Re: [civilwarwest] Re: The 'Lost Cause' In Retreat
- In a message dated 8/2/2005 6:07:28 AM Central Daylight Time, jdbeatty.geo@... writes:
Using public perception to gauge the military value of
a region is a rather strange view. How many others
share it, would you think? How many military
theorists think that way?
Any military analyst worth his salt:)
The fact is that there are 100s of examples where public perception of value effects military thinking. War is not, nor ever has been, an exercise in pure strategy. In Vietnam, the public's perception of TET, to use the most classic example, effected the war. A more pertinent example might be WWI, where Germany, having spent so much blood to defend their captures of 1914, was, by mid-war, locked into an "all or nothing" solution. A negotiated peace that returned the captured lands to France, say, was viewed as politically impossible by 1916.
In the Civil War, Joe Johnston once presented Davis with the stragetic dilemma - do we hold Mississippi or Tennessee? Johnston believed it was impossible to defend both. Davis, of course, bowing to political reality, tried to hold both. He had no choice, really.
To jump forward 80 years, was the Doolittle raid really after important military resources? We launched the invasion of Guadalcanal in August, 1942, despite being woefully short of the needed resources (our fleet cut and run just a day or so after the landing, because of the Japanese dominance in the region) largely to appear to the American public that we were 'taking the war to the enemy' after months of defeat. In fact, our military strategy was to ignore the Pacific entirely, and concentrate on Europe. That turned out well:)
In war, and especially in civil war, the opinion of the masses does count. Sustaining the will to go on relies on some measure of success, or the willingness to change strategies of the success is not apparent. Whether one likes it or not, public opinion and perception have had large roles in warfare.
And yes, that often means that military campaigns are not waged for important military objectives, or where military objectives are secondary to sustaining public morale.
- --- In email@example.com, DPowell334@A... wrote:
> Sorry, sent the message on without fully replying:that I'm
> > This is confirmed by the quote: "Your orders before leaving Kentucky,
> > and frequently repeated since, were to connect your right with General
> > Rosecrans' left, so that, if the enemy concentrated on one, the other
> > would be able to assist." Did Burnside assist Rosecrans in light of
> > the concentration against the latter? No.
> Dude, you just got through chastizing me, stating, "Stop accusing me
> asserting that 'Burnside did nothing to help Rosecrans.' That isjust plain
> wrong of you."but I it seems to
> Now, in this paragraph, you are saying that Burnside did not assist
> Rosecrans. I know that consistancy is the hobgoblin of little minds,
> me you just contradicted own post.Dave (I'll call you that, if you'll call me "dude"),
Burnside made some movements toward Rosecrans.
His movements, in my opinion, were clearly inadequate in light of his
orders and the situation.
His movements, furthermore, were so limited that he did not "assist"
Rosecrans. I cannot think of any action which he took which ended up
helping Rosecrans or hurting Bragg to any appreciable degree (even if
he had followed orders completely, he may not have assisted Rosecrans
depending upon the circumstances). In reality, his movements to
assist were so little and so late that they did not amount to
"Assistance" is not congruous with a "movement to assist."
> In fact, Rosecrans and Burnside's flanks were connected, and theywere in
> contact with each other from September 12th on. Burnside fulfilledthose orders.
Those were just the orders, if I understand you correctly, to at least
connect with the cavalry.
He never fulfilled the later orders to move to Rosecrans with all
> He was also trying to fulfill Halleck's OTHER orders, the onestelling him to
> secure the VA State line and the North Carolina passes. I note thatyou have
> not commented on those yet.Those orders, IIRC, came before the orders to move to Rosecrans' support.
> More seriously, I suspect the problem you are having here is thefact that
> Rosecrans changed the objective in midstream, and thus left Burnsideout of
> position. Originally, when Burnside and Rosecrans discussed thisoperation in
> June, the objective was Chattanooga. After taking Chattanooga andEast Tennessee,
> Rosecrans intended to pause and build up supplies like he did afterTullahoma.
