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Re: Sherman's Insubordination at Chattanooga

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  • wh_keene
    Bob, For starters, regarding Cozzens Shipwreck of their Hopes , the following are from the archives of this message board. Whether o rnot you appreciate the
    Message 1 of 267 , Aug 1, 2002
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      Bob,

      For starters, regarding Cozzens "Shipwreck of their Hopes", the
      following are from the archives of this message board. Whether o
      rnot you appreciate the editorializing by Brooks and myself, there
      are references in these messages to mistakes by Cozzens.

      ~Will

      ___________________________________________________________________
      From: brooksdsimpson@y...
      Date: Tue May 22, 2001 1:15 am
      Subject: Peter Cozzens's Shipwreck ...

      --- In civilwarwest@y..., josepharose@y... wrote:

      > Although books such as Cozzens' trilogy might not read as easily as
      > these other, more popular biographies and histories, they can be a
      > useful antidote to works that contain too many mistakes to be
      > considered a reliable source of information.

      Let's see what happens if we apply Mr. Rose's claim to Mr. Cozzens's
      book on Chattanooga.

      Let me give an example. In support of his claim that Grant's orders
      for a pursuit were "somewhat contradictory in tone and content,"
      Cozzens repriints the texts of Grant's instructions to Sherman and
      Thomas, adding that both dispatches "are worth relating in full"
      (page
      352). Hoverver, if one compares the text of Grant's November 25
      letter to Sherman (page 353) with the text as given in *The Papers of
      Ulysses S. Grant*, 9:451-52, one notes that Cozzens's text omits a
      critical postscript that alters Grant's original instructions to
      Sherman and brings them in line with the orders to Thomas.

      So what should we make of this? That Cozzens made an error damaging
      to Grant because on the whole his four battle studies tend to
      disparage Grant? Or do we apply different sorts of criticism to books
      who tend to support our own predispositions while lambasting those
      whose findings are at variance with our own preferences?

      __________________________________________________________________
      From: "wh_keene" <wh_keene@y...>
      Date: Mon Jun 3, 2002 10:00 pm
      Subject: Cozzens and Giles Smith Brigade

      Continuing with some of my other recent comments, I now wish to gripe
      about the way Cozzens describes the movement of the 1st Brigade, 2nd
      Divisions, 15th Corps on Nov. 25th. Cozzens describes the movement
      of this brigade on pages 241-243 and on the maps on pages 213 and 228.

      When Giles Smith is wounded on the 24th, Tupper assumes command. It
      is unclear who commands on the 25th as the maps label the force as
      Tupper but the text refers to Smith. Is this just poor editing?

      Anyway, this brigade occupies the eastern most portion of Sherman's
      line, being positioned along the Western & Atlantic railroad as it
      curves around the north end of the ridge and passes along the South
      Chickamauga Creek. Cozzens boldly states that it came "within rifle
      range of cracking the fragile shell of Cleburne's defenses to the
      right of Tunnel Hill." I have a hard time telling if Cozzens
      believes all this or just thinks his readers are that easy to fool.

      First I have a complaint about the map (page 213 and 228 – same base
      map). The map is cropped such that the Chickamaugua enters the map
      at the upper right, but the course of the creek above that point is
      not shown. However there is a mysterious shaded area at the right
      edge about the middle of the map--This is also the creek. Thus what
      is not shown by the maps on 213 and 228 is that the creek curves
      sharply and passes along the eastern side of the hill on which Lowrey
      is shown in such a way that the banks are very steep on the eastern
      side of the hill and that there is no room to pass on the eastern
      side of that hill without crossing the creek.

      Anyway, this curve of the creek, which is not shown, and the way this
      curve steeply hugs the hill, explains why Giles Smith's brigade
      would "swing suddenly right". However, Cozzens describes this change
      in direction without explanation, in a way that I found suggests it
      was an inexplicable command decision. In reality the brigade had no
      choice other than to attempt to cross the Chickamauga, where it would
      be isolated and opposed by the brigades of Wright and Polk (also not
      shown on any map).

      Backing up for a moment, Cozzens describes the formation of the
      brigade as having the 55th IL and 6th Mo in front and "the remaining
      five regiments and one battalion" behind, yet the organization of the
      brigade (see listing in back of book) only included four other
      regiments and one battalion!

      Getting back to what Cozzens sees as the potential for this brigades,
      he suggests that it could have come in on the left of Tunnel Hill to
      support the attack happening there. But as his map and narrative
      show, there (a) wasn't much room for another brigade to assault the
      hill and (b) there was a whole lot of opposition in its way. Though
      Cozzens down plays any opposition at this point by only referring to
      Lowrey, a look at the maps and a careful paying attention to the
      narrative shows there is also:
      1) Lewis's Brigade—"a few hundred feet behind Smith, on the eastern
      slope of Tunnel Hill" [page 211], and
      2) Govan's Brigade (minus one regiment)—"There fronting northward,
      Govan was to protect Smith's flank and rear. With a few troops to
      spare the Arkansan stretched out a line of skirmishers all the way to
      South Chickamauga Creek." [page 153].

