Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Did they fight in the West?

Expand Messages
  • D. Andrew Burden, Ph.D.
    The following quote can be found at: http://www.delawareonline.com/news/2000/april/story404302000.html I thought this was an interesting observation, by a
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 2, 2000
    • 0 Attachment
      The following quote can be found at:
      http://www.delawareonline.com/news/2000/april/story404302000.html

      I thought this was an interesting observation, by a reenactor no less:


      "I believe you can't understand America today unless you
      understand the Civil
      War," Pickett said. "We came as close as we've ever come
      to being two
      nations. And this battle was the turning point in the
      war. Prior to Gettysburg, the
      South had won everything."

      Has this guy never studied the Western theater? It was, after all,
      where the war was won/lost (depending upon your perspective).
      Andy
    • D. Andrew Burden, Ph.D.
      The following quote can be found at: http://www.delawareonline.com/news/2000/april/story404302000.html I thought this was an interesting observation, by a
      Message 2 of 6 , Aug 2, 2000
      • 0 Attachment
        The following quote can be found at:
        http://www.delawareonline.com/news/2000/april/story404302000.html

        I thought this was an interesting observation, by a reenactor no less:


        "I believe you can't understand America today unless you
        understand the Civil
        War," Pickett said. "We came as close as we've ever come
        to being two
        nations. And this battle was the turning point in the
        war. Prior to Gettysburg, the
        South had won everything."

        Has this guy never studied the Western theater? It was, after all,
        where the war was won/lost (depending upon your perspective).
        Andy
      • hartshje@aol.com
        Hello All. My own opinions are below, but first I d like to say that Bryan couldn t have put it any better than this: It would seem that the reason the West
        Message 3 of 6 , Aug 4, 2000
        • 0 Attachment
          Hello All. My own opinions are below, but first I'd like to say that Bryan couldn't have put it any better than this:

          "It would seem that the reason the "West" has been long ignored is because it never was the primary focus of the Confederacy, the Union, or the European nations. There are multiple reasons for this mindset. Besides the European embassies in Washington, both capitols were on the eastern seaboard. Concern for the military situation of their respective nation's capitols must have drawn contemporaries to the areas in which they were located. The Union's interest in the Eastern theater is readily understandable due to the proximity of hostile armies to the nation's demographic and industrial centers. Confederate armies were in retrograde after Bragg's invasion of Kentucky in 1862, and when the Rebel armies of the West began offensive movements it was not invade the North, but to reclaim lost Southern territory. The threats were just not as immediate as in the East. From the Confederate standpoint, I would argue that the Southern populace's hopes lay with Lee's army for their inde!
          pendence. Lee fielded the only consistently successful army in the South, up to July 1863, having only lost or drawn battles on foreign soil. When the populace looked to the West, very few events transpired which augmented Southern morale. Thus, I would argue that Southerner's looked to the east, and particulary Robert E. Lee for
          their independence, and an end to the war. I think if these premises are accepted, one can readily discern that the study of the war in the east is only natural. Living 135+ years after the fact, we can see that many of the events which transpired in the West severely constrained the chances for Southern Independence, if not guaranteed defeat, but I think it isn't really appropriate to criticise contemporary Americans for their focus on the East." - Bryan

          I agree wholeheartedly with this assessment. Also I think that European recognition would have helped the South considerably, but not necessarily "guaranteed" victory. I think a very over-looked factor about the rapid loss of territory in the western theater was the inadequacy of their fixed fortifications. The East had long been fortified against European invasion, and those defenses were further improved by R.E.Lee & Beauregard who were, above all else, engineers. Remember that Lee's assignment before leading troops was the coastal defenses. There was no one equally equipped with these skills in the west for the Confederacy. The only reason Vicksburg held out so long was the natural strength of its location. But look at Henry & Donelson, Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans. They just got picked off like ducks in a shooting gallery. Plus, the South had no navy to speak of to help defend the rivers and seaports (at least in the beginning when it really counted).

