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Re: What the historians say (Snake Creek Gap)

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  • wh_keene
    Or, at the very least, ensured that McPherson had adequate cavalry on hand. Yes! I am with you on that one. Maybe we could just ignore my swooning comment.
    Message 1 of 27 , Mar 30 6:19 PM
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      "Or, at the very least, ensured that McPherson had adequate cavalry
      on hand."

      Yes! I am with you on that one.

      Maybe we could just ignore my swooning comment. It came out becuase
      I have had other such discussions where I have been told becuase a
      historian says it that must be right and I must be wrong.






      --- In civilwarwest@y..., David Woodbury <woodbury@s...> wrote:
      > >At 12:21 AM +0000 3/31/02, wh_keene wrote:
      > >Me swooning under the weight of all these historians. :)
      >
      > No swooning required. I thought people might find it interesting.
      Are
      > you not interested in what many consider the foremost scholars on
      the
      > Atlanta Campaign have to say on the matter?
      >
      > >Fresh from reading and rereading the
      > >confederate correspondence section of the ORs, I detected several
      > >mistakes in the few pages I read in Connelly's book.
      >
      > Not knowing what you're referring to exactly, it is difficult for
      me
      > to comment on your claim to have done a more accurate reading of
      > Confederate correspondence than Connelly.
      >
      > >Since you said you only picked the historians who reject the
      Wheeler
      > >scape-goating, what do the others say. Put me down on the list
      that
      > >rejects the McPherson scape-goating.
      >
      > The pure Johnston apologists admit of no responsibility on
      Johnston's
      > part (the buck definitely doesn't stop with him). They mainly
      blame
      > Wheeler -- and I will say that even James McPherson (the Princeton
      > guy) in his "Battle Cry of Freedom" attributes it to a lapse among
      > the cavalry arm. Mackall got the ball rolling by saying some
      unnamed
      > person was guilty of "flagrant disobedience of orders." It's just
      > that none of them explain the incongruity inherent in Johnston's
      > (memoir) boast to have "minutely" examined Rocky Face Ridge in the
      > months prior -- and his preoccupation with all of the other major
      > gaps -- while holding Wheeler strictly responsible for Snake Creek
      > Gap.
      >
      > But let me say this, before you pigeonhole me -- I think McPherson
      > acted weakly and could have fulfilled his orders. I think he had
      > enough force to bring about a major victory, and imagine that some
      > other generals in his place would have done the job. But I place
      > ultimate blame on Sherman. It was such a great opportunity, and
      > attacking the other gaps required fewer troops -- he should have
      gone
      > with Thomas's suggestion. Or, at the very least, ensured that
      > McPherson had adequate cavalry on hand.
      >
      > >Based on his record from Ft. Donelson to Resaca, I find McPherson
      to
      > >be one of the better generals the U.S. had during the war.
      >
      > Based on what, specifically?
      >
      > David
    • wh_keene
      I wrote: Based on his record from Ft. Donelson to Resaca, I find McPherson to be one of the better generals the U.S. had during the war. David asked: Based
      Message 2 of 27 , Mar 30 7:11 PM
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        I wrote: "Based on his record from Ft. Donelson to Resaca, I find
        McPherson to be one of the better generals the U.S. had during the
        war."

        David asked: "Based on what, specifically?"

        -----------------------------------------
        Quick Thoughts on McPherson

        Talented at engineering including railroading, bridge building,
        mapping and fortifications. Solid success at handling staff duties,
        engineering duties, small battle formations and Corps. Was well
        liked and respected. Never had the sort of problems with superiors
        or subordinates that plagued many generals.

        Career Highlights for 1862-1863:

        Assigned as Chief of Engineers to Grant in time for move on Fort
        Henry & Donelson. Involved in reconnaissance and positioning
        artillery for the action at Donelson. Soon became a central part of
        Grant's staff team.

        At Shiloh, he was stationed at WH Wallace's camp when Grant returned
        to Savannah at night. As a result, when the attack began and Grant
        was not yet present, McPherson was involved in directing and
        positioning forces from the rear to the front, acting as a surrogate
        for Grant until he arrived. Much of that afternoon was spent trying
        to get Lew Wallace to arrive at the right place.

        Command of engineers brigade during and after campaign against
        Corinth. Worked on rebuilding railway system in western Tennessee.
        Did well, praised, no complaints, no foul ups.

        In early October directed by Grant to collect a several regiments
        along the rail line and go to reinforce Rosecrans at Corinth. Acts
        with speed and skill. Part of Rosecrans pursuit force—the only part
        that performs well.

        Commands Division in Grant's move into N. Mississippi. Through
        maneuver and good use of cavalry, he turns Pemberton out of position
        on the Tallachatchie.

        Commander of Corps under Grant during Vickburg campaing. Fights
        battles of Raymond, Jackson and Champion Hill plus is part of
        assaults on Vicksburg of May 19th and 22nd and siege that follows.
        Does well in all cases. At Champion Hill his forces were the only
        ones fully committed. Tactically it was his victory.

        Temporary command of Department of Tennessee when Sherman takes
        portion of army to Chattanooga.




