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Re: Bragg's order to Stewart at Chickamauga September 19, 1863

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  • Dave Smith
    Oops, my bad, then. As a first day discussion, I have no problem with the meeting engagement description. I ve described that first day as a division-sized
    Message 1 of 14 , Dec 2, 2002
      Oops, my bad, then. As a first day discussion, I have no problem
      with the "meeting engagement" description. I've described that first
      day as a division-sized "up the ante" game of poker, myself.

      My problem with the en echelon order was severalfold: 1) They were
      awfully difficult to execute, on any given day with any army.
      Witness the ANV's efforts on the second day of Gettysburg, and they
      were a good army, 2) Success hinged on the efforts of the intial
      attacking group, which meant that failure there literally doomed the
      effort, and 3) Bragg had tried an en echelon attack at Stones River
      and Perryville with this army, without success. Was he so
      unimaginiative as an army commander that he couldn't try something
      else.

      I'll state the problem for Bragg, at 6:30 a.m. on September 20 as
      succinctly as I can.

      Why wasn't his butt parked on that flank - regardless of where he
      technically belonged as an army commander - if those guys - Hill,
      Hindman and Polk, were so inept? Not his staff's collective hind
      ends - his?

      Lee could go where he was needed, in spite of where the technical
      situtation suggested. Bragg could not, apparently, see such a
      distinction.

      Dave

      Dave Smith
      Villa Hills, KY


      --- In civilwarwest@y..., "genesispg" <genesis@m...> wrote:
      > Dave:
      >
      > I believe you are mistaken. I was referring to Stewart's orders on
      > the first day of the battle when it was a meeting engagement, not
      on
      > the 2nd day of Chickamauga when the battle lines are joined.
      > Actually, I do not blame Bragg for that en encheleon order. IMO,
      > that was the only way he believed he could get any type of
      > cooridination(sp) in the attack. I do not know how anybody working
      > with Polk, Hindman, DH Hill, etc could ever achieve anything on the
      > battlefield.
      >
      > Roger
      >
      > --- In civilwarwest@y..., "Dave Smith" <dmsmith001@y...> wrote:
      > > I think Cozzens and Tucker correct in their ridicule.
      > >
      > > The second day at Chickamauga was far from a simple meeting
      > > engagement. Bragg set out his standard plan of attack - en
      > echelon -
      > > and assumed in typical Bragg fashion that things would go as he
      > > planned, but they never did. He was oh for two before
      Chickamauga,
      > > and went oh for three afterwards.
      > >
      > > The order to Stewart was simply another example of Bragg having
      no
      > > control over the fluidity of changing battlefield conditions.
      > >
      > > Dave
      > >
      > > Dave Smith
      > > Villa Hills, KY
      > >
      > > --- In civilwarwest@y..., "genesispg" <genesis@m...> wrote:
      > > > Ladies & Gentlemen:
      > > >
      > > > My comment concern the order Bragg gave to Stewart that he must
      > > > be "governed by circumstances". Both Cozzens and Tucker
      ridicule
      > > the
      > > > order (Cozzens says Bragg was cruelly disingeneous), yet the
      > order
      > > > (to me) makes perfect sense.
      > > >
      > > > As this was a meeting engagement, (neither side thought they
      > would
      > > > fight a battle where it ended up being fought), all Bragg
      wanted
      > to
      > > > do was to stabalize the action. Even Bragg realized that in
      this
      > > > battle, orders given could be old, very dangerous orders by the
      > > time
      > > > Stewart gets to the front lines. He is counting on Stewart's
      > > > knowledge and expertise to do what is needed when he got to the
      > > > battle line.
      > > >
      > > > Comments, please.
      > > >
      > > > Roger
    • Dick Weeks
      Dave, you or someone else, might want to explain to some of our newer members what an en echelon attack really is. I know, but not being a reenactor or even
      Message 2 of 14 , Dec 2, 2002
        Dave, you or someone else, might want to explain to some of our newer
        members what an "en echelon" attack really is. I know, but not being a
        reenactor or even well versed in this area, I can't really explain it by
        writing it. I can show you on the field what it looks like. I know that
        whether you are dealing with a regiment "en echelon" or a brigade "en
        echelon" both are a terribly difficult maneuver to execute. I can't imagine
        a "division" attacking in this formation and it being successful. I know it
        was done quite frequently but what I don't know is how often it was
        successful.

