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[civilwarwest] Was it possible for the Confederacy to avoid losing the west?

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  • Mike Meno
    It is my belief the Confederate armies in the west, most particulary the Army of Tennesse never stood a chance against the Union forces. Any opportunity they
    Message 1 of 8 , Oct 17, 1999
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      It is my belief the Confederate armies in the west, most particulary the
      Army of Tennesse never stood a chance against the Union forces. Any
      opportunity they had was put to an end after the cease of the invasion of
      the north at Shiloh, and the death of Albert Sidney Johnston. After that
      defeat it was only a matter of time before the entire west fell. This is
      mainly due to the fact that all the Confederacy's more prominent generals
      were given commands in the east. (Lee, Jackson, Longsteet, Stuart etc.)The
      better generals in the west such as Nathan Bedford Forrest were never given
      adequete numbers to take on the armies of the Cumberland, Tennesse, and of
      course, the great army Sherman marched across Georgia. The one main factor
      as always however in the defeat of the CSA in the west, was the terrible
      lack of men and supplies.

      ______________________________________________________
    • Mike Meno
      It is my belief the Confederate armies in the west, most particulary the Army of Tennesse never stood a chance against the Union forces. Any opportunity they
      Message 2 of 8 , Oct 17, 1999
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        It is my belief the Confederate armies in the west, most particulary the
        Army of Tennesse never stood a chance against the Union forces. Any
        opportunity they had was put to an end after the cease of the invasion of
        the north at Shiloh, and the death of Albert Sidney Johnston. After that
        defeat it was only a matter of time before the entire west fell. This is
        mainly due to the fact that all the Confederacy's more prominent generals
        were given commands in the east. (Lee, Jackson, Longsteet, Stuart etc.)The
        better generals in the west such as Nathan Bedford Forrest were never given
        adequete numbers to take on the armies of the Cumberland, Tennesse, and of
        course, the great army Sherman marched across Georgia. The one main factor
        as always however in the defeat of the CSA in the west, was the terrible
        lack of men and supplies.

        ______________________________________________________
      • Don Myers
        Mike and Group; We all will have our own opinions on this of course..........however, this comes to the heart of a what if project I am researching right
        Message 3 of 8 , Oct 18, 1999
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          Mike and Group;

          We all will have our own opinions on this of course..........however,
          this comes to the heart of a "what if project" I am researching right now.
          As with most things in life, history rests on a few turns of fate. I have
          to strongly disagree with your position on the CSA forces in the Western
          theatre.

          The "lack of men and materiels" was a fact that was present at certain
          times in the great conflict of late. However, history also shows that at
          times there was an abundance of men, or an abundance of materiel.

          Case in point, prior to going into winter quarters 1961-1962, AS Johnston
          had several "thousand" men that had been organized into regiments in camp
          disbanded because of a lack of proper firearms to arm them with. (I am
          looking for the source where I read this at now).

          Case in point number two, during his Kentucky campaign of Summer-Fall of
          1962, Bragg writes in several communications that he has weapons to arm
          20,000 recruits that he had hoped to find in Kentucky. Instead, if I
          remember correctly he wasn't even able to get enough recruits to re-fill his
          loses in the campaign. The men of Kentucky, no matter where their loyalties
          lay, were not willing to risk what they had "to throw off the yoke of their
          oppressors". Braggs words not mine.

          IMHO, had Ft. Donelson held out, and Nashville been perserved, the outcome
          of the war in the west could of been much, much, different. Nashville,
          besides being the capitol of Tennessee was also a major industrial site for
          the confederacy, including at least one iron works comparable to the Tredgar
          works in Richmond. Nashville was also one of the major supply depots for
          the Army of Central Kentucky, etc. Although, through the valiant efforts of
          Officers such as NB Forest, some of the supplies were saved, the vast
          majority was destroyed or captured.
          The loss also caused a tactical retreat from Bowling Green, Ky., all the way
          to the Northern Alabama border, thus losing Middle and Western Tennessee's
          food stuffs, manufactured products, and recruits. This had to be a
          devastating blow to the southern cause. It very well could of been playing
          on the minds of potential recruits in Braggs Kentucky campaign, knowing that
          their State had been abandoned to Union occupation once already.

