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THE BATTLE OF VICKSBURG

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  • hartshje
    Hello everyone. Let s have some fun! This hypothetical battle scenario is posted mainly for Dave Smith s evaluation, but of course anybody else who wishes to
    Message 1 of 14 , May 25, 2002
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      Hello everyone. Let's have some fun! This hypothetical battle
      scenario is posted mainly for Dave Smith's evaluation, but of course
      anybody else who wishes to comment on it is more than welcome. I
      hope you all find it enjoyable. Best Regards, Joe H.

      Let's assume that by June 4, 1863, Joseph Johnston has received his
      last major reinforcement of 3,000 cavalry, and has decided to
      aggressively attack Grant from the rear to try to save Pemberton's
      army and Vicksburg. He has 33,000 men, Pemberton has 31,000, and
      Grant has 51,000. I have conjured up what I believe to be the "best
      case" scenario for the Confederate forces.

      Johnston has managed to get a fairly detailed plan of action through
      the siege lines to inform Pemberton of the date of the attack, and
      also what Pemberton's role is. Johnston approaches Grant's rear from
      the north and northeast in three columns. The first column consists
      of the cavalry reinforced by one brigade of infantry (5,500) and
      comes down the Yazoo River (or Ridge) road via Hayne's Bluff and
      Snyder's Bluff to directly threaten Grant's supply point at Chickasaw
      Bayou. Another column of two divisions (15,000) comes down the west
      side of the Big Black River on the Benton road via Claibornesville to
      Oak Ridge. The third column of one division plus two brigades
      (12,500) comes through Brownsville on the east side of the Big Black,
      and crosses at Birdsong's Ferry, heading south for the Bridgeport
      road.

      At this point, Grant is notified by scouting parties of Johnston's
      advance. He determines to meet this threat with as many troops as he
      can spare from the siege lines. On June 6th, two of Sherman's
      divisions (9,500) are rushed north to secure Chickasaw Bayou and
      Chickasaw Bluff. Porter's gunboats sail up the Yazoo to help protect
      the supply depot. One of McPherson's divisions (4,500) extends the
      new defensive line to the right, curving southeast to south.
      Finally, three of McClernand's divisions (13,000) are pulled from the
      southernmost end of the lines and sent to cover the Bridgeport road
      approach. His fourth division refuses it's left just south of the
      railroad, and the other divisions of Sherman's and McPherson's corps
      spread out through the siege lines to try to keep Pemberton shut in.
      Grant now has 27,000 men facing Johnston's 33,000, while 24,000 Union
      troops are holding the siege line against Pemberton's 31,000.

      Late on June 6th, Johnston's three columns converge against Grant's
      new defensive line. Skirmishes and cannonading define the respective
      positions, and alert Pemberton that Johnston has arrived on
      schedule. That night, Pemberton reduces his strength in the trenches
      to the bare minimum of about 13,000, and concentrates a striking
      force of 18,000 south of the city. Early on June 7th, the Battle of
      Vicksburg begins. Johnston's army begins heavy demonstrations
      against Grant's new line, searching for a weak spot. Pemberton,
      meanwhile, sweeps his attacking column east and north and strikes
      full force against the Union army's left flank. First one division,
      then another is driven back in confusion with heavy losses. But they
      rally on the third division in line, and the going gets much tougher
      on the attacking Confederates. Sherman, who is commanding this wing
      of the Union army, alerts Grant that he is being driven northward.
      As the Union lines are uncovered, more Confederates charge forth from
      the trenches to join in the assault.

      Johnston's demonstrations by now have become full-scale assaults.
      Johnston directs his main attack against the left end of Grant's line
      in an effort to cut him off from his supply base on the Yazoo. But
      the Union line is pretty strong, situated mostly on high ridges. His
      men are tough and fight hard, and the Confederates are making little
      headway and taking heavy casualties. Just as Grant is about to order
      McClernand to advance on the right, he receives Sherman's dire
      message. Sherman's line is now running east and west (facing south),
      and Grant's right (McClernand) is in danger of being taken in the
      rear by Pemberton's troops. Faced with this dilemma, Grant decides
      to pull McClernand's right back toward Sherman, and he notifies
      Sherman to fall back enough to be able to link his left with
      McClernand's right.

      At mid-afternoon, as the Union army's two wings reunite in a great
      arc stretching from Chickasaw Bayou back to the Mississippi just
      above Vicksburg, there is a lull in the fighting. Both sides take
      stock of their situations. Casualties have been heavy and roughly
      equal on both sides, about 7,000 each. Even though Pemberton has
      achieved a successful breakout, Johnston has not been able to drive
      Grant back. Now that the Union line is whole again, with both flanks
      and the supply depot secured, the Union army can just hold its
      position until reinforcements arrive. Both Grant and Johnston know
      this. If there is to be a decisive Confederate victory, there will
      have to be a major breakthrough today.