        --- In civilwarwest@y..., David Woodbury <woodbury@s...> wrote:
        > >At 12:21 AM +0000 3/31/02, wh_keene wrote:
        > >Me swooning under the weight of all these historians. :)
        >
        > No swooning required. I thought people might find it interesting.
        Are
        > you not interested in what many consider the foremost scholars on
        the
        > Atlanta Campaign have to say on the matter?
        >
        > >Fresh from reading and rereading the
        > >confederate correspondence section of the ORs, I detected several
        > >mistakes in the few pages I read in Connelly's book.
        >
        > Not knowing what you're referring to exactly, it is difficult for
        me
        > to comment on your claim to have done a more accurate reading of
        > Confederate correspondence than Connelly.
        >
        > >Since you said you only picked the historians who reject the
        Wheeler
        > >scape-goating, what do the others say. Put me down on the list
        that
        > >rejects the McPherson scape-goating.
        >
        > The pure Johnston apologists admit of no responsibility on
        Johnston's
        > part (the buck definitely doesn't stop with him). They mainly
        blame
        > Wheeler -- and I will say that even James McPherson (the Princeton
        > guy) in his "Battle Cry of Freedom" attributes it to a lapse among
        > the cavalry arm. Mackall got the ball rolling by saying some
        unnamed
        > person was guilty of "flagrant disobedience of orders." It's just
        > that none of them explain the incongruity inherent in Johnston's
        > (memoir) boast to have "minutely" examined Rocky Face Ridge in the
        > months prior -- and his preoccupation with all of the other major
        > gaps -- while holding Wheeler strictly responsible for Snake Creek
        > Gap.
        >
        > But let me say this, before you pigeonhole me -- I think McPherson
        > acted weakly and could have fulfilled his orders. I think he had
        > enough force to bring about a major victory, and imagine that some
        > other generals in his place would have done the job. But I place
        > ultimate blame on Sherman. It was such a great opportunity, and
        > attacking the other gaps required fewer troops -- he should have
        gone
        > with Thomas's suggestion. Or, at the very least, ensured that
        > McPherson had adequate cavalry on hand.
        >
        > >Based on his record from Ft. Donelson to Resaca, I find McPherson
        to
        > >be one of the better generals the U.S. had during the war.
        >
        > Based on what, specifically?
        >
        > David
      • FLYNSWEDE@AOL.COM
        Two years ago, I had the priviledge of spending a week with Ed Bearss, Wiley Sword, Richard McMurray, Ted Alexander, and Will Greene. During this period of
        Message 3 of 27 , Mar 30 7:34 PM
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          Two years ago, I had the priviledge of spending a week with Ed Bearss, Wiley Sword, Richard McMurray, Ted Alexander,  and Will Greene.  During this period of time, we ate together, drank together, and picked each others minds and debated with each other.  During that period of time,  I came to the conclusion, which has not changed, that McMurray was extremely biased towards Hood,  and extremely anti-biased against Sherman, Thomas, Cheatham, Cleburne, Johnston, and Polk.  Myself, and I was not alone, therefore held little credence in referencing him as a result of this bias.  It was pointed out during the debates, that meanings within correspondence were twisted to meet the needs of the author, with reflections on McMurray.  Personally, I like him quite a bit as an individual and had a lot of fun with him, but on the other hand, I  personally have a difficult time in accepting what he says as gospel truth.  There are several other authors and historians that are friends of mine feel the same way.

          But then as Wakefield says, I too could be wrong.

          Wayne
        • hartshje
          Dave, I am of the opinion that Johnston was inadequately prepared to defend any against any large enemy movement through SCG. However, in regards to one of
          Message 4 of 27 , Mar 30 9:16 PM
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            Dave,

            I am of the opinion that Johnston was inadequately prepared to
            defend any against any large enemy movement through SCG. However, in
            regards to one of your references (see below), I disagree with the
            premise that McPherson had the opportunity of a lifetime. I cannot
            understand why proponents of this view believe that by breaking the
            rail line and holding Resaca Johnston would be forced to "flee into
            the wilderness" or face certain destruction.

            If we assume that McPherson brought his entire 24,000 men to Resaca
            and occupied it, he would be a sitting duck. The rest of Sherman's
            army was still sitting impotent in front of Rocky Face Ridge. Polk
            would have been south of McPherson with 18,000 men. 4,000 more were
            already on the scene, and Johnston could have moved another 18,000
            more down from Dalton WITHOUT abandoning his "impregnable" position
            there. McPherson would be in a trap between 40,000 Confederates,
            with any chance of help from Sherman at least two days away. And if
            Johnston regained control of the gap, McPherson could not have
            escaped.

            A similar situation occurred at 2nd Manassas when Stonewall's "large
            raiding party" consisting of his entire corp (25,000) descended in
            Pope's rear. Well, if Pope had blocked Thoroughfare Gap to detain
            Longstreet any longer than it already took him to reach the
            battlefield, Pope would have finished Jackson off. It was a very
            near thing as it was. Please excuse my E.T. comparison.

            Regards,
            Joe H.