          Not to mention the fact that it caused the flanking of the entire Northern
          Mississippi line of forts, including the "Gibralter of the West" at
          Columbus, Ky. to be abandoned without a fight. Also, estimates of between
          10,000 to 18,000, (depending on what source you are reading) men were
          surrendered at Donelson. I realize that there arguements both ways on
          whether or not a surrender should of occurred, however, in researching the
          CSA Order of Battle for Ft. Donelson (correct spelling, for some reason
          Grant always misspelled it) I was very surprised at the VERY LARGE numbers
          of soldiers that were surrendered at Ft. Donelson, who ended up dieing in
          the Northern prison camps before they could be exchanged. I am only
          guessing that these men would of much rather died with their comrades on the
          field of battle, than behind bars and fences at such places as Camp Douglas
          and the like.

          Sorry for the rambling.
          I remain your humble servant;
          Don Myers.
          -----Original Message-----
          From: Mike Meno <neho69@...>
          To: civilwarwest@egroups.com <civilwarwest@egroups.com>
          Date: Sunday, October 17, 1999 2:11 PM
          Subject: [civilwarwest] Was it possible for the Confederacy to avoid losing
          the west?


          >It is my belief the Confederate armies in the west, most particulary the
          >Army of Tennesse never stood a chance against the Union forces. Any
          >opportunity they had was put to an end after the cease of the invasion of
          >the north at Shiloh, and the death of Albert Sidney Johnston. After that
          >defeat it was only a matter of time before the entire west fell. This is
          >mainly due to the fact that all the Confederacy's more prominent generals
          >were given commands in the east. (Lee, Jackson, Longsteet, Stuart etc.)The
          >better generals in the west such as Nathan Bedford Forrest were never given
          >adequete numbers to take on the armies of the Cumberland, Tennesse, and of
          >course, the great army Sherman marched across Georgia. The one main factor
          >as always however in the defeat of the CSA in the west, was the terrible
          >lack of men and supplies.
          >
          >______________________________________________________
          >
          >------------------------------------------------------------------------
          >
          >eGroups.com home: http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest
          >http://www.egroups.com - Simplifying group communications
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • Don Myers
          Mike and Group; We all will have our own opinions on this of course..........however, this comes to the heart of a what if project I am researching right
          Message 4 of 8 , Oct 18, 1999
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            Mike and Group;

            We all will have our own opinions on this of course..........however,
            this comes to the heart of a "what if project" I am researching right now.
            As with most things in life, history rests on a few turns of fate. I have
            to strongly disagree with your position on the CSA forces in the Western
            theatre.

            The "lack of men and materiels" was a fact that was present at certain
            times in the great conflict of late. However, history also shows that at
            times there was an abundance of men, or an abundance of materiel.

            Case in point, prior to going into winter quarters 1961-1962, AS Johnston
            had several "thousand" men that had been organized into regiments in camp
            disbanded because of a lack of proper firearms to arm them with. (I am
            looking for the source where I read this at now).

            Case in point number two, during his Kentucky campaign of Summer-Fall of
            1962, Bragg writes in several communications that he has weapons to arm
            20,000 recruits that he had hoped to find in Kentucky. Instead, if I
            remember correctly he wasn't even able to get enough recruits to re-fill his
            loses in the campaign. The men of Kentucky, no matter where their loyalties
            lay, were not willing to risk what they had "to throw off the yoke of their
            oppressors". Braggs words not mine.

            IMHO, had Ft. Donelson held out, and Nashville been perserved, the outcome
            of the war in the west could of been much, much, different. Nashville,
            besides being the capitol of Tennessee was also a major industrial site for
            the confederacy, including at least one iron works comparable to the Tredgar
            works in Richmond. Nashville was also one of the major supply depots for
            the Army of Central Kentucky, etc. Although, through the valiant efforts of
            Officers such as NB Forest, some of the supplies were saved, the vast
            majority was destroyed or captured.
            The loss also caused a tactical retreat from Bowling Green, Ky., all the way
            to the Northern Alabama border, thus losing Middle and Western Tennessee's
            food stuffs, manufactured products, and recruits. This had to be a
            devastating blow to the southern cause. It very well could of been playing
            on the minds of potential recruits in Braggs Kentucky campaign, knowing that
            their State had been abandoned to Union occupation once already.

