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Re: Grant's lies about Chattanooga

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  • bjer50010
    ... Tunnel ... he ... attack ... placed ... little ... idea ... did ... Dana had no way of knowing what Grant intended, nor what Thomas intended, unless they
    Message 1 of 267 , Aug 2, 2002
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      --- In civilwarwest@y..., "josepharose" <josepharose@y...> wrote:
      > --- In civilwarwest@y..., "bjer50010" <bjewell@i...> wrote:
      > >
      > > I'm sorry to reply to my own post, but I forgot that the quote to
      > > which I referred was in a different forum. I am repeating it
      > below.
      > >
      > > "Hooker was dismayed but determined to push on. Once again fate
      > had
      > > handed him a chance to play a prominent role in the battle. As
      > > earlier related, Sherman's delay in getting underway against
      Tunnel
      > > Hill had convinced Grant acquiesce in Thomas's desire to send
      > Hooker
      > > against Bragg's left. To recapitulate, Thomas was absolutely
      > > convinced that both of the enemy's flanks must be crushed before
      he
      > > dare send his AotC - reduced by detachments to Sherman and Hooker
      > to
      > > slightly under 25,000 men - against the enemy rifle pits at the
      > base
      > > of and atop Missionary Ridge. Thomas had no reserves on hand;
      > every
      > > soldier was in the battle line of four divisions, and the rebels
      > > across the valley enjoyed numerical parity - bad odds for an
      attack
      > > across a partially open, mile-wide valley. So, while Grant
      placed
      > his
      > > hopes for victory in his friend Sherman, Thomas, who shared
      little
      > of
      > > Grant's enthuasism for the Ohioan, looked southward to Hooker for
      > > decisive results."
      > >
      > > A couple of points to make. Thomas may have come up with the
      idea
      > of
      > > using Hooker to support the assault on Missionary Ridge, but note
      > > the "had convinced Grant to acquiesce in Thomas's desire to send
      > > Hooker against Bragg's left." Even Cozzens agrees that Thomas
      did
      > > not have the authority to issue such orders to Hooker without
      > Grant's
      > > consent. Also note the "against the enemy rifle pits at the base
      > of
      > > and atop Missionary Ridge". So did Thomas actually realize that
      > > Grant's intention was to take the top of the ridge? Was Dana
      > wrong?
      >
      > If Grant's advance to the rifle-pits was done just to relieve the
      > pressure on Sherman, than Dana was correct that it wasn't Grant's
      > intention to have Thomas' men carry the ridge.
      >

      Dana had no way of knowing what Grant intended, nor what Thomas
      intended, unless they told him. Therefore his comment is pure
      speculation. The Meigs journal at least quotes Grant. Dana quotes
      noone and expresses an opinion. Thomas, even according to Cozzens,
      understood that the ultimate goal of the assault was the top of the
      ridge. And Grant's advance to the rifle pits was not done just to
      relieve Sherman. He made the decision to advance on the rifle pits
      based on several factors. One was the movement of troops towards
      Sherman's sector, another was the imminent arrival of Hooker on
      Bragg's left and rear and the third was that the day was winding
      down. If he didn't do something Bragg would be spared until the next
      day. This opens the very real possibility of his escaping during the
      night.

      > > I will also point out the subtle anti-Grant and Sherman bias.
      > > Note "while Grant placed his hopes for victory in his friend
      > > Sherman". This completely ignores the fact that the original
      > orders
      > > called for a cooperative assault between Thomas and Sherman.
      > Hardly
      > > sounds like Grant "placing his hopes for victory in his friend
      > > Sherman".
      >
      > Sherman was to carry the ridge and march down it. Two of Granger's
      > divisions were to move to the left and cooperate with Sherman.
      > Remember that some of Grant's orders told Thomas to move left or
      > take the rifle-pits in front; as the latter was a possibility then
      > it illustrates how Grant placed his hopes for victory in his friend
      > Sherman.
      >

      And how is this different from what Thomas intended? Thomas had no
      intention of being the main force to strike Bragg, hence his
      insistence on waiting until either Sherman or Hooker or both had
      rolled up his flanks before committing to an assault on the center.
      If Grant expected much of his friend Sherman it was because he
      expected so little of Thomas.

