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Re: THE BATTLE OF VICKSBURG

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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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