            Not to mention the fact that it caused the flanking of the entire Northern
            Mississippi line of forts, including the "Gibralter of the West" at
            Columbus, Ky. to be abandoned without a fight. Also, estimates of between
            10,000 to 18,000, (depending on what source you are reading) men were
            surrendered at Donelson. I realize that there arguements both ways on
            whether or not a surrender should of occurred, however, in researching the
            CSA Order of Battle for Ft. Donelson (correct spelling, for some reason
            Grant always misspelled it) I was very surprised at the VERY LARGE numbers
            of soldiers that were surrendered at Ft. Donelson, who ended up dieing in
            the Northern prison camps before they could be exchanged. I am only
            guessing that these men would of much rather died with their comrades on the
            field of battle, than behind bars and fences at such places as Camp Douglas
            and the like.

            Sorry for the rambling.
            I remain your humble servant;
            Don Myers.
            -----Original Message-----
            From: Mike Meno <neho69@...>
            To: civilwarwest@egroups.com <civilwarwest@egroups.com>
            Date: Sunday, October 17, 1999 2:11 PM
            Subject: [civilwarwest] Was it possible for the Confederacy to avoid losing
            the west?


            >It is my belief the Confederate armies in the west, most particulary the
            >Army of Tennesse never stood a chance against the Union forces. Any
            >opportunity they had was put to an end after the cease of the invasion of
            >the north at Shiloh, and the death of Albert Sidney Johnston. After that
            >defeat it was only a matter of time before the entire west fell. This is
            >mainly due to the fact that all the Confederacy's more prominent generals
            >were given commands in the east. (Lee, Jackson, Longsteet, Stuart etc.)The
            >better generals in the west such as Nathan Bedford Forrest were never given
            >adequete numbers to take on the armies of the Cumberland, Tennesse, and of
            >course, the great army Sherman marched across Georgia. The one main factor
            >as always however in the defeat of the CSA in the west, was the terrible
            >lack of men and supplies.
            >
            >______________________________________________________
            >
            >------------------------------------------------------------------------
            >
            >eGroups.com home: http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest
            >http://www.egroups.com - Simplifying group communications
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
          • pedinkler@frontier.net
            mike meno wrote: original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=133 ... the ... invasion of ... that ... is ...
            Message 5 of 8 , Oct 21, 1999
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              "mike meno" <neho6-@...> wrote:
              original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=133
              > It is my belief the Confederate armies in the west, most particulary
              the
              > Army of Tennesse never stood a chance against the Union forces. Any
              > opportunity they had was put to an end after the cease of the
              invasion of
              > the north at Shiloh, and the death of Albert Sidney Johnston. After
              that
              > defeat it was only a matter of time before the entire west fell. This
              is
              > mainly due to the fact that all the Confederacy's more prominent
              generals
              > were given commands in the east. (Lee, Jackson, Longsteet, Stuart
              etc.)The
              > better generals in the west such as Nathan Bedford Forrest were never
              given
              > adequete numbers to take on the armies of the Cumberland, Tennesse,
              and of
              > course, the great army Sherman marched across Georgia. The one main
              factor
              > as always however in the defeat of the CSA in the west, was the
              terrible
              > lack of men and supplies.
              >
              >
              ______________________________________________________
              This is Waldemar Winkler responding (pedinkler@...).

              I'm not sure if a change of command (someone more capable than
              Bragg)would have made any difference. My understanding of the basic
              Confederate political stance in the early years of the war was to
              demonstrate to the international community the legitimacy of their
              independence by conducting a primarily defensive campaign. The success
              of this strategy would have been recognition by a significant number of
              countries (which didn't happen).

              The military strategy of battle (particularly in the West) was to find
              the enemy's weakest spot, attack with overwhelming majority in numbers,
              do ther greatest amount of damage, steal as many supplies as possible,
              and get the Hell out.

              Distinctive offensive tactics may have well changed hisory, but
              approval from Richmond would never happen.

              I would sincerely appreciate any responses from anyone as to the sense
              of my comments, as the beauty of this site is that everything said
              manages to enhance learning.
            • pedinkler@frontier.net
              mike meno wrote: original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=133 ... the ... invasion of ... that ... is ...
              Message 6 of 8 , Oct 21, 1999
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                "mike meno" <neho6-@...> wrote:
                original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=133
                > It is my belief the Confederate armies in the west, most particulary
                the
                > Army of Tennesse never stood a chance against the Union forces. Any
                > opportunity they had was put to an end after the cease of the
                invasion of
                > the north at Shiloh, and the death of Albert Sidney Johnston. After
                that
                > defeat it was only a matter of time before the entire west fell. This
                is
                > mainly due to the fact that all the Confederacy's more prominent
                generals
                > were given commands in the east. (Lee, Jackson, Longsteet, Stuart
                etc.)The
                > better generals in the west such as Nathan Bedford Forrest were never
                given
                > adequete numbers to take on the armies of the Cumberland, Tennesse,
                and of
                > course, the great army Sherman marched across Georgia. The one main
                factor
                > as always however in the defeat of the CSA in the west, was the
                terrible
                > lack of men and supplies.
                >
                >
                ______________________________________________________
                This is Waldemar Winkler responding (pedinkler@...).

