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[civilwarwest] Alternative Scenarios/Ft. Donelson;

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  • Don Myers
    Group; A couple of months ago I put up a post regarding possible alternative outcomes and scenarios as a result of a Union defeat at Ft. Donelson, as oppossed
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 26, 1999
          A couple of months ago I put up a post regarding possible alternative outcomes and scenarios as a result of a Union defeat at Ft. Donelson, as oppossed to the historical outcome.  Does anyone have any thoughts on what direction the war in the West would have taken, where the next campaign or battles might have taken place?
          It is definately not beyond the realm of possibilty that a vastly different outcome could have occurred with a slight change of circumstances (ie: leadership).  1).  Up until the last day the Confederates actually had numerical superiority over the Union forces.  2).  No one, except NB Forest's cavalry, oppossed the Union advance.  Grant knew this would occur as he felt "he could march up to the gates of Ft. D before Pillow would contest his advance".  3). Grant was mired around and in Ft. Henry for over a week due to weather conditions and logistical support.  4). Although Ft. Henry fell like a house of cards to the federal gunboats, the outcome of the Feb. 14th engagement with the Ft. D river batteries was much different, with the floatilla of Porter virtually put out of commission.
          1).  Does the Union abandon Ft. Henry to the rising river like the CSA forces?  But still remain as a presence on the Tennessee River at Ft. Heiman?  Or, do they withdraw for fear of a flank attack from Columbus?  Can/could/would the CSA rebuild the railroad bridge near Paris, Tenn., establish a Fort at that location to perserve an East-West rail link between the forces on the Mississippi and East of the Tennessee River?
      2).    Does Johnston still evacuate Bowling Green, or perhaps do battle at Munfordville?  I'm not sure, but I thought I read where he was going to evacuate/was evacuating Bowling Green prior to the outcome of Ft.D.  Does Johnston hold at Nashville, or order the return of those forces sent to Ft. D. to return to the Army of Central Kentucky and face Buell.  Knowing Buell's slowness of foot, I believe he would of had time to re-group his forces.
      3).    How would history changed regarding U.S. Grant?  Even in victory he was shunned by Halleck, and releived of his command.  What if he had lost?  Halleck and his superiors only saw these movements as an "expedition".  It did not become a campaign until Grant's victory, at least in his superiors minds.  Grant's superiors tried to have Grant permanently removed;  Only Lincoln's intervention because "this man fights", was he saved.  Look at the press etc. after Belmont in Nov. of 1861.  Another such incident as that, coupled with the rumors circulating (true or not), could very easily have secured Grant only a small footnote in history, instead of the presence he now enjoys.  Imagine the domino theory suurrounding that, not just for the Western Theatre, but for U.S. History.........just a thought on a subject of topic...........
      Your humble servant;
      Don Myers.
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