      Since both of Grant's flanks are solidly anchored in strong
      positions, Johnston concludes to try one massed assault directly
      against the center of the Union line along McClernand's front. A
      breakthrough would cut the Union army in two, and drive it back down
      the bluffs of the Walnut Hills to the river valley, where it would be
      destroyed or forced to evacuate under cover of the navy's big guns.
      By 4:30 p.m., Johnston has four divisions massed for attack, over
      22,000 men. Attacking on a ¾ mile wide front, two divisions in the
      front line, two in the back, they strike the center of the Union line
      like a sledgehammer. The Confederates are smelling victory, and they
      come on like demons possessed. McClernand's men, which have had the
      easiest going of the Union troops all through the campaign up to this
      point, are fairly fresh and determined to hold on. But the weight of
      numbers is telling, and after a brief, but fierce and bloody
      struggle, two of his divisions give way almost simultaneously, and
      thousands of Confederates rush through the gap. Grant and Sherman
      each throw several brigades into the breach, and the counterattack is
      enough to stall the advancing Confederates, but now Pemberton and
      Johnston launch new assaults on either side of the breakthrough.

      The Union line is under tremendous pressure, and Grant realizes he
      cannot sustain his current position much longer. As darkness falls,
      the Federals are fighting a gigantic rear-guard action, falling back
      step by step to a final line along the top of the bluffs. The
      exhausted Confederates need to regroup and re-supply their
      ammunition. Johnston realizes he cannot finish Grant off that
      night. He decides to redress his lines, get the troops some much
      needed food and rest, and finish the job tomorrow, if the enemy is
      still there. Grant, in turn, realizes he cannot get reinforcements
      in time to hold his position. If the Confederates attacked him on
      the top of the bluffs and drove his army off them, he might very well
      lose the whole lot. He decides the better course is to withdraw to
      the river during the night and set up a new line under cover of the
      gunboats. On this bloody day 11,500 Confederates and 10,200 Yankees
      made the casualty list.

      The next morning, June 8th Johnston finds the bluffs empty and the
      Union army in the midst of evacuation by naval transport. Grant is
      withdrawing back to the west side of the Mississippi to await the
      arrival of 25,000 reinforcements. He will try again later, if
      Lincoln will allow him to. Johnston and Pemberton re-occupy the
      Vicksburg-Chickasaw defenses, and the campaign comes full circle. As
      news of the battle and its results spread across both nations, the
      South rejoices, and the North is despondent, and back in the east
      Bobby Lee is moving north!
    • Carl Williams
      Whew, Joe, you have really laid this out and I m going to have to see if a map will help me follow this. So more later hopefully. Some preliminary thoughts:
      Message 2 of 14 , May 25, 2002
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        Whew, Joe, you have really laid this out and I'm going
        to have to see if a map will help me follow this. So
        more later hopefully. Some preliminary thoughts:
        -The scenario takes place after Grant has secured his
        supply line. I tend to believe that Grant could have
        had a tough time but would have prevailed in this
        situation, eventually. Maybe the Reb army could have
        broken out, tho.
        -I am sure more than a few are going to lambast you
        for such flights of fancy, but I like this sort of
        thing. I have to admit, though, I can't swallow the
        below part of this: JEJ ordering a frontal assault?
        wow!
        Carl
        PS did you get my email of about a week ago?
        --- hartshje <Hartshje@...> wrote:
        [...]>
        > Since both of Grant's flanks are solidly anchored in
        > strong
        > positions, Johnston concludes to try one massed
        > assault directly
        > against the center of the Union line along
        > McClernand's front. [...]


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      • hartshje
        Carl, I m sure you re right about Johnston. If he attacked at all, he probably would have called it quits once Pemberton made good his escape . In any case,
        Message 3 of 14 , May 25, 2002
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          Carl,

          I'm sure you're right about Johnston. If he attacked at all, he
          probably would have called it quits once Pemberton made good
          his "escape". In any case, I don't see the Union army being
          destroyed. Hey, this is why they make board games right?

