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Re: Loring's Mysterious Disappearance From Champion Hill

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  • slippymississippi
    ... Actually, if any of the key players had done a little bit more listening to Pemberton, things would have worked out a lot better for the Confederacy.
    Message 1 of 14 , Jul 2, 2002
      --- In civilwarwest@y..., "wh_keene" <wh_keene@y...> wrote:
      > Dave,
      >
      > I agree. And in the whole debate over whether Pemberton
      > should have given up the city to save the army, did Loring
      > get it right??

      Actually, if any of the key players had done a little bit more
      listening to Pemberton, things would have worked out a lot better for
      the Confederacy. Pemberton warned Johnston that his command was too
      stripped of cavalry to adequately scout and screen in the face of an
      advancing Union army. Johnston ignored him. Pemberton wired
      Johnston that Grierson's raid signalled an impending move by the
      Union army, and warned Johnston that he could not protect the river
      landings and the interior of the state simultaneously. Sure enough,
      at the critical moment, Wirt Adams cavalry was withdrawn from the
      Bruinsburg area to chase Grierson. Additionally, Loring was drawn
      eastward to protect the rail, preventing him from participating in
      the Battle of Port Gibson.

      Strangely, without notifying Pemberton of his decision, Loring
      withdrew from the unfordable Big Black River with 17,000 men into the
      defenses at Warrenton, allowing Grant plenty of room to build his
      bridgehead and plan his next move. Precisely as Pemberton had
      warned, he lacked sufficient cavalry to determine the intent of the
      federal army as it moved north along the Big Black. He could only
      assume its intent was to cross the Big Black River as soon as
      possible. To this end, Gregg's (overstrength) Brigade was chewed up
      as it attempted to harass what was assumed to be the federal rear,
      but what was actually McPherson's entire corps en route to Jackson.

      Pemberton, at this point, was still in a good position to defeat
      Grant's army deep within Mississippi. With luck, the river crossings
      could be guarded with small vedettes, and a mobile strike force
      stationed at the Big Black Bridge could launch a last-ditch assault
      on any federal force attempting to force a crossing. However,
      Johnston ordered Pemberton to strike the federal rear at Clinton, an
      order which made no sense at face value, and one which Johnston did
      not appear willing, by his actions, to support should Pemberton
      follow through. Pemberton attempted to strike what he thought was
      the *actual* federal rear near Raymond (McClernand's forces, which
      had executed a withdrawal from Pemberton's forces just a few days
      prior), and sent Johnston a report of his decision. Johnston then
      sent Pemberton *preremptory* orders demanding that Pemberton attack
      the federal rear in Clinton. Pemberton realized that this second
      order was more foolish that the first. Jackson had fallen. If
      anything, the federal rear was bound to be in Jackson, with Grant
      faced westwards towards the larger force. So Pemberton did the only
      logical thing: he attempted to turn his army and march for
      Brownsville to the north. Because his command had been stripped of
      cavalry, he had insufficient forces to scout the roads to the east.
      Pemberton didn't realize he was facing the Union vanguard until an
      entire division of Union soldiers poured over Champion Hill.

      At this point, he ordered both Bowen and Loring to attack north.
      McClernand's pickets had inexplicably stopped several hundred yards
      away, yet Bowing and Loring refused obey Pemberton's orders. Had the
      entire Confederate force struck McPherson while McClernand sat
      twiddling his thumbs with the sounds of battle raging less than a
      half-mile away, Grant's army would have been stopped cold.

