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Destruction of the Rebel army in the West

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  • William Gower
    Bruce Catton in his book, Grant moves South , seems to imply that if there had not been a 7 week delay after the fall of Ft. Donelson, which gave the South a
    Message 1 of 8 , Dec 8, 2004
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      Bruce Catton in his book, “Grant moves South”, seems to imply that if there had not been a 7 week delay after the fall of Ft. Donelson, which gave the South a chance to regroup and reinforce, that the war in the West could have been over or at least most of the AOT destroyed.  What is the feeling on that?  He says that there were understandable reasons for the delay but that the excuses are not good enough.

       

    • GnrlJEJohnston@aol.com
      In a message dated 12/8/2004 8:32:07 PM Eastern Standard Time, billgower@charter.net writes: Bruce Catton in his book, “Grant moves South”, seems to imply
      Message 2 of 8 , Dec 8, 2004
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        In a message dated 12/8/2004 8:32:07 PM Eastern Standard Time, billgower@... writes:
        Bruce Catton in his book, “Grant moves South”, seems to imply that if there had not been a 7 week delay after the fall of Ft. Donelson, which gave the South a chance to regroup and reinforce, that the war in the West could have been over or at least most of the AOT destroyed.  What is the feeling on that?  He says that there were understandable reasons for the delay but that the excuses are not good enough.
        I do not think that it was a seven week delay, unless he is considering the time between Ft Donelson and Shiloh.  Following Donelson, there was the reconstruction of the Union army from which the Army of the Tennessee had its birth.  This was primarily under the direction of Halleck.  As we all know, Halleck is not well known for his speedy movements.    Just a month after Donelson, Sherman's forces were up the Tennessee River as far as Eastport and then began setting up a mobilization area on March 15th at Shiloh.  They were at Pittsburg Landing three weeks prior to ASJ's attack. 
         
        While the Union was doing its reconstruction, the Confederates were doing the same and  bringing in re-inforcements to Corinth.  Even prior to Forts Henry and Donelson,  the battles or skirmishs were typical of the past when it came to casualties.  It was Shiloh that changed all that with casualties on both sides exceeding twentyfive thousand.
         
        IMHO, Grant did not have sufficient forces following Donelson to destroy ASJ's army.  He even had trouble at Shiloh until Buell showed up in support.  As much as I respect Catton, I think that his implication was highly improbable.
         

        Best Regards
        JEJ

        "I have realized in our country that one class of
        men makes war and leaves another to fight it out."
               - William T. Sherman




      • DPowell334@AOL.COM
        In a message dated 12/8/2004 8:29:46 PM Central Standard Time, ... Yes, the basic fact is that the Federals did not have the forces needed to control large
        Message 3 of 8 , Dec 9, 2004
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          In a message dated 12/8/2004 8:29:46 PM Central Standard Time, GnrlJEJohnston@... writes:


          IMHO, Grant did not have sufficient forces following Donelson to destroy ASJ's army.  He even had trouble at Shiloh until Buell showed up in support.  As much as I respect Catton, I think that his implication was highly improbable.



          Yes, the basic fact is that the Federals did not have the forces needed to control large swaths of territory and pursue all the other Rebel forces in the field.

          Consider how much of Grant's army at Shiloh was green, with many regiments only recently entered service.

          Without sufficient numbers to exploit that success, the North still managed to secure most of Tennessee, including both Memphis and Nashville, each a significant blow to Southern industrialism. I really doubt, however, they could done much more.

          Dave Powell
        • hank9174
          ... if there ... gave the ... could have ... feeling on ... but that ... Could you provide us with some snippets? HankC
          Message 4 of 8 , Dec 9, 2004
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            --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "William Gower" <billgower@c...>
            wrote:
            > Bruce Catton in his book, "Grant moves South", seems to imply that
            if there
            > had not been a 7 week delay after the fall of Ft. Donelson, which
            gave the
            > South a chance to regroup and reinforce, that the war in the West
            could have
            > been over or at least most of the AOT destroyed. What is the
            feeling on
            > that? He says that there were understandable reasons for the delay
            but that
            > the excuses are not good enough.

