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Re: "Well toward the northern end of Missionary Ridge"

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  • William H Keene
    ... two ... Sherman s force certainly advanced to Tunnel Hill on the 24th-- Cleburne describes Sherman s men clashing with his there, Sherman identifies
    Message 1 of 156 , Aug 1, 2003
      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose" <josepharose@y...>
      > ...
      > He was about a mile short and, with the steep valley between the
      > positions, I think that we can state with some assurance that
      > Sherman did not even advance "to about the railroad tunnel".

      Sherman's force certainly advanced to Tunnel Hill on the 24th--
      Cleburne describes Sherman's men clashing with his there, Sherman
      identifies Lightburn's brigade as the one that did this. Lightburn's
      report gives more details of this; unfortunately I don't belive there
      are any published reports from any of Lightburn's regiments or Smith
      (Cleburne's brigade commander) or any of Smith's regiments.

      Sherman's orders called for him to secure a portion of the ridge.
      Since the enemy was already on Tunnel Hill, he secured what he
      could. This position put him somewhat less than a mile short of the
      Tunnel -- I estimate it at 1/2 mile as measured on a map and as
      reported by some of the men involved. So with some assurance this
      puts Sherman's force close to the railroad tunnel.

      > He had only gone two-thirds of the way from his jumping off point
      > the objective. That's not good.

      2/3 sounds good to me, though in my opinion the fraction was larger,
      say around 3/4 using the south bank as his jumping off point (though
      the camp he departed from was some distance away on the north bank)
      and the tunnel itself as the objective (though his orders only stated
      that he was to secure the ridge to "about" the tunnel).

      > Mr. Keene, I was talking about Grant ordering the carrying of the
      > ridge and Sherman *not* carrying the ridge. You, instead, state
      > that "Sherman did secure the end of the ridge." That's was pretty
      > meaningless. Alerting the enemy to his presence was *about* all
      > Sherman accomplished.

      Actually Sherman accomplished the objective of securing important
      geographic features of the battlefield, which seems to me to have
      been Grant's intent. Cleburne said that the heights which Sherman
      secured "in a military point of view dominated over every point
      within cannon range". Sounds like a good thing to me.

      > ... However, the movements that actually took place also fit
      > > Grant's original plan.
      > You would only be correct if Grant was actually planning to carry
      > the ridge on the south (where Hooker actually did so) or the center
      > (where Granger actually did so). Grant was not planning to do
      > either, so both you and Shanks are incorrect.

      I seems to me that Grant did plan to carry the ridge in the area
      where Thomas actually assualted the ridge as this was where Bragg's
      position on the ridge was at the time the plan was first developed.

      > Look, when even a stalwart hero-worshipper asserts that Grant was
      > being self-serving, then you can probably put some stock in it. He
      > should just not be believed when he's engaged in hero-worshipping.

      I disagree. If you consider someone faulty in their research and a
      bad historian (or some such thing as you have labelled Simpson in the
      past) then it seems ridiculous to say that he is trustworthy on some
      parts just becuase you find the conclusion pleasing.

      > Think of what Hooker did: one division on the crest and one on each
      > side. Granger would have stayed on the near side of the ridge.

      Since as events actually happened Sherman's forces occupied the crest
      and each slope of the ridge AND he was originally suppossed to have
      had one more division AND Granger was allegedly to bring along two
      extra large divisions, then the idea that there would be space for
      Granger to fit on the western slope of the ridge seems to me to be

      > Sherman would have had five divisions and could have used them on
      > the crest, along the back side, in reserve, to cross the creek to
      > attack the supply line, and in pursuit. Unfortunately, Sherman
      > used about a third of the force of six divisions he was given--and
      > that's not even counting Baird.

      He was only given four divisions with which to carry out the actions
      of the 24th and started the 25th with still only four divisions.
      Even though Howard's force was designated as two divisions in, its
      actual size was comparable to a single division, in fact Howard's
      Corps was smaller than either Sheridan's or Wood's divisions
      individually. Howard spent the first half of the day moving to
      Sherman and then was put into position on Sherman's left to fill a
      gap, a useful purpose. When the opportunity presented itself,
      Sherman went on to make effective use of Howard, and of Davis who had
      been protecting the brigdes and line of communication (something
      military commanders usually thing is a useful thing to do). I don't
      think there is anything unfortunate about his dispositions. On the
      contrary they seem to have been quite good.