      As it was, Pemberton was forced to attack McPherson in piecemeal
      fashion, which of course led to defeat of Stevenson's and Bowen's
      divisions in detail and the retreat to Bovina. Again, Loring decided
      to ignore Pemberton, and retreated away from Bovina. Loring's
      absence from the Bovina defenses spelled defeat: with the exception
      of a handful of regiments, his troops were the only ones that had not
      been crushed at Champion Hill. Additionally, Pemberton now had no
      reserve force with which to plug any holes punched in the Bovina
      defenses, nor prevent a crossing at Bridgeport by Sherman. Had
      Loring retreated to Bovina, he probably would have bought the Army of
      Vicksburg a day or two to decide what to do. As it was, when
      Pemberton was thrown back across the Big Black in disarray, he really
      had no choice: Sherman already was marching towards Snyder's Bluff.
      Any column escaping up the Mechanicsburg Corridor would be hit in the
      middle by Sherman. Any column escaping towards Halls Ferry would
      risk envelopment at the Big Black (and possible bombardment by Union
      tinclads, some of which were of shallow enough draft to navigate the
      Big Black).
    • wh_keene
      Well put. In other words, Pemberton was not such a bad general as is usually claimed. Add to this Pemberton s management of his command during Grant s
      Message 2 of 14 , Jul 2, 2002
        Well put.

        In other words, Pemberton was not such a bad general as is usually
        claimed.

        Add to this Pemberton's management of his command during Grant's
        November-December advance overland through Mississippi, including the
        defense of the bluffs against Sherman and the unleashing of Van Dorn
        agaunst Grant's supply lines.

        I think Pemberton starts to come off as not so bad. Certainly not a
        great general, but not a terrbile one either.

        --- In civilwarwest@y..., "slippymississippi"
        <slippymississippi@y...> wrote:
        > --- In civilwarwest@y..., "wh_keene" <wh_keene@y...> wrote:
        > > Dave,
        > >
        > > I agree. And in the whole debate over whether Pemberton
        > > should have given up the city to save the army, did Loring
        > > get it right??
        >
        > Actually, if any of the key players had done a little bit more
        > listening to Pemberton, things would have worked out a lot better
        for
        > the Confederacy. Pemberton warned Johnston that his command was
        too
        > stripped of cavalry to adequately scout and screen in the face of
        an
        > advancing Union army. Johnston ignored him. Pemberton wired
        > Johnston that Grierson's raid signalled an impending move by the
        > Union army, and warned Johnston that he could not protect the river
        > landings and the interior of the state simultaneously. Sure
        enough,
        > at the critical moment, Wirt Adams cavalry was withdrawn from the
        > Bruinsburg area to chase Grierson. Additionally, Loring was drawn
        > eastward to protect the rail, preventing him from participating in
        > the Battle of Port Gibson.
        >
        > Strangely, without notifying Pemberton of his decision, Loring
        > withdrew from the unfordable Big Black River with 17,000 men into
        the
        > defenses at Warrenton, allowing Grant plenty of room to build his
        > bridgehead and plan his next move. Precisely as Pemberton had
        > warned, he lacked sufficient cavalry to determine the intent of the
        > federal army as it moved north along the Big Black. He could only
        > assume its intent was to cross the Big Black River as soon as
        > possible. To this end, Gregg's (overstrength) Brigade was chewed
        up
        > as it attempted to harass what was assumed to be the federal rear,
        > but what was actually McPherson's entire corps en route to Jackson.
        >
        > Pemberton, at this point, was still in a good position to defeat
        > Grant's army deep within Mississippi. With luck, the river
        crossings
        > could be guarded with small vedettes, and a mobile strike force
        > stationed at the Big Black Bridge could launch a last-ditch assault
        > on any federal force attempting to force a crossing. However,
        > Johnston ordered Pemberton to strike the federal rear at Clinton,
        an
        > order which made no sense at face value, and one which Johnston did
        > not appear willing, by his actions, to support should Pemberton
        > follow through. Pemberton attempted to strike what he thought was
        > the *actual* federal rear near Raymond (McClernand's forces, which
        > had executed a withdrawal from Pemberton's forces just a few days
        > prior), and sent Johnston a report of his decision. Johnston then
        > sent Pemberton *preremptory* orders demanding that Pemberton attack
        > the federal rear in Clinton. Pemberton realized that this second
        > order was more foolish that the first. Jackson had fallen. If
        > anything, the federal rear was bound to be in Jackson, with Grant
        > faced westwards towards the larger force. So Pemberton did the
        only
        > logical thing: he attempted to turn his army and march for
        > Brownsville to the north. Because his command had been stripped of
        > cavalry, he had insufficient forces to scout the roads to the
        east.
        > Pemberton didn't realize he was facing the Union vanguard until an
        > entire division of Union soldiers poured over Champion Hill.
        >
        > At this point, he ordered both Bowen and Loring to attack north.
        > McClernand's pickets had inexplicably stopped several hundred yards
        > away, yet Bowing and Loring refused obey Pemberton's orders. Had
        the
        > entire Confederate force struck McPherson while McClernand sat
        > twiddling his thumbs with the sounds of battle raging less than a
        > half-mile away, Grant's army would have been stopped cold.
        >
        > As it was, Pemberton was forced to attack McPherson in piecemeal
        > fashion, which of course led to defeat of Stevenson's and Bowen's
        > divisions in detail and the retreat to Bovina. Again, Loring
        decided
        > to ignore Pemberton, and retreated away from Bovina. Loring's
        > absence from the Bovina defenses spelled defeat: with the exception
        > of a handful of regiments, his troops were the only ones that had
        not
        > been crushed at Champion Hill. Additionally, Pemberton now had no
        > reserve force with which to plug any holes punched in the Bovina
        > defenses, nor prevent a crossing at Bridgeport by Sherman. Had
        > Loring retreated to Bovina, he probably would have bought the Army
        of
        > Vicksburg a day or two to decide what to do. As it was, when
        > Pemberton was thrown back across the Big Black in disarray, he
        really
        > had no choice: Sherman already was marching towards Snyder's
        Bluff.
        > Any column escaping up the Mechanicsburg Corridor would be hit in
        the
        > middle by Sherman. Any column escaping towards Halls Ferry would
        > risk envelopment at the Big Black (and possible bombardment by
        Union
        > tinclads, some of which were of shallow enough draft to navigate
        the
        > Big Black).
      • dmsmith001
        ... Get it right in what way, Will? In going the Johnston route, rather than the Davis / Pemberton route? I just keep coming back to the timeless, and
        Message 3 of 14 , Jul 3, 2002
          --- In civilwarwest@y..., "wh_keene" <wh_keene@y...> wrote:
          > Dave,
          >
          > I agree. And in the whole debate over whether Pemberton should
          > have given up the city to save the army, did Loring get it right??

