--- In firstname.lastname@example.org
, "josepharose" <josepharose@y...>
> --- In email@example.com, "William H Keene"
> <wh_keene@y...> wrote:
> > --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "josepharose"
> > 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
> 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.