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Re: Snake Creek Gap

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  • bjer50010 <bjewell@iastate.edu>
    ... Those orders almost define a raid. His orders to McP indicated that the latter s mission was to break up JEJ s line at Resaca and then to fall back
    Message 1 of 224 , Dec 31, 2002
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      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose <josepharose@y...>"
      <josepharose@y...> wrote:
      > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "bjer50010 <bjewell@i...>"
      > <bjewell@i...> wrote:
      >
      > Mr. Jewell:
      >
      > > Sherman sent at least two messages to Halleck in which he
      > described
      > > the incursion in terms which sound very much like a raid, not a
      > full
      > > scale incursion. His description of the movement in stronger
      > terms
      > > began with his after action report, which was written after
      > McPherson
      > > was KIA. This is further supported by his description in his
      > > memoirs. It was planned as a raid, to break up the RR and then
      > > retire to the gap to strike JEJ's retreating army in the flank.
      >
      > That Sherman wanted something more than just a raid is shown by the
      > following dispatches which speak of "operat[ing] vigorously against
      > the enemy's flank," "be[ing] ready to work on Johnston's flank,"
      > and "interpos[ing] between [JEJ] and Georgia."
      >
      > "Raids don't usually take on an enemy army like that.
      >

      Those orders almost define a raid. His orders to McP indicated that
      the latter's mission was to break up JEJ's line at Resaca and then to
      fall back towards SCG to await JEJ's retreat, in response to the
      broken RR and the assaults against the ridge. Once JEJ started to
      retreat, McP was to operate on his flank.

      > May 5, 1864.
      > "[McP] will operate vigorously against the enemy's flank or line of
      > communication between Tilton Station and Resaca."
      >

      Sounds closer to a raid than a full-scale incursion.

      > May 9, 1864-8 p. m.
      > "After breaking the road good his orders are to retire to the mouth
      > of Snake Creek Gap, and be ready to work on Johnston's flank in
      case
      > he retreats south."
      >

      Exactly. IOW, McP was ordered to make a raid on the RR, then retire
      to SCG and be ready to work on the enemy's flank.

      > May 10, 1864-7 a. m.
      > "I am attacking him on his strongest fronts, viz, west and north,
      > till McPherson breaks his line at Resaca, when I will swing round
      > through Snake Creek Gap, and interpose between him and Georgia."
      >

      There is nothing here which indicates McP was to interpose. Sherman
      wrote "when I will swing round through SCG and interpose". McP was
      ordered only to break "his line at Resaca," prior to Sherman's move
      through the gap.

      > > Who mentioned anything at all about military jealousy, except
      > you? I
      > > said, in response to Wakefield's question, that it was possible
      > that
      > > Sherman decided not to use AotT troops to support McPherson
      > because
      > > any of the troops which would have been used were lead by men who
      > > ranked McPherson, which could have lead to command structure
      > > problems, for what was essentially a raid. In this he probably
      > > showed good judgement, though I think it resulted in a less
      > > aggressive movement on JEJ's rear. But consider this, although
      it
      > > was known that SCG was not defended it was not known how many
      > > defenders JEJ had in the Valley nor how many men were at Resaca.
      > To
      > > send an army through the gap, against an unknown number of
      > defenders,
      > > over ground not well known and with a potentially fractious
      > command
      > > structure would have been military stupidity.
      >
      > Are you stating that Sherman's not wanting the AotC commanders to
      > outrank Mac was based solely on a military basis and that it had
      > *nothing* to do with army identity?
      >

      Where do you get the idea that it had anything to do with army
      identity? Wakefield asked, quite legitimately IMHO, whether Sherman
      considered the fact that all of the corps commanders in the AotC
      outranked McP, when making his troops dispositions. My answer is yes
      I believe he may have. The reasoning is that since McP was given a
      limited mission, to break the line at Resaca and fall back to be
      ready to attack JEJ's flank if he retreated. Sherman probably
      thought that McP had sufficient men to carry out that mission without
      reinforcement. Had Hooker been assigned to reinforce McP, there
      would have been command problems. It had nothing to do with which
      army Hooker served in. But the last thing they needed, operating in
      enemy territory, against an undetermined force, with no cavalry
      support, over rugged terrain with poor roads, was a fractious command
      structure. That is what I am saying.

