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Re: Confederate Command Structure

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  • Will <wh_keene@yahoo.com>
    ... difficulties ... forces ... I was trying to look at this beyond personalities and consider just the structural arrangement. Maybe that is an impposible
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 24 11:44 AM
      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Dave Smith <dmsmith001@y...>"
      <dmsmith001@y...> wrote:
      > Will,
      >
      > Given Davis's bent towards a departmental command structure, the
      > Mississippi River seems to be a natural division for various splits
      > in organization. Given the non-existence of bridges and
      difficulties
      > in transporting men across the river, i think it makes some sense.
      >
      > That said, I think the natural inclination is to suggest that
      > someone - JEJ, for example - should have had control over all
      forces
      > west of the Alleghenies. That way, he (or whomever was in command)
      > could make decisions regarding deployment of forces in the West.
      > [Snip]

      I was trying to look at this beyond personalities and consider just
      the structural arrangement. Maybe that is an impposible idea, since
      personalities played such a dominant role in decision making. For
      example, I think you have good points about JEJ and how if he had
      been given authority over trans-Mississippi there is no reason to
      suggest things would have gone differently.

      Still, trying to look at the geography of the west, I feel that the
      Mississippi-Alabama state line is a much more natural line of
      division. I see why there are difficulties with command along the
      River--ie lack of bridges, yet these difficulties ought to have been
      faced rather than dodged.

      It is not that I am suggesting that someone like JEJ be given command
      of everything west of the mountains. He argued that his command was
      too vast and maybe he was right. I think there should have been two
      main western departments:
      1. Alabama, Georgia and middle and east Tennessee.
      2. the Mississippi River valley.

      Nor do I think the answer is that Holmes or Smith needed to send
      their troops across the river to Pemberton. The problem was one of
      coordination: during the spring of 1863, Pemberton was writing Smith
      asking him to provide assistance against Banks and Grant at the same
      time that Smith was writing Pemberton asking him to provide
      assistance against Banks and Grant. The attitude was essentially --
      I can't help you becuase I need you to help me. As a result, there
      was no cooperation at all.

      ~Will
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