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Nathaniel Banks

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  • David Kowalski
    Several points about Banks generalship. First, Jackson fought Shields at Kernstown well before he met up with Banks. Fremont was, as you noted, called in
    Message 1 of 8 , Aug 30, 2002
      Several points about Banks generalship.

      First, Jackson fought Shields at Kernstown well before
      he met up with Banks. Fremont was, as you noted,
      called in after Winchester. Jackson's position at
      Conrad's Store was south and east of Banks. Jackson
      marched and counter-marched eventually going west
      before he hit Banks by going north. Jackson's army
      was positioned for much of the time to stand between
      the federal forces and Richmond.

      Second, Federal forces were split up. The garrison at
      Front Royal was separated from Banks and pushed out.
      It was in a militarily indefensible spot.

      Third, Banks did "win" the race to Winchester, This
      was because he abandoned his position at Strasburg and
      started first. However Jackson pushed him fast enough
      that he occupied the lower hill nearer town rather
      than the higher one that commanded the position.
      Jackson's men marched most of the night.

      Fourth, Jackson aimed to catch a good portion of Banks
      army and supplies. He netted over 3,000 prisoners and
      $125,000 in supplies. The medical supplies were vital
      for the CONFEDERATE war effort.

      Banks and the remnants of his army were not a factor
      during the rest of the Valley campaign.

      One well known aim of Banks forces at Port Hudson was
      to capture the city in time to help Grant at
      Vicksburg. Vicksburg fell first.

      Banks was placed between a rock and a hard place in
      the Valley. However, a post-Kernstown junction with
      Shields might have done the trick.

      Lee's Lieutenants turns a hard, unusually critical eye
      on Jackson's performance in the Valley campaign.
      Jackson's use of artillery, some of his tactics, and
      the performance of the cavalry come for criticism.
      Banks, however, comes through as a general with some
      ambition and initiative who placed his men poorly on
      the battlefield, moved his supply trains in a
      spread-out manner, and failed to get much fight except
      out of his artillery.



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    • carlw4514
      Apologies to those who feel we are getting off topic, but the issue is what Banks did or didn t learn from 1862 to 1864 -as far as the disposition of troops in
      Message 2 of 8 , Aug 31, 2002
        Apologies to those who feel we are getting off topic, but the issue is
        what Banks did or didn't learn from 1862 to 1864
        -as far as the disposition of troops in 1862, the fact is that the
        Union made the classic military mistake in VA of splitting up into
        small groups that could be defeated independently. I don't care if
        group A was northwest or southeast of group B, the fact is they were
        all in the same general area and could have been combined. Banks,
        however, bore no responsibility for that mistake, but did fail to
        realize the impact on himself.
        -What happened to Banks vs Jackson in a nutshell: Banks was pushing up
        [going south] the Shenandoah valley with great ambition to press the
        left flank of the overall CS defence of Richmond. Jackson used cavalry
        to screen the fact that he was stealing a march, using the mountains
        also as a screen, and came in on Banks' rear. Now it is true that
        Banks reacted in time, but barely so, and WAS ADVISED TO HAVE DONE SO
        MUCH EARLIER BY HIS MILITARY AIDE; Banks foolishly refused to admit
        the mortal danger he had put his army in till it was almost too late,
        narrowly avoided disaster, and trailing elements in the rush north
        took a beating. As David notes, this impacted his later stand, and he
        wound up getting routed, leaving Virginia altogether behind the
        Potomac River in Maryland.
        -In the Red River Campaign, I can't say that I would be the guy to
        really explain all that happened there, but to interpret the federal
        Victory at Pleasant Hill as an opportunity to rally and defeat the
        Rebs just ignores the fact that the Yanks were stunned, suffering one
        defeat, and viewing the P.H. victory as more of a "here we narrowly
        avoided disaster." Taylor criticized his own generalship, comparing
        himself to someone in a chess match who cannot envision the changed
        board after the moves have been made. Hopefully someone was around to
        point out that he had accomplished a lot without the 3 to 1 advantage
        usually advised for someone undertaking an attack; the Yanks had
        gotten a bloody nose they hadn't anticipated, were in an irreversible
        state of collapsed morale, and couldn't get out of the area fast
        enough. Shreveport was out of danger and Banks' last grand ambition,
        the Genius that scared Napolean [ok, the third] with his invasion of
        Texas, was gone for good.
        -So was his military career. I believe the rest of his career was
        spent in Congress.
        --- In civilwarwest@y..., David Kowalski <kywddavid@y...> wrote:
        > Several points about Banks generalship.
        >
        > First, Jackson fought Shields at Kernstown well before
        > he met up with Banks. Fremont was, as you noted,
        > called in after Winchester. Jackson's position at
        > Conrad's Store was south and east of Banks. Jackson
        > marched and counter-marched eventually going west
        > before he hit Banks by going north. Jackson's army
        > was positioned for much of the time to stand between
        > the federal forces and Richmond.
        >
        > Second, Federal forces were split up. The garrison at
        > Front Royal was separated from Banks and pushed out.
        > It was in a militarily indefensible spot.
        >
        > Third, Banks did "win" the race to Winchester, This
        > was because he abandoned his position at Strasburg and
        > started first. However Jackson pushed him fast enough
        > that he occupied the lower hill nearer town rather
        > than the higher one that commanded the position.
        > Jackson's men marched most of the night.
        >
        > Fourth, Jackson aimed to catch a good portion of Banks
        > army and supplies. He netted over 3,000 prisoners and
        > $125,000 in supplies. The medical supplies were vital
        > for the CONFEDERATE war effort.
        >
        > Banks and the remnants of his army were not a factor
        > during the rest of the Valley campaign.
        >
        > One well known aim of Banks forces at Port Hudson was
        > to capture the city in time to help Grant at
        > Vicksburg. Vicksburg fell first.
        >
        > Banks was placed between a rock and a hard place in
        > the Valley. However, a post-Kernstown junction with
        > Shields might have done the trick.
        >
        > Lee's Lieutenants turns a hard, unusually critical eye
        > on Jackson's performance in the Valley campaign.
        > Jackson's use of artillery, some of his tactics, and
        > the performance of the cavalry come for criticism.
        > Banks, however, comes through as a general with some
        > ambition and initiative who placed his men poorly on
        > the battlefield, moved his supply trains in a
        > spread-out manner, and failed to get much fight except
        > out of his artillery.
        >
        >
        >
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      • fishx111@cs.com
        Was Banks objective military primarily or personal financial increase.I believe he was to share in the value of the Cotton seized.Part of the reason the Union
        Message 3 of 8 , Aug 31, 2002
          Was Banks objective military primarily or personal financial increase.I believe he was to share in the value of the Cotton seized.Part of the reason the Union gunboats almost ran aground in the Red River, was due to the bales of cotton.Besides the work of engineers on the river, all the cotton seized  had to be off loaded.The only thing that saved Banks from court Martial were his Political connections more than once.but without these connections, I guess he never would have been a general, of course that could be the case of a number of "generals".Ie Butler, Siegel, Kilpatrick.


