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[civilwarwest] Was it possible for the Confederacy to avoid losing the west?

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  • Mike Meno
    It is my belief the Confederate armies in the west, most particulary the Army of Tennesse never stood a chance against the Union forces. Any opportunity they
    Message 1 of 8 , Oct 17 11:11 AM
      It is my belief the Confederate armies in the west, most particulary the
      Army of Tennesse never stood a chance against the Union forces. Any
      opportunity they had was put to an end after the cease of the invasion of
      the north at Shiloh, and the death of Albert Sidney Johnston. After that
      defeat it was only a matter of time before the entire west fell. This is
      mainly due to the fact that all the Confederacy's more prominent generals
      were given commands in the east. (Lee, Jackson, Longsteet, Stuart etc.)The
      better generals in the west such as Nathan Bedford Forrest were never given
      adequete numbers to take on the armies of the Cumberland, Tennesse, and of
      course, the great army Sherman marched across Georgia. The one main factor
      as always however in the defeat of the CSA in the west, was the terrible
      lack of men and supplies.

      ______________________________________________________
    • Don Myers
      Mike and Group; We all will have our own opinions on this of course..........however, this comes to the heart of a what if project I am researching right
      Message 2 of 8 , Oct 18 8:01 PM
        Mike and Group;

        We all will have our own opinions on this of course..........however,
        this comes to the heart of a "what if project" I am researching right now.
        As with most things in life, history rests on a few turns of fate. I have
        to strongly disagree with your position on the CSA forces in the Western
        theatre.

        The "lack of men and materiels" was a fact that was present at certain
        times in the great conflict of late. However, history also shows that at
        times there was an abundance of men, or an abundance of materiel.

        Case in point, prior to going into winter quarters 1961-1962, AS Johnston
        had several "thousand" men that had been organized into regiments in camp
        disbanded because of a lack of proper firearms to arm them with. (I am
        looking for the source where I read this at now).

        Case in point number two, during his Kentucky campaign of Summer-Fall of
        1962, Bragg writes in several communications that he has weapons to arm
        20,000 recruits that he had hoped to find in Kentucky. Instead, if I
        remember correctly he wasn't even able to get enough recruits to re-fill his
        loses in the campaign. The men of Kentucky, no matter where their loyalties
        lay, were not willing to risk what they had "to throw off the yoke of their
        oppressors". Braggs words not mine.

        IMHO, had Ft. Donelson held out, and Nashville been perserved, the outcome
        of the war in the west could of been much, much, different. Nashville,
        besides being the capitol of Tennessee was also a major industrial site for
        the confederacy, including at least one iron works comparable to the Tredgar
        works in Richmond. Nashville was also one of the major supply depots for
        the Army of Central Kentucky, etc. Although, through the valiant efforts of
        Officers such as NB Forest, some of the supplies were saved, the vast
        majority was destroyed or captured.
        The loss also caused a tactical retreat from Bowling Green, Ky., all the way
        to the Northern Alabama border, thus losing Middle and Western Tennessee's
        food stuffs, manufactured products, and recruits. This had to be a
        devastating blow to the southern cause. It very well could of been playing
        on the minds of potential recruits in Braggs Kentucky campaign, knowing that
        their State had been abandoned to Union occupation once already.

        Not to mention the fact that it caused the flanking of the entire Northern
        Mississippi line of forts, including the "Gibralter of the West" at
        Columbus, Ky. to be abandoned without a fight. Also, estimates of between
        10,000 to 18,000, (depending on what source you are reading) men were
        surrendered at Donelson. I realize that there arguements both ways on
        whether or not a surrender should of occurred, however, in researching the
        CSA Order of Battle for Ft. Donelson (correct spelling, for some reason
        Grant always misspelled it) I was very surprised at the VERY LARGE numbers
        of soldiers that were surrendered at Ft. Donelson, who ended up dieing in
        the Northern prison camps before they could be exchanged. I am only
        guessing that these men would of much rather died with their comrades on the
        field of battle, than behind bars and fences at such places as Camp Douglas
        and the like.