          However, I do think that the strategists in Washington and Richmond (including the Cdr's in Chief) were well aware of the importance of the western theater, and were constantly hounding their respective generals to get on the move and do something. The Lincoln administration was in a veritable panic after Chickamauga, fearing the loss of two years worth of blood, sweat and tears. And Jeff Davis' problem was that he cared so much about territory that he tried to defend it ALL, ALL the time, and kept the manpower too spread out. The west was just too big for that strategy. So my opinion is that the military, at least, of both sides did consider the western theatre to be important, but they were more focused on the East due to the proximity of the fighting, the capitals being there, the industry centers, and the larger populations.

          Also, I'm not quite sure why so many of you think the western theatre has been "ignored". I have never found that there is a shortage of published materials about it, and they are getting better and more extensive all the time. I have been studying the Civil War for 30 years now, and have always been able to find good information about the western theater. Granted, it may not be as extensive as the east, but I would hardly say "ignored" is appropriate. Just curious.

          Sincerely, J.H.
        • hartshje@aol.com
          Hello All. My own opinions are below, but first I d like to say that Bryan couldn t have put it any better than this: It would seem that the reason the West
          Message 4 of 6 , Aug 4, 2000
          • 0 Attachment
            Hello All. My own opinions are below, but first I'd like to say that Bryan couldn't have put it any better than this:

            "It would seem that the reason the "West" has been long ignored is because it never was the primary focus of the Confederacy, the Union, or the European nations. There are multiple reasons for this mindset. Besides the European embassies in Washington, both capitols were on the eastern seaboard. Concern for the military situation of their respective nation's capitols must have drawn contemporaries to the areas in which they were located. The Union's interest in the Eastern theater is readily understandable due to the proximity of hostile armies to the nation's demographic and industrial centers. Confederate armies were in retrograde after Bragg's invasion of Kentucky in 1862, and when the Rebel armies of the West began offensive movements it was not invade the North, but to reclaim lost Southern territory. The threats were just not as immediate as in the East. From the Confederate standpoint, I would argue that the Southern populace's hopes lay with Lee's army for their inde!
            pendence. Lee fielded the only consistently successful army in the South, up to July 1863, having only lost or drawn battles on foreign soil. When the populace looked to the West, very few events transpired which augmented Southern morale. Thus, I would argue that Southerner's looked to the east, and particulary Robert E. Lee for
            their independence, and an end to the war. I think if these premises are accepted, one can readily discern that the study of the war in the east is only natural. Living 135+ years after the fact, we can see that many of the events which transpired in the West severely constrained the chances for Southern Independence, if not guaranteed defeat, but I think it isn't really appropriate to criticise contemporary Americans for their focus on the East." - Bryan

            I agree wholeheartedly with this assessment. Also I think that European recognition would have helped the South considerably, but not necessarily "guaranteed" victory. I think a very over-looked factor about the rapid loss of territory in the western theater was the inadequacy of their fixed fortifications. The East had long been fortified against European invasion, and those defenses were further improved by R.E.Lee & Beauregard who were, above all else, engineers. Remember that Lee's assignment before leading troops was the coastal defenses. There was no one equally equipped with these skills in the west for the Confederacy. The only reason Vicksburg held out so long was the natural strength of its location. But look at Henry & Donelson, Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans. They just got picked off like ducks in a shooting gallery. Plus, the South had no navy to speak of to help defend the rivers and seaports (at least in the beginning when it really counted).

            However, I do think that the strategists in Washington and Richmond (including the Cdr's in Chief) were well aware of the importance of the western theater, and were constantly hounding their respective generals to get on the move and do something. The Lincoln administration was in a veritable panic after Chickamauga, fearing the loss of two years worth of blood, sweat and tears. And Jeff Davis' problem was that he cared so much about territory that he tried to defend it ALL, ALL the time, and kept the manpower too spread out. The west was just too big for that strategy. So my opinion is that the military, at least, of both sides did consider the western theatre to be important, but they were more focused on the East due to the proximity of the fighting, the capitals being there, the industry centers, and the larger populations.

