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Cozzens, Sherman and November 24, 1863

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  • wh_keene
    I know this has been discussed a lot in the past, but I need to vent my frustration with the way Sherman s action on November 24th, 1863 are portrayed in
    Message 1 of 10 , May 30, 2002
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      I know this has been discussed a lot in the past, but I need to vent
      my frustration with the way Sherman's action on November 24th, 1863
      are portrayed in Cozzens' book Shipwreck of Their Hopes.

      Cozzens criticizes Sherman extensively (he seems to seek out any
      opportunity to do so throughout the book). The major criticisms of
      Sherman seems to be that he delayd before moving forward from the
      crossing point, he was slow in moving and his disposiitons at the end
      of the day were bad.


      Why did it take so long before he moved out from the bridgehead? The
      bridge took all morning to build and Sherman wasn't going to move out
      until it was done and he had his 3 divisions together. Why did the
      bridge take all morning? Cozzen's doesn't look at this, but seems to
      me there are good reasons: the river is about a quarter of a mile
      wide at this point and was much swollen with rain (in several other
      places Cozzen's refers to the rough state of the river, but no
      mention is made of it here). Also note the length of time needed by
      others to build smaller bridges (those done under Hooker's command
      over Lookout Creek or Chattanooga Creek for example). In context,
      Sherman's bridge does not take excessive time. Why did Sherman wait
      for all three divisions to be across the river before moving out?
      What I wonder is why this decision is labeled anything but prudent.
      He was isolated from his base with limited intelligence as to enemy
      positions and in the middle of constructing a river crossing.
      Hindsight tells us that there was no serious threat to the
      bridgehead, but that was not the perception at the time.


      Sherman is also criticized for moving too slowly once he gets going
      since his force crosses less than two miles in two hours. But based
      on the uncertain intelligence as to locations of the enemy, constant
      expectation of attack, weather conditions that limited movement and
      visibility, and the difficulties of terrain, this doesn't seem that
      bad. Note that Geary's marching speed up Lookout valley during the
      same day is not much faster. Consider that two½ miles per hour is
      considered good marching speed for regular road movement under normal
      conditions:
      http://carlisle-
      www.army.mil/usamhi/Bibliographies/ReferenceBibliographies/marching/ra
      tes.doc
      Thus under adverse conditions with expected enemy contact, a slower
      speed would be natural.

      Time and visibility are key factors here as well. Cozzen's states
      that the dawn came at 5:30. I am not sure what his source is for
      this, but from my research sunrise was around 7:30 and `civil
      twilight' was around 6:30
      [http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/RST_defs.html]. Add to this that
      it is repeatedly pointed out that November 24th was raining, foggy
      and generally gray. In discussing the action on Lookout mountain
      this is brought up repeatedly indicating how poor visibility is.
      Based on weather conditions I find it hard to imagine that there was
      much illumination prior to 6:30 and that even at sunrise the
      visibility would have been restricted. The question of weather
      conditions and visibility is a factor in the later part of the day
      too. Cozzen indicates that Hooker decided at 2pm(!) that it was time
      to halt his advance because of the worsening weather. This ought to
      be kept in mind when considering Sherman's situation. Cozzens says
      that only Smith's Texans of Cleburne's Division were seen on Tunnel
      Hill. Yet what was really just a brigade would be hard to estimate
      if dimly made out across the way. The phrase `fog of war' is doubly
      applicable here.


      Cozzens bolsters his argument with criticisms of Sherman by W.F.
      Smith and Boynton. Both criticisms are weak but Cozzens doesn't
      bother to analyze them. Boynton argues that Sherman should have been
      knocking on house doors to gather intelligence. There are several
      problems with this, a few of which are: was the area between the
      bridge and he hills significantly populated? would the local populace
      give a warm welcome (or accurate info) to this invader? And prior to
      the late afternoon was there awareness that the information and maps
      needed supplementing? Cozzens quotes, without questioning, W.F.
      Smith saying that Sherman met no resistance. However Cozzens prior
      narrative indicates that this is just plain false--clashes occur with
      portions of Cleburne's command and with Wright's Brigade.

      Cozzens does points out weaknesses in intelligence, reconnaissance
      and maps that were all a problem. Yet this is not explored further.
      It would have been nice if Cozzens had examined why there was an
      information breakdown. [In a side note, Cozzens has Howard meeting
      Sherman at the bridge over the Chickamauga. This is a mistake: they
      meet at the bridge over the Tennessee.]