            --- In civilwarwest@y..., David Woodbury <woodbury@s...> wrote:
            > Just to add more fuel to the fire, I've selectively gathered some
            > commentary by various historians (those who reject the Wheeler
            > scape-goating) showing how they weigh in on the question of whether
            > Johnston was surprised by the Snake Creek Gap maneuver.
            > -----------------------------------------------------------
            > "(1) A large Union force was able to pass through the easily
            > defended Snake Creek Gap unopposed and, until almost too late,
            > undetected. (2)If this force had been as strong and aggressive as
            > it should have been, it would without difficulty have taken Resaca
            > and blocked his direct line of retreat, thereby obliging him to
            > flee into the wilderness of northeast Georgia. (3) Even as it was
            > he was compelled to relinquish a tactically impregnable position at
            > Dalton and make a night retreat to a strategically untenable
            > position at Resaca, whence he again had to retreat at night after
            > suffering severe losses in futile counterattacks. Although Johnston
            > conducted both retreats in a timely and skillful fashion, only luck
            > and the overcaution of the Federals saved his army from disaster.
            > (183). The truth of the matter is that Johnston was caught badly
            > off guard by the Snake Creek Gap maneuver."
            > --Albert Castel, in "Decision in the West," pp. 183, 185.
            >
          • carlw4514
            There is a certain point at which an attempt to strangle an opponent by cutting his supply line is either done with adequate numbers, or is quite dicey. Lee
            Message 5 of 27 , Mar 31 7:05 AM
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              There is a certain point at which an attempt to strangle an opponent
              by cutting his supply line is either done with adequate numbers, or is
              quite dicey. Lee and Jackson had a near thing, as Joe says; also at
              Wilson's Creek, Sigel's manuever successfully cut a supply line,
              achieving undebatable surprise [g] . Yet Sigel absolutely got his
              clock cleaned, his force was quite inadequate.
              carl
              --- In civilwarwest@y..., "hartshje" <Hartshje@a...> wrote:
              > Dave,
              >
              > I am of the opinion that Johnston was inadequately prepared to
              > defend any against any large enemy movement through SCG. However, in
              > regards to one of your references (see below), I disagree with the
              > premise that McPherson had the opportunity of a lifetime. I cannot
              > understand why proponents of this view believe that by breaking the
              > rail line and holding Resaca Johnston would be forced to "flee into
              > the wilderness" or face certain destruction.
              >
              > If we assume that McPherson brought his entire 24,000 men to Resaca
              > and occupied it, he would be a sitting duck. The rest of Sherman's
              > army was still sitting impotent in front of Rocky Face Ridge. Polk
              > would have been south of McPherson with 18,000 men. 4,000 more were
              > already on the scene, and Johnston could have moved another 18,000
              > more down from Dalton WITHOUT abandoning his "impregnable" position
              > there. McPherson would be in a trap between 40,000 Confederates,
              > with any chance of help from Sherman at least two days away. And if
              > Johnston regained control of the gap, McPherson could not have
              > escaped.
              >
              > A similar situation occurred at 2nd Manassas when Stonewall's "large
              > raiding party" consisting of his entire corp (25,000) descended in
              > Pope's rear. Well, if Pope had blocked Thoroughfare Gap to detain
              > Longstreet any longer than it already took him to reach the
              > battlefield, Pope would have finished Jackson off. It was a very
              > near thing as it was. Please excuse my E.T. comparison.
              >
              > Regards,
              > Joe H.
              >
              > --- In civilwarwest@y..., David Woodbury <woodbury@s...> wrote:
              > > Just to add more fuel to the fire, I've selectively gathered some
              > > commentary by various historians (those who reject the Wheeler
              > > scape-goating) showing how they weigh in on the question of whether
              > > Johnston was surprised by the Snake Creek Gap maneuver.
              > > -----------------------------------------------------------
              > > "(1) A large Union force was able to pass through the easily
              > > defended Snake Creek Gap unopposed and, until almost too late,
              > > undetected. (2)If this force had been as strong and aggressive as
              > > it should have been, it would without difficulty have taken Resaca
              > > and blocked his direct line of retreat, thereby obliging him to
              > > flee into the wilderness of northeast Georgia. (3) Even as it was
              > > he was compelled to relinquish a tactically impregnable position at
              > > Dalton and make a night retreat to a strategically untenable
              > > position at Resaca, whence he again had to retreat at night after
              > > suffering severe losses in futile counterattacks. Although Johnston
              > > conducted both retreats in a timely and skillful fashion, only luck
              > > and the overcaution of the Federals saved his army from disaster.
              > > (183). The truth of the matter is that Johnston was caught badly
              > > off guard by the Snake Creek Gap maneuver."
              > > --Albert Castel, in "Decision in the West," pp. 183, 185.
              > >
            • carlw4514
              I don t see any mention of Wheeler s role. ... victory. ... edition, p. 329.
              Message 6 of 27 , Mar 31 7:08 AM
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                I don't see any mention of Wheeler's role.