          Joe (P.S. I did get your e-mail; reply coming very soon)

          --- In civilwarwest@y..., Carl Williams <carlw4514@y...> wrote:
          > Whew, Joe, you have really laid this out and I'm going
          > to have to see if a map will help me follow this. So
          > more later hopefully. Some preliminary thoughts:
          > -The scenario takes place after Grant has secured his
          > supply line. I tend to believe that Grant could have
          > had a tough time but would have prevailed in this
          > situation, eventually. Maybe the Reb army could have
          > broken out, tho.
          > -I am sure more than a few are going to lambast you
          > for such flights of fancy, but I like this sort of
          > thing. I have to admit, though, I can't swallow the
          > below part of this: JEJ ordering a frontal assault?
          > wow!
          > Carl
          > PS did you get my email of about a week ago?
        • theme_music
          ... course ... Joe, Very interesting scenario. You ve obviously put a lot of effort into developing it and describing your counterfactual to the group. I
          Message 4 of 14 , May 28, 2002
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            --- In civilwarwest@y..., "hartshje" <Hartshje@a...> wrote:
            > Hello everyone. Let's have some fun! This hypothetical battle
            > scenario is posted mainly for Dave Smith's evaluation, but of
            course
            > anybody else who wishes to comment on it is more than welcome. I
            > hope you all find it enjoyable. Best Regards, Joe H.


            Joe,

            Very interesting scenario. You've obviously put a lot of effort into
            developing it and describing your counterfactual to the group.

            I agree with your scenario to a point, so I will concentrate on the
            areas where my opinion differs from yours.

            I don't see Johnston and Pemberton being able to co-ordinate the type
            of all-out assault on Grant you've envisioned. Johnston's approach
            would have been much slower. While Grant would have swung around to
            face Johnston, possibly in a way very similar to what you've
            described (he seems to have been much more concerned with JEJ than
            JCP), I have a hard time seeing JEJ doing more than providing an
            opportunity for a "break out" of Vicksburg. The terrain favored
            Grant, the navy controlled the Yazoo, Grant had prepared positions
            and obstructions along the roads, and it seems tremendously out of
            character for JEJ to launch a major assault under those conditions.

            And speaking of actions highly out of character, Grant retreating and
            Pemberton competently leading an army into the field seem like
            reaches.

            My opinion is that JEJ had opportunity, with movements similar to
            those you've described, to open a "window" for Pemberton to escape
            south and then east over the Big Black with a portion of his command.

            Eric
          • fishx111@cs.com
            Can the president of the CSA be changed also? Jeff and J Johnston were not the best of Buddies. I believe JJohnston was noted more as a defensive specialist
            Message 5 of 14 , May 28, 2002
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              Can the president of the CSA be changed also? Jeff and J Johnston were not
              the best of Buddies. I believe JJohnston was noted more as a defensive
              specialist than an aggressor. He would have been the better initial defender
              of Atlanta,but Jefferson Davis and Johnston were not Amigos,which a lot of
              times was the way Davis did the choosing.

              Lincoln was not known as being loyal to "friends" especially deceitful
              friends. there again Lincoln did not have an ample supply of leaders.
            • hartshje
              ... Eric, Thanks for your response. In all honesty, I agree with you totally about your doubts that JEJ would have acted so aggressively. However, I do show
              Message 6 of 14 , May 29, 2002
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                --- In civilwarwest@y..., "theme_music" <theme_music@y...> wrote:
                > Joe,
                >
                > Very interesting scenario. You've obviously put a lot of effort
                > into developing it and describing your counterfactual to the group.
                >
                > I agree with your scenario to a point, so I will concentrate on the
                > areas where my opinion differs from yours.
                >
                > I don't see Johnston and Pemberton being able to co-ordinate the
                > type of all-out assault on Grant you've envisioned. Johnston's
                > approach would have been much slower. While Grant would have swung
                > around to face Johnston, possibly in a way very similar to what
                > you've described (he seems to have been much more concerned with
                > JEJ than JCP), I have a hard time seeing JEJ doing more than
                > providing an opportunity for a "break out" of Vicksburg. The
                > terrain favored Grant, the navy controlled the Yazoo, Grant had
                > prepared positions and obstructions along the roads, and it seems
                > tremendously out of character for JEJ to launch a major assault
                > under those conditions.
                >
                > And speaking of actions highly out of character, Grant retreating
                > and Pemberton competently leading an army into the field seem like
                > reaches.
                >
                > My opinion is that JEJ had opportunity, with movements similar to
                > those you've described, to open a "window" for Pemberton to escape
                > south and then east over the Big Black with a portion of his
                > command.
                >


                Eric,

                Thanks for your response. In all honesty, I agree with you totally
                about your doubts that JEJ would have acted so aggressively.
                However, I do show him being more cautious up to the point that
                Pemberton has scored quite a triumph. I guess its possible that even
                Johnston might go for the jugular given the right conditions. As for
                Grant retreating being out of character, this too is true. If he did
                (as I portrayed), he wouldn't go far. And then I'm sure he would
                simply try again after being reinforced; that is if Lincoln still
                backed him after such a defeat.

