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[civilwarwest] Re: Rosecrans

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  • D. W. Plezia
    the coys wrote: original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=356 ... bad. ... have to ... that ... I m not sure of
    Message 1 of 179 , Jan 30, 2000
      the coys <thecoy-@...> wrote:
      original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=356
      > I do not see Rosecrans' performance at Chickamauga as being that
      bad.
      > If you judge his actions solely on the basis that he 'lost' then you
      have to
      > judge all other Generals on the same basis. I do not think you can do
      that
      > because you would then have to re-write the history of the ANV. :)

      I'm not sure of the rest, but I think Rosecrans committed serious
      mistakes during the campaign. Against Thomas's advice, he divided his
      forces into three sections without knowing where exactly his enemy was.
      He criticized Thomas for not pushing Negley's troops into McLemore's
      Cove faster. Thomas smelled a trap and pulled Negley's division back
      to avoid the ambush Bragg had set. Only thru the foolishness of
      Bragg's subordinates was Rosecrans allowed the chance to regroup his
      Army.


      >
      > Can you base Rosecrans' performance on the order given to General
      Wood?
      > That was a poorly written order that was written by a staff officer
      not used
      > to writing orders. Wood, who was in the presence of his Corps
      Commander
      > MajGen A. D. McCook, should have questioned the order for
      clarification.
      > McCook should have questioned the order for clarification....it was
      his
      > division. Wood might also have had 'issues' with Rosy.

      Rosecrans, apparently reacting to a report from a courier, that a hole
      existed between two units gave the order to fill it to Woods Division.
      He (Rosecrans) did not verify it nor did he send anyone to certify the
      facts. Surely, a situation where a hole in your line the breadth of a
      Division, meant a large breach of command, requiring further
      investigation. You don't set up a battle line and purposely ignore a
      division sized hole (although sometimes it happened). He reacted too
      quickly. I'm sure the exigencies of the crises at hand caused the
      lapse. But, I think this is where Rosecrans ability as a commander can
      be questioned. Thomas, beset on his left with maintaining his line of
      retreat, besieged on his right by the famous Hood and Longstreet and
      barraged by Cleburne and Polk on his center and left has been described
      by others as calm and visibly unperturbed. Not knowing (until about
      3:00PM when Garfield returned to fill him in) what the status of the
      army was on his right, Thomas made his dispositions as calmly and cooly
      as the situation required. Longstreet, later reported he made 25
      separate attacks on Thomas's right. Thomas was planning to strengthen
      his right, protect his rear and no doubt worried as to how, when
      Granger, riding to the sound of battle, moved up with Steedman and went
      right into line and saved that flank from being overrun. Thomas,
      reacted to their appearance with all the passion he ever exhibited by
      telling Steedman that "he was always glad to see him, but, never so
      glad as now, did you bring any ammunition?" Although he planned and
      made an orderly retreat, Garfield wrote that many of the troops in line
      (not aware of the entirety of the catastrophe they had prevented) were
      suggesting that rather than pull out, they stay and attack the
      Confederates. This seems to refute reports that they were demoralized.
      They may have been tired and surrounded, but they were not willing to
      concede defeat. They figured "Old Pap Thomas" would pull it off.



      > Wood moves to the left....one thing that is often forgotten about
      > Rosecrans creating a hole in his line is that he had also ordered
      Davis'
      > division to the left to fill the gap that would be created by Wood's
      > departure. Why? Because as we all know the heaviest fighting was to
      the
      > Union left. Rosecrans was shifting his army to the left to assist
      the able
      > George Thomas. As the movement was taking place....Wood to the
      left, Davis
      > to the left....Longstreet attacks. Timing is everything. In addition,
      I
      > always ask if Wood was still in place would he have been able to hold
      > against the onslaught of Longstreet? I don't know but I doubt it. :)

      Your last question is intriguing. Don't know if Wood could have held
      out. He was faced by Longstreet, Hood and 12,000 of the Confederacies
      finest from the ANV and Tennessee. And they came at him in ranks of
      Brigades (I think). At any rate, it was a whole bunch, moving at one
      point. Also, Rosecrans didn't have much in the way of reserves
      because, as you point out he was fortifying Thomas on his right. But,
      Woods later record, show he was a good and dogged fighter. It was he
      and Wilson that maintained the pressure on Hood all the way to the
      Tennessee River, after Nashville. It was he who captured Orchid Hill
      before the battle of Missionary Ridge. It was his Division with
      Sheridan's that led the way up Missionary Ridge. And when he moved out
      of line to Thomas at Chickamauga, he gave good service on the left. I
      suspect your conclusion is right though, it would have been a good
      fight.


