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Re: William B. Feis, a modern author

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  • William H Keene
    ... What fun... Where is near Corinth ? Are Monterey or Pea Ridge near Corinth? Grant also stated that the information was not reliable. ... send ... few ...
    Message 1 of 105 , Jun 1, 2003
      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose" <josepharose@y...>
      > ...
      > "HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST TENNESSEE, Savannah, April 5, 1862.
      > Major General D. C. BUELL, Near Waynesborough: Your dispatch just
      > received. I will be here to meet you to-morrow. The enemy at and
      > near Corinth are probably from 60,000 to 80,000. Information not
      > reliable. Have abundance of rations here and some forage. More
      > arriving daily. Pontoon bridge arrived to-day. U. S. GRANT, Major-
      > General."
      > Grant *stated* that the enemy army was "at and near Corinth."

      What fun...
      Where is "near Corinth"? Are Monterey or Pea Ridge near Corinth?
      Grant also stated that the information was not reliable.

      > ...
      > "General GRANT: SIR: All is quiet along my lines now. We are in the
      > act of exchanging cavalry, according to your order. The enemy has
      > cavalry in our front, and I think there are two regiments of
      > infantry and one battery of artillery about 2 miles out. I will
      > you 10 prisoners of war and a report of last night's affair in a
      > minutes. Yours, W. T. SHERMAN, Brigadier-General,
      > Commanding."

      In this message Sherman states that he will send a report of the
      affair of the night before in a few minutes. He does send a report
      later that day in which he states: "I infer that the enemy is in some
      consi derable force at Pea Ridge." Since this was based on intel
      from the night before, it is fairly accurate as to the location of
      Hardee's Corps.

      > ...
      > If you somehow require more proof, Grant also wrote to Halleck:
      > "SAVANNAH, April 5, 1862. Major General H. W. HALLECK, Saint Louis,
      > Mo.: The main force of the enemy is at Corinth, with troops at
      > different points east; also at Bethel, Jackson, and Humboldt are
      > small garrisons. The numbers at these places seem to constantly
      > change. The number of the enemy at Corinth and within supporting
      > distance of it cannot be far from 80,000 men. Information obtained
      > through deserters place their force West at 200,000. One division
      > Buell's column arrived yesterday. General Buell will be here
      > to-day. Some skirmishers took place with our outguards and the
      > enemy's yesterday and day before. U. S. GRANT, Major-General."
      > "The main force of the enemy is at Corinth"!!!

      And "The numbers at these places seem to constantly change." That
      evening he would write to Halleck that the enemy was in his front
      but "How much cannot of course be estimated."

      > [snip]
      > The next morning, this army at Corinth somehow surprised Grant's
      > force at Shiloh. So, let's hear no more about Grant knowing that
      > the enemy army was "near to Pittsburg landing."

      Grant certainly knew there was an enemy force near to him--Sherman
      had identified a considerable force at Pea Ridge (this is accurate as
      to the position of Harde's Corps at the time) plus Wallace had
      reported 8 regiments of infantry and 1,200 cavalry at Purdy and an
      equal or larger body at Bethel (this is accurate as to Polk's Corps
      at the time).

    • bjer50010
      ... [snip] ... ISTM that the issue of whether the Confederates could have exploited McClernand s withdrawal is totally unrelated to the circumstances under
      Message 105 of 105 , Jun 24, 2003
        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose" <josepharose@y...>
        > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "William H Keene"
        > <wh_keene@y...> wrote:
        > > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose"
        > <josepharose@y...>
        > > wrote:

        > Mr. Keene:
        > I thought that you stated that Conger didn't believe escape was
        > likely or possible. I agree with Wallace--and maybe with you--that
        > escape seemed highly possible.

        ISTM that the issue of whether the Confederates could have exploited
        McClernand's withdrawal is totally unrelated to the circumstances under
        which that withdrawal was forced. Hence, it has no relevance to the question
        of whether Grant's orders were stupid or to whether Wallace acted
        insubordinately. The fact is that McClernand was pushed back, partly as a
        result of his own mistakes, in response to a desperate Confederate attack.
        The orders to Wallace have no bearing on that fact. Even had Wallace
        responded immediately to the first request for reinforcements, it is doubtful
        that McClernand's division would have held much longer than they actually
        did, because they were running out of ammunition. Therefore, the actual
        wording of the orders from Grant, and/or McClernand's/Wallace's
        interpretation of those orders, is IMHO, irrelevant to the why of McClernand's
        divisional collapse.


        > Now, if I may, I have just two questions for you:
        > Do you think that Wallace's failure to send timely support to
        > McClernand, in response to the latter's first request, helped the
        > Confederates in their attempt to break out, whether or not they
        > actually decided to go ahead with the escape once McClernand was
        > pushed out of the way?

        Read the above for my take on the whole affair. McClernand had made a
        mistake in not issuing sufficient ammunition to his troops, and for not
        arranging to have ammunition forwarded to his troops, when he first realized
        he was under attack. According to both Wallace and Grant, the main reason
        for McClernand's divisional collapse was lack of ammunition. Whether
        Wallace sent aid or not would not have altered the major fact that
        McClernand's men didn't have sufficient ammunition to hold on longer than
        they did. And that fact is not dependent on the wording or interpretation of
        Grant's orders, that was a mistake McClernand made himself.


        > As I wrote before, Wallace's autobiography notes that when Brayman
        > requested immediate help, Wallace was in a serious dilemma and felt
        > he could do nothing. He sent Ware to Grant's HQs "for permission to
        > help McClernand." As Wallace did not support McClernand until
        > later, although he indicated that he wanted to help at the time of
        > the first request, do you think that Wallace's inaction, in the
        > beginning, was because of how he interpreted Grant's orders to hold?

        Wallace's account in his autobiography contradicts, in this instance, both his
        B&L account and his OR account. The latter actually outright states what his
        interpretation of Grant's orders was, ie. he was prohibited from attacking until
        receiving further orders. He understood that he was not to take offensive
        action. He also states, a point which Mr. Rose has refused to discuss, that he
        believed the fighting in the morning to have been the result of an attack by
        McClernand. The text of his OR account suggests strongly, that this was the
        reason he refused to honor the first request for reinforcements from
        McClernand, which would have violated the orders from Grant. On the
        second request McClernand also included information that his flank had been
        turned; which changed the dynamics of the situation to which Wallace had to
        respond (this is clear from both his B&L and OR accounts). Wallace reacted
        immediately and decisively, even though he had no direct orders to do so.
        However, given that his orders did not preclude defensive actions, in fact that
        is the entire tenor of the orders as reported by both Grant and Wallace, he
        was not acting against orders. Therefore, his actions can hardly be
        construed, by an unbiased and objective viewer, as insubordinate. His
        actions can be viewed as showing initiative and decisive leadership.

        JB Jewell

        > Joseph
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