          Get it right in what way, Will?

          In going the Johnston route, rather than the Davis / Pemberton route?

          I just keep coming back to the timeless, and unanswerable question:
          So through a miracle Pemberton gets most of his stuff out, joins
          Johnston, and meekly turns over Vicksurg to Grant.

          What then? And what effect on the attempt for southern independence?

          Dave

          Dave Smith
          Villa Hills, KY
        • Aurelie1999@aol.com
          In a message dated 7/3/02 7:26:30 AM Central Daylight Time, dmsmith001@yahoo.com writes:
          Message 4 of 14 , Jul 3, 2002
            In a message dated 7/3/02 7:26:30 AM Central Daylight Time,
            dmsmith001@... writes:

            << I just keep coming back to the timeless, and unanswerable question:
            So through a miracle Pemberton gets most of his stuff out, joins
            Johnston, and meekly turns over Vicksurg to Grant.

            What then? And what effect on the attempt for southern independence?

            Dave

            Dave Smith >>

            IMHO there were also international political considerations at play. The CSA
            believed that they needed to prove their viability to the community of
            nations by protecting their "borders" and thereby establishing their right to
            claim nation status.

            And don't forget this was Jeff Davis' territory, his state, his "state
            rights." In addition, by losing VB, the south was losing it's battle to
            assure slavery into "perpetuity," Slaves were either freed or ran off
            wherever the Union took over. How do you put the genie back in the bottle?

            The CSA was being ripped asunder on all levels - internationally,
            domestically, perceptually, and militarily. A loss at VB was an exclamation
            point if nothing else.
            Connie
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