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Re: Sherman's rail-breaking desires

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  • bjer50010 <bjewell@iastate.edu>
    ... tracks. ... to ... So what? Sherman knew it was Hood s prerogative to attack and so informed his various subordinates. McPherson was ordered to cover a
    Message 1 of 13 , 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:
      > > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose
      > <josepharose@y...>"
      > > <josepharose@y...> wrote:
      > > > Mr. Jewell:
      > > >
      > > > You miss the point entirely.
      > >
      > > No I don't. And don't presume to know what I do and don't
      > understand.
      >
      > I'm not presuming that you do miss the point. It was my point, and
      > you missed it.
      >
      > > > If the commander of an army wants to be "always prepared for
      > battle
      > > > in any shape," then he should not send one of his three corps
      > (not
      > > > one division, as you stated) backwards to rip up railroad
      tracks.
      > >
      > > Being "always prepared for battle in any shape" is not an order
      to
      > > hold all troops in line waiting for an attack. If it was then
      > Sherman
      > > might as well have settled in to besiege Hood because he was not
      > going
      > > to accomplish anything else.
      >
      > Because of Hood's ascension, Sherman was expecting--so he indicated
      > in his memoirs--imminent attack. Hood proved him out at Peachtree
      > Creek. Sherman reiterated--as he again later wrote--his opinion
      > that Hood would attack.
      >

      So what? Sherman knew it was Hood's prerogative to attack and so
      informed his various subordinates. McPherson was ordered to cover a
      specific part of the line. Dodge's corps did not fit into
      McPherson's defensive line ("was forced out of line"). IOW, he
      wasn't accomplishing anything where he was. If you want to assume
      that having him placed in reserve behind the lines was a better idea
      than having his corps rip up the RR fine. Sherman saw it differently
      and ordered an idle corps to assist in a militarily important task.
      I don't see any inconsistency here.

      > If there was an expectation of attack, he should not . . . repeat
      > *not* send off a whole corps to the rear on railbreaking duties.
      >

      And the question again, so what? If Dodge's corps was forced out of
      line obviously the original alignment was faulty. Since he was
      forced out of line Sherman put him to work. A corps of infantry
      could rip up track a lot faster and more efficiently than pioneers,
      so I don't see your argument here. How this contradicts the idea
      that Sherman expected an attack I don't get.

      > > > That such an order was stupid is proved by history, as well as
      > being
      > > > theoretically absurd, one needs only look at what happened. If
      > McP
      > > > followed Sherman's order, a serious reverse could easily have
      > > > occurred. A "battle in any shape" includes being attacked on
      > the
      > > > left flank.
      > > >
      > > And this is exactly why your argument amounts to nothing. Dodge
      > was
      > > ordered to move on the tracks after being forced out of
      > McPherson's
      > > defensive line. That the tactical situation changed before the
      > orders
      > > could be implemented is a testament to how good an officer McP
      > was.
      > > He noticed Hood's movement to his left and correctly surmised
      that
      > he
      > > intended to attack his exposed flank. Once again you fail to
      > credit
      > > the Confederates with any level of intelligence at all. Hood
      > intended
      > > it as a surprise attack, but McP correctly read his intentions.
      > After
      > > doing so he informed Sherman of the change in tactical situation
      > and
      > > Sherman reversed his orders. Where does this show Sherman to be
      a
      > > poor commander?
      >
      > Even if Mac hadn't seen Hood's extended line, Dodge's Corps should
      > have been placed where it could assist in an attack--either in line
      > or in reserve.

      Why? It's not like Sherman ordered them to do nothing, which is what
      putting them in reserve would have meant. Since the farthest away
      they would have been is 4 miles they were still in position to assist
      if Hood attacked.

      >
      > > > Sherman's order conflicted absolutely with Sherman's stated
      > opinions
      > > > of that exact period. Therefore, either 1) Sherman had stupid
      > > > opinions (which was dispproved by what actually happened) or 2)
      > > > Sherman made a militarily stupid order.
      > > >
      > > > The answer is 2).
      > > >
      > > Wrong. Sherman's order to Dodge in no way conflicted with his
      > stated
      > > opinions unless you are trying to make the argument that every
      > single
      > > soldier had to be in line to defend against the attack expected.
      > This
      > > is absurd reasoning.
      >
      > Absurd reasoning? I am stating that you don't send a corps to the
      > rear when an attack is expected and you try to take the argument to
      > the opposite extreme: "every single soldier." Who ever stated such
      > a thing?

      That is what you are implying. You indicate that McP should have had
      every troop in line to resist a possible attack, even when his
      original alignment was inconsistent with placing all of the troops in
      line. Even without Dodge McP had sufficient troops to man his line,
      otherwise Dodge would not have been forced out of line.

      >Making sure that a corps is ready if an attack is launched
      > is *not* the same as supposing that "every single soldier had to be
      > in line."
      >

      So you think having an entire corps accomplishing nothing is
      alright? Sherman's plan was to rip up the RR north and east of
      Atlanta and then shift McP to his right flank to be able to operate
      on the lines moving south and west. Using Dodge's corps would have
      made that job go much faster. And Dodge wasn't being ordered 20
      miles away, it was less than 4 miles. That's a pretty easy march for
      campaign hardened troops.

      > > Dodge had already been forced out of the
      > > defensive line, prior to Sherman's order. Had Sherman pulled him
      > out
      > > of line you would have a stronger case, but as it is neither of
      > your
      > > options is a correct interpretation.
      >
      > So here you admit that Sherman should not have weakened his line
      > when expecting attack, but you take an opposite tack asserting that
      > he should not have strengthened it either. History proved that the
      > line needed strengthening and history proved that Sherman was wrong
      > to send Dodge backwards.
      >

      No I am not admitting anything. Sherman did NOT weaken his line.
      Dodge was forced out of the line because of McP's original
      alignment. How is that Sherman's fault? Sherman decided to use
      those troops rather than place them in reserve, where they would have
      accomplished nothing. The fact that at the time Hood was planning a
      surprise attack by extending his line past McP's left does not alter
      the fact that Dodge was not doing anything. McP properly read Hood's
      intentions and placed Dodge appropriately. But look at the map in
      Castel's and you quickly realize why Dodge was forced out of the
      original alignment.

      > Joseph

      JB Jewell
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