                --- In civilwarwest@y..., David Woodbury <woodbury@s...> wrote:
                > Just to add more fuel to the fire, I've selectively gathered some
                > commentary by various historians (those who reject the Wheeler
                > scape-goating) showing how they weigh in on the question of whether
                > Johnston was surprised by the Snake Creek Gap maneuver.
                > -----------
                >
                > "Thus, notwithstanding Johnston's understandable preoccupation with
                > his Rocky Face front (as Sherman hoped), given the threat to the
                > safety of his army posed by a strong enemy column marching beyond his
                > flank and threatening his railroad and rear, Johnston must be blamed
                > unequivocally for a huge tactical blunder. What response he made
                > during May 7-8, the critical days of the enemy turning movement, was
                > completely inadequate. As the threat to Snake Creek Gap developed,
                > Johnston moved no infantry from his line. His hope that Polk,
                > expected to arrive at Rome on May 9, might help meet the threat was
                > unrealistic, as was the idea that 4,000 men assumed to be at Resaca
                > could prevent McPherson from cutting his vital supply line to the
                > rear."
                > --Stephen Davis, in "Atlanta Will Fall," p. 42
                >
                > "(1) A large Union force was able to pass through the easily defended
                > Snake Creek Gap unopposed and, until almost too late, undetected. (2)
                > If this force had been as strong and aggressive as it should have
                > been, it would without difficulty have taken Resaca and blocked his
                > direct line of retreat, thereby obliging him to flee into the
                > wilderness of northeast Georgia. (3) Even as it was he was compelled
                > to relinquish a tactically impregnable position at Dalton and m ake a
                > night retreat to a strategically untenable posiion at Resaca, whence
                > he again had to retreat at night after sufering severe losses in
                > futile counterattacks. Althought Johnston conducted both retreats in
                > a timely and skillful fashion, only luck and the overcaution of the
                > Federals saved his army from disaster. (183). The truth of the matter
                > is that Johnston was caught badly off guard by the Snake Creek Gap
                > maneuver."
                > --Albert Castel, in "Decision in the West," pp. 183, 185.
                >
                > "He had left Snake Creek Gap completely open, and his defenses at
                > Resaca were suited for protecting the bridges there from a cavalry
                > raid, not for holding off a major attack by a large force. The place
                > to have defended Resaca against such a force as Sherman sent against
                > it from the northwest was Snake Creek Gap. Johnston's failure to
                > guard that passage was one of the great mistakes of the war."
                > --Richard McMurry, in "Atlanta 1864," p.66
                >
                > "Only on over cautious Yankee commander (Maj. Gen. James B.
                > McPherson) saved Johnston from an embarrassing, if not fatal, defeat
                > at the very outset of the campaign."
                > --Richard McMurry, in "A Policy so Disastrous, Joseph E.
                > Johnston's Atlanta Campaign," in "The Campaign for Atlanta and
                > Sherman's March to the Sea," pp. 234-244.
                >
                > "McPherson was cautious, and he missed his opportunity for a major
                victory."
                > --Jay Luvaas, in "The Civil War Battlefield Guide," 2nd
                edition, p. 329.
                >
                > "Johnston completely ignored Snake Creek Gap, and made no inquiries
                > as to its status."
                > --Thomas Lawrence Connelly, in "Autumn of Glory," p. 336
                >
                > "Though vastly superior in numbers, McPherson decided not to launch a
                > direct assault and instead pulled back to await reinforcements."
                > --Craig L. Symonds, 'Atlanta Campaign,' in "The Encyclopedia of
                > the Confederacy," vol. 1, p. 113.
                >
                > "Any analysis of the opening phase of the campaign must concentrate
                > on the march through Snake Creek Gap -- the Confederate failure to
                > guard it, and the consequent ease with which the movement was made --
                > as well as -- the failure of the Federals to fully exploit the the
                > opportunity thus presented.
                > --William Scaife, in "The Campaign for Atlanta," p. 24.
              • dmercado
                ... Joe, You are right about the possibility of McPherson being threatened if he stayed at Resaca. But that was not his orders. He was to make a strike
                Message 7 of 27 , Mar 31 11:35 AM
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                  --- In civilwarwest@y..., "hartshje" <Hartshje@a...> wrote:
                  > I disagree with the premise that McPherson had the opportunity of a
                  >lifetime.
                  > ...
                  > McPherson would be in a trap between 40,000 Confederates,
                  > with any chance of help from Sherman at least two days away.

                  Joe,
                  You are right about the possibility of McPherson being threatened if
                  he stayed at Resaca. But that was not his orders. He was to make a
                  strike against the communications in and around Resaca and then
                  return and fortify at SCG.

                  General Thomas' original plan was to take his Army of the
                  Cumberland through the gap, take Resaca, and hold it against all
                  comers with his 60,000 men. Sherman, however, was more of a
                  glorified raider. He just wanted McPherson to perhaps destroy the
                  bridge and then lay in wait at SCG to hit the flank of the retreating
                  AOT. The plan was not nearly as bold as Thomas' and failed due
                  to the timidity of McPherson. However Sherman, ultimately, was
                  responsible for changing Thomas' plan into a raid.

                  One thing that has not been mentioned was that one of the reasons
                  given by McPherson as to his troubles was that his men were without
                  food all day on the 9th. What commander goes into battle without
                  several-days ration stashed on their men? McPherson was a good
                  engineer but apparently not much on logistics. Best regards,
                  Dave
                • wh_keene
                  The plan was not nearly as bold as Thomas ... This would indicate that the source of the timidity was in the planning. One could say that it was Sherman
                  Message 8 of 27 , Mar 31 11:55 AM
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                    "The plan was not nearly as bold as Thomas'..."

                    This would indicate that the source of the timidity was in the
                    planning. One could say that it was Sherman who was too timid
                    becuase he was the one that change the plan into a raid.


                    "What commander goes into battle without several-days ration stashed
                    on their men?"

                    As you pointed out, McPherson was not going into battle. He was
                    going on a raid.