            Also, I'm not quite sure why so many of you think the western theatre has been "ignored". I have never found that there is a shortage of published materials about it, and they are getting better and more extensive all the time. I have been studying the Civil War for 30 years now, and have always been able to find good information about the western theater. Granted, it may not be as extensive as the east, but I would hardly say "ignored" is appropriate. Just curious.

            Sincerely, J.H.
          • ZRobELee@Aol.com
            ... unless you ... come ... the ... That s true. You could argue that if Shiloh or Vicksburg had not been fought we would be two nations, but not neccesarily
            Message 5 of 6 , Aug 12, 2000
            • 0 Attachment
              --- In civilwarwest@egroups.com, "D. Andrew Burden, Ph.D."
              <daburden@m...> wrote:
              > The following quote can be found at:
              > http://www.delawareonline.com/news/2000/april/story404302000.html
              >
              > I thought this was an interesting observation, by a reenactor no
              less:
              >
              >
              > "I believe you can't understand America today
              unless you
              > understand the Civil
              > War," Pickett said. "We came as close as we've ever
              come
              > to being two
              > nations. And this battle was the turning point in
              the
              > war. Prior to Gettysburg, the
              > South had won everything."
              >
              > Has this guy never studied the Western theater? It was, after all,
              > where the war was won/lost (depending upon your perspective).
              > Andy


              That's true. You could argue that if Shiloh or Vicksburg had not been
              fought we would be two nations, but not neccesarily Gettysburg. The
              signifigance of Gettysburg was that it showed the south that they may
              not win the war in the EAST (at the time the west was falling to the
              union and the south became more dependent on their estern theatre.)
              It also showed that Lee was far from "invinsible," and that from that
              point on it wasn't going to be easy for him. Aside from all of that,
              it also helped Lincoln feel his Eastern command was not entirely
              incompetant, although Meade was no Grant. Gettysburg was surely a
              turning point. It showed the armies that war was going to be cruel
              and bloody, but it did not neccesarily win the war for the north. I
              don't think any battle did.
            • ZRobELee@Aol.com
              ... unless you ... come ... the ... That s true. You could argue that if Shiloh or Vicksburg had not been fought we would be two nations, but not neccesarily
              Message 6 of 6 , Aug 12, 2000
              • 0 Attachment
                --- In civilwarwest@egroups.com, "D. Andrew Burden, Ph.D."
                <daburden@m...> wrote:
                > The following quote can be found at:
                > http://www.delawareonline.com/news/2000/april/story404302000.html
                >
                > I thought this was an interesting observation, by a reenactor no
                less:
                >
                >
                > "I believe you can't understand America today
                unless you
                > understand the Civil
                > War," Pickett said. "We came as close as we've ever
                come
                > to being two
                > nations. And this battle was the turning point in
                the
                > war. Prior to Gettysburg, the
                > South had won everything."
                >
                > Has this guy never studied the Western theater? It was, after all,
                > where the war was won/lost (depending upon your perspective).
                > Andy


                That's true. You could argue that if Shiloh or Vicksburg had not been
                fought we would be two nations, but not neccesarily Gettysburg. The
                signifigance of Gettysburg was that it showed the south that they may
                not win the war in the EAST (at the time the west was falling to the
                union and the south became more dependent on their estern theatre.)
                It also showed that Lee was far from "invinsible," and that from that
                point on it wasn't going to be easy for him. Aside from all of that,
                it also helped Lincoln feel his Eastern command was not entirely
                incompetant, although Meade was no Grant. Gettysburg was surely a
                turning point. It showed the armies that war was going to be cruel
                and bloody, but it did not neccesarily win the war for the north. I
                don't think any battle did.
              Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.