--- In firstname.lastname@example.org
, keeno2@... wrote:
> In a message dated 8/21/2006 4:38:57 PM Central Daylight Time,
> wh_keene@... writes:
> Halleck and Sherman were the main supporters of the campaign. Banks
> initially opossed it until Halleck convinced him to do it. Same
with Grant. As far
> as I can tell Lincoln simply deferred to Halleck.
> I don't see the reasoning behind it. Get into Texas? Push the Rebs
> back from the river? Seems that Mobile would have been less a waste
> even if that had failed as well. Guess that's what I'm looking
for ... what did
> they hope to gain?
I agree with you about Mobile; but sadly Sherman and Halleck did not.
They had their eye on Shreveport first. The main military attraction
of Shreveport was that it was the headquarters of the Confederate
forces west of the Mississippi. [$$$ also played a role in making some
have an interest in the campaign -- there was a lot of cotton up the
Sherman seemed to have the idea that he could move up the river with
Porter's boats and raid Shreveport like he did to Meridian. He
expected it would have the effect of completely disrupting the
Confederates in the west and in one letter he refers to going to
Shreveport to make the enemy 'pay in gold or cotton for all the
depredations on our river commerce'. Basically he wanted to make
Louisiana howl. He also expected the enemy forces to retreat into
Texas rather than fight. He did not, in my opinion, have a good
understanding of the enemy nor for that matter the geography, even
though he had spent time there before the war.
Halleck was more interested in seizing and holding Shreveport. He had
pushed for the Red River Route as the best way to completely secure
Arkansas and Louisiana. He expected that this would free up troops in
Arkansas, Missouri and along the Mississippi which could then be
shifted eastward. He also focused on a campaign along the Red River
becuase it would allow for a concentration of forces from Arkansas
with those from Louisiana, a strategic idea he was fond of.
It appears to me that Sherman's enthusiasm had a great deal to do with
making the campaign happen. In fact, in writing about the time,
Lincoln's secretary John Hay referred to the campaign as Sherman's
idea. However, it was Halleck's vision of occupying the area that
became the plan of action -- Grant ordered Banks to "hold Shreveport
and the Red River with such force as you may deem necessary".