        I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
        Dick (a.k.a. Shotgun)
        http://www.civilwarhome.com

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Dave Smith" <dmsmith001@...>
        To: <civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Monday, December 02, 2002 4:08 PM
        Subject: [civilwarwest] Re: Bragg's order to Stewart at Chickamauga
        September 19, 1863


        > Oops, my bad, then. As a first day discussion, I have no problem
        > with the "meeting engagement" description. I've described that first
        > day as a division-sized "up the ante" game of poker, myself.
        >
        > My problem with the en echelon order was severalfold: 1) They were
        > awfully difficult to execute, on any given day with any army.
        > Witness the ANV's efforts on the second day of Gettysburg, and they
        > were a good army, 2) Success hinged on the efforts of the intial
        > attacking group, which meant that failure there literally doomed the
        > effort, and 3) Bragg had tried an en echelon attack at Stones River
        > and Perryville with this army, without success. Was he so
        > unimaginiative as an army commander that he couldn't try something
        > else.
        >
        > I'll state the problem for Bragg, at 6:30 a.m. on September 20 as
        > succinctly as I can.
        >
        > Why wasn't his butt parked on that flank - regardless of where he
        > technically belonged as an army commander - if those guys - Hill,
        > Hindman and Polk, were so inept? Not his staff's collective hind
        > ends - his?
        >
        > Lee could go where he was needed, in spite of where the technical
        > situtation suggested. Bragg could not, apparently, see such a
        > distinction.
        >
        > Dave
        >
        > Dave Smith
        > Villa Hills, KY
        >
        >
        > --- In civilwarwest@y..., "genesispg" <genesis@m...> wrote:
        > > Dave:
        > >
        > > I believe you are mistaken. I was referring to Stewart's orders on
        > > the first day of the battle when it was a meeting engagement, not
        > on
        > > the 2nd day of Chickamauga when the battle lines are joined.
        > > Actually, I do not blame Bragg for that en encheleon order. IMO,
        > > that was the only way he believed he could get any type of
        > > cooridination(sp) in the attack. I do not know how anybody working
        > > with Polk, Hindman, DH Hill, etc could ever achieve anything on the
        > > battlefield.
        > >
        > > Roger
        > >
        > > --- In civilwarwest@y..., "Dave Smith" <dmsmith001@y...> wrote:
        > > > I think Cozzens and Tucker correct in their ridicule.
        > > >
        > > > The second day at Chickamauga was far from a simple meeting
        > > > engagement. Bragg set out his standard plan of attack - en
        > > echelon -
        > > > and assumed in typical Bragg fashion that things would go as he
        > > > planned, but they never did. He was oh for two before
        > Chickamauga,
        > > > and went oh for three afterwards.
        > > >
        > > > The order to Stewart was simply another example of Bragg having
        > no
        > > > control over the fluidity of changing battlefield conditions.
        > > >
        > > > Dave
        > > >
        > > > Dave Smith
        > > > Villa Hills, KY
        > > >
        > > > --- In civilwarwest@y..., "genesispg" <genesis@m...> wrote:
        > > > > Ladies & Gentlemen:
        > > > >
        > > > > My comment concern the order Bragg gave to Stewart that he must
        > > > > be "governed by circumstances". Both Cozzens and Tucker
        > ridicule
        > > > the
        > > > > order (Cozzens says Bragg was cruelly disingeneous), yet the
        > > order
        > > > > (to me) makes perfect sense.
        > > > >
        > > > > As this was a meeting engagement, (neither side thought they
        > > would
        > > > > fight a battle where it ended up being fought), all Bragg
        > wanted
        > > to
        > > > > do was to stabalize the action. Even Bragg realized that in
        > this
        > > > > battle, orders given could be old, very dangerous orders by the
        > > > time
        > > > > Stewart gets to the front lines. He is counting on Stewart's
        > > > > knowledge and expertise to do what is needed when he got to the
        > > > > battle line.
        > > > >
        > > > > Comments, please.
        > > > >
        > > > > Roger
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
        >
      • hank9174
        ... first ... But didn t the attack succeed? Rosecrans confusedly shifted Wood s division to the left and left a hole that Longstreet exploited. En echelon
        Message 3 of 14 , Dec 3, 2002
          --- In civilwarwest@y..., "Dave Smith" <dmsmith001@y...> wrote:
          > Oops, my bad, then. As a first day discussion, I have no problem
          > with the "meeting engagement" description. I've described that
          first
          > day as a division-sized "up the ante" game of poker, myself.
          >
          > My problem with the en echelon order was severalfold: 1) They were
          > awfully difficult to execute, on any given day with any army.
          > Witness the ANV's efforts on the second day of Gettysburg, and they
          > were a good army, 2) Success hinged on the efforts of the intial
          > attacking group, which meant that failure there literally doomed the
          > effort, and 3) Bragg had tried an en echelon attack at Stones River
          > and Perryville with this army, without success. Was he so
          > unimaginiative as an army commander that he couldn't try something
          > else.
          >

