[civilwarwest] Re: More realistic what if???
- Evening Basecat. My S-mail is 1908 Garrard Street, Covington, Ky 41014.
Stephen D Wakefield wrote:
I certainly do not wish to adversely reflect upon some of these
wonderful what if's but I suppose that I simply do not possess the same
imagination that many possess. For that reason I propose a much more
subtle 'what if' for folks to consider...
As most of us know the most often ignored major campaign of the War is
the Tullahoma Campaign June 24-July 3,1863.As many know it was this
campaign that resulted in the CS Army of Tennessee retreating to the
south shore of the Tennessee River and thereby abandoning two
potentially very strong strategic defensive lines ..first the Highland
Rim and second the Cumberland Plateau (a/k/a)the Barrens.
What is often over looked is that at the beginning of the Tullahoma
Campaign after intially getting the jump on the confederate forces,
Rosecrans delayed his forward movement for 24 to 36 hours... much like
Joe Hooker hestitated monentarliy during the Chancellorsville campaign.
We all know what Hooker's delay cost the Army of the Potomac.
Much like Lee's response to Hookers' initial flanking movement,
surprisingly Bragg's immediate reaction was to try and turn the tables
on Rosecrans leftward wheel by responding in kind--- Bragg's first
orders in the crisis created by the union forces surprise capture of
Hoover's and Liberty Gap was to order Hardee to delay the Federals
advance movement and to order POLK's Corps to press forward with all
speed- advance though Guy's Gap and move directly on Rosecrans right
flank and thus cut Rosecrans forces off from its base of operations
Murfreesboro. The disposition of the Army of the Cumberland made the
prospects of immense success of such a Confederate advance very very
high. Of course true to form Lt. General Polk's response to Bragg's
order to advance was to delay and in the interim... explain the dangers
and negatives of the suggested advance... going so far as to predict
the rather silly view of the future that Bragg's army would likely end
up in worse shape than the CS Army then bottled up in Vicksburg.
Finally Polk convinced Bragg not to move forward with his suggested
advance and instead Bragg ordered the genearl cs withdrawal to
Tullahoma--- where he would later be talked into further withdrawal by
My "what if " is to assume that the Lord had smiled upon the CSA and
POLK did not command a corps in the AoT at this critical time-- that
lets say that instead of the always insubordinate Bishop turned
'soldier', some real soldier commanded Bragg's left corps (say-- Kirby
Smith or perhaps D.H. Hill). That the suggested advance is put into
motion with a vigor. That The Army of the Cumberland's exposed right
flank is turned (please remember that the somewhat unreliable McCook
commands the federals exposed right flank)...that the Union columns are
pushed towards the Barrens and McMinnville and ends up cut off from
Murfreesboro. The CS Army of Tennessee is much closer to Nashville,
than Rosecrans and Burnside is totally tied up with chasing Morgan's
raid... Grant remains deadlocked in the Vicksburg siege... Meade has
just gotten handed the order placing him in command of the Army of the
Can this turning of the tables on Rosey have a meaningful impact upon
the future progress of the war???
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