      Then Cozzens claims that Giles Smith's brigade is "behind enemy
      lines." Hogwash.

      __________________________________________________________________

      From: "wh_keene" <wh_keene@y...>
      Date: Thu May 30, 2002 9:18 pm
      Subject: Cozzens, Sherman and November 24, 1863

      I know this has been discussed a lot in the past, but I need to vent
      my frustration with the way Sherman's action on November 24th, 1863
      are portrayed in Cozzens' book Shipwreck of Their Hopes.

      Cozzens criticizes Sherman extensively (he seems to seek out any
      opportunity to do so throughout the book). The major criticisms of
      Sherman seems to be that he delayd before moving forward from the
      crossing point, he was slow in moving and his disposiitons at the end
      of the day were bad.

      Why did it take so long before he moved out from the bridgehead? The
      bridge took all morning to build and Sherman wasn't going to move out
      until it was done and he had his 3 divisions together. Why did the
      bridge take all morning? Cozzen's doesn't look at this, but seems to
      me there are good reasons: the river is about a quarter of a mile
      wide at this point and was much swollen with rain (in several other
      places Cozzen's refers to the rough state of the river, but no
      mention is made of it here). Also note the length of time needed by
      others to build smaller bridges (those done under Hooker's command
      over Lookout Creek or Chattanooga Creek for example). In context,
      Sherman's bridge does not take excessive time. Why did Sherman wait
      for all three divisions to be across the river before moving out?
      What I wonder is why this decision is labeled anything but prudent.
      He was isolated from his base with limited intelligence as to enemy
      positions and in the middle of constructing a river crossing.
      Hindsight tells us that there was no serious threat to the
      bridgehead, but that was not the perception at the time.

      Sherman is also criticized for moving too slowly once he gets going
      since his force crosses less than two miles in two hours. But based
      on the uncertain intelligence as to locations of the enemy, constant
      expectation of attack, weather conditions that limited movement and
      visibility, and the difficulties of terrain, this doesn't seem that
      bad. Note that Geary's marching speed up Lookout valley during the
      same day is not much faster. Consider that two½ miles per hour is
      considered good marching speed for regular road movement under normal
      conditions:
      http://carlisle-
      www.army.mil/usamhi/Bibliographies/ReferenceBibliographies/marching/ra
      tes.doc
      Thus under adverse conditions with expected enemy contact, a slower
      speed would be natural.

      Time and visibility are key factors here as well. Cozzen's states
      that the dawn came at 5:30. I am not sure what his source is for
      this, but from my research sunrise was around 7:30 and `civil
      twilight' was around 6:30
      [http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/RST_defs.html]. Add to this that
      it is repeatedly pointed out that November 24th was raining, foggy
      and generally gray. In discussing the action on Lookout mountain
      this is brought up repeatedly indicating how poor visibility is.
      Based on weather conditions I find it hard to imagine that there was
      much illumination prior to 6:30 and that even at sunrise the
      visibility would have been restricted. The question of weather
      conditions and visibility is a factor in the later part of the day
      too. Cozzen indicates that Hooker decided at 2pm(!) that it was time
      to halt his advance because of the worsening weather. This ought to
      be kept in mind when considering Sherman's situation. Cozzens says
      that only Smith's Texans of Cleburne's Division were seen on Tunnel
      Hill. Yet what was really just a brigade would be hard to estimate
      if dimly made out across the way. The phrase `fog of war' is doubly
      applicable here.


      Cozzens bolsters his argument with criticisms of Sherman by W.F.
      Smith and Boynton. Both criticisms are weak but Cozzens doesn't
      bother to analyze them. Boynton argues that Sherman should have been
      knocking on house doors to gather intelligence. There are several
      problems with this, a few of which are: was the area between the
      bridge and he hills significantly populated? would the local populace
      give a warm welcome (or accurate info) to this invader? And prior to
      the late afternoon was there awareness that the information and maps
      needed supplementing? Cozzens quotes, without questioning, W.F.
      Smith saying that Sherman met no resistance. However Cozzens prior
      narrative indicates that this is just plain false--clashes occur with
      portions of Cleburne's command and with Wright's Brigade.

      Cozzens does points out weaknesses in intelligence, reconnaissance
      and maps that were all a problem. Yet this is not explored further.
      It would have been nice if Cozzens had examined why there was an
      information breakdown. [In a side note, Cozzens has Howard meeting
      Sherman at the bridge over the Chickamauga. This is a mistake: they
      meet at the bridge over the Tennessee.]