      > > " Thomas' anxiety was apparent. At 10:00 am, just as Hooker was
      > > starting down Lookout Mountain, Thomas amended his order of two
      > hours
      > > earlier, which had told Hooker simply to move across the valley
      the
      > > Rossville road toward Missionary Ridge, while taking care to
      > protect
      > > his right flank. Now, with the enemy evidently long since off the
      > > mountain, Thomas threw caution aside. He exhorted Hooker to "move
      > > firmly and steadily upon the enemy's works in front of Missionary
      > > Ridge." Palmer's 14th Corps would cooperate in the assault once
      > > Hooker came up."
      > >
      > > Now this paragraph is interesting. What happened to the Reynolds
      > > message telling Hooker to proceed to Rossville as per his orders
      > of
      > > the previous evening? Also note, although Grant has been
      censured
      > > for giving Hooker little or no role in the assaults, Thomas's
      > orders
      > > as described by Cozzens, also make him a spectator, albeit at
      > > Rossville rather than on Lookout Mt.
      >
      > Hooker wouldn't have been (and he wasn't) a mere spectator at
      > Rossville. In fact, Rossville was occupied.
      >

      Hooker most definitely would be a mere spectator. Otherwise why
      would Cozzens be so adamant that Thomas ordered him to take a more
      active role? Thomas originally intended Hooker to play a minor role.


      > Joseph

      However I have several questions about the orders from Grant. First
      at what time were they issued? Sword's account indicates that there
      was sporadic fighting on Lookout Mt. until the evening of the 24th.
      The Confederate defenders got orders to withdraw at around 11:00 pm
      and they expected to require about 3 hrs. to complete the evacuation;
      IOW there is no way the Union army could know for certain that the
      Mt. had been evacuated until, at the earliest 2:00 am on the 25th.
      To expect Hooker to begin a move on Rossville, before it was known
      that Lookout Mt. was clear of troops which could threaten the AotC's
      right flank was pure stupidity. But Cozzens has this to
      say, "Thomas, who undoubtedly bristled at the cavalier treatment
      accorded his own AotC (what this slight is not mentioned BTW), had
      even less regard for Grant's intended use of Hooker's powerful
      column. Consequently he chose to flout Grant's directive. Rather
      than leave Hooker to try to scale the summit of Lookout, which Thomas
      assumed already to ve vacant, he decided to call him down to the
      valley, where he could make a more tangible contribution by
      demonstratin directly against Bragg's left flank on Missionary
      Ridge. Also, Thomas wanted to ensure that his own right flank, held
      by Palmer's 14th Corps, was supported. In the event ther still were
      rebels on the mountaintop, Thomas did not want them sweeping down on
      his flank. To guard against this, Hooker was to confirm first that
      the summit was clear, and then stand ready to advance "as early as
      possible in the morning into Chattanooga Valley and seize and hold
      the Summertown Road, and cooperate with the 14th Corps by supporting
      its right."

      I have a couple of problems with this. First, why would Thomas flout
      Grant's orders here and then try to get him to acquisce to using
      Hooker's force in the assault on Missionary Ridge later in the day?
      Second, why would he assume that the Confederates had evacuated the
      Mt.? As noted above there was still sporadic fighting until late in
      the evening and the rebels did not get orders to evacuate until 11:00
      pm, and would still have a presence in Hooker's front until 2:00 am.
      IOW, when Thomas issued his orders there were still defenders on the
      Mt., so isn't it a poor military decision? Now, it also states that
      Hooker is to move down into the Valley and ensure that the Mt. is
      clear and then seize and hold the Summertown Road. Excuse me for
      being obtuse but exactly how do these orders differ materially from
      those of Grant? Both in essence say use the Summertown Road and
      ensure the Mt. is clear. The difference seems to be that Grant wants
      Hooker to remain in position, bearing in mind that noone on the Union
      side knows for certain that the Confederate defenders have evacuated
      when the order was written and in fact, the Mt. would not be
      evacuated for at least 3 hrs. afterwards! Also note that no mention
      is made of Rossville in these orders simply to seize and hold the
      Summertown Rd.

      One other thought occurs to me. Grant was well known for not
      providing detailed tactical orders to his subordinates. Is it not
      possible that both he and Thomas, both good generals, understood all
      too well the threat posed by the defenders of Lookout Mt. and that
      Grant wrote that contingency into his orders and Thomas, far from
      flouted orders, merely used his discretion and initiative and rewrote
      the tactical aspects more forcefully? Of course this scenario
      assumes that Grant and Thomas were both competent officers, which I
      realize is wrong, but ISTM that rather than trying to find fault with
      either man that the incident shows their ability to work together.
      Of course I am probably wrong because Thomas had to bail Grant out
      yet again. IOW, the incident shows both men at their best. Grant
      with his flexibility and strategic understanding, with perhaps less
      tactical understanding; Thomas with superior tactical ability putting
      his superior's orders into effect more efficiently. Neither man has
      to come out of this looking bad and I think Cozzens unfairly knocks
      Grant in this case.

      This argument is getting tiresome. The more I think about it, the
      more I like the compromise scenario presented above. Grant was well
      known to be a "big-picture" general who didn't sweat the details,
      while Thomas was more a general to whom detail was everything.

      JB Jewell
    • 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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