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Re: [civilwarwest] Re: THE BATTLE OF VICKSBURG

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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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