      Finally, Cozzens says "Sherman deployed his command oddly, in a
      manner suited to neither attack nor defend." He goes on to identify
      those dispositions accurately, but never explains why it is his
      conclusion that it is faulty. I see no obvious reason at all why
      Sherman's dispositions are faulty--if anyone wishes to explan this to
      me please do. In fact it appears to me that Sherman's dispositions
      are excellent: he commands 12 brigades—he divides them into 3
      left/rear; 3 center; 3 right; and 3 reserve. Yet Cozzen's remark
      just hangs there unexplained. Cozzens also remarks that Sherman did
      not use Davis, though Cozzens provides no suggestion as to what other
      duty or position Davis should have been used for. In my opinion
      Davis is performing a critical military function at Sherman's
      direction (Davis is the 3 left/rear brigades I refer to above).
      Sherman has established a bridgehead over a wide river and over a
      lesser, yet important, creek and he has advanced his main force about
      two miles from that bridgehead. The enemy disposition is imperfectly
      known, though he is known to be present east of the Chickamaugua.
      Davis is protecting both the bridges and the connection between
      Sherman's position and the bridges. It should also be noted that
      Davis's Division did not cross the river until afternoon. Thus
      Sherman is making full and wise use of Davis.

      _________________________________________________________________

      From: "wh_keene" <wh_keene@y...>
      Date: Mon Jun 3, 2002 10:00 pm
      Subject: More griping about Cozzens


      The maps in Cozzens's books have received praise. In some respect
      they are good. But every now and then there are things that make me
      bonkers. I previous noted my problem with the way the Tunnel Hill
      maps were cropped so that it is unclear what is happening along the
      Chickamauga to the east. I am also bothered by the way some of the
      maps are cropped at the top and bottom. Look at the Tunnel Hill Map
      on page 228: Loomis' men are facing off the map. Look at the
      Missionary Ridge Map on page 266—the Brigades at the north end are
      facing nothing. Actually, theses two forces are facing each other!
      But you'd never get that from the maps.


      Here's another thing in the book which is typical of how Cozzens
      drives me bonkers:
      Page 244: "…the rebels across the valley enjoyed numerical parity."
      Page 248: "…approximately sixteen thousand men…against an attacking
      force of some twenty-three thousand."
      Cozzens must be using some fuzzy math whereby 16,000 is numerically
      on par with 23,000!

      I even have issues with how he comes up with the 16,000 number. He
      is talking about the force on the ridge which opposes Thomas's four
      divisions. Yet he includes Cheatham's Division which is to the north
      of Baird and does not get involved until Baird reaches the top of the
      ridge and he includes all of Stewart's Division though two brigades
      are detached to the south facing Hooker's approach and Hooker's force
      is not includes in the 23,000 number for Thomas. So I think the
      16,000 number is too high.

      Besides having a 2 to 1 numerical advantage, Thomas also faces an
      enemy line which is stretched out so thinly there are no reserves,
      neighboring units are not in close support of each other and in fact
      there are serious gaps between some units. Compared to Sherman, it
      almost looks like Thomas had the easier assignment.

      ______________________________________________________________________



      --- In civilwarwest@y..., "Robert\(Bob\) Taubman" <rtaubman@r...>
      wrote:
      > Please, for someone who has four of Cozzens' waiting to be read,
      what errors
      > should be noted and in what books? Thanx.
      >
      > Bob Taubman
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: "wh_keene" <wh_keene@y...>
      > To: <civilwarwest@y...>
      > Sent: Thursday, August 01, 2002 12:20 PM
      > Subject: [civilwarwest] Re: Sherman's Insubordination at Chattanooga
      >
      >
      > | --- In civilwarwest@y..., "josepharose" <josepharose@y...> wrote:
      > | > Of course, Cozzens makes mistakes. They are, in general, not
      major
      > | > and he doesn't tend to play favorites.
      > |
      > | Wow. I disagree with a great many things Joe says, but this has
      to
      > | be one of the biggest. Cozzens plays favorites in a huge way and I
      > | think some of his mistakes are major.
      > |
      > |
      > |
      > |
      > |
      > |
      > | Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
      http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      > |
      > |
    • Aurelie1999@aol.com
      In a message dated 8/8/02 4:25:02 PM, josepharose@yahoo.com writes:
      Message 267 of 267 , Aug 8, 2002
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        In a message dated 8/8/02 4:25:02 PM, josepharose@... writes:

        << Now, which of the two men, Wood or Grant, had been bending the truth
        (if not breaking it)? I think that the evidence heavily points to
        Grant. Because I think that he did so, I question his integrity,
        here and elsewhere. >>

        Mr. Rose,

        It appears to me that you cherry pick data to support your presumption that
        Grant was a worthless fool. Grant's contemporaries - even enemies - praised
        his integrity to the max. So how come that by standing in the dim hindsight
        of 150 years you are able to see what they did not see?

        Finally please explain why Thomas is incapable of standing on his own merit
        and can only be praised by faulting Grant?

        Connie Boone
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