      > Finally, do we judge Rosecrans performance because he left the
      field to
      > go to Chattanooga and Garfield went to Thomas? I don't think
      so....where is
      > the Commanding General's place? I think he should be establishing
      his new
      > lines and HQ, setting up a defense and preparing his army for more
      battle.
      > It is the job of aides and Chiefs-of-staff to deliver orders and to
      > ascertain situations.

      I agree with you throughly! For the reasons you cite. There are those
      that criticized Thomas for not being with Schofield at Franklin (Grant,
      Schofield and Sherman amongst them) and there are those that criticize
      Thomas for not being at the front of Wilson's and Wood's troops during
      the pursuit of Hood after Nashville (Grant). The CinC no longer led
      troops into battle, he HAD to remain in the rear to direct troop
      movements and direct movements of reserves, supplies, pontoon trains
      and munitions. He was in charge of planning and analyzing the various
      facets of strategy as they develop, to destroy his enemy. Can't do all
      that and lead the charge.

      I think Rosecrans at times, was brilliant, in many ways. His
      maneuvering Bragg out of Tennessee was a model of tactics that Napoleon
      would have been proud of. Incidently, it went almost unnoticed in
      Washington. They were apparently impressed with victories measured by
      stacks of corpses and buckets of blood spilled by the victors.
      Obviously such recognition of such successes aided Grant in untold
      measure. But, just as `close' only counts in Horseshoes and Hand
      Grenades, as CinC, the loss at Chickamauga was his. It didn't help
      that he had lost much support in DC some of which he was resposible for.



      > Your obedient servant,
      >
      > Kevin S. Coy
      >
      >
      >
      > REGIMENTALFLAG@... wrote:
      >
      > > What do you think of Rosecrans' actions at Chickamauga?
      > >
    • D. W. Plezia
      the coys wrote: original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=356 ... bad. ... have to ... that ... I m not sure of
      Message 179 of 179 , Jan 30, 2000
        the coys <thecoy-@...> wrote:
        original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/civilwarwest/?start=356
        > I do not see Rosecrans' performance at Chickamauga as being that
        bad.
        > If you judge his actions solely on the basis that he 'lost' then you
        have to
        > judge all other Generals on the same basis. I do not think you can do
        that
        > because you would then have to re-write the history of the ANV. :)

        I'm not sure of the rest, but I think Rosecrans committed serious
        mistakes during the campaign. Against Thomas's advice, he divided his
        forces into three sections without knowing where exactly his enemy was.
        He criticized Thomas for not pushing Negley's troops into McLemore's
        Cove faster. Thomas smelled a trap and pulled Negley's division back
        to avoid the ambush Bragg had set. Only thru the foolishness of
        Bragg's subordinates was Rosecrans allowed the chance to regroup his
        Army.


        >
        > Can you base Rosecrans' performance on the order given to General
        Wood?
        > That was a poorly written order that was written by a staff officer
        not used
        > to writing orders. Wood, who was in the presence of his Corps
        Commander
        > MajGen A. D. McCook, should have questioned the order for
        clarification.
        > McCook should have questioned the order for clarification....it was
        his
        > division. Wood might also have had 'issues' with Rosy.

