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

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  • Dave Smith
    I tried this once before, and it seems to have gone into never never land. An echelon attack is evidently the current attack favored by the Michigan Wolverines
    Message 1 of 23 , Dec 3, 2002
      I tried this once before, and it seems to have gone into never never
      land.

      An echelon attack is evidently the current attack favored by the
      Michigan Wolverines of late against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Like
      the attacks of Braxton Bragg, they don't seem to work well ...

      It might be easiest to explain the battle of Chickamauga, Bragg's
      classic en echelon attack.

      Both armies were aligned, north to south along the Lafayette Road (in
      general terms). Bragg's plan was to force Rosecrans army to the
      south, away from its base at Chattanooga, and into open ground where
      he could finish the opponent off.

      The trick, for Bragg, was to put enough firepower on the northern
      flank to disrupt Thomas. The northernmost Confederate division, that
      of Breckinridge, would slam into the northernmost Federal unit, and
      force them into disarray and push them towards the south, and into
      the next Federal units. Then the next Rebel division, to the south,
      would attack, with similar results. As that countering Federal unit
      retreated, they bounced into the next unit southward, who then were
      slammed by the next Confederate unit. As the retreat continued, and
      the Confederates attacked in sequence, the rout becomes greater and
      greater.

      The problem occurs is the initial attack fails, as did with
      Breckinridge. As the next Confederate unit goes in, they face fire
      from the front, as well as that unit to the north (which was supposed
      to be gone). They fall back, and to their south, the next
      Confederates go in.

      The whole thing reverts into a series of poorly timed, piecemeal
      attacks.

      Longstreet, of course, didn't have time for such foolishness, and
      massed his 10,000 plus wing, and battered a hole in the Federal front.

      Bragg tried a similar strategy at Perryville and at Stones River,
      with similar results.

      If you're Bragg, and you've seen this fail twice because you couldn't
      get on the flank, and units failed to attack when planned, *and* the
      whole attack hinges on the initial attack, where should your butt be
      at daylight on the 20th of September? With John C. Breckinridge?

      You betcha. Where wasn't Bragg? At the critical point.

      Dave

      --- In civilwarwest@y..., Jfepperson@a... wrote:
      > In a message dated 12/2/2002 7:36:53 PM Eastern Standard Time,
      > shotgun@c... writes:
      >
      > > Dave, you or someone else, might want to explain to some of our
      newer
      > > members what an "en echelon" attack really is.
      >
      > Oh, God, Shotgun, you don't know what you have asked for!
      >
      > (Just kidding; Dave is a great friend of mine.)
      >
      > JFE
      >
      > James F. Epperson
      > http://members.aol.com/jfepperson/causes.html
      > http://members.aol.com/siege1864
    • Dave Smith
      At the risk of rampant me-tooism, I agree with Sam and Kent. Dave ... asssault ... there or ... withstand ... and they had ... helps ... up. If ... the
      Message 2 of 23 , Dec 3, 2002
        At the risk of rampant "me-tooism," I agree with Sam and Kent.

        Dave

        --- In civilwarwest@y..., SDE80@a... wrote:
        > In a message dated 12/3/2002 9:50:02 AM Eastern Standard Time,
        > DORR64OVI@a... writes:
        >
        > > I have always felt that given the disposition of Longstreets
        asssault
        > > columns, Woods gap would've made little difference whether it was
        there or
        > > not. The right wing of Rosecrans force wasn't strong enough to
        withstand
        > > what Old Pete had coming at them. They werent well intrenched
        and they had
        > > little reserves. By pulling Wood out of line, Rosecrans actually
        helps
        > > save Thomas later because thats where some of Woods division ends
        up. If
        > > Tom Wood hadnt moved, he would've been crushed like the rest of
        the right
        > > wing.
        > >
        >
        > I'd largely agree with this, although the front echelon of
        Longstreet's
        > column would have necessarily incurred a higher casualty rate.
        >
        > Sam Elliott
      • Jfepperson@aol.com
        ... [details snipped] One aspect of an echelon attack is that it is supposed to create an opening by enticing the defender to shift troops to deal with the
        Message 3 of 23 , Dec 3, 2002
          In a message dated 12/3/2002 11:34:58 AM Eastern Standard Time, dmsmith001@... writes:

          > It might be easiest to explain the battle of Chickamauga,
          > Bragg's classic en echelon attack.