          But didn't the attack succeed?

          Rosecrans confusedly shifted Wood's division to the left and left a
          hole that Longstreet exploited.

          En echelon attacks are successful when you find a breach in the
          defense before running out of attacking forces. Lee at Gettysburg
          found a hole, but with his last brigade. Bragg at Chickamauga, found a
          gap and had an entire corps to pour through.

          HankC
        • Dave Smith
          *Bragg* didn t find anything at Chickamauga, hole or otherwise. Longstreet found it and exploited it, contrary to Bragg s orders. As a matter of fact, Bragg
          Message 4 of 14 , Dec 3, 2002
            *Bragg* didn't find anything at Chickamauga, hole or otherwise.

            Longstreet found it and exploited it, contrary to Bragg's orders. As
            a matter of fact, Bragg was extremely pissed because the battle
            turned from north to south to south to north - contrary to
            his "expectations."

            If Longstreet had followed Bragg's order to the letter of the attack
            plan, he'd have fared no better than Polk did.

            Dave

            --- In civilwarwest@y..., "hank9174" <clarkc@m...> wrote:
            > --- In civilwarwest@y..., "Dave Smith" <dmsmith001@y...> wrote:
            > > Oops, my bad, then. As a first day discussion, I have no problem
            > > with the "meeting engagement" description. I've described that
            > first
            > > day as a division-sized "up the ante" game of poker, myself.
            > >
            > > My problem with the en echelon order was severalfold: 1) They
            were
            > > awfully difficult to execute, on any given day with any army.
            > > Witness the ANV's efforts on the second day of Gettysburg, and
            they
            > > were a good army, 2) Success hinged on the efforts of the intial
            > > attacking group, which meant that failure there literally doomed
            the
            > > effort, and 3) Bragg had tried an en echelon attack at Stones
            River
            > > and Perryville with this army, without success. Was he so
            > > unimaginiative as an army commander that he couldn't try
            something
            > > else.
            > >
            >
            > But didn't the attack succeed?
            >
            > Rosecrans confusedly shifted Wood's division to the left and left a
            > hole that Longstreet exploited.
            >
            > En echelon attacks are successful when you find a breach in the
            > defense before running out of attacking forces. Lee at Gettysburg
            > found a hole, but with his last brigade. Bragg at Chickamauga,
            found a
            > gap and had an entire corps to pour through.
            >
            > HankC
          • hank9174
            ... As ... So Longstreet s attack was separate from the initial effort and after it had *peter*ed out? One of the features of an en echelon attack is it s
            Message 5 of 14 , Dec 3, 2002
              --- In civilwarwest@y..., "Dave Smith" <dmsmith001@y...> wrote:
              > *Bragg* didn't find anything at Chickamauga, hole or otherwise.
              >
              > Longstreet found it and exploited it, contrary to Bragg's orders.
              As
              > a matter of fact, Bragg was extremely pissed because the battle
              > turned from north to south to south to north - contrary to
              > his "expectations."
              >
              > If Longstreet had followed Bragg's order to the letter of the attack
              > plan, he'd have fared no better than Polk did.