      Finally, Cozzens says "Sherman deployed his command oddly, in a
      manner suited to neither attack nor defend." He goes on to identify
      those dispositions accurately, but never explains why it is his
      conclusion that it is faulty. I see no obvious reason at all why
      Sherman's dispositions are faulty--if anyone wishes to explan this to
      me please do. In fact it appears to me that Sherman's dispositions
      are excellent: he commands 12 brigades—he divides them into 3
      left/rear; 3 center; 3 right; and 3 reserve. Yet Cozzen's remark
      just hangs there unexplained. Cozzens also remarks that Sherman did
      not use Davis, though Cozzens provides no suggestion as to what other
      duty or position Davis should have been used for. In my opinion
      Davis is performing a critical military function at Sherman's
      direction (Davis is the 3 left/rear brigades I refer to above).
      Sherman has established a bridgehead over a wide river and over a
      lesser, yet important, creek and he has advanced his main force about
      two miles from that bridgehead. The enemy disposition is imperfectly
      known, though he is known to be present east of the Chickamaugua.
      Davis is protecting both the bridges and the connection between
      Sherman's position and the bridges. It should also be noted that
      Davis's Division did not cross the river until afternoon. Thus
      Sherman is making full and wise use of Davis.
    • Bill Brown
      Hi! Great idea for a discussion. Let me go home and reread that part of Cozzens, and then I can discuss the finer points with you. Bill ... From: wh_keene
      Message 2 of 10 , May 31, 2002
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        Hi!

        Great idea for a discussion. Let me go home and reread that part of
        Cozzens, and then I can discuss the finer points with you.

        Bill

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "wh_keene" <wh_keene@...>
        To: <civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2002 5:18 PM
        Subject: [civilwarwest] Cozzens, Sherman and November 24, 1863


        I know this has been discussed a lot in the past, but I need to vent
        my frustration with the way Sherman's action on November 24th, 1863
        are portrayed in Cozzens' book Shipwreck of Their Hopes.

        Cozzens criticizes Sherman extensively (he seems to seek out any
        opportunity to do so throughout the book). The major criticisms of
        Sherman seems to be that he delayd before moving forward from the
        crossing point, he was slow in moving and his disposiitons at the end
        of the day were bad.


        Why did it take so long before he moved out from the bridgehead? The
        bridge took all morning to build and Sherman wasn't going to move out
        until it was done and he had his 3 divisions together. Why did the
        bridge take all morning? Cozzen's doesn't look at this, but seems to
        me there are good reasons: the river is about a quarter of a mile
        wide at this point and was much swollen with rain (in several other
        places Cozzen's refers to the rough state of the river, but no
        mention is made of it here). Also note the length of time needed by
        others to build smaller bridges (those done under Hooker's command
        over Lookout Creek or Chattanooga Creek for example). In context,
        Sherman's bridge does not take excessive time. Why did Sherman wait
        for all three divisions to be across the river before moving out?
        What I wonder is why this decision is labeled anything but prudent.
        He was isolated from his base with limited intelligence as to enemy
        positions and in the middle of constructing a river crossing.
        Hindsight tells us that there was no serious threat to the
        bridgehead, but that was not the perception at the time.


        Sherman is also criticized for moving too slowly once he gets going
        since his force crosses less than two miles in two hours. But based
        on the uncertain intelligence as to locations of the enemy, constant
        expectation of attack, weather conditions that limited movement and
        visibility, and the difficulties of terrain, this doesn't seem that
        bad. Note that Geary's marching speed up Lookout valley during the
        same day is not much faster. Consider that two½ miles per hour is
        considered good marching speed for regular road movement under normal
        conditions:
        http://carlisle-
        www.army.mil/usamhi/Bibliographies/ReferenceBibliographies/marching/ra
        tes.doc
        Thus under adverse conditions with expected enemy contact, a slower
        speed would be natural.

