically just an expanded chapter from that book.

      Grabau's "Battle of Raymond" mini-book is the only place I have seen
      his explanation of "refraction" of the line of battle by geographic
      countours, streams, and woods. An application of this concept to the
      battle of Shiloh explains perfectly why the Hornet's Nest position
      was so deadly: units in line approaching the area would refract to
      the left, entering the field with their right flank exposed to the
      Union position several hundred yards away. This meant the units
      would be forced to stop and regroup within rifle distance of the
      Union line, then charge the position across an open field. It's no
      surprise then that the Confederates never managed to carry the
      Hornet's Nest by assault.

      Ninety-Eight Days only briefly hints at this problem in its analysis
      of Port Gibson (IIRC), in which federal units attempting to assault
      the next hilltop over would get so turned around in the tangles that
      choked the valleys that a couple of units almost assaulted the
      positions they had just left (again, IIRC). However, Raymond is the
      only battle in which this factor played a decisive role in the
      action. The mini-booklet is well worth reading separately for this
      fact.

      One thing that Grabau touches upon in 98 Days is the intel advantage
      enjoyed by the Union in the Vicksburg theatre of operations. Grant
      consistently enjoyed "help" from "wandering locals," whereas the only
      information that Pemberton seemed to be getting from the locals was
      disinformation. Grabau points out that Occam's Razor demands that we
      consider these "wandering locals" to be Unionist agents, either
      employed by Grant as Grabau asserts or acting in support of a
      widespread Unionist underground.
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