                Actually, my scenario is somewhat similar to the results of the first
                day at Shiloh, with these exceptions:
                a. The Confederates are not too disorganized for a final attack.
                b. Grant is not going to be reinforced during the night or the
                next day.
                c. Grant's entire line is backed up to the edge of the bluffs where
                any kind of orderly retreat would be impossible if Johnston's
                next assault is successful.
                d. The gunboats would be unable to fire on the Confederates during
                this last assault, and therefore could not cover the Union forces
                unless they retreated to the river.

                Under these conditions, do you still think Grant wouldn't pull back?
                Furthermore, once he pulled back to the river, Johnston reoccupies
                the bluffs putting the Union army back in the same position they were
                in when Sherman tried attack up Chickasaw Bayou several months
                earlier, which ended in disaster. So I think that Grant at this
                point would re-cross the Mississippi and start working on some new
                plan (provided he isn't replaced).

                Best Regards,
                Joe H.
              • theme_music
                ... totally ... even ... for ... did ... first ... where ... forces ... were ... I see Grant s interior lines and favorable geography working greatly to his
                Message 7 of 14 , May 30, 2002
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                  --- In civilwarwest@y..., "hartshje" <Hartshje@a...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > Eric,
                  >
                  > Thanks for your response. In all honesty, I agree with you
                  totally
                  > about your doubts that JEJ would have acted so aggressively.
                  > However, I do show him being more cautious up to the point that
                  > Pemberton has scored quite a triumph. I guess its possible that
                  even
                  > Johnston might go for the jugular given the right conditions. As
                  for
                  > Grant retreating being out of character, this too is true. If he
                  did
                  > (as I portrayed), he wouldn't go far. And then I'm sure he would
                  > simply try again after being reinforced; that is if Lincoln still
                  > backed him after such a defeat.
                  >
                  > Actually, my scenario is somewhat similar to the results of the
                  first
                  > day at Shiloh, with these exceptions:
                  > a. The Confederates are not too disorganized for a final attack.
                  > b. Grant is not going to be reinforced during the night or the
                  > next day.
                  > c. Grant's entire line is backed up to the edge of the bluffs
                  where
                  > any kind of orderly retreat would be impossible if Johnston's
                  > next assault is successful.
                  > d. The gunboats would be unable to fire on the Confederates during
                  > this last assault, and therefore could not cover the Union
                  forces
                  > unless they retreated to the river.
                  >
                  > Under these conditions, do you still think Grant wouldn't pull back?
                  > Furthermore, once he pulled back to the river, Johnston reoccupies
                  > the bluffs putting the Union army back in the same position they
                  were
                  > in when Sherman tried attack up Chickasaw Bayou several months
                  > earlier, which ended in disaster. So I think that Grant at this
                  > point would re-cross the Mississippi and start working on some new
                  > plan (provided he isn't replaced).


                  I see Grant's interior lines and favorable geography working greatly
                  to his advantage. His army's morale is high, and has spent the
                  previous six weeks reacting quickly and effectively to each
                  operational change instituted by Grant. Even with McClernand, this
                  army is probably the closest to a "well oiled machined" that would
                  ever exist on the Federal side. Quite a differnet story for the CS
                  forces. Pemberton's command is in disarray and his officers lack
                  confidence in him. Johnston's standing is somewhat better, but his
                  forces are newly cobbled together and their performance is at best an
                  unknown.

                  Grant has also learned a few lessons about entrenching and scouting
                  since his Shiloh days, also he seems to a pretty active spy network
                  in central Mississippi, so I believe he could anticipate and obstruct
                  Johnston easily. And he did have re-inforcements on the way, though
                  he'd have to hold out, what a week or so?, to get any significnat
                  numbers.

                  Pemberton faces a dilemma in listening for the sounds of Johnston's
                  guns. Porter and Grant could easily drown out the sound of a pitched
                  battle at Tiffentown or Bridgeport or Haynes Bluff with their
                  batteries and gun boats. I don't believe it a stretch at all to
                  think they would be aware of this. So JEJ and JCP would most likely
                  end up fighting separate uncoordinated battles, Vicksburg under a
                  constant barrage, and Grant able to shuttle forces around as needed.
                  The road network favors him in this respect.

                  Grant spent months down on the river looking up at the heights. I
                  really think you'd have to kill him before that stubborn SOB would
                  give up the high ground. I think he'd try to hold out until forces
                  could be brought in.

                  I think the movements described would take the Confederates several
                  days at a minimum, from the point where Johnston has forces west of
                  the Big Black and south of Sartatia, and more if Grant is able to
                  effectively mount delaying actions.