            Could you provide us with some snippets?


            HankC
          • aot1952
            Hank- I do not have the Catton material in front of me, but my recollection is that the possibility he referred to was following Ft. Donelson a quick move
            Message 5 of 8 , Dec 9, 2004
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              Hank-
              I do not have the Catton material in front of me, but my
              recollection is that the 'possibility' he referred to was following
              Ft. Donelson a quick move westward by Grant's forces to cut-off
              Polk's pull back from Columbus.
              As I recall Larry Daniels also makes reference to this 'opportunity'
              in his Shiloh book.
              It is interesting speculation.
              Wakefield



              --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "hank9174" <clarkc@m...> wrote:
              >
              > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "William Gower"
              <billgower@c...>
              > wrote:
              > > Bruce Catton in his book, "Grant moves South", seems to imply
              that
              > if there
              > > had not been a 7 week delay after the fall of Ft. Donelson,
              which
              > gave the
              > > South a chance to regroup and reinforce, that the war in the
              West
              > could have
              > > been over or at least most of the AOT destroyed. What is the
              > feeling on
              > > that? He says that there were understandable reasons for the
              delay
              > but that
              > > the excuses are not good enough.
              >
              > Could you provide us with some snippets?
              >
              >
              > HankC
            • hank9174
              ... this opportunity ... After Donelson, Buell is positioned to occupy Nashville and Pope to advance on the big river leaving Grant with little to do, so,
              Message 6 of 8 , Dec 9, 2004
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                --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "aot1952" <aot1952@y...> wrote:
                >
                > Hank-
                > I do not have the Catton material in front of me, but my
                > recollection is that the 'possibility' he referred to was following
                > Ft. Donelson a quick move westward by Grant's forces to cut-off
                > Polk's pull back from Columbus.
                > As I recall Larry Daniels also makes reference to
                this 'opportunity'
                > in his Shiloh book.
                > It is interesting speculation.


                After Donelson, Buell is positioned to occupy Nashville and Pope to
                advance on the big river leaving Grant with little to do, so, this is
                an interesting idea.

                HankC
              • hank9174
                ... if there ... gave the ... could have ... feeling on ... but that ... Catton makes very good points that the CSA forces were widely separated and
                Message 7 of 8 , Dec 10, 2004
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                  --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "William Gower" <billgower@c...>
                  wrote:
                  > Bruce Catton in his book, "Grant moves South", seems to imply that
                  if there
                  > had not been a 7 week delay after the fall of Ft. Donelson, which
                  gave the
                  > South a chance to regroup and reinforce, that the war in the West
                  could have
                  > been over or at least most of the AOT destroyed. What is the
                  feeling on
                  > that? He says that there were understandable reasons for the delay
                  but that
                  > the excuses are not good enough.

                  Catton makes very good points that the CSA forces were widely
                  separated and demoralized.

                  Polk was in Columbus with 23,000 men, leaving half behind to defend
                  the Mississippi and moving the other half on the railroad to Corinth.

                  Johnston was beginning his circuitous retreat from Nashville through
                  northeren Alabama.

                  The excuse mentioned is the lack of initiative by the 'triumvirate'
                  of McClellan, Halleck and Buell who wished to fight a war of
                  positions. This contrasts with Grant, Foote and Smith who wanted to
                  hound the fleeing Confeds...

                  The delay allowed the CSA to consolidate, reinforce and launch the
                  attack at Shiloh.


                  Cheers,
                  HankC
                • GnrlJEJohnston@aol.com
                  In a message dated 12/10/2004 10:31:39 AM Eastern Standard Time, clarkc@missouri.edu writes: This contrasts with Grant, Foote and Smith who wanted to hound the
                  Message 8 of 8 , Dec 10, 2004
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                    In a message dated 12/10/2004 10:31:39 AM Eastern Standard Time, clarkc@... writes:
                    This contrasts with Grant, Foote and Smith who wanted to
                    hound the fleeing Confeds...
                    Once again, the decision to pursue or not to pursue was the commander who at that time was the over cautious Halleck.
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