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42656Re: JEJ and the Atlanta Campaign

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  • Bill Bruner
    Dec 3, 2006
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      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, GnrlJEJohnston@... wrote:
      >
      > In a message dated 10/5/2004 5:06:33 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
      > DPowell334@... writes:
      > The classic one of the best generals of history. In order to
      outflank
      > Johnston, Sherman had to divide his army. Each time he does, he
      takes a grave risk of
      > being defeated in detail or cut off himself. JEJ has the advantage
      of
      > interior lines.
      >
      > Add to that the increase in Strength when Polk arrives, and
      suddenly, JEJ has
      > 75,000 men, more like 3/4 of Sherman's army, without the need to
      divide
      > forces or take nearly as grave risks as Sherman.
      > Dividing his army would not have nor did it harm Sherman in any
      way. The
      > Army of the Cumberland alone equalled Johnston's strength so in no
      way did he
      > risk anything. Even when Polk arrived, he still would have been
      able and did use
      > McPherson and Schofield for the flanking movements, leaving a
      force in front
      > of Johnston equal to his own.. Each time that a flanking movement
      was used,
      > it put Johnston's supply line in danger. Without that supply
      line, the AoT was
      > doomed. Johnston was wise enough not to try to use the same
      tactics that
      > Hood did. Yes, Johnston did wait until Sherman made an error, but
      Sherman did
      > not make many errors. One golden opportunity was at Cassville,
      but then again,
      > Hood screwed that up. Sherman's biggest mistake was at Kennesaw,
      for he too,
      > found out the fruitility of frontal assaults.
      >
      > Johnston faced two enemies. One being Sherman., and the other,
      his
      > subordinates Hood, Polk, and Wheeler, who were continually
      conniving with Jeff Davis
      > behind his back.
      >
      > At Cassville, Johnston did divide his forces along two diverging
      roads below
      > Adairsville anticipating that Sherman would divide his forces as
      well. He
      > planned to attack and destroy one column before the other column
      could arrive to
      > assist as a reserve. The plan was a sound one however it never
      came off on
      > May 19th after Hood declined to attack. That night at Polk's
      Headquarters, it
      > was Hood and Polk that convinced JEJ not to hold his position for
      they felt it
      > was too weak and that they should fall back across the Etowah
      River. It was
      > then that Johnston ordered a strategic withdrawl into the
      Allatoona Mountains.
      > By JEJ crossing the Etowah, Sherman himself called the Etowah
      the "Rubicon of
      > Georgia."
      >
      > At New Hope Church, Sherman hastily ordered an attack of that
      intersection.
      > Hooker in tangled underbrush, advanced his three divisions abreast
      in column
      > of brigades - one behind another. In doing so, their front was
      narrow and A.P.
      > Stewarts division (go get them Sam) supported by a 16 gun
      artillery
      > battalion, poured devestating fire into the concentrated Union
      forces, even after a
      > violent lightning and thunder storm erupted during the fighting
      with torrents of
      > rain. Hooker was defeated and Johnston's forces retained
      possession of the
      > intersection.
      >
      > Once again at Pickett's Mill two days later, Howard used the same
      formation
      > that Hooker had used at New Hope Church and the results were the
      same. With
      > Hazen's lead brigade advanced up the ravine, Confederates under
      Cleburn
      > supported by a pair of howitzer's, tore the Union formation into
      pieces as it did two
      > other Union brigades committed by Howard at 40 minute intervals.
      With a
      > horrendious defeat at Pickett's Mill, it is no wonder that Sherman
      any mention of
      > that battle in his official report or later on as well.
      >
      > Sherman then moved back to the railroad and an attack by JEJ's
      Bate's
      > division and Confederate cavalry was unsuccessful upon
      McPherson's troops at Dallas,
      > Despite several attacks to try to keep Sherman away from the
      railroad, they
      > were to no avail and Sherman was able to occupy Acworth.
      >
      > Up to this point of time, JEJ had suffered relatively few
      casualties yet
      > inflicted quite a bit of damage to Sherman's army. He began to
      receive a few
      > reinforcements and since May 5th, had continually blocked all
      Sherman's thrusts
      > against his supply line, and more importantly, had turned back all
      of Sherman's
      > assaults.
      >
      > One may fault JEJ that the withdrawls, and they were strategic
      withdrawls,
      > not retreats in the face of the enemy, resulted in consequent
      loss of
      > territory. However, to fault JEJ's generalship in doing so is
      flagrantly wrong. The
      > Confederacy had no other leader, except perhaps Lee, that could
      have delayed
      > Sherman as long as Johnston did, with a minimal loss of troops.
      Each time he
      > made a withdrawl, JEJ made sure that defensive positions were
      begun before the
      > withdrawl began by his pioneers. JEJ continually held the high
      ground and
      > could see every move that the Union army made. As Sherman wrote
      to his wife
      > Ellen, "These fellows fight like Devils and Indians combined and
      calls for all my
      > cunning and strength." It is no wonder that Sherman called
      Johnston his
      > greatest adversary. IMHO, during the Atlanta campaign, one can
      find generalship
      > at its best both by Johnston and Sherman.
      >
      >
      >
      > Best Regards
      > JEJ


      Excellent post, General
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