          James
        • wh_keene
          My main point about Banks is: -Banks is called inept because he lost to Jackson with a force twice as large as his. -If this is the standard of ineptness, then
          Message 4 of 8 , Aug 31, 2002
            My main point about Banks is:
            -Banks is called inept because he lost to Jackson with a force twice
            as large as his.
            -If this is the standard of ineptness, then I'd like to hear why most
            of the generals that people around her speak highly are not also
            inept.




            --- In civilwarwest@y..., David Kowalski <kywddavid@y...> wrote:
            > Several points about Banks generalship.
            >
            > First, Jackson fought Shields at Kernstown well before
            > he met up with Banks.

            True. At the time of Kernstwon, Sheilds was part of Banks force.
            But Kernstown is seperate than either Port Republic or Winchester.
            As part of Sheilds victory over Jackson, what did Banks do that was
            inept?


            > Jackson's men marched most of the night.

            So did Banks. Thus I am wondering what you referred to about
            marching too slow? Banks marched as fast as Jackson.


            > One well known aim of Banks forces at Port Hudson was
            > to capture the city in time to help Grant at
            > Vicksburg. Vicksburg fell first.

            And Grant was earlier to help Banks by detaching part of his force to
            Port Hudson before going after Vicksburg. This didn't happen and
            neither did Banks succeed in caputrign Port Hudson before Vicksburg.
            So?


            > Banks was placed between a rock and a hard place in
            > the Valley. However, a post-Kernstown junction with
            > Shields might have done the trick.

            The did form a junction--Shields was partof Banks army. But then
            Banks was instructed to detach Sheilds and send him to McDowell.
            Banks had no control over this. Jackson, learning of this and being
            himself reinforces with Ewell, went after Banks in his now weakened
            position.
          • wh_keene
            ... As you pointed out, the responsibility was not Banks--he had been ordered to send Sheilds away and he had no control over Fremont. ... up ... cavalry ...
            Message 5 of 8 , Aug 31, 2002
              --- In civilwarwest@y..., "carlw4514" <carlw4514@y...> wrote:
              > -as far as the disposition of troops in 1862, the fact is that the
              > Union made the classic military mistake in VA of splitting up into
              > small groups that could be defeated independently. I don't care if
              > group A was northwest or southeast of group B, the fact is they were
              > all in the same general area and could have been combined. Banks,
              > however, bore no responsibility for that mistake, but did fail to
              > realize the impact on himself.

              As you pointed out, the responsibility was not Banks--he had been
              ordered to send Sheilds away and he had no control over Fremont.