          [details snipped]

          One aspect of an echelon attack is that it is supposed to "create"
          an opening by enticing the defender to shift troops to deal with
          the earlier attacks. This won't work when the defender has a
          lot of reserves available (this is what happened at Gettysburg),
          or when the initial attacks are beaten off w/o the need for
          calling on other troops. This is essentially what happened at
          Chickamauga, although it must be said that the attacks on
          Thomas caused that officer to continually demand reinforcements,
          which did contribute to the faux pas which made Longstreet's
          attack so successful. However, I do agree that Bragg never
          understood that this is what had happened, and I do concede
          (partially) that moving Wood was not necessary to Longstreet's
          success.

          JFE
        • LWhite64@aol.com
          Well just to bring it up, but there is also a school of thought that believe that the stacking up of Brigades in Longstreet s Wing was an accident more than
          Message 4 of 23 , Dec 3, 2002
            Well just to bring it up, but there is also a school of thought that believe that the stacking up of Brigades in Longstreet's Wing was an accident more than his planning.  The way the belief goes is that Longstreet was trying to place his ANV men in the front lines and was was trying to get them shifted around when the attack was started.  Part of the evidence for this is that Stewart's Divison did'nt have any back up nor did Hindman or Preston.  Also in this is that elements of Kershaw's Divison had been there just a short time, less than 30 Mins, when the attack was opened and elements were still arriveing as it went forward.  Just some fuel for the ole fire.

            Lee
          • SDE80@aol.com
            In a message dated 12/3/02 7:45:32 PM Eastern Standard Time, LWhite64@aol.com ... Lee, who thinks that, and is the evidence of the circumstantial nature you
            Message 5 of 23 , Dec 3, 2002
              In a message dated 12/3/02 7:45:32 PM Eastern Standard Time, LWhite64@... writes:


              Well just to bring it up, but there is also a school of thought that believe that the stacking up of Brigades in Longstreet's Wing was an accident more than his planning.  The way the belief goes is that Longstreet was trying to place his ANV men in the front lines and was was trying to get them shifted around when the attack was started.  Part of the evidence for this is that Stewart's Divison did'nt have any back up nor did Hindman or Preston.  Also in this is that elements of Kershaw's Divison had been there just a short time, less than 30 Mins, when the attack was opened and elements were still arriveing as it went forward.  Just some fuel for the ole fire.



              Lee, who thinks that, and is the evidence of the circumstantial nature you mention, or is there some documentary back up?

              Sam Elliott
            • LWhite64@aol.com
              Sam, Its an idea that I have heard from several military staff groups that have come through the park before and I believe that Dr. Glenn Roberston has some
              Message 6 of 23 , Dec 3, 2002
                Sam,
                        Its an idea that I have heard from several military staff groups that have come through the park before and I believe that Dr. Glenn Roberston has some version of it as well, Robertson is working on a treatment of the battle and is very guarded on his sources at this time, he also has evidence that helps exonerate T. Wood from the tale of his temper getting in the way of his judgement. 

                Lee
              • Dave Smith
                Heck, Lee, given that he d been in the area of his command for what? several hours? how much planning could he have done? That he was able to organize an
                Message 7 of 23 , Dec 4, 2002
                  Heck, Lee, given that he'd been in the area of his command for what?
                  several hours? how much "planning" could he have done?

                  That he was able to organize an attack and be ready, even by 9:00 or
                  so, says volumes.

                  I'm always amazed in reading accounts of Chickamauga how little
                  involvement Bragg's staff had with that wing of the army. You'd have
                  thought, that with a new commander, just arrived on the field, and
                  totally unfamiliar with the ground from the previous day's battle,
                  that he'd have had all sorts of "help" there.

                  Dave

                  --- In civilwarwest@y..., LWhite64@a... wrote:
                  > Well just to bring it up, but there is also a school of thought
                  that believe
                  > that the stacking up of Brigades in Longstreet's Wing was an
                  accident more
                  > than his planning. The way the belief goes is that Longstreet was
                  trying to
                  > place his ANV men in the front lines and was was trying to get them
                  shifted
                  > around when the attack was started. Part of the evidence for this
                  is that
                  > Stewart's Divison did'nt have any back up nor did Hindman or
                  Preston. Also
                  > in this is that elements of Kershaw's Divison had been there just a
                  short
                  > time, less than 30 Mins, when the attack was opened and elements
                  were still
                  > arriveing as it went forward. Just some fuel for the ole fire.
                  >
                  > Lee
                • carlw4514
                  Do we really have to do higher math to figure this one out? It screams of professional jealousy, Bragg being concerned that Longstreet was going to come in and
                  Message 8 of 23 , Dec 4, 2002
                    Do we really have to do higher math to figure this one out? It screams
                    of professional jealousy, Bragg being concerned that Longstreet was
                    going to come in and steal the glory. Which, ironically, with no help
                    from Bragg, is exactly what he does. Bragg's behavior here, and after
                    the breakthrough, is exactly what it would be if you were writing a
                    script for a guy acting jealous at success and determined to ignore it
                    and grabb some of the glory for himself, the war effort be damned.
                    -My question is, was Longstreet that good, or was it the AoNV that was
                    "that good"?