        Rosecrans, apparently reacting to a report from a courier, that a hole
        existed between two units gave the order to fill it to Woods Division.
        He (Rosecrans) did not verify it nor did he send anyone to certify the
        facts. Surely, a situation where a hole in your line the breadth of a
        Division, meant a large breach of command, requiring further
        investigation. You don't set up a battle line and purposely ignore a
        division sized hole (although sometimes it happened). He reacted too
        quickly. I'm sure the exigencies of the crises at hand caused the
        lapse. But, I think this is where Rosecrans ability as a commander can
        be questioned. Thomas, beset on his left with maintaining his line of
        retreat, besieged on his right by the famous Hood and Longstreet and
        barraged by Cleburne and Polk on his center and left has been described
        by others as calm and visibly unperturbed. Not knowing (until about
        3:00PM when Garfield returned to fill him in) what the status of the
        army was on his right, Thomas made his dispositions as calmly and cooly
        as the situation required. Longstreet, later reported he made 25
        separate attacks on Thomas's right. Thomas was planning to strengthen
        his right, protect his rear and no doubt worried as to how, when
        Granger, riding to the sound of battle, moved up with Steedman and went
        right into line and saved that flank from being overrun. Thomas,
        reacted to their appearance with all the passion he ever exhibited by
        telling Steedman that "he was always glad to see him, but, never so
        glad as now, did you bring any ammunition?" Although he planned and
        made an orderly retreat, Garfield wrote that many of the troops in line
        (not aware of the entirety of the catastrophe they had prevented) were
        suggesting that rather than pull out, they stay and attack the
        Confederates. This seems to refute reports that they were demoralized.
        They may have been tired and surrounded, but they were not willing to
        concede defeat. They figured "Old Pap Thomas" would pull it off.



        > Wood moves to the left....one thing that is often forgotten about
        > Rosecrans creating a hole in his line is that he had also ordered
        Davis'
        > division to the left to fill the gap that would be created by Wood's
        > departure. Why? Because as we all know the heaviest fighting was to
        the
        > Union left. Rosecrans was shifting his army to the left to assist
        the able
        > George Thomas. As the movement was taking place....Wood to the
        left, Davis
        > to the left....Longstreet attacks. Timing is everything. In addition,
        I
        > always ask if Wood was still in place would he have been able to hold
        > against the onslaught of Longstreet? I don't know but I doubt it. :)

        Your last question is intriguing. Don't know if Wood could have held
        out. He was faced by Longstreet, Hood and 12,000 of the Confederacies
        finest from the ANV and Tennessee. And they came at him in ranks of
        Brigades (I think). At any rate, it was a whole bunch, moving at one
        point. Also, Rosecrans didn't have much in the way of reserves
        because, as you point out he was fortifying Thomas on his right. But,
        Woods later record, show he was a good and dogged fighter. It was he
        and Wilson that maintained the pressure on Hood all the way to the
        Tennessee River, after Nashville. It was he who captured Orchid Hill
        before the battle of Missionary Ridge. It was his Division with
        Sheridan's that led the way up Missionary Ridge. And when he moved out
        of line to Thomas at Chickamauga, he gave good service on the left. I
        suspect your conclusion is right though, it would have been a good
        fight.


        > Finally, do we judge Rosecrans performance because he left the
        field to
        > go to Chattanooga and Garfield went to Thomas? I don't think
        so....where is
        > the Commanding General's place? I think he should be establishing
        his new
        > lines and HQ, setting up a defense and preparing his army for more
        battle.
        > It is the job of aides and Chiefs-of-staff to deliver orders and to
        > ascertain situations.

        I agree with you throughly! For the reasons you cite. There are those
        that criticized Thomas for not being with Schofield at Franklin (Grant,
        Schofield and Sherman amongst them) and there are those that criticize
        Thomas for not being at the front of Wilson's and Wood's troops during
        the pursuit of Hood after Nashville (Grant). The CinC no longer led
        troops into battle, he HAD to remain in the rear to direct troop
        movements and direct movements of reserves, supplies, pontoon trains
        and munitions. He was in charge of planning and analyzing the various
        facets of strategy as they develop, to destroy his enemy. Can't do all
        that and lead the charge.

        I think Rosecrans at times, was brilliant, in many ways. His
        maneuvering Bragg out of Tennessee was a model of tactics that Napoleon
        would have been proud of. Incidently, it went almost unnoticed in
        Washington. They were apparently impressed with victories measured by
        stacks of corpses and buckets of blood spilled by the victors.
        Obviously such recognition of such successes aided Grant in untold
        measure. But, just as `close' only counts in Horseshoes and Hand
        Grenades, as CinC, the loss at Chickamauga was his. It didn't help
        that he had lost much support in DC some of which he was resposible for.



        > Your obedient servant,
        >
        > Kevin S. Coy
        >
        >
        >
        > REGIMENTALFLAG@... wrote:
        >
        > > What do you think of Rosecrans' actions at Chickamauga?
        > >
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