                  So I'm sticking with the Johnston feints and Pemberton escapes
                  scenario.

                  Eric
                • hartshje
                  ... Well Eric, I think you re right about the Union cannonading drowning out the sounds of Johnston s attack. And you are also probably right about the lack
                  Message 8 of 14 , May 31, 2002
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                    --- In civilwarwest@y..., "theme_music" <theme_music@y...> wrote:
                    >
                    > I see Grant's interior lines and favorable geography working
                    > greatly to his advantage. His army's morale is high, and has spent
                    > the previous six weeks reacting quickly and effectively to each
                    > operational change instituted by Grant. Even with McClernand, this
                    > army is probably the closest to a "well oiled machined" that would
                    > ever exist on the Federal side. Quite a differnet story for the CS
                    > forces. Pemberton's command is in disarray and his officers lack
                    > confidence in him. Johnston's standing is somewhat better, but his
                    > forces are newly cobbled together and their performance is at best
                    > an unknown.
                    >
                    > Grant has also learned a few lessons about entrenching and scouting
                    > since his Shiloh days, also he seems to a pretty active spy network
                    > in central Mississippi, so I believe he could anticipate and
                    > obstruct Johnston easily. And he did have re-inforcements on the
                    > way, though he'd have to hold out, what a week or so?, to get any
                    > significnat numbers.
                    >
                    > Pemberton faces a dilemma in listening for the sounds of Johnston's
                    > guns. Porter and Grant could easily drown out the sound of a
                    > pitched battle at Tiffentown or Bridgeport or Haynes Bluff with
                    > their batteries and gun boats. I don't believe it a stretch at all
                    > to think they would be aware of this. So JEJ and JCP would most
                    > likely end up fighting separate uncoordinated battles, Vicksburg
                    > under a constant barrage, and Grant able to shuttle forces around
                    > as needed. The road network favors him in this respect.
                    >
                    > Grant spent months down on the river looking up at the heights. I
                    > really think you'd have to kill him before that stubborn SOB would
                    > give up the high ground. I think he'd try to hold out until forces
                    > could be brought in.
                    >
                    > I think the movements described would take the Confederates several
                    > days at a minimum, from the point where Johnston has forces west of
                    > the Big Black and south of Sartatia, and more if Grant is able to
                    > effectively mount delaying actions.
                    >
                    > So I'm sticking with the Johnston feints and Pemberton escapes
                    > scenario.
                    >


                    Well Eric, I think you're right about the Union cannonading drowning
                    out the sounds of Johnston's attack. And you are also probably right
                    about the lack of cohesion and coordination that would have unfolded
                    on the Confederate side, as well as Grant's stubborness. So in all
                    liklihood, an escape by Pemberton seems to be the most the South
                    could hope for. So if Grant captures Vicksburg five weeks earlier,
                    and Johnston & Pemberton unite with over 60,000 men at Jackson, what
                    happens next?

                    Joe H.
                  • Carl Williams
                    It all depends on what the Union war planners decide should be their next move. It could be that they move to the Chattanooga area, perhaps in response to
                    Message 9 of 14 , Jun 1, 2002
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                      It all depends on what the Union war planners decide
                      should be their next move. It could be that they move
                      to the Chattanooga area, perhaps in response to Bragg
                      being rapidly reinforced there from those
                      now-not-captured Vicksburg forces. It is right to
                      sacrifice 5 weeks for something in the neighborhood of
                      20 to 30 thousand troops. I find myself perhaps
                      disagreeing with the redoubtable Dave Smith on this,
                      who I have understood to assert that the Union would
                      pursue another overland campaign into the area, one
                      with little strategic value and a lot of potential for
                      failure. Of course, I can't speak for Dave and I may
                      have misunderstood.
                      -The most favorable outcome for the South would have
                      depended on preventing Grant from hooking up with
                      Yazoo river supply at all, which was not in your
                      scenario, and could really have changed the outcome of
                      the war entirely.
                      Carl
                      --- hartshje <Hartshje@...> wrote:

                      > Well Eric, I think you're right about the Union
                      > cannonading drowning
                      > out the sounds of Johnston's attack. And you are
                      > also probably right
                      > about the lack of cohesion and coordination that
                      > would have unfolded
                      > on the Confederate side, as well as Grant's
                      > stubborness. So in all
                      > liklihood, an escape by Pemberton seems to be the
                      > most the South
                      > could hope for. So if Grant captures Vicksburg five
                      > weeks earlier,
                      > and Johnston & Pemberton unite with over 60,000 men
                      > at Jackson, what
                      > happens next?
                      >
                      > Joe H.
                      >