                I'm not sure if a change of command (someone more capable than
                Bragg)would have made any difference. My understanding of the basic
                Confederate political stance in the early years of the war was to
                demonstrate to the international community the legitimacy of their
                independence by conducting a primarily defensive campaign. The success
                of this strategy would have been recognition by a significant number of
                countries (which didn't happen).

                The military strategy of battle (particularly in the West) was to find
                the enemy's weakest spot, attack with overwhelming majority in numbers,
                do ther greatest amount of damage, steal as many supplies as possible,
                and get the Hell out.

                Distinctive offensive tactics may have well changed hisory, but
                approval from Richmond would never happen.

                I would sincerely appreciate any responses from anyone as to the sense
                of my comments, as the beauty of this site is that everything said
                manages to enhance learning.
              • neho69@hotmail.com
                pedinkle-@frontier.net wrote: original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=143 ... This ... never ... success ... of ... numbers, ... I
                Message 7 of 8 , Oct 21, 1999
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                  pedinkle-@... wrote:
                  original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=143
                  > "mike meno" <neho6-@...> wrote:
                  > original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=133
                  > > It is my belief the Confederate armies in the west, most particulary
                  > the
                  > > Army of Tennesse never stood a chance against the Union forces. Any
                  > > opportunity they had was put to an end after the cease of the
                  > invasion of
                  > > the north at Shiloh, and the death of Albert Sidney Johnston. After
                  > that
                  > > defeat it was only a matter of time before the entire west fell.
                  This
                  > is
                  > > mainly due to the fact that all the Confederacy's more prominent
                  > generals
                  > > were given commands in the east. (Lee, Jackson, Longsteet, Stuart
                  > etc.)The
                  > > better generals in the west such as Nathan Bedford Forrest were
                  never
                  > given
                  > > adequete numbers to take on the armies of the Cumberland, Tennesse,
                  > and of
                  > > course, the great army Sherman marched across Georgia. The one main
                  > factor
                  > > as always however in the defeat of the CSA in the west, was the
                  > terrible
                  > > lack of men and supplies.
                  > >
                  > >
                  > ______________________________________________________
                  > This is Waldemar Winkler responding (pedinkler@...).
                  >
                  > I'm not sure if a change of command (someone more capable than
                  > Bragg)would have made any difference. My understanding of the basic
                  > Confederate political stance in the early years of the war was to
                  > demonstrate to the international community the legitimacy of their
                  > independence by conducting a primarily defensive campaign. The
                  success
                  > of this strategy would have been recognition by a significant number
                  of
                  > countries (which didn't happen).
                  >
                  > The military strategy of battle (particularly in the West) was to find
                  > the enemy's weakest spot, attack with overwhelming majority in
                  numbers,
                  > do ther greatest amount of damage, steal as many supplies as possible,
                  > and get the Hell out.
                  >
                  > Distinctive offensive tactics may have well changed hisory, but
                  > approval from Richmond would never happen.
                  >
                  > I would sincerely appreciate any responses from anyone as to the sense
                  > of my comments, as the beauty of this site is that everything said
                  > manages to enhance learning.

