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Re: Further replies to David Woodbury

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  • hartshje
    ... Dave, First let me say that I am in complete agreement with both points you wrote about (above). However, looking back through all this discussion about
    Message 1 of 37 , Apr 2, 2002
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      --- In civilwarwest@y..., David Woodbury <woodbury@s...> wrote:
      > Obviously Johnston worked wonders with the army from December to
      > May. He organized it, bolstered it, increased morale, and so on. In
      > this respect, he perhaps had some things in common with McClellan.
      > Both of them were able administrators. Both of them knew how to get
      > an army ready for active campaigning. Both of them were reluctant
      > to commit those armies to battle, however, and both consistently
      > inflated the enemy's numbers while downplaying their own. Both
      > feuded with their commanders-in-chief.
      > . . . .
      > That said, though I am more generous to Johnston these days,
      > there's only so far that reason and logic allow me to go. To
      > believe that Johnston was not surprised, or caught off guard, by
      > McPherson at Snake Creek Gap is too far.
      >

      Dave,

      First let me say that I am in complete agreement with both points
      you wrote about (above). However, looking back through all this
      discussion about Snake Creek Gap, I am not sure exactly what you
      think McPherson would have been able to accomplish by cutting the RR,
      or holding Resaca. Earlier, I posted the excerpt below, but you did
      not respond to it. Can you please clarify your position. Thanks.

      Excerpt:

      I am of the opinion that Johnston was inadequately prepared to defend
      against any large enemy movement through SCG. However, I isagree 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.

      Even 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.

      Joe H.
    • hank9174
      I don t recall the details...but maybe the Snake Creek Gap discussion can move south a bit...We ve been their longer than Sherman and Johnston were ;) HankC
      Message 37 of 37 , Apr 8, 2002
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        I don't recall the details...but maybe the Snake Creek Gap discussion
        can move south a bit...We've been their longer than Sherman and
        Johnston were ;)


