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Re: THE BATTLE OF VICKSBURG

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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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