                    --- In civilwarwest@y..., "dmercado" <dmercado@w...> wrote:
                    > --- In civilwarwest@y..., "hartshje" <Hartshje@a...> wrote:
                    > > I disagree with the premise that McPherson had the opportunity of
                    a
                    > >lifetime.
                    > > ...
                    > > McPherson would be in a trap between 40,000 Confederates,
                    > > with any chance of help from Sherman at least two days away.
                    >
                    > Joe,
                    > You are right about the possibility of McPherson being threatened
                    if
                    > he stayed at Resaca. But that was not his orders. He was to make a
                    > strike against the communications in and around Resaca and then
                    > return and fortify at SCG.
                    >
                    > General Thomas' original plan was to take his Army of the
                    > Cumberland through the gap, take Resaca, and hold it against all
                    > comers with his 60,000 men. Sherman, however, was more of a
                    > glorified raider. He just wanted McPherson to perhaps destroy the
                    > bridge and then lay in wait at SCG to hit the flank of the
                    retreating
                    > AOT. The plan was not nearly as bold as Thomas' and failed due
                    > to the timidity of McPherson. However Sherman, ultimately, was
                    > responsible for changing Thomas' plan into a raid.
                    >
                    > One thing that has not been mentioned was that one of the reasons
                    > given by McPherson as to his troubles was that his men were without
                    > food all day on the 9th. What commander goes into battle without
                    > several-days ration stashed on their men? McPherson was a good
                    > engineer but apparently not much on logistics. Best regards,
                    > Dave
                  • David Woodbury
                    Re: [civilwarwest] Re: What the historians say (Snake At 10:34 PM -0500 3/30/02, FLYNSWEDE@AOL.COM wrote: I came to the conclusion, which has not changed, that
                    Message 9 of 27 , Mar 31 1:12 PM
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                      Re: [civilwarwest] Re: What the historians say (Snake
                      At 10:34 PM -0500 3/30/02, FLYNSWEDE@... wrote:
                       I came to the conclusion, which has not changed, that McMurray was extremely biased towards Hood,  and extremely anti-biased against Sherman, Thomas, Cheatham, Cleburne, Johnston, and Polk.  Myself, and I was not alone, therefore held little credence in referencing him as a result of this bias.

                      I know what you're saying Wayne, and McMurry is more outspokenly critical than most. But it really just comes down to whether you feel he makes a compelling case or not. That's the same with all opinionated historians. For example, we know that Robert Krick is exceedingly pro-Jackson and pro-Lee, at the expense of people like Longstreet. But people are hard-pressed to discount or refute Krick's research on those men and their careers. It's no coincidence that some of the most opinionated -- the most passionate in expressing their perspectives -- are among the most knowledgeable. They know their subjects well, and sometimes dislike them as a result.

                      Scaife is pro-Johnston. Likewise Symonds. McMurry is anti-Johnston. Likewise Stephen Davis. Castel, whose work on the Atlanta Campaign I respect as much as any historian living or dead, has a palpable dislike of Sherman, and seems to go out of his way to denigrate him. I find the almost personal asides distracting sometimes, but I can't ignore the substance of them, because (like McMurry) he does not make such criticisms lightly.

                      David

                    • David Woodbury
                      ... I introduced the quotes by saying I had selectively chosen historians who reject the Wheeler-as-scapegoat scenario. David
                      Message 10 of 27 , Mar 31 1:17 PM
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                        >At 3:08 PM +0000 3/31/02, carlw4514 wrote:
                        >I don't see any mention of Wheeler's role.

                        I introduced the quotes by saying I had selectively chosen historians
                        who reject the Wheeler-as-scapegoat scenario.

                        David
                      • FLYNSWEDE@AOL.COM
                        Hello woodbury@stanford.edu, In reference to your comment: è Re: [civilwarwest] Re: What the historians say è (SnakeIt s no coincidence that some of the è
                        Message 11 of 27 , Mar 31 3:16 PM
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                          Hello woodbury@...,

                          In reference to your comment:

                          è Re: [civilwarwest] Re: What the historians say
                          è (SnakeIt's no coincidence that some of the
                          è most opinionated -- the most passionate in expressing
                          è their perspectives -- are among the most
                          è knowledgeable. They know their subjects well, and
                          è sometimes dislike them as a result.

                          An author that is highly biased, can he research with total objectivity.  I doubt if one can.  This alone gives doubts on creditability.  Too many authors have made their subjects totally faultless or nearly so, when true historical research finds out that this is in error.

                          Wayne
                        • Robert(Bob) Taubman
                          From some of the posts I have read in this thread, there are many contributors that have been highly biased and their total objectivity would be
                          Message 12 of 27 , Mar 31 3:54 PM
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                            From some of the posts I have read in this thread, there are many contributors that have been "highly biased" and their "total objectivity" would be questionable, so let's not single out the authors.  David Woodbury has been magnificent in maintaining his sense of calm while all those around him seem to be losing theirs. 
                             
                            Bob Taubman
                             
                            ----- Original Message -----
                            Sent: Sunday, March 31, 2002 6:16 PM
                            Subject: Re: [civilwarwest] Re: What the historians say (Snake Creek Gap)

                            Hello woodbury@...,

                            In reference to your comment:

                            è Re: [civilwarwest] Re: What the historians say
                            è (SnakeIt's no coincidence that some of the
                            è most opinionated -- the most passionate in expressing
                            è their perspectives -- are among the most
                            è knowledgeable. They know their subjects well, and
                            è sometimes dislike them as a result.

                            An author that is highly biased, can he research with total objectivity.  I doubt if one can.  This alone gives doubts on creditability.  Too many authors have made their subjects totally faultless or nearly so, when true historical research finds out that this is in error.