        HankC


        --- In civilwarwest@y..., "carlw4514" <carlw4514@y...> wrote:
        > But I would say that Sherman DID work on the flanks and get Johnston
        > worried about his supply line; he worked Johnston out of his
        positions
        > by manuevering him out IMHO. Kennesaw Mountain seems to be the
        > exception, what got into him there ??
        > carl
        > --- In civilwarwest@y..., "hank9174" <clarkc@m...> wrote:
        > >
        > > unre,
        > >
        > > The occasional counter-punch get be very effective. Sometimes it
        hits
        > > air, sometimes it hits muscle, sometimes it gets through and hits
        the
        > > jaw.
        > >
        > > If you can get the opponent worried about their flanks and their
        > > supply line and their line of rtreat there is not much left to
        > > concentrate on offensive operations. I do not recall that Sherman
        much
        > > concerned himself with any of these (I suppose he considered
        cavalry
        > > raids on the railroad a potential nuisance); all his time was
        devoted
        > > to the offense.
        > >
        > > Johnston seems to have had it in the back of his mind that if a
        golden
        > > opportunity presented itself (a la Seven Pines) he would attack.
        This
        > > assumes his opponent blunders, so again he is waiting on the
        opponent
        > > rather than creating an opportunity himself.
        > >
        > > IIRC, Johnston was 'relieved' by a union bullet at Fair Oaks/Seven
        > > Pines. Personally, whatever we say about these fellows ability
        with
        > > strategy and tactics, most were extremely brave and willing to
        lead by
        > > example.
        > >
        > >
        > > HankC
        > >
        > >
        > > --- In civilwarwest@y..., "carlw4514" <carlw4514@y...> wrote:
        > > > Will, what do you think of Johnston's basic ideas of handling a
        > > > situation like he was handed here? We know the advantages in
        numbers
        > > > and resources went to the enemy, a problem for any general.
        > > Johnston's
        > > > tactics seem to be to make a stand and back up to the next best
        > > > defendable position when flanking pressure eased him out of his
        > > > redoubt. You know the whole situation in this part of the
        Atlanta
        > > > Campaign was damned similar to the Peninsula Campaign and in
        both
        > > > instances Johnston was relieved of command when he allowed the
        enemy
        > > > to eventually get basically to the city limits!
        > > > -So my question is, did Johnston's tactics as you describe them
        > > really
        > > > suffice? Johnston wanted to do battle, if Sherman would attack
        his
        > > > fortified positions, but Sherman wasn't going to play ball that
        way.
        > > > Did Johnston get backed up too easily? I sometimes think so.
        What
        > > > could he have done differently?
        > > > --- In civilwarwest@y..., "wh_keene" <wh_keene@y...> wrote:
        > > > > David said of McClellan and Johnston that "Both of them were
        > > > > reluctant to commit those armies to battle..."
        > > > >
        > > > > I disagree. Between Dalton and Atlanta was Johnston ever
        > > reluctant
        > > > > to battle with Sherman?
        > > > >
        > > > > Johnston's itinerary from early May through early July goes
        > > something
        > > > > like this:
        > > > >
        > > > > He met Sherman's attacks around Dalton.
        > > > > He left only when Sherman moved away instead of fighting some
        > > more.
        > > > >
        > > > > He moved to Resaca in order to battle with Sherman.
        > > > > He left only when Sherman moved away instead of fighting some
        > > more.
        > > > >
        > > > > He moved to Altoona Pass in order to battle with Sherman.
        > > > > He left when Sherman moved away instead of fighting at all.
        > > > >
        > > > > He moved to New Hope Church in order to battle with Sherman.
        > > > > He left only when Sherman moved away instead of fighting some
        > > more.
        > > > >
        > > > > He moved to Kennesaw Mountain in order to battle with Sherman.
        > > > > He left only when Sherman moved away instead of fighting some
        > > more.
        > > > >
        > > > > He moved to Smyrna to battle with Sherman.
        > > > > He left when Sherman moved away instead of fighting at all.
        > > > >
        > > > > He moved to the Chattahoochee to battle with Sherman.
        > > > > He left when Sherman moved away instead of fighting at all.
        > > > >
        > > > > If Sherman had stayed and fought at any of these places,
        Johnston
        > > > > would not have moved. But each time Sherman decided to move
        > > around
        > > > > instead.
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > > --- In civilwarwest@y..., David Woodbury <woodbury@s...>
        wrote:
        > > > > > >At 9:30 PM -0500 4/2/02, FLYNSWEDE@A... wrote:
        > > > > > >Yes, a good road that he had the foresight to start
        building in
        > > > > January.
        > > > > >
        > > > > > Yes, it really paid off when he had to rapidly retreat after
        > > > > Sherman
        > > > > > fooled him just days into the start of the campaign.
        > > > > >
        > > > > > Obviously Johnston worked wonders with the army from
        December to
        > > > > May.
        > > > > > He organized it, bolstered it, increased morale, and so on.
        In
        > > this
        > > > > > respect, he perhaps had some things in common with
        McClellan.
        > > Both
        > > > > of
        > > > > > them were able administrators. Both of them knew how to get
        an
        > > army
        > > > > > ready for active campaigning. Both of them were reluctant to
        > > commit
        > > > > > those armies to battle, however, and both consistently
        inflated
        > > the
        > > > > > enemy's numbers while downplaying their own. Both feuded
        with
        > > their
        > > > > > commanders-in-chief.
        > > > > >
        > > > > > As I said in a previous post, I have long ago softened my
        > > > > criticisms
        > > > > > of Johnston. He was an able general and a worthy opponent.
        Most
        > > of
        > > > > > our arm-chair critiques of historic figures are unrealistic,
        or
        > > > > > skewed -- in many respects, we know too much. In certain
        very
        > > real
        > > > > > respects, for example, we know more about what transpired at
        > > > > > Gettysburg than Lee did on his deathbed. Johnston is not
        > > deserving
        > > > > of
        > > > > > the harshest criticisms leveled at him by McMurry, I don't
        > > think;
        > > > > > likewise Sherman and the scathing indictments leveled at him
        by
        > > > > > Castel. Both generals penned extraordinarily self-serving
        > > memoirs,
        > > > > > but it's hard to find a Civil War general who didn't.
        > > > > >
        > > > > > That said, though I am more generous to Johnston these days,
        > > > > there's
        > > > > > only so far that reason and logic allow me to go. To believe
        > > that
        > > > > > Johnston was not surprised, or caught off guard, by
        McPherson at
        > > > > > Snake Creek Gap is too far.
        > > > > >
        > > > > > David
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