47232Re: Was Pemberton Wrong, Bad, Incompetent (Vicksburg Campaign)
- Jan 9, 2013--- In email@example.com, John Lawrence wrote:
>Anyone who faults a plan for having multiple contingencies is probably not going to be very successful at planning anything.
> Yazoo, canal, they all count.
> 7 tries.
If Burnside planned his crossing at Fredericksburg on pontoons, but also created a pioneer corps with instructions to travel downstream, tear down barns, and use the lumber to craft bridges, and also sent scouts to explore the fords, and instructed transports to sail up the river from below ... we wouldn't say this is Burnside attempting to take Fredericksburg four different times, we would say this is Burnside being a wise planner. If the transports were intercepted, the scouts drowned, the pontoons did not arrive, but the federal troops crossed quickly over bridges built from local material by the pioneer corps and took the heights before Lee could arrive, we wouldn't say Burnside failed three times, we would say he succeeded because he was a wise planner.
Let's enumerate and evaluate Grant's "attempts:"
1) Overland: aborted, terminated by Halleck on December 5th.
2) Chickasaw Bayou: failed, but not Grant's plan of campaign, ordered by Lincoln / Halleck on December 5th.
3) Canals: successful. 250 ton (IIRC) steamer Sam Young (again, IIRC) proved the viability of the Lake Providence canal by steaming into Bayou Macon, but the war department failed to provide enough transports for Grant to send McClernand south via this route.
4) Yazoo Pass: failure. Originally slated as a raid on the railroad bridge at Grenada and to clear the Yazoo of supplies and gunboats. Route proved so viable that Grant inserted a division of troops into the mission, but Pemberton successfully threw together a defensive position at Greenwood. If any of these were to be considered a separate attempt, it would be this one. But again, this was an integrated part of Grant's original plan. And it had the unintended consequence of taking Pemberton's scouts off the table and leading Pemberton to believe that Grant was retreating back to Memphis. Also, now that I think of it, this move also broke the chain across the Yazoo at Snyder's Bluff, which helped convince Pemberton he could not afford to send reinforcements to Bowen at Port Gibson.
5) Steele Bayou: failed, but not Grant's plan. This was Porter making a last-ditch effort to avoid doing what Grant had asked of him: run the gauntlet with his fleet to facilitate a move south.
6) ? what was the other attempt you had in mind?
7) Move south with his army and strike at Vicksburg from below: successful. This was the plan put forth by Grant in January, when he also ordered 3 & 4 towards that goal.
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