        Sorry for the rambling.
        I remain your humble servant;
        Don Myers.
        -----Original Message-----
        From: Mike Meno <neho69@...>
        To: civilwarwest@egroups.com <civilwarwest@egroups.com>
        Date: Sunday, October 17, 1999 2:11 PM
        Subject: [civilwarwest] Was it possible for the Confederacy to avoid losing
        the west?


        >It is my belief the Confederate armies in the west, most particulary the
        >Army of Tennesse never stood a chance against the Union forces. Any
        >opportunity they had was put to an end after the cease of the invasion of
        >the north at Shiloh, and the death of Albert Sidney Johnston. After that
        >defeat it was only a matter of time before the entire west fell. This is
        >mainly due to the fact that all the Confederacy's more prominent generals
        >were given commands in the east. (Lee, Jackson, Longsteet, Stuart etc.)The
        >better generals in the west such as Nathan Bedford Forrest were never given
        >adequete numbers to take on the armies of the Cumberland, Tennesse, and of
        >course, the great army Sherman marched across Georgia. The one main factor
        >as always however in the defeat of the CSA in the west, was the terrible
        >lack of men and supplies.
        >
        >______________________________________________________
        >
        >------------------------------------------------------------------------
        >
        >eGroups.com home: http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest
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        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • pedinkler@frontier.net
        mike meno wrote: original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=133 ... the ... invasion of ... that ... is ...
        Message 3 of 8 , Oct 21 6:15 PM
          "mike meno" <neho6-@...> wrote:
          original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=133
          > It is my belief the Confederate armies in the west, most particulary
          the
          > Army of Tennesse never stood a chance against the Union forces. Any
          > opportunity they had was put to an end after the cease of the
          invasion of
          > the north at Shiloh, and the death of Albert Sidney Johnston. After
          that
          > defeat it was only a matter of time before the entire west fell. This
          is
          > mainly due to the fact that all the Confederacy's more prominent
          generals
          > were given commands in the east. (Lee, Jackson, Longsteet, Stuart
          etc.)The
          > better generals in the west such as Nathan Bedford Forrest were never
          given
          > adequete numbers to take on the armies of the Cumberland, Tennesse,
          and of
          > course, the great army Sherman marched across Georgia. The one main
          factor
          > as always however in the defeat of the CSA in the west, was the
          terrible
          > lack of men and supplies.
          >
          >
          ______________________________________________________
          This is Waldemar Winkler responding (pedinkler@...).

          I'm not sure if a change of command (someone more capable than
          Bragg)would have made any difference. My understanding of the basic
          Confederate political stance in the early years of the war was to
          demonstrate to the international community the legitimacy of their
          independence by conducting a primarily defensive campaign. The success
          of this strategy would have been recognition by a significant number of
          countries (which didn't happen).

          The military strategy of battle (particularly in the West) was to find
          the enemy's weakest spot, attack with overwhelming majority in numbers,
          do ther greatest amount of damage, steal as many supplies as possible,
          and get the Hell out.

          Distinctive offensive tactics may have well changed hisory, but
          approval from Richmond would never happen.

          I would sincerely appreciate any responses from anyone as to the sense
          of my comments, as the beauty of this site is that everything said
          manages to enhance learning.
        • pedinkler@frontier.net
          mike meno wrote: original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=133 ... the ... invasion of ... that ... is ...
          Message 4 of 8 , Oct 21 6:15 PM
            "mike meno" <neho6-@...> wrote:
            original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=133
            > It is my belief the Confederate armies in the west, most particulary
            the
            > Army of Tennesse never stood a chance against the Union forces. Any
            > opportunity they had was put to an end after the cease of the
            invasion of
            > the north at Shiloh, and the death of Albert Sidney Johnston. After
            that
            > defeat it was only a matter of time before the entire west fell. This
            is
            > mainly due to the fact that all the Confederacy's more prominent
            generals
            > were given commands in the east. (Lee, Jackson, Longsteet, Stuart
            etc.)The
            > better generals in the west such as Nathan Bedford Forrest were never
            given
            > adequete numbers to take on the armies of the Cumberland, Tennesse,
            and of
            > course, the great army Sherman marched across Georgia. The one main
            factor
            > as always however in the defeat of the CSA in the west, was the
            terrible
            > lack of men and supplies.
            >
            >
            ______________________________________________________
            This is Waldemar Winkler responding (pedinkler@...).

