[civilwarwest] Re: Some meandering thoughts on Tullahma and Ole Rosey
Fantastic. Thanks, what a fantastic post. As you and some others might suspect, I agree with your conclusion that Rosecrans ranks "as one of the best military commanders of the war." Some of what you said parallels my own current research which involves Chattanooga and the opening of the 'Cracker Line'. Specifically that Rosecrans, after Chattanooga, was not like a "duck hit on the head" but actively preparing for a breakout. But, trying to refute history according to Grant/Catton is as difficult to do as disagreeing with Lee/Freeman. :)
With that said I would just like to add my own thoughts to a couple of things that you mentioned.
"Stephen D. Wakefield a/k/a 'AoT'" wrote:
In fact what Rosey and the Army of the Cumberland was doing during this period of
reported inexcusable inactivity was working like crazy to acquire the logistical capabilities to launch a campaign into the strategic "black hole" of South East Tennessee. How many weeks did Operation Desert Storm require to build up the necessary logistical capabilities before the active campaign was initiated?
Grant, Sherman, and their boys of the Army of the Tennessee lines of communications and supply were along the Mississippi River. It was very easy for them to gain their supplies and establish support bases to launch an offensive. When Grant, after several failed attempts, finally was able to get south of Vicksburg, he did not extend his lines far. Whereas, Rosecrans lines were from Louisville to Nashville to Murfreesboro, via land. That meant, as Steve mentioned, added burdens of wagons, draft animals, and troops needed to protect the lines of communications from Morgan, Forrest, and Wheeler. What threat did Grant's Army of the Tennessee face to their rear?
According to Archer Jones in Civil War Command and Strategy: The Process of Victory and Defeat. New York, The Free Press, 1992. pg 130.
"Dependence on a line of supply hindered the attacker more because the defender could retreat toward his base of supplies, while the army on the offensive moved away from its supplies..."
As Rosecrans advanced he was advancing into areas that Bragg had previously occupied. There was not much forage for the Army of the Cumberland. Did Grant have the same problem?
Do not misunderstand me. I am not trying to 'dis' Grant....not to much anyway. :) What I would like people to understand is that Rosecrans had different obstacles to face than a movement by the river and needed to establish lines of communications within 'enemy territory'. Whereas Grant had the Mississippi River, established by.......Mother Nature. :)
Oh yeah, Vicksburg was not that great of a victory. The southern armies east of the river were not receiving a great deal of provisions from the Trans-Mississippi. Thus, the south lost the temporary use of some soldiers but not much else.
Yours in Fraternity, Charity, and Loyalty
Kevin S. Coy