              So Longstreet's attack was separate from the initial effort and after
              it had *peter*ed out?

              One of the 'features' of an en echelon attack is it's
              unpredictability. Not knowing where, or if, a breakthrough occurs it's
              necessary to have the reserves and mobility to exploit any gap at any
              spot in the attack. Hence, an en echelon attack succeeds if a greater
              force is brought to bear along the line of attack.

              I certainly agree that Bragg should have moved en echelon himself,
              from right to left as the fight developed...


              HankC
            • Dave Smith
              ... Nice play on words. :-) It s not so much that it was separte, but that it wasn t certainly en echelon. Some had to do with more correctly understanding
              Message 6 of 14 , Dec 3, 2002
                --- In civilwarwest@y..., "hank9174" <clarkc@m...> wrote:
                > --- In civilwarwest@y..., "Dave Smith" <dmsmith001@y...> wrote:
                >
                > So Longstreet's attack was separate from the initial effort and
                > after it had *peter*ed out?

                Nice play on words. :-)

                It's not so much that it was separte, but that it wasn't
                certainly "en echelon." Some had to do with more correctly
                understanding the situation, and some had to do with not enough time
                given by Bragg to order such a rascal.

                Dave
              • hank9174
                ... The disposition of old Peter s troops certainly indicate he was neither contemplating nor prepared for an attack en echelon. His wing was 2 divisions deep,
                Message 7 of 14 , Dec 3, 2002
                  --- In civilwarwest@y..., "Dave Smith" <dmsmith001@y...> wrote:
                  > --- In civilwarwest@y..., "hank9174" <clarkc@m...> wrote:
                  > > --- In civilwarwest@y..., "Dave Smith" <dmsmith001@y...> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > So Longstreet's attack was separate from the initial effort and
                  > > after it had *peter*ed out?
                  >
                  > Nice play on words. :-)
                  >
                  > It's not so much that it was separte, but that it wasn't
                  > certainly "en echelon." Some had to do with more correctly
                  > understanding the situation, and some had to do with not enough time
                  > given by Bragg to order such a rascal.

                  The disposition of old Peter's troops certainly indicate he was
                  neither contemplating nor prepared for an attack en echelon. His wing
                  was 2 divisions deep, maybe 3?

                  So what was he thinking? Pickett's Charge with depth? Did he know the
                  weakness of the blue line on his front prior to initial contact? Why
                  do I have the feeling these answers and more can be found in the group
                  archives?


                  HankC
                • Dave Smith
                  ... snips ... My simple question is, given the fact that Longstreet arrived on the field sometime around midnight, met with Bragg (actually woke him up),
                  Message 8 of 14 , Dec 3, 2002
                    --- In civilwarwest@y..., "hank9174" <clarkc@m...> wrote:
                    snips

                    > The disposition of old Peter's troops certainly indicate he was
                    > neither contemplating nor prepared for an attack en echelon. His
                    > wing was 2 divisions deep, maybe 3?

                    My simple question is, given the fact that Longstreet arrived on the
                    field sometime around midnight, met with Bragg (actually woke him
                    up), learned of the plans, and had, perhaps five or six hours
                    (without sleep) to find, locate, arrange, and organize a complicated
                    attack - what should anyone expect of him?

                    That he took a complicated situation, simplified it, and achieved a
                    breakthrough, seems to speak volumes to me.
                    >
                    > So what was he thinking? Pickett's Charge with depth? Did he know
                    > the weakness of the blue line on his front prior to initial
                    > contact? Why do I have the feeling these answers and more can be
                    > found in the group archives?

                    Doubtless, given the charter of this group, this issue has been
                    argued before, perhaps ad nauseum. If so, I apologize - but I'm not
                    changing my interpretation of a complicated battle.

                    What was Old Pete thinking? Hard to say, other than what he wrote 30
                    years after the war, when under attack from all sides.

                    Did he understand, somehow, that covering 150 yards from the woods to
                    the far side of the Brotherton Cabin was best served as an attack in
                    depth? Makes good sense to me.

                    Dave
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