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Re: Unpreparedness

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  • William H Keene
    ... Excellent sentiment. Wise words. -Will Keene
    Message 1 of 105 , Jun 5, 2003
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      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose" <josepharose@y...>
      > ...
      > 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.

      Excellent sentiment. Wise words.

      -Will Keene
    • 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...>
        > --- 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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