Re: Snake Creek--reply to Lee
- --- In civilwarwest@y..., David Woodbury <woodbury@s...> wrote:
> At 6:34 PM +0000 3/31/02, pcallen3 wrote:within
> >"But McPherson faltered and hung back, indeed after penetrating
> >a mile of Resaca he actually returned, because, as I understood, hefrom
> >was not supported, and feared if we turned back suddenly upon him
> >Dalton he would be cut off, as doubtless would have been theresult."
> The operative phrase is "if we turned back suddenly upon him." Since
> Johnston was caught completely off guard, there was never any
> contemplation of turning on McPherson. McPherson had withdrawn
> Johnston was able to react. I understand the point about McPherson'sI don't contend, as Will does, that Johnston was not caught off guard.
> apprehension, but that has no bearing on whether or not Johnston was
> caught off guard. It merely explains why McPherson made the
> judgements he made.
I am in complete agreement with you there. My contention has always
been that McPherson was unjustly criticized by Sherman for "missing
the oportunity of a lifetime". I believe that the operative phrase
to Cleburne's report was in reference to McPherson's lack of support.
He mentions it not once, but twice.
> >Had McPherson been able to take the rail linebeen
> >and hold it with 60,000, then I think Johnson's goose would have
> >cooked, as Cleburne suggests.You may denigrate my argument by calling it a "what-if", but it is one
> True. But it's not a "what-if" that strikes me as very sustainable.
> It assumes Johnston would not have noticed 60,000 troops headed for
> Snake Creek Gap, as opposed to a size about 1/3rd that large.
that I dare say all of the historians you mentioned in your earlier
post have discussed at length. It is key to our understanding of
Snake Creek Gap. I agree that once the bulk of Sherman's troops are
arrayed in front of Rocky Face Ridge that any large movement in
support of McPherson will be detected by Johnston's intelligence
sources. Johnston demonstrated this effectively by holding his troops
at Dalton for days after McPherson was reported threatening his rear.
It was not until the bulk of Sherman's troops were pulled out that
Johnston pulled up stakes and headed for Resaca. No doubt he was
hoping against hope that Sherman would assault his fortifications at
Rocky Face Ridge a la Fredricksburg or Missionary Ridge. But, if
when the Union forces have taken Taylor's Ridge, and are approaching
Rocky Face Ridge, they divert forces masked by Taylor's Ridge to Snake
Creek Gap then they stand the best chance of truly trapping the
- Yesterday I had the opportunity to drop by the library and check out
Schofield's memoirs. It is interesting reading in light of our
discussion about Sherman and incidents of the Atlanta campaign. If I
have the chance I will transcribe some of it for the group. He has
critical things to say about Sherman yet also seems to admire him.