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                    • theme_music
                      ... drowning ... right ... unfolded ... what ... Darn good question. Probably too complicated for my feeble mind, after all at this point, we have to involve
                      Message 10 of 14 , Jun 1, 2002
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                        --- In civilwarwest@y..., "hartshje" <Hartshje@a...> wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        > Well Eric, I think you're right about the Union cannonading
                        drowning
                        > out the sounds of Johnston's attack. And you are also probably
                        right
                        > about the lack of cohesion and coordination that would have
                        unfolded
                        > on the Confederate side, as well as Grant's stubborness. So in all
                        > liklihood, an escape by Pemberton seems to be the most the South
                        > could hope for. So if Grant captures Vicksburg five weeks earlier,
                        > and Johnston & Pemberton unite with over 60,000 men at Jackson,
                        what
                        > happens next?

                        Darn good question. Probably too complicated for my feeble mind,
                        after all at this point, we have to involve people like Halleck and
                        Jeff Davis in the counterfactual process, and frankly, I don't know
                        how to think like them!

                        Well, Pemberton's losses must be considered, he would probably lose a
                        lot of men, equippage and transportation in the evac, plus all the
                        heavy artillery.

                        Grant already has re-inforcements en route, he would probably propose
                        a move on Jackson ASAP. But the exact timing of events is critical.
                        Washington probably would re-call some of the troops in response to
                        Lee's northward incursion that June. One scenario, is that some of
                        Grant's strength is pulled back East, and, likewise Johnston's forces
                        are pulled back east. I don't think they can accomplish much in
                        Mississippi, and Lee, with Vicksburg already fallen, might clamor for
                        them. Is there any point to trying to re-take Vicksburg even with
                        60,000 men? The river is already gone forever.

                        Let me ponder some more, but what do you think?

                        Eric
                      • Carl Williams
                        NO- carl ... Is there any point to trying to re-take ... __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Yahoo! - Official partner of 2002
                        Message 11 of 14 , Jun 1, 2002
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                          NO-
                          carl
                          --- theme_music <theme_music@...> wrote:
                          Is there any point to trying to re-take
                          > Vicksburg even with
                          > 60,000 men? The river is already gone forever.
                          >



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                        • hartshje
                          Eric and Carl, Since Port Hudson had not fallen yet, and Lincoln & Halleck had been wanting Grant to help Banks, I think it a fair guess that some of his
                          Message 12 of 14 , Jun 1, 2002
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                            Eric and Carl,

                            Since Port Hudson had not fallen yet, and Lincoln & Halleck had been
                            wanting Grant to help Banks, I think it a fair guess that some of his
                            troops would be ordered downriver to that arena. I can't imagine
                            Grant sitting still if not ordered to do so. Therefore he probably
                            would advance against Jackson. But he also had been contemplating a
                            move against Mobile, so that may have been next on the agenda.

                            Once Rosecrans started putting pressure on Bragg at Tullahoma, Davis
                            would probably have Johnston send large reinforcements to him. I
                            think a wiser Confederate move would be to unite most of Johnston's
                            troops with Bragg's army, and try to crush Rosecrans before he could
                            advance.

                            Joe H.

                            --- In civilwarwest@y..., "theme_music" <theme_music@y...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Darn good question. Probably too complicated for my feeble mind,
                            > after all at this point, we have to involve people like Halleck and
                            > Jeff Davis in the counterfactual process, and frankly, I don't know
                            > how to think like them!
                            >
                            > Well, Pemberton's losses must be considered, he would probably lose
                            > a lot of men, equippage and transportation in the evac, plus all
                            > the heavy artillery.
                            >
                            > Grant already has re-inforcements en route, he would probably
                            > propose a move on Jackson ASAP. But the exact timing of events is
                            > critical. Washington probably would re-call some of the troops in
                            > response to Lee's northward incursion that June. One scenario, is
                            > that some of Grant's strength is pulled back East, and, likewise
                            > Johnston's forces are pulled back east. I don't think they can
                            > accomplish much in Mississippi, and Lee, with Vicksburg already
                            > fallen, might clamor for them. Is there any point to trying to re-
                            > take Vicksburg even with 60,000 men? The river is already gone
                            > forever.
                            >
                            > Let me ponder some more, but what do you think?
                            >
                            > Eric
                            >
                            > --- In civilwarwest@y..., "hartshje" <Hartshje@a...> wrote:
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > Well Eric, I think you're right about the Union cannonading
                            > drowning
                            > > out the sounds of Johnston's attack. And you are also probably
                            > right
                            > > about the lack of cohesion and coordination that would have
                            > unfolded
                            > > on the Confederate side, as well as Grant's stubborness. So in
                            all
                            > > liklihood, an escape by Pemberton seems to be the most the South
                            > > could hope for. So if Grant captures Vicksburg five weeks
                            earlier,
                            > > and Johnston & Pemberton unite with over 60,000 men at Jackson,
                            > what
                            > > happens next?
                          • dmsmith001
                            ... I ve been (and still am) on vacation, and will try to catch up on a bunch of different thoughts in one post here. Regarding comments about interior /
                            Message 13 of 14 , Jun 3, 2002
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                              --- In civilwarwest@y..., "hartshje" <Hartshje@a...> wrote:

                              I've been (and still am) on vacation, and will try to catch up on a
                              bunch of different thoughts in one post here.