                            Wayne


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                          • David Woodbury
                            ... If you can refute an author s research, and the conclusions they base upon that research, you are invited to do so. The credibility will take care of
                            Message 13 of 27 , Mar 31 4:26 PM
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                              >At 6:16 PM -0500 3/31/02, FLYNSWEDE@... wrote:
                              >An author that is highly biased, can he research with total
                              >objectivity. I doubt if one can. This alone gives doubts on
                              >creditability.

                              If you can refute an author's research, and the conclusions they base
                              upon that research, you are invited to do so. The credibility will
                              take care of itself.

                              You have spoken of the ignorance of Johnston-bashers who, presumably
                              unlike yourself, have not studied "all the facts." And you have told
                              us that you put little credence in the work of historian Richard
                              McMurry, who has been critical of Johnston.

                              But until you offer some substantive reason to believe that McMurry's
                              research is faulty, or incomplete, and until you refute his
                              criticisms of Johnston with the same kind of systematic reference to
                              a broad array of source material that McMurry employs, what are we to
                              make of your wholly free-floating potshots at McMurry's credibility?
                              That is to say, what are we to make of it other than that he has
                              apparently treated one of your sacred cows roughly?

                              David
                            • FLYNSWEDE@AOL.COM
                              In a message dated 3/31/2002 7:26:24 PM Eastern Standard Time, ... I have no sacred cows. However, I do believe that too often, certain commanders have not
                              Message 14 of 27 , Mar 31 5:53 PM
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                                In a message dated 3/31/2002 7:26:24 PM Eastern Standard Time, woodbury@... writes:


                                That is to say, what are we to make of it other than that he has
                                apparently treated one of your sacred cows roughly?



                                I have no sacred cows.  However, I do believe that too often, certain commanders  have not been given a fair shake, and others have been put on a pedestal when they too have made several errors.  To give constructive criticism is one thing but to constantly degrade is another.  As for McMurray, the comments I made about him and his being biased are not mine alone.  I know several well known historians that have stated comments very similiar to mine.  An author can be like a preacher and the Bible.  A preacher can take the Bible and interpret and apply verses of the Bible to anything he wants to.  Haven't we been guilty of the same thing with the OR's and the correspondence relating to the Atlanta campaign.

                                Wayne
                              • josepharose
                                ... But there can be more than one source of timidity. Sherman was too timid in his plan--compared to Thomas one solid shot to destroy the Confederate
                                Message 15 of 27 , Mar 31 6:28 PM
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                                  --- In civilwarwest@y..., "wh_keene" <wh_keene@y...> wrote:
                                  > "The plan was not nearly as bold as Thomas'..."
                                  >
                                  > This would indicate that the source of the timidity was in the
                                  > planning. One could say that it was Sherman who was too timid
                                  > becuase he was the one that change the plan into a raid.

                                  But there can be more than one source of timidity. Sherman was too
                                  timid in his plan--compared to Thomas' one solid shot to destroy the
                                  Confederate army--and McPherson was timid in his execution of
                                  Sherman's plan. Sherman was then either timid or slow in responding
                                  to the situation--especially as Thomas quickly recommended sending in
                                  one of his corps to reinforce McPherson after the AotT had breezed
                                  through the gap, IIRC.

                                  > "What commander goes into battle without several-days ration
                                  stashed
                                  > on their men?"
                                  >
                                  > As you pointed out, McPherson was not going into battle. He was
                                  > going on a raid.

                                  To paraphrase someone else, "what commander goes on a raid without
                                  several days ration stashed on their men?"

                                  Joseph
                                • hartshje
                                  Dave, I totally agree the Thomas original plan would have been a much better option for Sherman, and probably would have spelled the end of the AoT right then
                                  Message 16 of 27 , Mar 31 8:04 PM
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                                    Dave,

                                    I totally agree the Thomas' original plan would have been a much
                                    better option for Sherman, and probably would have spelled the end of
                                    the AoT right then and there. For whatever reason (justified or
                                    not), Sherman believed that Thomas would not move fast enough. Then
                                    he (Sherman) would be left with about 50,000 men to face Johnston at
                                    Dalton while he waited for Thomas to complete his mission. I dare
                                    say Sherman did not like the thought of THAT scenario.

                                    As to McPherson's orders, I know you are correct about the "raid and
                                    lay in wait" plan, but I was responding to posts that were proposing
                                    McPherson should have captured and held Resaca. I also think that
                                    Sherman's raid plan should NOT have worked, but probably would have
                                    based on Johnston's penchant to abandon positions at the slightest
                                    provocation. However IMO, Sherman's victory would not have been that
                                    overwhelming. I think Johnston would have used enough troops to keep
                                    McPherson at bay while the rest of his army crossed over the river.
                                    In the end, the same result as what actually happened. So where was
                                    this "opportunity of a lifetime"?

                                    Regards,
                                    Joe H.