      > Joseph

      JB Jewell
    • bjer50010 <bjewell@iastate.edu>
      ... Those orders almost define a raid. His orders to McP indicated that the latter s mission was to break up JEJ s line at Resaca and then to fall back
      Message 224 of 224 , Dec 31, 2002
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        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose <josepharose@y...>"
        <josepharose@y...> wrote:
        > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "bjer50010 <bjewell@i...>"
        > <bjewell@i...> wrote:
        >
        > Mr. Jewell:
        >
        > > Sherman sent at least two messages to Halleck in which he
        > described
        > > the incursion in terms which sound very much like a raid, not a
        > full
        > > scale incursion. His description of the movement in stronger
        > terms
        > > began with his after action report, which was written after
        > McPherson
        > > was KIA. This is further supported by his description in his
        > > memoirs. It was planned as a raid, to break up the RR and then
        > > retire to the gap to strike JEJ's retreating army in the flank.
        >
        > That Sherman wanted something more than just a raid is shown by the
        > following dispatches which speak of "operat[ing] vigorously against
        > the enemy's flank," "be[ing] ready to work on Johnston's flank,"
        > and "interpos[ing] between [JEJ] and Georgia."
        >
        > "Raids don't usually take on an enemy army like that.
        >

        Those orders almost define a raid. His orders to McP indicated that
        the latter's mission was to break up JEJ's line at Resaca and then to
        fall back towards SCG to await JEJ's retreat, in response to the
        broken RR and the assaults against the ridge. Once JEJ started to
        retreat, McP was to operate on his flank.

        > May 5, 1864.
        > "[McP] will operate vigorously against the enemy's flank or line of
        > communication between Tilton Station and Resaca."
        >

        Sounds closer to a raid than a full-scale incursion.

        > May 9, 1864-8 p. m.
        > "After breaking the road good his orders are to retire to the mouth
        > of Snake Creek Gap, and be ready to work on Johnston's flank in
        case
        > he retreats south."
        >

        Exactly. IOW, McP was ordered to make a raid on the RR, then retire
        to SCG and be ready to work on the enemy's flank.

        > May 10, 1864-7 a. m.
        > "I am attacking him on his strongest fronts, viz, west and north,
        > till McPherson breaks his line at Resaca, when I will swing round
        > through Snake Creek Gap, and interpose between him and Georgia."
        >

        There is nothing here which indicates McP was to interpose. Sherman
        wrote "when I will swing round through SCG and interpose". McP was
        ordered only to break "his line at Resaca," prior to Sherman's move
        through the gap.

        > > Who mentioned anything at all about military jealousy, except
        > you? I
        > > said, in response to Wakefield's question, that it was possible
        > that
        > > Sherman decided not to use AotT troops to support McPherson
        > because
        > > any of the troops which would have been used were lead by men who
        > > ranked McPherson, which could have lead to command structure
        > > problems, for what was essentially a raid. In this he probably
        > > showed good judgement, though I think it resulted in a less
        > > aggressive movement on JEJ's rear. But consider this, although
        it
        > > was known that SCG was not defended it was not known how many
        > > defenders JEJ had in the Valley nor how many men were at Resaca.
        > To
        > > send an army through the gap, against an unknown number of
        > defenders,
        > > over ground not well known and with a potentially fractious
        > command
        > > structure would have been military stupidity.
        >
        > Are you stating that Sherman's not wanting the AotC commanders to
        > outrank Mac was based solely on a military basis and that it had
        > *nothing* to do with army identity?
        >

        Where do you get the idea that it had anything to do with army
        identity? Wakefield asked, quite legitimately IMHO, whether Sherman
        considered the fact that all of the corps commanders in the AotC
        outranked McP, when making his troops dispositions. My answer is yes
        I believe he may have. The reasoning is that since McP was given a
        limited mission, to break the line at Resaca and fall back to be
        ready to attack JEJ's flank if he retreated. Sherman probably
        thought that McP had sufficient men to carry out that mission without
        reinforcement. Had Hooker been assigned to reinforce McP, there
        would have been command problems. It had nothing to do with which
        army Hooker served in. But the last thing they needed, operating in
        enemy territory, against an undetermined force, with no cavalry
        support, over rugged terrain with poor roads, was a fractious command
        structure. That is what I am saying.

        > Joseph

        JB Jewell
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