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Re: Col Breckinridge's account of Snake CreekGap/Resaca

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  • wh_keene
    And as virtually all sources agree, he was right about two brigades defending Resaca. Do they—please indicate which sources are these? Do these sources say
    Message 1 of 5 , Apr 2, 2002
      "And as virtually all sources agree, he was right about two brigades
      defending Resaca."

      Do they—please indicate which sources are these?
      Do these sources say Resaca was defended only by the specific
      brigades of Grisby and Cantey?
      How big was Cantey's brigade? Connolley, just as an example, says
      1,500. Do you believe him?
      You earlier said Grisby had less than 500. Are you standing by that?
      You have earlier said that Resaca was held by 4,000. Do you stand by

      "First, you wondered whether Breckinridge had underestimated CSA
      strength at Resaca."

      First, I originally wondered whether Breckinridge had underestimated
      the CSA strength in a qualitative manner. You quoted Breckinridge
      stating that one attack from McPherson would capture Resaca. I
      questioned whether this was an overestimation. At that point I
      hadn't even considered the idea that Breckinridge might have
      underestimated numberically. I was purely interested in whether
      Breckinridge underestimated the defensive ability of the force.
      Since you then asked "Is there anything at all in his account which
      would lead you to believe he underestimated Confederate strength" and
      at the same time you provided additional information as to what
      Breckinridge said, I then saw that he did not fully identify the
      units defending Resaca.

      "…or considered by Breckinridge to be part of Cantey's brigade."

      Oh, I see. In order to make Breckinridge work for you, he has to be
      unable to tell the difference between what is Cantey's brigade and
      what is not Cantey's brigade. Fine, so maybe Breckinridge does get
      the amount of men in Resaca right. We return to my original point—
      does he underestimate the strength of this force to defend Resaca?

      "As for McPherson overestimating the enemy, it's a logical deduction."

      First, not my question at all. If you are going to get all excited
      about estimation of numbers, then where are your numbers. To echo
      you, my question still stands. Nor is yours a logical deduction.
      Breckinridge describes the position as formidable and defended with
      spirit. Amazingly, your only reaction to that was "So?" Does
      Breckinridge loose credibility when he says something that agrees
      with McPherson?

      "All told, McPherson outnumbered the defenders at Resaca something
      like four- or five-to-one."

      So we are back to the question of how many men McPherson had with
      which to attack Resaca on the afternoon of the 9th. To repeat myself
      from several previous messages, did McPherson have all his men in
      front of Resaca at that time? If you insist on including numbers not
      actually present in front of Resaca, then why don't we count other
      men under McPherson's command like Blair's Division and men left from
      Vicksburg to Decatur. Then McPherson outnumbered Resca by a good
      deal more.

      "But one of the reasons he gave for withdrawing was that
      they "displayed considerable force." This is
      consistent with the notion that he overestimated enemy strength."

      Not so. 4,000 men in prepared positions can display considerable
      force. See Breckinridge's account.

      "And yet, Johnston says he did not learn of it until after noon."

      Where does he say this? Why does this matter? Johnston has the
      information and is able to respond prior to McPherson being able to
      attack Resaca.

      "...the information, though prompt, was too late for him to have
      stopped the Federal column."

      Johnston sought to protect the railway and particularly the bridge at
      Resaca. In this he suceeded.

      >This description of the strength of position and spirited defense
      >supports McPherson's qualitative assessment of Resaca.

      "It does not, in the slightest, negate the idea that McPherson
      overestimated enemy strength."

      Since you have been unable to show what McPherson's quantitative
      estimate of enemy strength was, we only have his qualitative estimate
      to go on. Lo and behold, McPherson and Breckinridge describe
      (qualitatively) the defense of Resaca in the same way.

      "Sherman's record as a tactical commander was probably his greatest
      shortcoming as a general. It's not something McPherson should have
      wanted to emulate. In any event, such a compliment from Breckinridge
      does nothing to further your argument, does it?"

      In what way did I or Breckinridge say that McPherson was, or wanted,
      to emulate Sherman's tactical record? I brought this point up
      because it was one of several point that Breckinridge made with which
      I agree and with which you do not.

      "Sending one man and his staff on a train was not the kind of
      reinforcement likely to stop five veteran infantry divisions."

      Did I say it was? I used it as an idication of the speed in which
      Johnston takes some action with respect to McPherson.

      "When Hood got there, it was all over but the shouting."

      Not according to Breckinridge. He says that Hood arrived while
      skirmishing was going on and that Hood said to him "We must hold
      until night."

      "The three divisions he was to command there had not yet arrived, and
      Hood halted their movement toward Resaca."

      Agreed. I did not say otherwise.
    • David Woodbury
      ... I will have to have a look at these Century articles before responding. In Johnston s memoirs, he speaks of receiving a report from Cantey on the evening
      Message 2 of 5 , Apr 2, 2002
        At 8:54 PM +0000 4/2/02, wh_keene wrote:
        >--Like Breckinridge, he claims that on the 8th information was
        >received as to McPherson's location.

        I will have to have a look at these Century articles before
        responding. In Johnston's memoirs, he speaks of receiving a report
        from Cantey on the evening of the 9th, informing him that Cantey had
        been fighting McPherson till dark. If he expected this might happen,
        one would expect him to dispatch three divisions of infantry to the
        crisis point before rather than after the fact.

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