Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: Questions on Shiloh

Expand Messages
  • hank9174
    ... Johnston Grant, but, Johnston + Van Dorn
    Message 1 of 118 , Jun 1, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, John Beatty <jdbeatty.geo@y...>
      > >Surely the CSA had to attack.
      > Why? Give us a reason why they had to attack at
      > Shiloh.

      Johnston > Grant, but, Johnston + Van Dorn < Grant + Buell.

      The CS army outnumbered Grant, Grant was in a bad defensive position,
      Buell was expected momentarily (on the 'wrong' side of the river), so
      was Van Dorn (on the 'correct' side), there was much supply at
      Pittsburg Landing (though retrieving it would be difficult), the
      landing itself was a bottleneck for arriving US troops. It was an
      opportunity to destroy the US bridgehead before it was well
      consolidated and prevent it's uture use as a landing site.

      Here's what Beauregard had to say:
      "By a rapid and vigorous attack on General Grant it was expected he
      would be beaten back into his transports and the river, or captured,
      in time to enable us to profit by the victory, and remove to the rear
      all the stores and munitions that would fall into our hands in such
      an event before the arrival of General Buell's army on the scene. It
      was never contemplated, however, to retain the position thus gained
      and abandon Corinth, the strategic point of the campaign."

      > >Grant had a strongly garrisoned beachhead on the CSA
      > side of the river protecting his supply line and
      > awaiting Buell's 50,000 men.
      > Buell had nowhere near 50,000.

      The 2 divisions that reached the battlefield totalled 25,000.
      McCook's and Mitchell's were not present but were operating with

      > >IIRC, an early movement by Wallace on the US right,
      > which looked like the start of an offensive, started
      > the CS attack plans rolling.
      > Lew Wallace was at Crumps Landing 6 miles north. WHL
      > Wallace was nearer the landing, but on the Federal
      > left. How could the movement of either of these forces
      > more than TWENTY MILES from the Cnfederate base at
      > Corinth be detected, let alone called "the beginning
      > of an offensive?"

      This movement by Lew Wallace was days earlier and alarmed the CSA of
      a strike toward the north-south railroad out of Corinth. Beauregard
      thought (incorrectly) that Grant was gearing up for an attack.

      > >The CSA had surveyed and defended the area for weeks.
      > When did they survey it? Cavalry patrols had been
      > through it several times, and small infantry forces
      > two months before, but maps of the area were sparse of
      > detail, something Beauregard mentioned more than once.

      I think it was Ruggles who, in March, surveyed the river, it's
      landings and road network to ensure the CSA had the information to
      quickly counteract any raids similar to an earlier one by Sherman...

      > >The roads and ridges were well known; US troop
      > despostitions were not.
      > No knowing how the enemy is deployed is enough NOT to
      > attack.

      In that case there would never be any attacks ;)

    • hartshje
      Carl, The British navy had two main problems going right up the Mississippi: 1) the sandbars at the mouth of the river precluded the larger warships from
      Message 118 of 118 , Jun 30, 2004
      • 0 Attachment

        The British navy had two main problems going right up the

        1) the sandbars at the mouth of the river precluded the larger
        warships from entering the river, so only smaller warships could be
        used in any attack on Fort St. Philip (which is what happened, and
        they were repulsed). The sandbars were normally dredged during peace
        time, but during both the War of 1812, and the ACW, the blockade
        caused dredging to be suspended (at least until N.O. was captured).

        2) the British ships could ONLY rely on wind power, so once past the
        sandbars, the wind had to be just right to make their way upriver
        against the current. The British command estimated at least a week
        to travel the 100 miles upstream to the fort.

        Farragut's advantage, obviously, was steam power. His ships got
        through the sandbars by literally ramming them over and over until
        they broke through. Even so, the "Colorado" (Farragut's largest
        ship) could not get into the river. Also, when the forts were
        passed, the U.S. ships could travel faster against the current, which
        meant less time under the guns of the forts. Without that added
        advantage, IMO he would have been blasted back.

        I highly recommend an excellent book, "The War of 1812" by John K.
        Mahon. It is concise (386 pgs of text, 60 pgs of notes and
        bibliography), yet a quite detailed account of the entire war for
        anyone who is interested in finding out more about this relatively
        unknown and fascinating era of our past.


        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "carlw4514" <carlw4514@y...>
        > . . . neither the Brits or the Yankees seemed to have contemplated
        > this for the assault on these forts. It seems to me that the forts
        > were first to be blasted into rubble before the infantry could
        > finish the job, as far as the Brits were concerned or as far as the
        > original Union plan went. Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions.
        > -- In 27927, "hartshje" <Hartshje@a...> wrote:
        > > Carl,
        > >
        > > I really don't think the forts had any effect on Butler's
        > > landing. I believe it was assumed by just about everybody
        > > (except Farragut) that the forts would have to be put out of
        > > commission before the navy could go upriver. That was going to
        > > be Butler's job if Porter's mortars weren't successful (which
        > > they weren't). Farragut seems to be the only one who believed
        > > they could "run" the gauntlet, making the forts pretty useless.
        > > It would be interesting to know if Farragut really knew how close
        > > the Rebs were to getting the "Louisiana" & "Mississippi" up and
        > > running, or if he just wanted to prove the navy could do it on
        > > their own.
        > Have trolled a bit and found nothing to indicate exactly what his
        > intel on this might have been. At
        > http://www.multied.com/navy/cwnavalhistory/Index.html
        > there are some reports on worrisome developments of rebel Ironclads
        > at N.O. that might find their way upriver, but nothing in the way
        > of what Farragut might have known just before attacking. Farragut
        > could be a bit impulsive, I think, but there is no reason to think
        > he would have wanted to contend with the forts and then tangle with
        > a Reb navy that had anything close to equity. I have to think the
        > Union Intel had the skinny.
        > Carl
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.