              > -What happened to Banks vs Jackson in a nutshell: Banks was pushing
              up
              > [going south] the Shenandoah valley with great ambition to press the
              > left flank of the overall CS defence of Richmond. Jackson used
              cavalry
              > to screen the fact that he was stealing a march, using the mountains
              > also as a screen, and came in on Banks' rear. Now it is true that
              > Banks reacted in time, but barely so, and WAS ADVISED TO HAVE DONE
              SO
              > MUCH EARLIER BY HIS MILITARY AIDE; Banks foolishly refused to admit
              > the mortal danger he had put his army in till it was almost too
              late,
              > narrowly avoided disaster, and trailing elements in the rush north
              > took a beating. As David notes, this impacted his later stand, and
              he
              > wound up getting routed, leaving Virginia altogether behind the
              > Potomac River in Maryland.

              Once again--routed by a force twice his size commanded by Jackson.
              Name the generals who would not have been routed?


              > -In the Red River Campaign, I can't say that I would be the guy to
              > really explain all that happened there, but to interpret the federal
              > Victory at Pleasant Hill as an opportunity to rally and defeat the
              > Rebs just ignores the fact that the Yanks were stunned, suffering
              one
              > defeat, and viewing the P.H. victory as more of a "here we narrowly
              > avoided disaster." Taylor criticized his own generalship, comparing
              > himself to someone in a chess match who cannot envision the changed
              > board after the moves have been made. Hopefully someone was around
              to
              > point out that he had accomplished a lot without the 3 to 1
              advantage
              > usually advised for someone undertaking an attack; the Yanks had
              > gotten a bloody nose they hadn't anticipated, were in an
              irreversible
              > state of collapsed morale, and couldn't get out of the area fast
              > enough. Shreveport was out of danger and Banks' last grand ambition,
              > the Genius that scared Napolean [ok, the third] with his invasion of
              > Texas, was gone for good.

              Banks ambition? He had been ordered to make the expedition over his
              objections.
            • carlw4514
              Will, you always do your homework and make good points. Certainly I didn t know that the Red River Campaign was over Banks objections. Lincoln needed Banks,
              Message 6 of 8 , Sep 1, 2002
                Will, you always do your homework and make good points. Certainly I
                didn't know that the Red River Campaign was over Banks' objections.
                Lincoln needed Banks, it seems, as you point out he wasn't the worst
                general he ever had, although I clearly believe he was more "in the
                running" for that spot than you do. And I guess he was very much
                needed for raising troops [and for political reasons in general];
                seems like it was too bad such high profile assignments needed to be
                given him, though.
              • David Kowalski
                Suddenly the key point from the Jackson Valley campaign as it transfers to the Red River snaps into focus: Taylor was a brigadier general at Winchester. He
                Message 7 of 8 , Sep 1, 2002
                  Suddenly the key point from the Jackson Valley
                  campaign as it transfers to the Red River snaps into
                  focus: Taylor was a brigadier general at Winchester.
                  He charged Banks' line, got good resistance but
                  suddenly Banks' forces melted. I suspose Taylor's
                  notion was that if pressure were applied to Banks, his
                  army would eventually fold.

                  True or not, I suspect that Taylor's taste of glory as
                  a Brigadier played a part in the mental game played
                  out in the Red River campaign.

                  --- carlw4514 <carlw4514@...> wrote:
                  > Will, you always do your homework and make good
                  > points. Certainly I
                  > didn't know that the Red River Campaign was over
                  > Banks' objections.
                  > Lincoln needed Banks, it seems, as you point out he
                  > wasn't the worst
                  > general he ever had, although I clearly believe he
                  > was more "in the
                  > running" for that spot than you do. And I guess he
                  > was very much
                  > needed for raising troops [and for political reasons
                  > in general];
                  > seems like it was too bad such high profile
                  > assignments needed to be
                  > given him, though.
                  >
                  >
                  >


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                • carlw4514
                  I suspect you may be right. I am certain that the loss of the availability of troops from the most populous part of Louisiana was sorely felt in 1864; the very
                  Message 8 of 8 , Sep 1, 2002
                    I suspect you may be right.
                    I am certain that the loss of the availability of troops from the most
                    populous part of Louisiana was sorely felt in 1864; the very troops
                    Taylor was commanding in VA had basically come from there IIRC.
                    --- In civilwarwest@y..., David Kowalski <kywddavid@y...> wrote:
                    > Suddenly the key point from the Jackson Valley
                    > campaign as it transfers to the Red River snaps into
                    > focus: Taylor was a brigadier general at Winchester.
                    > He charged Banks' line, got good resistance but
                    > suddenly Banks' forces melted. I suspose Taylor's
                    > notion was that if pressure were applied to Banks, his
                    > army would eventually fold.
                    >
                    > True or not, I suspect that Taylor's taste of glory as
                    > a Brigadier played a part in the mental game played
                    > out in the Red River campaign.
                    >
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