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Re: Lew Wallace's Destination

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  • bjer50010
    ... Thanks for an interesting reply. I hadn t realized that a similar situation occurred at Donelson. Grant s post war writings are mostly quite
    Message 1 of 92 , Apr 3, 2003
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      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "theme_music" <theme_music@y...>
      wrote:
      > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "bjer50010" <bjewell@i...> wrote:
      >
      > This account has some very noticeable simularities to Wallace's
      > version of his brigades move to Fort Donelson, as recalled in his
      > autobiography. On Feb 12th, Wallace was left behind to garrison
      > Forts Henry and Heiman. Anticipating that he would be called
      > forward, he concentrated his forces along the Telegraph road, which
      > he then used upon recieving orders from Grant to come up. In this
      > case, he had chosen the correct road, and arrived promptly to the
      > exact point where Grant expected him. I think both men anticipated
      > an encore of this performance on 4/6.
      >

      Thanks for an interesting reply. I hadn't realized that a similar
      situation occurred at Donelson. Grant's post war writings are mostly
      quite complimentary to Wallace in general and I don't think their
      relationship was as acrimonious as the discussions here seem to get.
      There seemed to be a level of respect between them. Unusual given
      Wallace wasn't a professional soldier.

      And had it not been that the two roads were so divergent, they might
      have had the encore performance! ISTM that both men based their
      expectations on limited information and that lead to a serious
      misunderstanding. Until the post action ORs were written though I
      don't think either man realized how wrong they had been.

      As for the order, the more I have thought about it the more I think
      Rawlins embellished his memory of what orders he wrote out, based on
      hindsight. But that doesn't excuse the fact that Wallace probably had
      made his decision before even seeing those orders. Like I said above,
      decisions were based on incorrect or incomplete information and
      resulted in a serious misunderstanding. A lot of the charges and
      countercharges appear to have resulted from a posteriori
      rationalizations more than on how the principal characters actually
      made their decisions.

      Given what could have happened, it is fortunate that Rowley found
      Wallace on the road and got him turned around in time.

      There is a nice little book by Luvaas et al. in the War College
      battlefield guides series, which has a section in the appendices from a
      contemporary analysis of the battle (as a lecture of some sort, I'll
      have to check that). One striking point is how woefully inaccurate the
      maps on both sides were. What a way to run a railroad!