                    --- In civilwarwest@y..., "Dave Smith" <dmsmith001@y...> wrote:
                    [...]
                    > I'm always amazed in reading accounts of Chickamauga how little
                    > involvement Bragg's staff had with that wing of the army. You'd have
                    > thought, that with a new commander, just arrived on the field, and
                    > totally unfamiliar with the ground from the previous day's battle,
                    > that he'd have had all sorts of "help" there.
                    >
                    > Dave
                    >
                  • Dave Smith
                    Carl, At least insofar as the setup of the second day of Chickamauga goes, I don t think there were elements of professional jealousy present, vis-a-vis Bragg
                    Message 9 of 23 , Dec 4, 2002
                      Carl,

                      At least insofar as the setup of the second day of Chickamauga goes,
                      I don't think there were elements of professional jealousy present,
                      vis-a-vis Bragg and Longstreet. They simply would not have known
                      each other well enough to have any such feelings.

                      In terms of Bragg, I simply think that we're dealing with someone who
                      had a fundamental problem with attention to detail. How else can one
                      even fathom how - in spite of the fact that there was a battle the
                      day before - no one was sent by Bragg to Catoosa Station to shepherd
                      Bragg back to the front?

                      How could Bragg assign half of the army to a general not even on the
                      field, supposed to lead a daylight attack?

                      I wonder, at times, which was the more prevalent flaw of Bragg's in
                      terms of his military capability - inattention to details, or
                      inability to adapt to changing conditions? Perhaps each ought to be
                      weighed equally, all things considered.

                      If I were Bragg, I think I'd have had at least one trusted staff
                      officer on each end of the battlefield; on the northern end, to
                      ensure that the attack came off as planned, and on Longstreet's end,
                      to provide assistance and help with the new guy. To the best of my
                      knowledge, neither was done.

                      Dave

                      --- In civilwarwest@y..., "carlw4514" <carlw4514@y...> wrote:
                      > Do we really have to do higher math to figure this one out? It
                      screams
                      > of professional jealousy, Bragg being concerned that Longstreet was
                      > going to come in and steal the glory. Which, ironically, with no
                      help
                      > from Bragg, is exactly what he does. Bragg's behavior here, and
                      after
                      > the breakthrough, is exactly what it would be if you were writing a
                      > script for a guy acting jealous at success and determined to ignore
                      it
                      > and grabb some of the glory for himself, the war effort be damned.
                      > -My question is, was Longstreet that good, or was it the AoNV that
                      was
                      > "that good"?
                      >
                      > --- In civilwarwest@y..., "Dave Smith" <dmsmith001@y...> wrote:
                      > [...]
                      > > I'm always amazed in reading accounts of Chickamauga how little
                      > > involvement Bragg's staff had with that wing of the army. You'd
                      have
                      > > thought, that with a new commander, just arrived on the field,
                      and
                      > > totally unfamiliar with the ground from the previous day's
                      battle,
                      > > that he'd have had all sorts of "help" there.
                      > >
                      > > Dave
                      > >
                    • SDE80@aol.com
                      In a message dated 12/3/02 9:57:34 PM Eastern Standard Time, LWhite64@aol.com ... Lee, where does Jim Ogden weigh in on this theory? Sam
                      Message 10 of 23 , Dec 4, 2002
                        In a message dated 12/3/02 9:57:34 PM Eastern Standard Time, LWhite64@... writes:


                        Its an idea that I have heard from several military staff groups that have come through the park before and I believe that Dr. Glenn Roberston has some version of it as well, Robertson is working on a treatment of the battle and is very guarded on his sources at this time, he also has evidence that helps exonerate T. Wood from the tale of his temper getting in the way of his judgement


                        Lee, where does Jim Ogden weigh in on this theory?