> Once across the Tennessee, however, Rosecrans became convinced thatBragg was
> headed for Rome (another 50 miles south of Chattanooga, andcompletely beyond
> any support Burnside could project) and entered a pursuit immediately.freed Burnside to
> Crittenden informed Burnside of this move on Sept 13 or so, which
> concentrate on closing what the Federals all regarded as the reardoor, i.e.
> the VA-TN RR connection.That's fine and dandy until he got orders which clearly told him to
support Rosecrans (forgetting for now that Burnside allowed Buckner to
join Bragg without Burnside doing anything about it).
> This was a real concern. In fact, Burnside was receiving reports allthrough
> september that Lee was either sending Ewell's Corps or leading it toSW Va to
> attack Burnside, recapture ETENN, and strike at Rosecrans; rear. Infact, Lee
> himself lamented after the fact that if he had known that Burnsidewas going
> to occupy East Tenn in strength, he would have sent Longstreet toBristol
> instead of Chattanooga.That's fine and dandy until he got his new orders. His available
forces included those in the northeast. Instead of putting some of
them in a defensive posture and moving with the rest to support
Rosecrans as his orders mandated, he and many of his troops stayed in
the northeast trying to deal with that enemy.
> To return to the basic point, however, Rosecrans fundamentalalteration of
> the strategic objective also rendered Burnside moot as far as mutualsupport
> went.No. Rosecrans' alteration should have had no effect on Burnsides'
orders. They were to move all available force to Rosey's support, and
Burnside didn't do that.
> > You have yet to respond to my charge that Buckner's leaving Eastexactly w
> > Tennessee to join Bragg should have caused Burnside to balance that
> > fact. Burnside didn't and Chattanooga resulted (although many other
> > blunders were also made).
> I am not sure what you mean by this. In fact, Buckner's retreat is
> hat Burnside and Rosey hoped for when they discussed operations inJune.
> Conversely, Buckner and Bragg most feared the idea that Burnsidewould not join with
> Rosey, but instead occupy East Tennesse. Burnside's move into EastTennessee
> helped Rosecrans in his most important goal, the unimpeded crossingof the
> Tennessee, which proved such a devastating surprise for Bragg bySept 3 or so.
> However, Buckner moved south to the Athens -Cleveland area, and Hill
> north towards the Hiwassee specifically to meet a crossing threat aboveBragg was hoping
> Chattanooga. The unification that you suggest here is exactly what
> for, so he could defeat the Federal thrust as it crossed aboveChattanooga, and
> while the Federals were still entrapped in crossing the river. Hill andSeptember 2-3,
> Forrest actually discussed offensive plans along the north bank on
> since Rosecrans did not seem inclined to cross above on his own part.Burnside
> Buckner's retreat created exactly the strategic vacuum Rosey and
> counted on, and I think they took advantage of it.Once Buckner moved away from Burnside's front and joined Bragg,
Burnside should have realized that Rosecrans would need that much more
support. If Buckner, instead, stayed in front of Burnside, then
Burnside would have been responsible for helping Rosecrans counter
him. Think about this analogy: if Buell knew that the forces which
just evacuated Nashville moved to Corinth in order to gang up on
Grant, it was then his responsibility to support Grant.
> I am curious, however, what you think Burn should have done. Please befun, but not
> specific, in terms of troops, crossings, etc. Random speculation is
> really very useful from an operational planning basis.As suggestions (but these depend on a number of factors):
Once Burnside received his emphatic orders, he should have followed
them. He should have had much of his northeastern forces immediately
move south by march and rail to Loudon; the remainder should have
obstructed roads and taken a defensive posture to counter any CSA
advance; Burnside himself should have been in the South; he should
have had his engineers immediately obtain boats or bridging for
crossing around Loudon; he should have stripped much of the garrisons
in the middle part of E Tenn. and the gap and had the incoming 9th
Corps take over for them. Once the troops were concentrated in the
south and a means of crossing obtained, he should have moved quickly
Instead he had troops in the northeast move away from the destination
listed in his orders; troops from Knoxville were ordered further east
(until countermanded the next day, IIRC), engineers worked on
fortifications at Knoxville, and his force as a whole did not move
towards Rosecrans in any great strength or any great hurry.
> Dave Powell