        Time and visibility are key factors here as well. Cozzen's states
        that the dawn came at 5:30. I am not sure what his source is for
        this, but from my research sunrise was around 7:30 and `civil
        twilight' was around 6:30
        [http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/RST_defs.html]. Add to this that
        it is repeatedly pointed out that November 24th was raining, foggy
        and generally gray. In discussing the action on Lookout mountain
        this is brought up repeatedly indicating how poor visibility is.
        Based on weather conditions I find it hard to imagine that there was
        much illumination prior to 6:30 and that even at sunrise the
        visibility would have been restricted. The question of weather
        conditions and visibility is a factor in the later part of the day
        too. Cozzen indicates that Hooker decided at 2pm(!) that it was time
        to halt his advance because of the worsening weather. This ought to
        be kept in mind when considering Sherman's situation. Cozzens says
        that only Smith's Texans of Cleburne's Division were seen on Tunnel
        Hill. Yet what was really just a brigade would be hard to estimate
        if dimly made out across the way. The phrase `fog of war' is doubly
        applicable here.


        Cozzens bolsters his argument with criticisms of Sherman by W.F.
        Smith and Boynton. Both criticisms are weak but Cozzens doesn't
        bother to analyze them. Boynton argues that Sherman should have been
        knocking on house doors to gather intelligence. There are several
        problems with this, a few of which are: was the area between the
        bridge and he hills significantly populated? would the local populace
        give a warm welcome (or accurate info) to this invader? And prior to
        the late afternoon was there awareness that the information and maps
        needed supplementing? Cozzens quotes, without questioning, W.F.
        Smith saying that Sherman met no resistance. However Cozzens prior
        narrative indicates that this is just plain false--clashes occur with
        portions of Cleburne's command and with Wright's Brigade.

        Cozzens does points out weaknesses in intelligence, reconnaissance
        and maps that were all a problem. Yet this is not explored further.
        It would have been nice if Cozzens had examined why there was an
        information breakdown. [In a side note, Cozzens has Howard meeting
        Sherman at the bridge over the Chickamauga. This is a mistake: they
        meet at the bridge over the Tennessee.]


        Finally, Cozzens says "Sherman deployed his command oddly, in a
        manner suited to neither attack nor defend." He goes on to identify
        those dispositions accurately, but never explains why it is his
        conclusion that it is faulty. I see no obvious reason at all why
        Sherman's dispositions are faulty--if anyone wishes to explan this to
        me please do. In fact it appears to me that Sherman's dispositions
        are excellent: he commands 12 brigades-he divides them into 3
        left/rear; 3 center; 3 right; and 3 reserve. Yet Cozzen's remark
        just hangs there unexplained. Cozzens also remarks that Sherman did
        not use Davis, though Cozzens provides no suggestion as to what other
        duty or position Davis should have been used for. In my opinion
        Davis is performing a critical military function at Sherman's
        direction (Davis is the 3 left/rear brigades I refer to above).
        Sherman has established a bridgehead over a wide river and over a
        lesser, yet important, creek and he has advanced his main force about
        two miles from that bridgehead. The enemy disposition is imperfectly
        known, though he is known to be present east of the Chickamaugua.
        Davis is protecting both the bridges and the connection between
        Sherman's position and the bridges. It should also be noted that
        Davis's Division did not cross the river until afternoon. Thus
        Sherman is making full and wise use of Davis.





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      • theme_music
        ... vent ... end ... Glad to see some analysis more sophisticated and fact based than the usual Sherman failed because he was an incompetent toady, who was
        Message 3 of 10 , May 31, 2002
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          --- In civilwarwest@y..., "wh_keene" <wh_keene@y...> wrote:
          > I know this has been discussed a lot in the past, but I need to
          vent
          > my frustration with the way Sherman's action on November 24th, 1863
          > are portrayed in Cozzens' book Shipwreck of Their Hopes.
          >
          > Cozzens criticizes Sherman extensively (he seems to seek out any
          > opportunity to do so throughout the book). The major criticisms of
          > Sherman seems to be that he delayd before moving forward from the
          > crossing point, he was slow in moving and his disposiitons at the
          end
          > of the day were bad.
          >
          > <snip of excellent points>

          Glad to see some analysis more sophisticated and fact based than the
          usual "Sherman failed because he was an incompetent toady, who was
          only in command because he culled favor with that Glory Grabbing
          Grandstander Grant" that we've seen here and elsewhere.

