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Re: McClernand as commander

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  • bjer50010
    ... That wasn t my point. Mr. Rose seems to be obsessing on what Grant wrote 20 yrs. after the fact rather than, as Walter previously pointed out, what he
    Message 1 of 74 , May 1, 2003
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      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Will" <wh_keene@y...> wrote:
      > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "bjer50010" <bjewell@i...> wrote:
      > > ...
      > > Mr. Rose,
      > >
      > > Why do you insist on using Grant's memoir account written 20 yrs.
      > after
      > > the fact rather than the evidence in the ORs at the time? ...
      > I think it is perfectly appropriate to critically evaluate what Grant
      > wrote in his memoirs.

      That wasn't my point. Mr. Rose seems to be obsessing on what Grant
      wrote 20 yrs. after the fact rather than, as Walter previously pointed
      out, what he knew and what was documented at the time. His distrust of
      McClernand was known and he had made it clear to Halleck. But the fact
      that he wanted to keep command away from a man he considered
      incompetent does not justify the charge that he was guilty of
      "political maneuvering" that Mr. Rose has indicated. What is clear
      from the ORs is that Grant did not know McClernand was to head the
      expedtion, until Dec. 18. He acted on orders from his superior
      officer, including placing McClernand in command as per the Dec. 18
      orders. What is abundantly clear to me is that he performed his duty
      appropriately, despite his own personal feelings about McClernand. To
      obsess about what he thought of McClernand results in a seriously
      flawed understanding of what happened.

      > > ...This is interesting in view of Mr. Rose's
      > > previous assertions that McClernand had recommended moving past
      > > Vicksburg to the east bank of the river BEFORE Sherman departed.
      > In
      > > fact there is no record, AFAIK, of McClernand making this
      > suggestion
      > > prior to Sherman's expedition and all of the planning for the joint
      > > naval operation was done with the Yazoo River in mind....
      > The idea of moving past Vicksburg is a no-brainer, so I didn't see
      > what the excitement is that McClernand might have thought of it.

      Personally I don't think it took a great leap of military insight to
      arrive at the conclusion. My point here was that the first mention of
      such a strategy appears to have been Porter's communication to Sherman
      in late Nov. Up to that time all naval messages refer to a venture
      very similar to what Sherman eventually attempted. And this was done,
      at least according to their understanding, with the idea that
      McClernand, not Sherman would lead the army expedition.

      > Conceptualizing obvious movements is not very instructive. What
      > Grant needed was feasible options for getting an army around the
      > enemy's strong points. Due to the high water levels during that
      > winter, there was no land route near the river on the west side. The
      > water levels were so high that at one point in February (IIRC)
      > McClernand's men had to abandon their camp and live on the boats.

      I fully agree with this point. What I intended in the original post
      was to suggest that the final plan adopted was an evolution of ideas.
      Anyone who works in a group knows that ideas don't just come full
      blown, especially if the task is a difficult one (and clearly Vicksburg
      was such a case). What strikes me about Grant was he was willing to
      try different approaches until he came upon the correct one.

      JB Jewell

      > ~Will
    • Will
      Thanks Dave. Good points to ponder. ~Will ... better
      Message 74 of 74 , May 6, 2003
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        Thanks Dave.
        Good points to ponder.
        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, Dave Gorski <bigg@m...> wrote:
        > >
        > >Good points. I was thinking that long-term encampments would have
        > >better sanitary and shelter arrangements and the men would be
        > >rested than encampents of men campaigning.
        > Secretary Olmsted of the Sanitary Commission issued a
        > "Circular to the Colonels of the Army," in which he stated
        > that "It is well known that when a considerable body of men
        > have been living together in camp a few weeks a peculiar
        > subtle poison is generated..."
        > Another factor was that many soldiers were from rural areas
        > where they had not had exposure to common illnesses, and had
        > not built up any immunities. Groups in garrison were exposed to
        > and often died of childhood diseases.
        > Often soldiers who were hospitalized for wounds, died of some
        > disease that they had been exposed to while in the hospital,
        > especially typhoid.
        > Yet, another point is that a soldier on the move was likely to
        > have had occasion to have fresh fruits and vegetables than the
        > soldier stuck in camp for weeks on end. A better diet made
        > for a healthier soldier.
        > Regards, Dave Gorski
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