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Davis and the west

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  • Laurence D. Schiller
    Happy New Year all: Bill - I think you are right on. Of course, Richmond was close and easily threatened, but Davis never struck me as overly deep in his
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2005
      Happy New Year all:

      Bill - I think you are right on. Of course,
      Richmond was close and easily threatened, but
      Davis never struck me as overly deep in his
      understanding of the overall situation. On the
      other hand, I have always been of the opinion
      that if the North chose to fight, the Confederacy
      had little chance of winning. With a much smaller
      population, it was going to be hard to defend all
      that western territory. I'm not sure that Lee or
      anyone else could have succeeded in the West
      given the North's resources, will to fight, and
      vastness of the territory to defend.


      Laurie Schiller

      At 9:50 PM +0000 12/31/04, civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com wrote:
      > Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2004 21:49:06 -0500
      > From: "William Gower" <billgower@...>
      >Subject: Davis treated the west with indifference?
      >I have read Stephen Woodworthss âJefferson Davis and his Generalsq and am
      >now reading âDavis & Lee at Warq. It appears to me that whenever Davis
      >wanted to get rid of someone in the East who he didnst get along with or who
      >he thought was causing problems, he tended to send them to the West. Two
      >good examples are Beauregard and Johnston, but there are others. I realize
      >that the Eastern Theater was probably seen as more important by Davis
      >because of the proximity of Richmond to Washington, but itss almost as if he
      >considered the West to be not as important or more of a backwater affair so
      >that if a general fouled up in the East, instead of sacking him, letss just
      >move him west. And so the Western theater seemed to get castoffs and second
      >bests. I still think that the war was won or lost in the west. Itss
      >unfortunate that in history the east has always gotten better press and more
      >books, more share of the glory etc. I really believe that the war was lost
      >as early as Ft. Henry/Donelson and that the real turning point of the war
      >was the Vicksburg campaign and not Gettysburg. The battles in the east were
      >just stalemates while the important decisions were being made in the west.
      >While the Union army was advancing and retreating for 3 years in the east,
      >in the west the Union army advanced and advanced. In the east very little
      >territory changed hands while in the west the South had lost major real
      >estate even as early as February 1862. In the east Davis seemed to devote
      >more time and effort directing sometimes even the day to day operations of
      >the ANV while it had a competent commander, while in the west, the AOT was
      >pretty much left to the commanders who were certainly incompetent. One of
      >the few times when Davis really seemed to be concerned with the west was
      >when Mississippi was being threatened. Am I off-base here? Am I missing
      >something with regards to Davis and the West?

      Dr. Laurence Dana Schiller Civil War First Person Impressions
      Maitre d'Armes William Bradshaw, Co. F 2nd WI
      Head Fencing Coach George Hammitt, Co. H 104th Ill
      Department of History
      Northwestern University
      Commissioner, Midwest Fencing Conference
      Midwest VP, US Fencing Coaches' Association
      Vice-Chair USFA Illinois Division
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