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Re: Granger's orders at Chattanooga

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  • wh_keene
    ... Not just that, but that troops were going forward at several points on the line, indicating that other points of the line were not going forward with the
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 30 1:33 PM
      --- In civilwarwest@y..., "bobaldrich2001" <aldrichr@d...> wrote:
      > 1. He says he saw troops ascending the hill.

      Not just that, but that troops were going forward at several points
      on the line, indicating that other points of the line were not going
      forward with the result that the advance had become broken and as a
      result would lack impact force and some troops might become isolated.


      > 2. He says he sent his AAG to tell Wood and Sheridan (but the AAG
      > only reaches Wood) to "inquire . . . whether the troops had been
      > ordered up the ridge by them" and to "take the ridge if possible."
      > This communication sounds a little fishy. It isn't confirmed by
      > other ORs, as far as I know. It could be an actual or invented
      > reaction to Grant's "who ordered them to go up?" But if Granger
      was
      > worried about finding out who ordered the troops to start up, would
      > he have been likely to implicate himself in that
      > apparent "insubordination" (to employ a well-worn term) by also
      > encouraging them to go up anyway? Or am I being too suspicious?

      There is something here that bothers me too. He says his AAG was to
      do 2 things: (1) find out if the troops he saw had been ordered up,
      and (2) to instruct Sheridan and Wood to take the ridge if possible
      The first seems a concern for why the uneven advance was happening,
      but the second suggests that there was now a new order that the ridge
      be taken. This supports Grant's contention of a two-part plan and
      order.


      > 3. Sheridan's aide arrives to inquire what the original order
      > meant. Granger tells him it means take the rifle pits at the base -
      > but apparently doesn't add that he now believes Sheridan should go
      > for the top if possible. This is confirmed by Sheridan's report.
      > Again, if Granger had previously told his aide to tell Wood and
      > Sheridan to go for the top, as claimed in #2, why wouldn't he have
      > reaffirmed that idea to Sheridan's aide also? In any event, this
      > communication results in Wagner's brigade (and I believe part of
      > Harker's [sp?]) going back to the pits and having to start over.

      Granger does seem to have a communciation problem here with the
      aides. He could have told Sheridan's aide the same thing he sent
      Captain Avery to tell Sheridan, and saved Wagner's men from losses.
      Granger's narrative does give the idea that the initial order was to
      the rifle-pits and that there was a follow-up order for the ridge to
      be taken. This would be consistent with parts of Sheridan and
      Baird's reports. Since it makes sense for an advance of this type to
      happen uniformly across the line, there would be a desire to reform
      the lines before advancing, yet it should not have been necessary for
      Wagner's men to have been called back.


      > Bottom line: I doubt whether Granger gave a timely encouragement to
      > go up the ridge. In any event, it is certain that Granger's
      > conservative interpretation of the order to Sheridan's aide
      resulted
      > in half of Sheridan's division falling back to the pits before
      going
      > up the ridge. I don't think Granger deserves much credit for his
      > performance.

      I get the sense Granger didn't have a handle on the situation becuase
      of the the concern Sheridan had with his inital order, the confusion
      caused by the difference between what Granger told Sheridan's aide
      and what he sent Capt. Avery to tell Sheridan, and his need to send
      out all of his staff in a flurry to make sure messages got through.
      The idea that Granger was not on top of things is consistent with
      Dana's citicism in his telegraph of that night and with Grant's
      comment in his memoirs that there was a problem with the deliverance
      of orders.

      Here is another question that gets me -- if his AAG was sent to
      communicate with both Wood and Sheridan (as noted in your item 2),
      why did he make the round trip from Granger to Wood and back before
      attempting to communicate with Sheridan? Wouldn't it make more
      sense to have the AAG go to both before returning or send a staff
      member to each?

      ~Will
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