                        Sam
                      • carlw4514
                        Inasmuch as I really get the feeling that jealousy was possibly at least a sub-theme, I ll have to accept that everyone has shot that idea down. -What about
                        Message 11 of 23 , Dec 4, 2002
                          Inasmuch as I really get the feeling that jealousy was possibly at
                          least a sub-theme, I'll have to accept that everyone has shot that
                          idea down.
                          -What about the fact these troops were AoNV? Is it possibly the case
                          that a similar sized AoT contingent just wasnt going to pull this off,
                          had they been the ones lined up to do so, an equal of Longstreet
                          commanding?
                          [setting aside the issue of whether such a general existed]
                          Carl
                          --- In civilwarwest@y..., "Dave Smith" <dmsmith001@y...> wrote:
                          > Carl,
                          >
                          > At least insofar as the setup of the second day of Chickamauga goes,
                          > I don't think there were elements of professional jealousy present,
                          > vis-a-vis Bragg and Longstreet. They simply would not have known
                          > each other well enough to have any such feelings.
                          >
                          [...]
                        • aot1952
                          Gentlemen I got to thank you all- I had started to get discouraged that people were just not very interested in ever again discussing civil war military
                          Message 12 of 23 , Dec 4, 2002
                            Gentlemen I got to thank you all-
                            I had started to get discouraged that people were just not very
                            interested in ever again discussing civil war 'military' history on
                            the internet! Wow I have certainly missed out on a wonderfully
                            interesting discussion but I have thoughly enjoyed reviewing these
                            thought provoking postings.
                            After I give it some thought I might weigh in with some of my 'crack
                            pot' ideas about the Battle of Chickamauga, beyond the established
                            fact that the Palace Donut shoppe is far superior to Krespy Kreme
                            donuts!
                            Thanks again folks and please keep them coming sorry I have been awol-
                            - and please no more of this Army of Northern Virginia superiority
                            crap ok? LOL
                            Wakefield

                            --- In civilwarwest@y..., "carlw4514" <carlw4514@y...> wrote:
                            > Inasmuch as I really get the feeling that jealousy was possibly at
                            > least a sub-theme, I'll have to accept that everyone has shot that
                            > idea down.
                            > -What about the fact these troops were AoNV? Is it possibly the case
                            > that a similar sized AoT contingent just wasnt going to pull this
                            off,
                            > had they been the ones lined up to do so, an equal of Longstreet
                            > commanding?
                            > [setting aside the issue of whether such a general existed]
                            > Carl
                            > --- In civilwarwest@y..., "Dave Smith" <dmsmith001@y...> wrote:
                            > > Carl,
                            > >
                            > > At least insofar as the setup of the second day of Chickamauga
                            goes,
                            > > I don't think there were elements of professional jealousy
                            present,
                            > > vis-a-vis Bragg and Longstreet. They simply would not have known
                            > > each other well enough to have any such feelings.
                            > >
                            > [...]
                          • aot1952
                            Mr. Smith wrote- If I were Bragg, I think I d have had at least one trusted staff officer on each end of the battlefield; on the northern end, to ensure that
                            Message 13 of 23 , Dec 4, 2002
                              Mr. Smith wrote-
                              "If I were Bragg, I think I'd have had at least one trusted staff
                              officer on each end of the battlefield; on the northern end, to
                              ensure that the attack came off as planned, and on Longstreet's end,
                              to provide assistance and help with the new guy. To the best of my
                              knowledge, neither was done."
                              Sadly by this time Bragg did not even have any staff officers that
                              Bragg trusted or that trusted Bragg.
                              Wakefield
                            • LWhite64@aol.com
                              Sam, Just had a discussion with Ogden about the formation of Longstreet s Corps and he is of the opinion that it was accidental. Also to add to this is that
                              Message 14 of 23 , Dec 5, 2002
                                Sam,
                                Just had a discussion with Ogden about the formation of Longstreet's Corps and he is of the opinion that it was accidental. Also to add to this is that there isnt any edvidence that McLaw's Divison(Kershaw and Humphrey) was even in line behind Hood.

