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Re: [civilwarwest] REMINDER - Best and Worst in the West - You Make the Call!

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  • equus equus
    ... What surprises me is that Wheeler did what he found best, instead of following the orders of the commanding general. If JEJ needed Wheeler to be his eyes,
    Message 1 of 72 , Jan 27, 2003
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      >From: GnrlJEJohnston@...
      >Reply-To: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
      >To: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: Re: [civilwarwest] REMINDER - Best and Worst in the West - You Make the Call!
      >Date: Sun, 26 Jan 2003 23:24:34 EST
      >
      >In a message dated 1/26/2003 4:59:19 AM Eastern Standard Time,
      >equusequus@... writes:
      >
      > > I look forward anxiously to some facts and opinions to the contrary which I
      > > can possibly understand. Again, thanks.
      >
      >What worries me about Wheeler is that JEJ needed him to be his eyes, whereas
      >Wheeler prefered to go on a raid here or a raid there. As a result, JEJ was
      >put at a disadvantage during the Atlanta campaign.
      >

      >JEJ

       

      What surprises me is that Wheeler did what he found best, instead of following the orders of the commanding general. If JEJ needed Wheeler to be his eyes, he should have ordered him to be.  Did JEJ do so? I've just been re-reading his report for the whole Atlanta campaign and it never even suggests that he missed his cavalry at any time for scouting or for any other duty. All that JEJ says about Wheeler is (and I go on answering your question as best as I can, General):
         
      "Major-General Wheeler, with 2,200 of ours, attacked and defeated more than double that number of Federal cavalry near Varnell's Station."

      About if Wheeler' place must have been in that ocassion near Varnell's Station, or rather watching Sherman's moves, JEJ says nothing.

      "I yielded, and the army crossed the Etowah on the 20th, a step which I have regretted ever since._ Wheeler's cavalry was placed in observation_ above and Jackson's below the railroad. On the 22d _Major-General Wheeler was sent with all his troops not required for observation_ to the enemy's rear, and, on the 24th, beat a brigade at Cassville and took or burned 250 loaded wagons."

      "On the 20th of June Wheeler, with 1,100 men, routed Garrard's division of Federal cavalry on our right. On the 21st Hood's corps was transferred from right to left, Wheeler's cavalry taking charge of the position which it left."

      "The cavalry crossed the Chattahoochee, _Wheeler observing it for some twenty miles_ above, and Jackson as far below."

      And last, I believe:

      "For want of reports I am unable to give the loss or the services of the cavalry, which was less under my eye than the rest of the army."

      Now, I understand that cavalry raids were much "en vogue" then, and I guess that those fellows on horseback would naturally prefer to take a trip in the enemy´s rear in order to get in the papers and to take some souvenirs home, as compared to the more obscure and much less profitable task of peering thru the bushes at a marching bunch of ugly guys. However, I'm bent to think that, for all the raid thing and the subsequent lack of intelligence as to the movements of the enemy during the Atlanta campaign, no one but JEJ should be deemed responsible, and I think it on two reasons:

      1) The raid tactics were consistent with his Fabian planning. If he wanted a weakened enemy in his front, he must have them busy in their rear and cut his supply lines if possible. As he himself states: "I had also hoped that by the breaking of the railroad in its rear the Federal army might be compelled to attack us in a position of our own choosing, or to a retreat easily converted into a rout." I don't know to what extent could Wheeler be blamed for not breaking the railroad... Could he?

      2) He was the commanding general and could order the cavalry where he wished. In case he let them go raiding and don't held them at hand for his own purposes, who's to blame?  



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    • equus equus
      ... What surprises me is that Wheeler did what he found best, instead of following the orders of the commanding general. If JEJ needed Wheeler to be his eyes,
      Message 72 of 72 , Jan 27, 2003
      • 0 Attachment



        >From: GnrlJEJohnston@...
        >Reply-To: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
        >To: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
        >Subject: Re: [civilwarwest] REMINDER - Best and Worst in the West - You Make the Call!
        >Date: Sun, 26 Jan 2003 23:24:34 EST
        >
        >In a message dated 1/26/2003 4:59:19 AM Eastern Standard Time,
        >equusequus@... writes:
        >
        > > I look forward anxiously to some facts and opinions to the contrary which I
        > > can possibly understand. Again, thanks.
        >
        >What worries me about Wheeler is that JEJ needed him to be his eyes, whereas
        >Wheeler prefered to go on a raid here or a raid there. As a result, JEJ was
        >put at a disadvantage during the Atlanta campaign.
        >

        >JEJ

         

        What surprises me is that Wheeler did what he found best, instead of following the orders of the commanding general. If JEJ needed Wheeler to be his eyes, he should have ordered him to be.  Did JEJ do so? I've just been re-reading his report for the whole Atlanta campaign and it never even suggests that he missed his cavalry at any time for scouting or for any other duty. All that JEJ says about Wheeler is (and I go on answering your question as best as I can, General):
           
        "Major-General Wheeler, with 2,200 of ours, attacked and defeated more than double that number of Federal cavalry near Varnell's Station."

        About if Wheeler' place must have been in that ocassion near Varnell's Station, or rather watching Sherman's moves, JEJ says nothing.

        "I yielded, and the army crossed the Etowah on the 20th, a step which I have regretted ever since._ Wheeler's cavalry was placed in observation_ above and Jackson's below the railroad. On the 22d _Major-General Wheeler was sent with all his troops not required for observation_ to the enemy's rear, and, on the 24th, beat a brigade at Cassville and took or burned 250 loaded wagons."

        "On the 20th of June Wheeler, with 1,100 men, routed Garrard's division of Federal cavalry on our right. On the 21st Hood's corps was transferred from right to left, Wheeler's cavalry taking charge of the position which it left."

        "The cavalry crossed the Chattahoochee, _Wheeler observing it for some twenty miles_ above, and Jackson as far below."

        And last, I believe:

        "For want of reports I am unable to give the loss or the services of the cavalry, which was less under my eye than the rest of the army."

        Now, I understand that cavalry raids were much "en vogue" then, and I guess that those fellows on horseback would naturally prefer to take a trip in the enemy´s rear in order to get in the papers and to take some souvenirs home, as compared to the more obscure and much less profitable task of peering thru the bushes at a marching bunch of ugly guys. However, I'm bent to think that, for all the raid thing and the subsequent lack of intelligence as to the movements of the enemy during the Atlanta campaign, no one but JEJ should be deemed responsible, and I think it on two reasons:

        1) The raid tactics were consistent with his Fabian planning. If he wanted a weakened enemy in his front, he must have them busy in their rear and cut his supply lines if possible. As he himself states: "I had also hoped that by the breaking of the railroad in its rear the Federal army might be compelled to attack us in a position of our own choosing, or to a retreat easily converted into a rout." I don't know to what extent could Wheeler be blamed for not breaking the railroad... Could he?

        2) He was the commanding general and could order the cavalry where he wished. In case he let them go raiding and don't held them at hand for his own purposes, who's to blame?  



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