                              Regarding comments about interior / exterior lines: Pemberton had
                              interior lines vis-a-vis Grant's lines, and Johnston had exterior
                              lines. Insofar as Johnston was concerned, that wasn't a problem,
                              since the discussed plans (as far as they went) for the Johnston move
                              on Grant assumed a total concentration (or nearly so) at one point.

                              Grant had exterior lines to Pemberton, and interior to Johnston.
                              Neither was much of a help or a hindrance, since he could not move
                              quickly from any end of his lines to the other, due to terrain.

                              The terrain / landscape that Grant occupied was the great equalizer,
                              at least till the 23rd when he was able to dispatch Sherman to
                              prepare defenses against Johnston.

                              Timing: This campaign, like no other I've read about, is more
                              dependent on timing issues. The length of time to transfer messages
                              from Johnston to Pemberton and vice versa, time for movements, etc.
                              played havoc with the plans of the participants.

                              And timing was critical for the Confederates; they had at best a
                              severely limited window of opportunity for action. Given Joe
                              Johnston and his tendencies, it was obviously not enough of a window.

                              > Well Eric, I think you're right about the Union cannonading
                              > drowning out the sounds of Johnston's attack.

                              I'm sorry, but while it could be a factor, it wouldn't stop Pemberton
                              from knowing about Johnston's attack. If nothing else, the attack
                              would be 1) known from a timing standpoint, and 2) visible in terms
                              of powder. Remember, it's not like during the first week of June
                              that Grant could meet Johnston 20 miles away at the Big Black.

                              > And you are also
                              > probably right about the lack of cohesion and coordination that
                              > would have unfolded on the Confederate side, as well as Grant's
                              > stubborness.

                              I absolutely agree about problems of cohesion and coordination on the
                              part of the Confederate command. Heck, the entire Vicksburg campaign
                              typifies that. Pemberton's command at Champion Hill was total
                              confusion, and the same can be said about Johnston's one offensive
                              battle to that point, Seven Pines.

                              *Had it succeeded*, however, I'm not sure what Grant or his vaunted
                              stubborness could have done. His lines, due to geography and
                              inability to maneuver, are peeled back like opening a ripe bananna.
                              And let's face it, we simply don't know how Grant handles that kind
                              of adverse situation. It hadn't happened, in the same way, except
                              perhaps at Shiloh. And if we're suggesting his stubborness manifests
                              itself in the bayous of Chickasaw Bluffs, I frankly don't like his
                              chances.

                              > So in all
                              > liklihood, an escape by Pemberton seems to be the most the South
                              > could hope for.

                              We're playing hindsight games again, using much of what we know to
                              rule out options. I personally think that had Pemberton, on say June
                              5 (in coordination with an advance by Johnston) exits via Hall's
                              Ferry and the Warrenton Roads, one of the two - Johnston or
                              Pemberton - is toast. Grant, as soon as Pemberton leaves, can turn
                              with his 50,000 men and attack one or the other with impunity. And
                              that, counting on Grant to exhibit aggressiveness, is something I
                              think we all can agree on.

                              Me, I'd attack Johnston, and leave Pemberton floundering on the Port
                              Gibson Road trying to reach Jackson.

                              > So if Grant captures Vicksburg five weeks earlier,
                              > and Johnston & Pemberton unite with over 60,000 men at Jackson,
                              > what happens next?

                              Once the siege starts, with Pemberton behind the trench lines, any
                              attempt to break out is going to cost him half his army, IMO.
                              Between the sick and wounded he has to leave behind, the straggling,
                              lost guns, and general morale problems, he's toast.

                              What next? Probably the same thing that happens with Johnston in
                              reality - he sits staring at Grant, arguing for more troops, and does
                              nothing. Grant probably goes after Johnston, but the wily Johnston
                              is always one retreating step ahead of Grant.