                                Lee
                              • Dave Smith
                                ... end, ... Cue Slim Pickens, slapping his ten-gallon hat on his thigh: Well, don t that beat all ... Subordinates he didn t trust, and staffers he didn t
                                Message 15 of 23 , Dec 5, 2002
                                  --- In civilwarwest@y..., "aot1952" <aot1952@y...> wrote:
                                  > Mr. Smith wrote-
                                  > "If I were Bragg, I think I'd have had at least one trusted staff
                                  > officer on each end of the battlefield; on the northern end, to
                                  > ensure that the attack came off as planned, and on Longstreet's
                                  end,
                                  > to provide assistance and help with the new guy. To the best of my
                                  > knowledge, neither was done."
                                  > Sadly by this time Bragg did not even have any staff officers that
                                  > Bragg trusted or that trusted Bragg.
                                  > Wakefield

                                  Cue Slim Pickens, slapping his ten-gallon hat on his thigh: "Well,
                                  don't that beat all ..."

                                  Subordinates he didn't trust, and staffers he didn't trust. It's a
                                  wonder Bragg got anything done ... :-)

                                  Dave
                                • Dave Smith
                                  Lee, Accidental in what way? That given the time constraints, and what he found upon reaching his wing, that s what he ended up with? Or accidental insofar as
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Dec 5, 2002
                                    Lee,

                                    Accidental in what way? That given the time constraints, and what he
                                    found upon reaching his wing, that's what he ended up with?

                                    Or accidental insofar as he started with this formation, but didn't
                                    have time, or didn't take time (depending on how you interpret
                                    events) to get his units deployed to carry out the en echelon attack?

                                    In order to conform to Bragg's orders, divisions needed to be strung
                                    out from north to south - by definition of the en echelon attack.

                                    Dave

                                    --- In civilwarwest@y..., LWhite64@a... wrote:
                                    > Sam,
                                    > Just had a discussion with Ogden about the formation of
                                    Longstreet's Corps and he is of the opinion that it was accidental.
                                    Also to add to this is that there isnt any edvidence that McLaw's
                                    Divison(Kershaw and Humphrey) was even in line behind Hood.
                                    >
                                    > Lee
                                  • LWhite64@aol.com
                                    Accidental in that Longstreet did not plan and form the column, this isnt to be critical of Longstreet on this point, but its also not correct to give him
                                    Message 17 of 23 , Dec 5, 2002
                                      Accidental in that Longstreet did not plan and form the column, this isnt to be critical of Longstreet on this point, but its also not correct to give him credit for it either.

                                      Lee
                                    • hank9174
                                      ... isnt to be critical of Longstreet on this point, but its also not correct to give him credit for it either. Longstreet did a good job to shift Stewart to
                                      Message 18 of 23 , Dec 5, 2002
                                        --- In civilwarwest@y..., LWhite64@a... wrote:
                                        > Accidental in that Longstreet did not plan and form the column, this
                                        isnt to be critical of Longstreet on this point, but its also not
                                        correct to give him credit for it either.

                                        Longstreet did a good job to shift Stewart to the right to firm the
                                        connection to the right wing, move Hood up from the 2nd line into that
                                        position in the front and draw Preston back from the extreme left to
                                        reserve position behind Hindman.

                                        Thus the line was firmly attached to Polk on the right, had an
                                        excellent division of shock troops in a key position and a strong left
                                        flank.


                                        HankC
                                      • LWhite64@aol.com
                                        In a message dated 12/5/02 5:56:37 PM Eastern Standard Time, ... But the key thing is, is that these positions were largely there when Pete arrived, I would
                                        Message 19 of 23 , Dec 5, 2002
                                          In a message dated 12/5/02 5:56:37 PM Eastern Standard Time, clarkc@... writes:

                                          Longstreet did a good job to shift Stewart to the right to firm the
                                          connection to the right wing, move Hood up from the 2nd line into that
                                          position in the front and draw Preston back from the extreme left to
                                          reserve position behind Hindman.

                                          Thus the line was firmly attached to Polk on the right, had an
                                          excellent division of shock troops in a key position and a strong left
                                          flank.



                                          But the key thing is, is that these positions were largely there when Pete arrived, I would venture that Hood and Buckner had more to do with it than Longstreet, once again no fault to him as he arrived during the night and had no idea of his troops dispositions, etc.  What you see on the CS left, is basically Divisons with a two brigade front and one being held back, this was also true on the 19th on the left and with Cheatham in the center.  Jim Ogden, the Chickamauga-Chattanooga NMP Historian, also brought up the fact that if the Confederates had tried to present a solid front their lines would have extended down to Lee and Gordon's Mill, the formation had to deal with the confines of the land north and west of the Chickamauga.

                                          Lee
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