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[civilwarwest] Re: The Importance of Rome to Johnston

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  • David Woodbury
    ... If it is such an obvious point, and if Johnston had been at Dalton for months fortifying the approaches, and if he thought Snake Creek Gap might be a
    Message 1 of 10 , Mar 31, 2002
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      At 6:08 PM +0000 3/31/02, wh_keene wrote:
      >You said my comment about the obviousness of Snake Creek Gap is my
      >most damning of Johnston. Seems to be the same damning point you have
      >made all along.

      If it is such an obvious point, and if Johnston had been at Dalton
      for months fortifying the approaches, and if he thought Snake Creek
      Gap might be a direction McPherson's army would come from, then it is
      indeed damning of Johnston's generalship to say, in spite of all
      these things, five Federal divisions poured out of that gap

      >Did Johnston expect McPherson was going to attack his rear? Yes. Did
      >Johnston expect that the target might be Resaca? Yes.

      Did Johnston expect McPherson to move an entire army through Snake
      Creek Gap? Apparently not.

      >You say that Snake Creek Gap was a hole in Johnston's net. But the
      >net extended along the Oostenaula from Rome to Calhoun to Resaca.
      >Snake Creek Gap was outside of the net.

      As you have repeatedly said, the forces Johnston placed at Resaca
      were to watch for McPherson to arrive from that direction. You said
      it is obvious if one looks at an 1864 map.

      >"Where do you find the part about skirmishing with Martin's forces?"
      >--See Kilpatrick's message on the evening of the 9th. I referred to
      >it in more detail in a previous message.

      I believe you said Martin was "bothering" McPherson's right, as if
      they had made contact and Martin were pressing McPherson. Kilpatrick
      merely says that Martin is operating in the direction, relative to
      McPherson (his right being Calhoun, and his rear being the line
      stretching off toward Rome).

      >Here Sherman is excusing why he was unable to "place myself between
      >Johnston and Resaca" as he told Halleck he would on May 10th (pt4,
      >pg. 111).

      He said he "must" do it. But I don't see the excuse for failure at
      Resaca that you're referring to? All he says is that Johnston was
      able to move faster on a good road, enabling him to reach sanctuary
      in the works at Resaca.

      >According to a source you respect (Connelly), Cantey Brigade numbered
      >1,500 and Grisby had less than 500. What did Breckinridge do with
      >the other 2,000+ that are supposed to be in Resaca? The OR
      >correspondence refers to Reynolds brigade as having joined Cantey.
      >Was Breckinridge aware of their presence?

      As far as I am aware, Breckinridge does not offer a precise head
      count for the CSA forces there. He appears to be very close on his
      estimation of Union strength (and perhaps underestimates McPherson's
      strength). My question remains, is there anything at all in his
      account which would lead you to
      believe he underestimated Confederate strength? If you wish us to
      discount Breckinridge's account based on the notion that he didn't
      realize how many Confederates were in the works at Resaca, I think
      we'll need something more to go on.

      >-- I brought up the fact that Breckinridge has been referred to
      >elsewhere as a source of imperfect information. You've been
      >questioning McPherson's ability to judge a situation from the start.
      >Upset when it cuts the other way?

      How does it cut the other way? I never said Breckinridge got it
      wrong. His information seems to be the best available intelligence at
      the time. In fact, he even produces a prisoner identified as coming
      from a unit under Hooker. As I read it, Breckinridge was pretty
      accurate about what he saw on the Villanow Road, and pretty accurate
      about the size of McPherson's force when the latter was threatening
      Resaca. I can think of no reason to question his accuracy with
      respect to CS strength at Resaca.

      >--Correct, and you were the one that quoted Castel as saying that
      >these reports were a source of confusion for Johnston.

      If Johnston got confused about which forces these were out on the
      Dalton-Villanow Road, it doesn't appear to be the fault of
      Breckinridge. Unless you're seeing some dispatches from him on this
      subject that I have overlooked.

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