      > I would agree with you that taking Orchard Knob should have been
      > done before moving Granger out, and that's why Thomas should
      > kudos for taking it on the 23rd. I don't know why Grant's plans
      > didn't mention it; maybe he overlooked it or was too lazy to spell
      > it out.

      Lazy? Ever heard of a concept called delegation. I did not think you
      had such a low opinion of Thomas that you feel Grant needed to spell
      out to him in detail each move he should make. Though interesting
      that Thomas's first orders did not direct that the Knob be held, it
      seemed to be an afterthought. According to Howard's Report it was
      Grant who made the determination to hold Orchard Knob; Thomas's
      report doesn't say it whether it was or wasn't Grant idea.

    • William H Keene
      ... Sure it is. Advances were typically led by skirmishers. This was standard practice. ... Since Sherman secured the heights down to but not including
      Message 156 of 156 , Aug 3, 2003
        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose" <josepharose@y...>
        > ...
        > "Skirmishing" is not the same as "advancing."

        Sure it is. Advances were typically led by skirmishers. This was
        standard practice.

        > ...
        > Think of it this way: "about" a certain point might mean within 1/4
        > mile or so, depending on the circumstances. If a river or other
        > major obstacle is between you and the destination, it effectively
        > means that you are not nearly as "about."

        Since Sherman secured the heights down to but not including Tunnel
        Hill, seems like "about" to me. The valley turned out to not be such
        a major obstacle.

        > Fine. From wherever Sherman started, he came up short.

        It has been apparent that this is your opinion. And it appears that
        no matter what Sherman did he would come up short for you.

        > Sherman was supposed "to secure the heights from the northern
        > extremity to about the railroad tunnel before the enemy can
        > concentrate against him." He didn't.

        And I contend that he did since he secured an important part of the
        heights before the enemy concentrated against him.

        > No, after Sherman "secure[d] the heights from the northern
        > to about the railroad tunnel," the ridge was to be "carried," and
        > only afterwards was he ordered that "[f]arther movements will then
        > depend on those of the enemy. Sherman did not do what he was
        > supposed to do.

        From my understanding of the orders "secure the heights from the
        northern extremity to about the railroad tunnel" and "the ridge
        carried" are the same concept.

        > Granger was to do what Geary did on the southern end.

        Since Sherman already had men to do this, I once again point out that
        this seems like an odd plan.

        > ...
        > No. Sherman was *supposed* to attack southward alomg the ridge.
        > Granger was to be parallel with him but lower on the near slope.
        > Thomas was not supposed to attack eastward.

        So you claim, though Grant claimed otherwise.

        > Thomas' juncture was to be made with Sherman, "making your advance
        > well toward the northern end of Missionary Ridge." The plan
        > directed him towards Tunnel Hill.

        Sure, in a general sense. But the plan did not direct him TO Tunnel

        > Roughly a third. It would take a finer analysis--and more defined
        > terms--to determine this. You also discounted Baird.

        So now it takes a finer analysis. Hadn't you done that before in
        order to arrive at your "facts" or are you now admitting it is "an

        And I don't think Baird should be counted. I don;t veen think the
        rest of Howard's force should be counter, but I was trying to be
        accomadating. So maybe we should count Dodge and Osterhaus too. How
        about Hulrbut and McPherson too cause I know you want to get this
        fraction as low as possible.

        > The skirmishers started earlier, but Sherman was ordered instead
        > to, "attack the enemy at the point most advantageous from your
        > position at early dawn to-morrow morning." That's "attack," and
        > not "skirmish."

        How does one determine what is "the point most advantageous"?
        How does one determine the position of the enemy? During the civil
        war this was done by sending forward a skirmish line in front of your
        assualt force. Even when the enemy position was known, skimish lines
        often preceded the assualt force.

        > Before the attack, there is no indication whatsoever that Grant
        > expected Orchard Knob would be carried or held.

        Nor that Thomas considered it either. But I would expect that both
        would have thought about it since it was a key spot to moving in that

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