                                    --- In civilwarwest@y..., "dmercado" <dmercado@w...> wrote:
                                    > Joe,
                                    > You are right about the possibility of McPherson being threatened
                                    > if he stayed at Resaca. But that was not his orders. He was to
                                    > make a strike against the communications in and around Resaca and
                                    > then return and fortify at SCG.
                                    >
                                    > General Thomas' original plan was to take his Army of the
                                    > Cumberland through the gap, take Resaca, and hold it against all
                                    > comers with his 60,000 men. Sherman, however, was more of a
                                    > glorified raider. He just wanted McPherson to perhaps destroy the
                                    > bridge and then lay in wait at SCG to hit the flank of the
                                    > retreating AOT. The plan was not nearly as bold as Thomas' and
                                    > failed due to the timidity of McPherson. However Sherman,
                                    > ultimately, was responsible for changing Thomas' plan into a raid.
                                    >
                                    > One thing that has not been mentioned was that one of the reasons
                                    > given by McPherson as to his troubles was that his men were without
                                    > food all day on the 9th. What commander goes into battle without
                                    > several-days ration stashed on their men? McPherson was a good
                                    > engineer but apparently not much on logistics. Best regards,
                                    > Dave
                                    >
                                    > --- In civilwarwest@y..., "hartshje" <Hartshje@a...> wrote:
                                    > >
                                    > > I disagree with the premise that McPherson had the opportunity of
                                    > > a lifetime.
                                    > > ...
                                    > > McPherson would be in a trap between 40,000 Confederates, with
                                    > > any chance of help from Sherman at least two days away.
                                  • David Woodbury
                                    ... With all due respect, it is meaningless to try to validate your comments about McMurry s credibility by claiming other well-known (and anonymous)
                                    Message 17 of 27 , Mar 31 10:25 PM
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                                      >At 8:53 PM -0500 3/31/02, FLYNSWEDE@... wrote:
                                      >As for McMurray, the comments I made about him and his being biased
                                      >are not mine alone. I know several well known historians that have
                                      >stated comments very similiar to mine.

                                      With all due respect, it is meaningless to try to validate your
                                      comments about McMurry's credibility by claiming other well-known
                                      (and anonymous) historians share your views about McMurry's work. It
                                      would be far more compelling -- more credible -- if instead you
                                      presented something substantive to refute McMurry's research and
                                      conclusions.

                                      David
                                    • carlw4514
                                      The Atlanta campaign is not what I know a lot about, but I can see you are quite up on it, your input is appreciated. What do you think about Wheeler s
                                      Message 18 of 27 , Apr 1, 2002
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                                        The Atlanta campaign is not what I know a lot about, but I can see you
                                        are quite up on it, your input is appreciated. What do you think about
                                        Wheeler's performance? Does he deserve criticism if not "scapegoat"
                                        status?
                                        carl
                                        --- In civilwarwest@y..., David Woodbury <woodbury@s...> wrote:
                                        > >At 3:08 PM +0000 3/31/02, carlw4514 wrote:
                                        > >I don't see any mention of Wheeler's role.
                                        >
                                        > I introduced the quotes by saying I had selectively chosen historians
                                        > who reject the Wheeler-as-scapegoat scenario.
                                        >
                                        > David
                                      • FLYNSWEDE@AOL.COM
                                        In a message dated 4/1/2002 9:36:05 AM Eastern Standard Time, ... Carl, Wheeler does deserve some criticism but he should not be the scapegoat. I tend to
                                        Message 19 of 27 , Apr 1, 2002
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                                          In a message dated 4/1/2002 9:36:05 AM Eastern Standard Time, carlw4514@... writes:


                                          What do you think about
                                          Wheeler's performance? Does he deserve criticism if not "scapegoat"
                                          status?
                                          carl


                                          Carl,
                                          Wheeler does deserve some criticism but he should not be the scapegoat.  I tend to think of Wheeler's age and the possibility of mistakes as a result of either immaturity or just as a result of faulty judgement.  Wheeler, like Forrest, liked to raid more than be the eyes of the army.  Apparently, his troops did keep JEJ informed fairly well on McPhersons movements.  Now according to what I have discovered, there were two gaps that would allow passage of McPherson's troops to Resaca, with SCG being the narrowist.  The other gap was fairly well fortifide (forgot the name of that gap) and I assume that the forces that were there were Wheeler's, in addition to other troops.
                                          It appears that Wheeler suddenly said to himself, Hey wait a minute, there are two gaps.  I had better send a brigade over to SCG just to be on the safe side.  Well that brigade did find out to their surprise that McPherson did indeed use SCG to transverse to Resaca.  The rest has been well discussed.

                                          JEJ was the overall commander, but the commanders at Tunnel Hill, Rockyface, Rome,  Calhoun, and Resaca had the responsibility to make sure that their area of command would be protected and secure without JEJ telling them what time to go to the outhouse.  If you are in command, then command.  JEJ was too far distant with respect to time to make each and every instant decision.  JEJ however, as Army commander, is blamed for everything,  just as Sherman is blamed for every fire set in the South.

                                          Wayne
                                        • dmercado
                                          ... Wayne, I am trying to get a copy of a paper entitled Why was Snake Creek Gap Left Unguarded? by Wilbur Kurtz, Sr. I think he was an Atlanta historian and
                                          Message 20 of 27 , Apr 1, 2002
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                                            --- In civilwarwest@y..., FLYNSWEDE@A... wrote:
                                            > In a message dated 4/1/2002 9:36:05 AM Eastern Standard Time,

                                            > JEJ was the overall commander, but the commanders at Tunnel Hill,
                                            >Rockyface, Rome, Calhoun, and Resaca had the responsibility to make
                                            >sure that their area of command would be protected and secure
                                            >without JEJ telling them what time to go to the outhouse.