                  I feel pretty confident to say that anyone Davis could of chosen to
                  place in command in the west could have done better than Bragg. While
                  the Confederacy's overall strategy was to conduct a defensive campaign,
                  Bragg's stategy was usually to aggressively attack the much larger and
                  better equipped Federal forces in an offensive action, usually
                  resulting in a huge defeat. It was not only Bragg though. When Hood was
                  given commands in the west he did the same thing: attack the much
                  larger force and get slaughtered. My peronal belief is that the
                  Confederacy did not have substantial numbers to hold such a big area as
                  the west, especially after Donelson and Shiloh. Their best chance was
                  most likely to hold out as long as possible and allow Lee and the Army
                  of Northern Viginia to crush the Potomac and end the war. Even if Lee
                  did not win, but the west and the western forces remained somewhat
                  intact, the war may have ended because McClellan may have been elected
                  and then surrendered. Also, after a certain amount of time the Union
                  would give up as the British did in the Revolution because as long as
                  there is still a Confederate army in the field, there is still a
                  Confederacy. The only general in the west who I believe may have
                  somewhat understood this was Joe Johnston. When he was put up against
                  Sherman he knew he could not defeat his entire force, only delay its
                  advance. therefore he would hit Sherman, retreat, hit him again etc.
                  This entire strategy went out the window eventually because Johnston
                  did not have enough men to even continue to harrass the enemy. Then
                  again, this is all just my opinion.
                  -Your Obediant Servant
                • neho69@hotmail.com
                  pedinkle-@frontier.net wrote: original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=143 ... This ... never ... success ... of ... numbers, ... I
                  Message 8 of 8 , Oct 21, 1999
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                    pedinkle-@... wrote:
                    original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=143
                    > "mike meno" <neho6-@...> wrote:
                    > original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=133
                    > > It is my belief the Confederate armies in the west, most particulary
                    > the
                    > > Army of Tennesse never stood a chance against the Union forces. Any
                    > > opportunity they had was put to an end after the cease of the
                    > invasion of
                    > > the north at Shiloh, and the death of Albert Sidney Johnston. After
                    > that
                    > > defeat it was only a matter of time before the entire west fell.
                    This
                    > is
                    > > mainly due to the fact that all the Confederacy's more prominent
                    > generals
                    > > were given commands in the east. (Lee, Jackson, Longsteet, Stuart
                    > etc.)The
                    > > better generals in the west such as Nathan Bedford Forrest were
                    never
                    > given
                    > > adequete numbers to take on the armies of the Cumberland, Tennesse,
                    > and of
                    > > course, the great army Sherman marched across Georgia. The one main
                    > factor
                    > > as always however in the defeat of the CSA in the west, was the
                    > terrible
                    > > lack of men and supplies.
                    > >
                    > >
                    > ______________________________________________________
                    > This is Waldemar Winkler responding (pedinkler@...).
                    >
                    > I'm not sure if a change of command (someone more capable than
                    > Bragg)would have made any difference. My understanding of the basic
                    > Confederate political stance in the early years of the war was to
                    > demonstrate to the international community the legitimacy of their
                    > independence by conducting a primarily defensive campaign. The
                    success
                    > of this strategy would have been recognition by a significant number
                    of
                    > countries (which didn't happen).
                    >
                    > The military strategy of battle (particularly in the West) was to find
                    > the enemy's weakest spot, attack with overwhelming majority in
                    numbers,
                    > do ther greatest amount of damage, steal as many supplies as possible,
                    > and get the Hell out.
                    >
                    > Distinctive offensive tactics may have well changed hisory, but
                    > approval from Richmond would never happen.
                    >
                    > I would sincerely appreciate any responses from anyone as to the sense
                    > of my comments, as the beauty of this site is that everything said
                    > manages to enhance learning.

                    I feel pretty confident to say that anyone Davis could of chosen to
                    place in command in the west could have done better than Bragg. While
                    the Confederacy's overall strategy was to conduct a defensive campaign,
                    Bragg's stategy was usually to aggressively attack the much larger and
                    better equipped Federal forces in an offensive action, usually
                    resulting in a huge defeat. It was not only Bragg though. When Hood was
                    given commands in the west he did the same thing: attack the much
                    larger force and get slaughtered. My peronal belief is that the
                    Confederacy did not have substantial numbers to hold such a big area as
                    the west, especially after Donelson and Shiloh. Their best chance was
                    most likely to hold out as long as possible and allow Lee and the Army
                    of Northern Viginia to crush the Potomac and end the war. Even if Lee
                    did not win, but the west and the western forces remained somewhat
                    intact, the war may have ended because McClellan may have been elected
                    and then surrendered. Also, after a certain amount of time the Union
                    would give up as the British did in the Revolution because as long as
                    there is still a Confederate army in the field, there is still a
                    Confederacy. The only general in the west who I believe may have
                    somewhat understood this was Joe Johnston. When he was put up against
                    Sherman he knew he could not defeat his entire force, only delay its
                    advance. therefore he would hit Sherman, retreat, hit him again etc.
                    This entire strategy went out the window eventually because Johnston
                    did not have enough men to even continue to harrass the enemy. Then
                    again, this is all just my opinion.
                    -Your Obediant Servant
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