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Re: Unpreparedness

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  • josepharose
    ... achieved ... surrendered. Are you implying that the victory was mostly dependent upon Confederate stupidity? ... Here, again, Confederate mistakes let
    Message 1 of 105 , Jun 5, 2003
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      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "ironbrigade_24th_mich"
      <tooldude58@y...> wrote:
      > Yes he was surprised twice. With the limited intelligence of the
      > era, it wasn't hard to sneak a march. Even Hooker surprised Lee.
      > Buit what matters is what is done after the suprise is launched.
      > At Ft Donaldson, the biggest surprise is that the troops who
      achieved
      > the breakthrough were ordered back into the fort and then
      surrendered.

      Are you implying that the victory was mostly dependent upon
      Confederate stupidity?

      > At Shiloh, even with the complete surprise, nothing was gained.
      > So getting the suprise advantage is one thing, not the won thing.

      Here, again, Confederate mistakes let Grant off the hook of his
      mistake in being surprised.

      > As
      > many battles have shown, winning the 1st day of the battle does
      not
      > mean that you have won the battle.
      > Perhaps what the surprises did was make Grant fight, and that was
      > something he was not afraid to do. Many generals were great
      generals
      > up until the battles were actually fought.

      I certainly agree that not being afraid to fight was one of Grant's
      main strengths, and maybe it was his cardinal virtue. But even
      though it sufficed--in a grand way at Vicksburg--against more inert
      opponents and in certain situations, it could also get him into
      trouble.

      I think one of the biggest mistakes people make in discussing the
      war is to put far too much emphasis on the outcome and far too
      little on what happened to make it turn out that way.

      Joseph

      > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, David Kowalski
      <kywddavid@y...>
      > wrote:
      > > I f you combine Forts Henry and Donnelson with Vicksburg and
      > Appomattox, Grant must have bagged about 90,000 prisoners. There
      was
      > gold at the end of his persistence.
      > >
      > > A big part of Grant's skill as a general was his ability to work
      > with other generals and Washington. Compare this to Bragg,
      > Pemberton, or JEJ.
      > >
      > >
      > > slippymississippi <slippymississippi@y...> wrote:
      > > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose"
      > <josepharose@y...>
      > > wrote:
      > > > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "slippymississippi"
      > > > <slippymississippi@y...> wrote:
      > > > > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose"
      > > > <josepharose@y...>
      > > > > wrote:
      > > >
      > > > [snip]
      > > >
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Yes, and he had already been caught with his pants down in
      > his
      > > > > > first two battles.
      > > > >
      > > > > If by "caught with his pants down" you mean capturing or
      > > > destroying
      > > > > Confederate armies, then its too bad more Union generals
      > couldn't
      > > > get
      > > > > caught with their pants down.
      > > >
      > > > No, I mean he was surprised in three battles in a row. That
      must
      > > > have been a record.
      > >
      > > If by "surprised," you mean capturing or destroying Confederate
      > > armies, then its too bad more Union generals couldn't
      > be "surprised."
      > >
      > > >
      > > > > > One would think that he would have learned something.
      > > > >
      > > > > Yes, he learned that he should "get caught with his pants
      down"
      > > > more
      > > > > often, like at Vicksburg, Chattanooga, and Appamattox.
      > > >
      > > > Chattanooga was won in spite, not because, of Grant's
      generalship.
      > >
      > >
      > > There are people who say that about every Grant campaign. I
      > suspect
      > > their tinfoil hats are too tight.
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
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    • 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
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        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose" <josepharose@y...>
        wrote:
        > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "William H Keene"
        > <wh_keene@y...> wrote:
        > > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose"
        > <josepharose@y...>
        > > wrote:
        [snip]

        > 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.

        [snip]

        > 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.

        [snip]

        > 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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