                                            Wayne, I am trying to get a copy of a paper entitled "Why was Snake
                                            Creek Gap Left Unguarded?" by Wilbur Kurtz, Sr. I think he was an
                                            Atlanta historian and his papers belong to the Atlanta Historical
                                            Society. I sent them an email asking for a copy of this paper. Have
                                            you ever seen the paper? Best regards, Dave
                                          • josepharose
                                            An on-line edition of The Colonel s Diary by Oscar Jackson noted the following for May 9, 1864 concerning Mac s timid advance: It is my judgment we should
                                            Message 21 of 27 , Apr 1, 2002
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                                              An on-line edition of "The Colonel's Diary" by Oscar Jackson noted
                                              the following for May 9, 1864 concerning Mac's timid advance: "It is
                                              my judgment we should have occupied the town [i.e., Resaca] at all
                                              hazards and thus destroyed the rebel use of the railroad and cut off
                                              their retreat. But time will tell who is right as I and Captain
                                              Fitzsimmons have just remarked to one another."

                                              Time has told: Jackson was right.

                                              Joseph
                                            • melchizedek22
                                              ... Wayne,I think it was Sherman,who sold Mrs O Leary her cow! The Baron
                                              Message 22 of 27 , Apr 2, 2002
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                                                --- In civilwarwest@y..., FLYNSWEDE@A... wrote:
                                                > In a message dated 4/1/2002 9:36:05 AM Eastern Standard Time,
                                                > carlw4514@y... writes:
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > > What do you think about
                                                > > Wheeler's performance? Does he deserve criticism if not "scapegoat"
                                                > > status?
                                                > > carl
                                                > >
                                                >
                                                > Carl,
                                                > Wheeler does deserve some criticism but he should not be the scapegoat. I
                                                > tend to think of Wheeler's age and the possibility of mistakes as a result of
                                                > either immaturity or just as a result of faulty judgement. Wheeler, like
                                                > Forrest, liked to raid more than be the eyes of the army. Apparently, his
                                                > troops did keep JEJ informed fairly well on McPhersons movements. Now
                                                > according to what I have discovered, there were two gaps that would allow
                                                > passage of McPherson's troops to Resaca, with SCG being the narrowist. The
                                                > other gap was fairly well fortifide (forgot the name of that gap) and I
                                                > assume that the forces that were there were Wheeler's, in addition to other
                                                > troops.
                                                > It appears that Wheeler suddenly said to himself, Hey wait a minute, there
                                                > are two gaps. I had better send a brigade over to SCG just to be on the safe
                                                > side. Well that brigade did find out to their surprise that McPherson did
                                                > indeed use SCG to transverse to Resaca. The rest has been well discussed.
                                                >
                                                > JEJ was the overall commander, but the commanders at Tunnel Hill, Rockyface,
                                                > Rome, Calhoun, and Resaca had the responsibility to make sure that their
                                                > area of command would be protected and secure without JEJ telling them what
                                                > time to go to the outhouse. If you are in command, then command. JEJ was
                                                > too far distant with respect to time to make each and every instant decision.
                                                > JEJ however, as Army commander, is blamed for everything, just as Sherman
                                                > is blamed for every fire set in the South.
                                                >
                                                > Wayne

                                                Wayne,I think it was Sherman,who sold Mrs O'Leary her cow!
                                                The Baron
                                              • melchizedek22
                                                ... Sherman,also taught Nero to play the fiddle/ The Baron
                                                Message 23 of 27 , Apr 2, 2002
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                                                  --- In civilwarwest@y..., FLYNSWEDE@A... wrote:
                                                  > In a message dated 4/1/2002 9:36:05 AM Eastern Standard Time,
                                                  > carlw4514@y... writes:
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > > What do you think about
                                                  > > Wheeler's performance? Does he deserve criticism if not "scapegoat"
                                                  > > status?
                                                  > > carl
                                                  > >
                                                  >
                                                  > Carl,
                                                  > Wheeler does deserve some criticism but he should not be the scapegoat. I
                                                  > tend to think of Wheeler's age and the possibility of mistakes as a result of
                                                  > either immaturity or just as a result of faulty judgement. Wheeler, like
                                                  > Forrest, liked to raid more than be the eyes of the army. Apparently, his
                                                  > troops did keep JEJ informed fairly well on McPhersons movements. Now
                                                  > according to what I have discovered, there were two gaps that would allow
                                                  > passage of McPherson's troops to Resaca, with SCG being the narrowist. The
                                                  > other gap was fairly well fortifide (forgot the name of that gap) and I
                                                  > assume that the forces that were there were Wheeler's, in addition to other
                                                  > troops.
                                                  > It appears that Wheeler suddenly said to himself, Hey wait a minute, there
                                                  > are two gaps. I had better send a brigade over to SCG just to be on the safe
                                                  > side. Well that brigade did find out to their surprise that McPherson did
                                                  > indeed use SCG to transverse to Resaca. The rest has been well discussed.
                                                  >
                                                  > JEJ was the overall commander, but the commanders at Tunnel Hill, Rockyface,
                                                  > Rome, Calhoun, and Resaca had the responsibility to make sure that their
                                                  > area of command would be protected and secure without JEJ telling them what
                                                  > time to go to the outhouse. If you are in command, then command. JEJ was
                                                  > too far distant with respect to time to make each and every instant decision.
                                                  > JEJ however, as Army commander, is blamed for everything, just as Sherman
                                                  > is blamed for every fire set in the South.
                                                  >
                                                  > Wayne

                                                  Sherman,also taught Nero to play the fiddle/ The Baron
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