            I'm not sure if a change of command (someone more capable than
            Bragg)would have made any difference. My understanding of the basic
            Confederate political stance in the early years of the war was to
            demonstrate to the international community the legitimacy of their
            independence by conducting a primarily defensive campaign. The success
            of this strategy would have been recognition by a significant number of
            countries (which didn't happen).

            The military strategy of battle (particularly in the West) was to find
            the enemy's weakest spot, attack with overwhelming majority in numbers,
            do ther greatest amount of damage, steal as many supplies as possible,
            and get the Hell out.

            Distinctive offensive tactics may have well changed hisory, but
            approval from Richmond would never happen.

            I would sincerely appreciate any responses from anyone as to the sense
            of my comments, as the beauty of this site is that everything said
            manages to enhance learning.
          • neho69@hotmail.com
            pedinkle-@frontier.net wrote: original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=143 ... This ... never ... success ... of ... numbers, ... I
            Message 5 of 8 , Oct 21 6:36 PM
              pedinkle-@... wrote:
              original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=143
              > "mike meno" <neho6-@...> wrote:
              > original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=133
              > > It is my belief the Confederate armies in the west, most particulary
              > the
              > > Army of Tennesse never stood a chance against the Union forces. Any
              > > opportunity they had was put to an end after the cease of the
              > invasion of
              > > the north at Shiloh, and the death of Albert Sidney Johnston. After
              > that
              > > defeat it was only a matter of time before the entire west fell.
              This
              > is
              > > mainly due to the fact that all the Confederacy's more prominent
              > generals
              > > were given commands in the east. (Lee, Jackson, Longsteet, Stuart
              > etc.)The
              > > better generals in the west such as Nathan Bedford Forrest were
              never
              > given
              > > adequete numbers to take on the armies of the Cumberland, Tennesse,
              > and of
              > > course, the great army Sherman marched across Georgia. The one main
              > factor
              > > as always however in the defeat of the CSA in the west, was the
              > terrible
              > > lack of men and supplies.
              > >
              > >
              > ______________________________________________________
              > This is Waldemar Winkler responding (pedinkler@...).
              >
              > I'm not sure if a change of command (someone more capable than
              > Bragg)would have made any difference. My understanding of the basic
              > Confederate political stance in the early years of the war was to
              > demonstrate to the international community the legitimacy of their
              > independence by conducting a primarily defensive campaign. The
              success
              > of this strategy would have been recognition by a significant number
              of
              > countries (which didn't happen).
              >
              > The military strategy of battle (particularly in the West) was to find
              > the enemy's weakest spot, attack with overwhelming majority in
              numbers,
              > do ther greatest amount of damage, steal as many supplies as possible,
              > and get the Hell out.
              >
              > Distinctive offensive tactics may have well changed hisory, but
              > approval from Richmond would never happen.
              >
              > I would sincerely appreciate any responses from anyone as to the sense
              > of my comments, as the beauty of this site is that everything said
              > manages to enhance learning.

