Was it the Worst Blunder?
- I've heard it suggested that the ordered movement (by Jefferson
Davis) of Carter Stevenson's reinforced division from Bragg's army to
Pemberton was the single biggest blunder of the war, from a
The movement was ordered in early December, 1862, while Davis was out
visiting his armies in the West.
Due to the rickety and deteriorated nature of the Confederate rail
network, Stevenson didn't make it to Vicksburg in time to even help
in the defense at Chickasaw Bluff at the end of the month.
Further, arguers of this suggest that the loss of Stevenson's
reinforced division severely handicapped Bragg in the resulting
battle of Stone's River. Had Stevenson been there, they suggest,
Rosecrans's army would have been toast.
The net result, critics suggest, is that the move accomplished
nothing - the division eventually had to surrender in July 1863, and
Bragg missed the golden opportunity presented had he had just one
more good-sized division to hurl against Old Rosey on the
Do you agree? Was it the worst blunder? Was it a blunder?
Given the battle-fighting abilities of General Braxton Bragg, would
it have mattered? Would Bragg have mishandled Stevenson's division
in much the same manner he mishandled the troops of Polk during the
battle, and that of Breckinridge two days later?
Or was a bigger blunder Joseph E. Johnston's "get-even" order of late
December, ordering Pemberton's cavalry division under Van Dorn to
Tennessee? Johnston suggested several times that ordering Van Dorn
east shouldn't have bothered Pemberton, since he had what he needed
most - infantry (referring to Stevenson). The move left Pemberton
with less than a battalion of cavalry for the entire state of
Well, at least it's not Snake Creek Gap. :-)
Villa Hills, KY
- --- In civilwarwest@y..., "carlw4514" <carlw4514@y...> wrote:
> I confess I'm not sure, maybe we'll hear from Dave Smith on this.Well, OK. :-)
I'm not sure of the exact timing, but it was probably about June 1 or
so when Grant got his besieging lines wrapped to the Mississippi on
the southern end, covering Halls Ferry and the Warrenton Roads.
Until then, Pemberton had the option of trying to break out to the
South, but that had to be a very iffy proposition.
For sure, Pemberton losed most of his artillery, including a lot of
the mobile stuff, as well as all of his wounded.
He has to get south of the Big Black, and probably use the Port
Gibson / Jackson Road as a nexus to get to Jackson. Johnston can't
really help him, and he (Pemberton) is moving away from Johnston.
At this point, roles are reversed - Pemberton is moving on exterior
lines, and Grant on interior. Not an easy proposition.
I'd guess had he tried, Pemberton would have lost the city, 3/4 of
his artillery, and probably half of whatever he tried to get out with.
I simply cannot see Grant remaining inert during this time, and idly
letting Pemberton get out.
Villa Hills, KY