      JB Jewell

      > Eric
      >
      >
      >
      > > First, Wallace talked to Grant sometime before 9 am on April 6th.
      > > Wallace then proceeded to Stoney Lonesome, ordering his 1st brigade
      > to
      > > that point, to hook up with his 2nd brigade which was already
      > stationed
      > > there. The only road south out of Stoney Lonesome, is the
      > Shunpike.
      > > The River Road, from all of the maps I have seen, including the one
      > on
      > > the site Will Keene posted, intersected the Purdy Rd. (from Purdy
      > to
      > > Crump's Ldg.) about a 1/2 mile from Crump's Ldg. It is about 1 1/2-
      > 2
      > > miles from Stoney Lonesome. So it appears from his initial
      > reaction to
      > > his discussion with Grant that Wallace intended to concentrate his
      > > forces at Stoney Lonesome.
      > >
      > > From other evidence, whioh I will discuss in a moment, my
      > conclusion is
      > > that Wallace intended to use the Shunpike all along, IRRESPECTIVE
      > OF
      > > WHAT ORDERS GRANT SENT. The concentration at Stoney Lonesome was
      > > ordered PRIOR to Grant's orders being received, so his decision was
      > not
      > > based on a wrong interpretation of Grant's orders. So ISTM that
      > the
      > > actual wording of the orders is irrelevant. Wallace later admitted
      > to
      > > Rowley (IIRC) that he was unaware of the River Rd., but later
      > amended
      > > this to he was unaware of the cross road between the Shunpike and
      > the
      > > River Rd. This is consistent with his having to procure a guide to
      > > direct his division to the cross road, after Rowley caught up with
      > him
      > > and caused Wallace to countermarch. Since he did not know about
      > the
      > > cross road, I would suggest that it indicates he had no intention
      > of
      > > using the River Rd. Furthermore, since the River Rd. is over a
      > mile
      > > farther from Stoney Lonesome than from Crump's Ldg., I interpret
      > his
      > > order to concentrate at the former to indicate that he intended to
      > use
      > > the Shunpike. Otherwise he would have ordered his 2nd brigade (at
      > > Stoney Lonesome) to concentrate on his 1st brigade (at Crump's
      > Ldg.).
      > > Wallace also later wrote that if he hadn't gotten direct orders
      > from
      > > Grant by noon, that he intended to march to the battlefield on his
      > own
      > > initiative. Since he had already concentrated at Stoney Lonesome,
      > I
      > > suggest that he intended to use the Shunpike all along. Therefore,
      > > whatever orders he received from Grant were irrelevant, he had
      > already
      > > made his decision.
      > >
      > > Second point. As to why he made that decision. I believe he was
      > under
      > > the mistaken impression that the Shunpike was the shorter more
      > direct
      > > route to the battlefield, irrespective of whether he was to march
      > to
      > > Wallace's campsite or to the right of the army. Again, given this
      > > misinterpretation of the terrain, Wallace really did believe he had
      > > chosen the fastest route; hence his concentration at Stoney
      > Lonesome,
      > > prior to Grant's orders being received.
      > >
      > > Wallace had mistaken Clear Creek bridge, on the Shunpike, for Owl
      > Creek
      > > Bridge on the Purdy Rd. The distance between the two is 3-4
      > miles.
      > > Rowley caught up to Wallace at Clear Creek which Wallace's cavalry
      > > reported as Owl Creek. But they were wrong, as Wallace himself
      > found
      > > out in 1901 when he revisited the battlefield. If Clear Creek had
      > been
      > > the extreme right flank of Grant's army, Wallace's decision might
      > have
      > > been justified, but it wasn't even close.
      > >
      > > As to the communication between WHL and Lew Wallace, Lew apparently
      > > sent his cavalry to follow the Shunpike route in compliance with
      > his
      > > assurances in that letter. The cavalry arrived at Owl Creek and
      > > discovered that it was occupied by Sherman's division. No further
      > > attempts were made, apparently to find WHL's campsite. This comes
      > from
      > > Lew's writings in B&L.
      > >
      > > IMHO, on the morning of the 6th, Wallace ordered his troops
      > > concentrated at Stoney Lonesome, with the intention of using the
      > only
      > > route he and his cavalry were aware of, the Shunpike. He was under
      > the
      > > misapprehension that it was the shortest, most direct route to the
      > > battlefield. Given the circumstances it was an understandable
      > error.
      > > But I also believe that he made his decision PRIOR to receiving
      > Grant's
      > > orders. To try and blame Grant for the mistake made by Wallace is
      > > unjustified and unfair. Wallace was certainly the one who made the
      > > error, irrespective of what orders he received.
      > >
      > > Grant's later account takes this into consideration, hence his
      > rather
      > > generous remark about distances (but they were incorrect). His
      > > criticism about the battle falling away to the left rear, is
      > slightly
      > > inaccurate, though the battle would definitely have been falling
      > away
      > > from Wallace's left throughout his march down the Shunpike.
      > >
      > > To sum up, Wallace made a bad decision, based in part on faulty
      > > intelligence gathering and a misinterpretation of the terrain. But
      > the
      > > fault doesn't lie with Grant's order. Grant knew where he wanted
      > Lew
      > > Wallace. Wallace's decision was made with the best intentions, but
      > he
      > > was deceived by the inaccurate intelligence reports and possibly by
      > his
      > > own misunderstandings of the ground. These misunderstandings are
      > > perfectly illustrated when comparing the faulty map he presented to
      > the
      > > War Dept. and compared with Mcpherson's more accurate map prepared
      > > about the same time.
      > >
      > > JB Jewell
    • Will
      ... He was also a general in the war of 1812, Secretary of War under Jackson, Secretary of State under Buchanan [until he resigned during the secession crisis]
      Message 92 of 92 , Apr 11, 2003
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        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, GnrlJEJohnston@a... wrote:
        > ...Lewis Cass (first governor of
        > Michigan I believe)...

        He was also a general in the war of 1812, Secretary of War under
        Jackson, Secretary of State under Buchanan [until he resigned during
        the secession crisis] and the Democratic Party's Presidential
        Candidate in 1848 (lost to Taylor), in addition to a bunch of other
        sutff (amassador, congressman, senator)
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