              I feel pretty confident to say that anyone Davis could of chosen to
              place in command in the west could have done better than Bragg. While
              the Confederacy's overall strategy was to conduct a defensive campaign,
              Bragg's stategy was usually to aggressively attack the much larger and
              better equipped Federal forces in an offensive action, usually
              resulting in a huge defeat. It was not only Bragg though. When Hood was
              given commands in the west he did the same thing: attack the much
              larger force and get slaughtered. My peronal belief is that the
              Confederacy did not have substantial numbers to hold such a big area as
              the west, especially after Donelson and Shiloh. Their best chance was
              most likely to hold out as long as possible and allow Lee and the Army
              of Northern Viginia to crush the Potomac and end the war. Even if Lee
              did not win, but the west and the western forces remained somewhat
              intact, the war may have ended because McClellan may have been elected
              and then surrendered. Also, after a certain amount of time the Union
              would give up as the British did in the Revolution because as long as
              there is still a Confederate army in the field, there is still a
              Confederacy. The only general in the west who I believe may have
              somewhat understood this was Joe Johnston. When he was put up against
              Sherman he knew he could not defeat his entire force, only delay its
              advance. therefore he would hit Sherman, retreat, hit him again etc.
              This entire strategy went out the window eventually because Johnston
              did not have enough men to even continue to harrass the enemy. Then
              again, this is all just my opinion.
              -Your Obediant Servant
            • neho69@hotmail.com
              pedinkle-@frontier.net wrote: original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=143 ... This ... never ... success ... of ... numbers, ... I
              Message 6 of 8 , Oct 21 6:36 PM
                pedinkle-@... wrote:
                original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=143
                > "mike meno" <neho6-@...> wrote:
                > original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=133
                > > It is my belief the Confederate armies in the west, most particulary
                > the
                > > Army of Tennesse never stood a chance against the Union forces. Any
                > > opportunity they had was put to an end after the cease of the
                > invasion of
                > > the north at Shiloh, and the death of Albert Sidney Johnston. After
                > that
                > > defeat it was only a matter of time before the entire west fell.
                This
                > is
                > > mainly due to the fact that all the Confederacy's more prominent
                > generals
                > > were given commands in the east. (Lee, Jackson, Longsteet, Stuart
                > etc.)The
                > > better generals in the west such as Nathan Bedford Forrest were
                never
                > given
                > > adequete numbers to take on the armies of the Cumberland, Tennesse,
                > and of
                > > course, the great army Sherman marched across Georgia. The one main
                > factor
                > > as always however in the defeat of the CSA in the west, was the
                > terrible
                > > lack of men and supplies.
                > >
                > >
                > ______________________________________________________
                > This is Waldemar Winkler responding (pedinkler@...).
                >
                > I'm not sure if a change of command (someone more capable than
                > Bragg)would have made any difference. My understanding of the basic
                > Confederate political stance in the early years of the war was to
                > demonstrate to the international community the legitimacy of their
                > independence by conducting a primarily defensive campaign. The
                success
                > of this strategy would have been recognition by a significant number
                of
                > countries (which didn't happen).
                >
                > The military strategy of battle (particularly in the West) was to find
                > the enemy's weakest spot, attack with overwhelming majority in
                numbers,
                > do ther greatest amount of damage, steal as many supplies as possible,
                > and get the Hell out.
                >
                > Distinctive offensive tactics may have well changed hisory, but
                > approval from Richmond would never happen.
                >
                > I would sincerely appreciate any responses from anyone as to the sense
                > of my comments, as the beauty of this site is that everything said
                > manages to enhance learning.

                I feel pretty confident to say that anyone Davis could of chosen to
                place in command in the west could have done better than Bragg. While
                the Confederacy's overall strategy was to conduct a defensive campaign,
                Bragg's stategy was usually to aggressively attack the much larger and
                better equipped Federal forces in an offensive action, usually
                resulting in a huge defeat. It was not only Bragg though. When Hood was
                given commands in the west he did the same thing: attack the much
                larger force and get slaughtered. My peronal belief is that the
                Confederacy did not have substantial numbers to hold such a big area as
                the west, especially after Donelson and Shiloh. Their best chance was
                most likely to hold out as long as possible and allow Lee and the Army
                of Northern Viginia to crush the Potomac and end the war. Even if Lee
                did not win, but the west and the western forces remained somewhat
                intact, the war may have ended because McClellan may have been elected
                and then surrendered. Also, after a certain amount of time the Union
                would give up as the British did in the Revolution because as long as
                there is still a Confederate army in the field, there is still a
                Confederacy. The only general in the west who I believe may have
                somewhat understood this was Joe Johnston. When he was put up against
                Sherman he knew he could not defeat his entire force, only delay its
                advance. therefore he would hit Sherman, retreat, hit him again etc.
                This entire strategy went out the window eventually because Johnston
                did not have enough men to even continue to harrass the enemy. Then
                again, this is all just my opinion.
                -Your Obediant Servant
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