          About 15 years ago I used to fly into Chattanooga every couple months
          on business, and seeing the fog in that part of the country from the
          air is a sight that impressed me greatly. Most days the hilltops
          were visible above the fog. Sometimes one valley would be completely
          clear, and the ones on either side totally socked in. Sometimes fog
          would run through the gaps from one valley into the next like water
          through a break in the dam.

          What does all this have to do with Sherman's failure in Nov 1863?
          Will hits on it pretty well. Caution is advised when crossing a
          river, into unfamiliar territory, in the face of enemy whose
          dispositions are in flux. Sherman gets blasted for not entrenching
          at Shiloh, but then he gets blasted for entrenching at Chattanooga.
          Thick fog, and that seems to have been the weather that day, is a
          pretty good reason for caution.

          Yes, Sherman's caution caused him to miss an opportunity, but his
          caution was not groundless, nor based on idiocy.

          Eric
        • wh_keene
          ... Yes, Sherman s caution caused him to miss an opportunity, but his ... Remind me of another thing. Cozzens claims that Sherman had an opportunity on the
          Message 4 of 10 , May 31, 2002
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            --- In civilwarwest@y..., "theme_music" <theme_music@y...> wrote:
            "Yes, Sherman's caution caused him to miss an opportunity, but his
            > caution was not groundless, nor based on idiocy.
            >
            > Eric


            Remind me of another thing. Cozzens claims that Sherman had an
            opportunity on the 24th to destroy Bragg, but doesn't explain what
            the opportunity is. Any ideas?
          • FLYNSWEDE@AOL.COM
            Hello theme_music@yahoo.com, In reference to your comment: è I know this has been discussed a lot in the past, but I è need to vent my frustration with
            Message 5 of 10 , May 31, 2002
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              Hello theme_music@...,

              In reference to your comment:

              è  I know this has been discussed a lot in the past, but I
              è need to  vent  > my frustration with the way
              è Sherman's action on November 24th, 1863  > are
              è portrayed in Cozzens' book Shipwreck of Their Hopes.
              è >  > Cozzens criticizes Sherman extensively (he
              è seems to seek out any  > opportunity to do so
              è throughout the book). The major criticisms of  >
              è Sherman seems to be that he delayd before moving
              è forward from the  > crossing point, he was slow in
              è moving and his disposiitons at the  end  > of the day
              è were bad.

              Just got back from Mayo Clinic a while ago and am to dang tired to type out a lengthy response to this tonight, but this week-end, I will type out what actually occured from the diary of Sgt E. Hart, Co. E, 40th Illinois Vol Rgmt.

              Wayne
            • josepharose
              ... Mr. Keene: Yes. If Sherman had moved more quickly and forcefully, and he didn t stop too soon, he would have been solidly on Bragg s flanks. That would
              Message 6 of 10 , May 31, 2002
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                --- In civilwarwest@y..., "wh_keene" <wh_keene@y...> wrote:
                >
                > Remind me of another thing. Cozzens claims that Sherman had an
                > opportunity on the 24th to destroy Bragg, but doesn't explain what
                > the opportunity is. Any ideas?

                Mr. Keene:

                Yes. If Sherman had moved more quickly and forcefully, and he didn't
                stop too soon, he would have been solidly on Bragg's flanks. That
                would have been a much more effective attack than going at the ridge
                head-on as Thomas' soldiers did and could lead to the crushing of
                Bragg's army.

                Remember that, IIRC, in Sherman's own words he was supposed to make
                a "dash" to Tunnel Hill. Instead, he moved less than two miles in
                about two and a half hours; that's none too fast. Instead of being
                where he could make correct command decisions, he stayed back by the
                river. If his instructions were to take Tunnel Hill--on the far
                side of which train tracks ran into and out of the side of the ridge-
                -his subordinates didn't appear to realize that they would have to
                get to a point where they could see those tracks disappear into the
                hill if they had wanted to take Tunnel Hill. The weather was
                thought by many to have provided ideal cover under which to spring
                his surprise, but his surprise backfired. Strangest of all, Sherman
                had his men entrench three separate lines that day ... it was
                supposed to be a surprise attack, after all.