                              But you have to do something with that Confederate army, and
                              quickly. The one thing the Confederates could *not* do was have any
                              substantial army sit idle. Probably the best thing would be to unite
                              with Bragg, but (using hindsight) would an army under Johnston and
                              Bragg have any better chance? Could the Confederates move their army
                              from Jackson to Chattanooga any faster than Grant could move via the
                              waters and rail from Vicksburg to Chattanooga?

                              Dave

                              Dave Smith
                              Sanibel, Florida
                              >
                              > Joe H.
                            • hartshje
                              ... [Dave, thanks for your reply. Didn t mean to interupt your vacation. Hope you re having a great time.] ... [Excellent point there. CW battles certainly
                              Message 14 of 14 , Jun 3, 2002
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                                --- In civilwarwest@y..., "dmsmith001" <dmsmith001@y...> wrote:
                                > I've been (and still am) on vacation, and will try to catch up on a
                                > bunch of different thoughts in one post here.

                                [Dave, thanks for your reply. Didn't mean to interupt your
                                vacation. Hope you're having a great time.]

                                > I'm sorry, but while it (Union cannonading) could be a factor, it
                                > wouldn't stop Pemberton from knowing about Johnston's attack. If
                                > nothing else, the attack would be 1) known from a timing standpoint
                                > and 2) visible in terms of powder. Remember, it's not like during
                                > the first week of June that Grant could meet Johnston 20 miles away
                                > at the Big Black.

                                [Excellent point there. CW battles certainly produced huge clouds of
                                smoke.]

                                > *Had it succeeded*, however, I'm not sure what Grant or his vaunted
                                > stubborness could have done. His lines, due to geography and
                                > inability to maneuver, are peeled back like opening a ripe
                                > bananna. And let's face it, we simply don't know how Grant handles
                                > that kind of adverse situation. It hadn't happened, in the same
                                > way, except perhaps at Shiloh. And if we're suggesting his
                                > stubborness manifests itself in the bayous of Chickasaw Bluffs, I
                                > frankly don't like his chances.

                                [I agree with your assessment here, that is IF Johnston & Pemberton
                                were successful in pushing Grant back that far.]

                                > I personally think that had Pemberton, on say June 5 (in
                                > coordination with an advance by Johnston) exits via Hall's
                                > Ferry and the Warrenton Roads, one of the two - Johnston or
                                > Pemberton - is toast. Grant, as soon as Pemberton leaves, can turn
                                > with his 50,000 men and attack one or the other with impunity. And
                                > that, counting on Grant to exhibit aggressiveness, is something I
                                > think we all can agree on. Me, I'd attack Johnston, and leave
                                > Pemberton floundering on the Port Gibson Road trying to reach
                                > Jackson. Once the siege starts, with Pemberton behind the trench
                                > lines, any attempt to break out is going to cost him half his army,
                                > IMO. Between the sick and wounded he has to leave behind, the
                                > straggling, lost guns, and general morale problems, he's toast.

                                [I don't think Pemberton would just go floundering off to the S.E.
                                with Johnston's army in the vicinity and fighting the enemy. If the
                                decision was to totally evacuate Vicksburg, then yes, Pemberton would
                                lose the heavy artillery and most of his wounded. But IMO, he would
                                try to strike Grant for two reasons, 1) to knock him back enough to
                                allow for the cleanest possible breakout, and 2) to support Johnston
                                and try to unite with his army. This would keep Grant from turning
                                his whole force on one or the other. If they were unsuccessful in
                                driving Grant back to the river, they themselves could retire across
                                the Big Black and use that river as a defensive front.]


                                > What next? Probably the same thing that happens with Johnston in
                                > reality - he sits staring at Grant, arguing for more troops, and
                                > does nothing. Grant probably goes after Johnston, but the wily
                                > Johnston is always one retreating step ahead of Grant.

                                [I agree totally.]

                                > But you have to do something with that Confederate army, and
                                > quickly. The one thing the Confederates could *not* do was have
                                > any substantial army sit idle. Probably the best thing would be to
                                > unite with Bragg, but (using hindsight) would an army under
                                > Johnston and Bragg have any better chance? Could the Confederates
                                > move their army from Jackson to Chattanooga any faster than Grant
                                > could move via the waters and rail from Vicksburg to Chattanooga?
                                >

                                [IMO, Yes! In reality, no troops were sent to Rosecrans after
                                Vicksburg fell, not until after Chickamauga occurred. If Grant takes
                                Vicksburg five weeks earlier, I think Lincoln and Halleck would be
                                prodding Grant to move on Port Hudson and assist Banks. Johnston
                                could join Bragg at Tullahoma, giving the Confederates nearly 100,000
                                men to crush Rosecrans and retake Nashville. At that point, Grant
                                would definitely have to move the major part of his army back to
                                Tennessee.]

                                Regards,
                                Joe H.
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