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Belmont as the first step of Henry/Donelson

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  • slippymississippi
    Do any of the books on Henry/Donelson analyze Belmont as a piece of that campaign? Digging for info on this stuff, it seems to me that Belmont struck the fear
    Message 1 of 7 , Jul 10, 2003
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      Do any of the books on Henry/Donelson analyze Belmont as a piece of
      that campaign? Digging for info on this stuff, it seems to me that
      Belmont struck the fear of god into Polk. Not only did he retire to
      winter quarters, but he seemed genuinely panic stricken. He
      constantly appealed directly to newspapers across the south for
      additional reinforcments, stating that Columbus and Fort Beauregard
      were about to suffer investment. He seems to be so paranoid about
      his hold on Columbus, that he completely ignored the possibility of a
      sudden strike down the Tennessee.

      Belmont seems to me the beginning of a classic redirection. Grant
      could have spent a year deploying his forces into Missouri, forcing
      the Confederates out of the area, then attempting to invest
      Columbus. Another year later, he could have been working on Fort
      Pillow and Memphis. But why bother, when he could shift his forces
      down the Tennessee and force the Confederate line back 200 miles with
      a minimum of combat in a matter of months?

      Any suggestions on reading material here?
    • Jfepperson@aol.com
      I don t think anyone puts Belmont in the Henry/Donelson campaign, and I don t think it really was part of it. It may well have had some affects on Confederate
      Message 2 of 7 , Jul 10, 2003
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        I don't think anyone puts Belmont in the Henry/Donelson
        campaign, and I don't think it really was part of it.
        It may well have had some affects on Confederate
        thinking, but I think that was serendipitous, to use
        a word currently in vogue here.

        What does Cooling say about it? He's the authority
        on Henry/Donelson, IMO.

        JFE
      • hank9174
        ... IIRC, Grant s plan was to demonstrate at Columbus. Then Polk sent units across the river to menace a USA force whose mission was to harass a CSA force
        Message 3 of 7 , Jul 10, 2003
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          --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "slippymississippi"
          <slippymississippi@y...> wrote:
          >
          > Do any of the books on Henry/Donelson analyze Belmont as a piece of
          > that campaign?

          IIRC, Grant's plan was to demonstrate at Columbus.

          Then Polk sent units across the river to menace a USA force whose
          mission was to harass a CSA force (Thompson?) out of SE MIssouri.

          Grant reacted to the latter.

          It is more a psrt of the drive down the Mississippi than the later
          push through central Kentucky and Tennessee...


          HankC
        • William H Keene
          ... to ... a ... I agree with this point and I feel I have seen it mentioned in a book somewhere but can t recall right now. I will give it some thought. ...
          Message 4 of 7 , Jul 10, 2003
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            --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "slippymississippi"
            <slippymississippi@y...> wrote:
            >
            > Do any of the books on Henry/Donelson analyze Belmont as a piece of
            > that campaign? Digging for info on this stuff, it seems to me that
            > Belmont struck the fear of god into Polk. Not only did he retire
            to
            > winter quarters, but he seemed genuinely panic stricken. He
            > constantly appealed directly to newspapers across the south for
            > additional reinforcments, stating that Columbus and Fort Beauregard
            > were about to suffer investment. He seems to be so paranoid about
            > his hold on Columbus, that he completely ignored the possibility of
            a
            > sudden strike down the Tennessee.

            I agree with this point and I feel I have seen it mentioned in a book
            somewhere but can't recall right now. I will give it some thought.


            > Belmont seems to me the beginning of a classic redirection. Grant
            > could have spent a year deploying his forces into Missouri, forcing
            > the Confederates out of the area, then attempting to invest
            > Columbus. Another year later, he could have been working on Fort
            > Pillow and Memphis. But why bother, when he could shift his forces
            > down the Tennessee and force the Confederate line back 200 miles
            with
            > a minimum of combat in a matter of months?

            I don't think Grant intended it that way when he went for Belmont.
            Nonetheless, I think you are on to something as to a connection
            between Belmont and the future state of mind of Polk.

            -Will
          • slippymississippi
            ... of ... Of course, and it was Grant s plan to demonstrate at Columbus again in early January. But the point of the demonstration was to pin the rebels to
            Message 5 of 7 , Jul 10, 2003
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              --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "hank9174" <clarkc@m...> wrote:
              > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "slippymississippi"
              > <slippymississippi@y...> wrote:
              > >
              > > Do any of the books on Henry/Donelson analyze Belmont as a piece
              of
              > > that campaign?
              >
              > IIRC, Grant's plan was to demonstrate at Columbus.

              Of course, and it was Grant's plan to demonstrate at Columbus again
              in early January. But the point of the demonstration was to pin the
              rebels to their positions and prevent them from maneuvering. The end
              result was that Polk, Pillow, and Floyd remained cemented to their
              positions, while Grant maneuvered to attack them at their weakest
              point.

              > It is more a psrt of the drive down the Mississippi than the later
              > push through central Kentucky and Tennessee...

              But wasn't the attack on Henry and Donelson simply an end-around on
              Nashville and Memphis?
            • hank9174
              ... ...and then on to Vicksburg. But I don t think anyone was planning those kinds of specifics in November 1861. The focus was still on maintaining Missouri
              Message 6 of 7 , Jul 10, 2003
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                --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "slippymississippi"
                <slippymississippi@y...> wrote:

                >
                > But wasn't the attack on Henry and Donelson simply an end-around on
                > Nashville and Memphis?

                ...and then on to Vicksburg.

                But I don't think anyone was planning those kinds of specifics in
                November 1861.

                The focus was still on maintaining Missouri and Kentucky and
                developing approaches into Tennessee.

                Grant was probably as surprised as anybody when Nashville fell
                without a fight after Henry and Donelson...


                HankC
              • William H Keene
                ... on ... But they were wondering how to commence an advance agains the enemy positions. Grant learned from his demonstrations in Novemeber and January that
                Message 7 of 7 , Jul 10, 2003
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                  --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "hank9174" <clarkc@m...> wrote:
                  > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "slippymississippi"
                  > <slippymississippi@y...> wrote:
                  >
                  > >
                  > > But wasn't the attack on Henry and Donelson simply an end-around
                  on
                  > > Nashville and Memphis?
                  >
                  > ...and then on to Vicksburg.
                  >
                  > But I don't think anyone was planning those kinds of specifics in
                  > November 1861.
                  >
                  > The focus was still on maintaining Missouri and Kentucky and
                  > developing approaches into Tennessee.

                  But they were wondering how to commence an advance agains the enemy
                  positions. Grant learned from his demonstrations in Novemeber and
                  January that Columbus was too strong a position but the Tennessee
                  river offerred a chance to turn Columbus as long as that chance was
                  seized before the enemy blocked it.

                  Polk's reaction to Grant's demonstrations was to become more
                  concerned about direct action against Columbus such that he did not
                  give proper attention to potential indirect action and he neglected
                  the defense of the Tennessee river.



                  > Grant was probably as surprised as anybody when Nashville fell
                  > without a fight after Henry and Donelson...

                  On Feb 21, Grant expressed the view that he could take Nashville
                  without a fight if he were authorized to move against it. Halleck
                  argued repeatedly during February that Nashville would be taken
                  without a fight as a result of the capture of Clarksville and the
                  opening of the Tennessee River to Florence and Decatur. McClellan,
                  Buell and even Lincoln kept disagreeing with him, but Halleck turned
                  out to be right.

                  -Will
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