                Joseph

                P.S. That was an interesting point about Cozzens having Howard and
                Sherman meet over South Chickamauga Creek.
              • dmercado
                ... Will, He may have meant that General Cleburne was not in position until late on the 24th. He had to work all night to get his defense set. If Sherman had
                Message 7 of 10 , May 31, 2002
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                  --- In civilwarwest@y..., "wh_keene" <wh_keene@y...> wrote:
                  > Remind me of another thing. Cozzens claims that Sherman had an
                  > opportunity on the 24th to destroy Bragg, but doesn't explain what
                  > the opportunity is. Any ideas?

                  Will,
                  He may have meant that General Cleburne was not in position until
                  late on the 24th. He had to work all night to get his defense set.
                  If Sherman had hit Tunnel Hill as planned, Bragg was in trouble. For
                  some reason, Sherman dug in at the wrong place. When he moved on
                  Tunnel Hill on the 25th, Cleburne was ready. Best regards, Dave
                • theme_music
                  Wayne, While I eagerly await your additions to this discussion, the quote below was posted not by me, but by Will Keene, IINM. I tend to agree generally with
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jun 1, 2002
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                    Wayne,

                    While I eagerly await your additions to this discussion, the quote
                    below was posted not by me, but by Will Keene, IINM. I tend to agree
                    generally with his comments, but it will be up to the knowledgable
                    Mr Keen to defend the specifics.

                    Eric

                    --- In civilwarwest@y..., FLYNSWEDE@A... wrote:
                    > Hello theme_music@y...,
                    >
                    > In reference to your comment:
                    >
                    > è I know this has been discussed a lot in the past, but I
                    > è need to vent > my frustration with the way
                    > è Sherman's action on November 24th, 1863 > are
                    > è portrayed in Cozzens' book Shipwreck of Their Hopes.
                    > è > > Cozzens criticizes Sherman extensively (he
                    > è seems to seek out any > opportunity to do so
                    > è throughout the book). The major criticisms of >
                    > è Sherman seems to be that he delayd before moving
                    > è forward from the > crossing point, he was slow in
                    > è moving and his disposiitons at the end > of the day
                    > è were bad.
                    >
                    > Just got back from Mayo Clinic a while ago and am to dang tired to
                    type out a
                    > lengthy response to this tonight, but this week-end, I will type
                    out what
                    > actually occured from the diary of Sgt E. Hart, Co. E, 40th
                    Illinois Vol
                    > Rgmt.
                    >
                    > Wayne
                  • antoinette_brenion@eee.org
                    Sunday, June 2nd @ 8pm(ET) TV-14-LV Turner Network Television (TNT) continues its rich tradition of presenting Original Western films as Emmy® -nominated
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jun 1, 2002
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                      Sunday, June 2nd @ 8pm(ET)
                      TV-14-LV
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                      Original Western films as Emmy® -nominated actor Patrick Stewart stars in
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                      (ET/PT). KING OF TEXAS also stars Oscar® winner Marcia Gay Harden as Lear's
                      oldest daughter, Susannah, Lauren Holly as Lear's middle daughter, Rebecca,
                      and Julie Cox as Lear's loyal youngest daughter, Claudia.
                    • wh_keene
                      ... didn t ... ridge ... Oh, so its just a hypothesis that he had a potential opportunity to be in a better position that could lead to crushing Bragg s army
                      Message 10 of 10 , Jun 2, 2002
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                        --- In civilwarwest@y..., "josepharose" <josepharose@y...> wrote:
                        > Yes. If Sherman had moved more quickly and forcefully, and he
                        didn't
                        > stop too soon, he would have been solidly on Bragg's flanks. That
                        > would have been a much more effective attack than going at the
                        ridge
                        > head-on as Thomas' soldiers did and could lead to the crushing of
                        > Bragg's army.
                        >


                        Oh, so its just a hypothesis that he had a potential opportunity to
                        be in a better position that could lead to crushing Bragg's army in
                        some subsequent attack. I don;t find it very convincing.




                        --- In civilwarwest@y..., "dmercado" <dmercado@w...> wrote:
                        > Will,
                        > He may have meant that General Cleburne was not in position until
                        > late on the 24th. He had to work all night to get his defense
                        set.
                        > If Sherman had hit Tunnel Hill as planned, Bragg was in trouble.

                        Dave,
                        Why would Bragg be in trouble? Even though Celburne was not yet in
                        place at Tunnel Hill, Gist was in place just to the south, so Sherman
                        did not have an open path, so I am just unclear on why BRagg would be
                        in such trouble?
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