[civilwarwest] Re: Rosecrans
- Thanks,Kevin for the great analysis!
I agree,but must admit that the words "close up on and support him(Reynolds)"
will always bother me. I have read that when Rosy got excited,his speech
would become inaudible. Maybe this will account for the badly worded order.
Perhaps Maj.Bond added the "support him" to the order,we will never know.
What's really ironic is that Thomas believed Brannan to be in reserve,not in
line. Thomas would not have asked for Brannan had he known this.
Thanks again for your excellent response!
- the coys <thecoy-@...> wrote:
> I do not see Rosecrans' performance at Chickamauga as being thatbad.
> If you judge his actions solely on the basis that he 'lost' then youhave to
> judge all other Generals on the same basis. I do not think you can dothat
> because you would then have to re-write the history of the ANV. :)I'm not sure of the rest, but I think Rosecrans committed serious
mistakes during the campaign. Against Thomas's advice, he divided his
forces into three sections without knowing where exactly his enemy was.
He criticized Thomas for not pushing Negley's troops into McLemore's
Cove faster. Thomas smelled a trap and pulled Negley's division back
to avoid the ambush Bragg had set. Only thru the foolishness of
Bragg's subordinates was Rosecrans allowed the chance to regroup his
> Can you base Rosecrans' performance on the order given to General
> That was a poorly written order that was written by a staff officernot used
> to writing orders. Wood, who was in the presence of his CorpsCommander
> MajGen A. D. McCook, should have questioned the order forclarification.
> McCook should have questioned the order for clarification....it washis
> division. Wood might also have had 'issues' with Rosy.Rosecrans, apparently reacting to a report from a courier, that a hole
existed between two units gave the order to fill it to Woods Division.
He (Rosecrans) did not verify it nor did he send anyone to certify the
facts. Surely, a situation where a hole in your line the breadth of a
Division, meant a large breach of command, requiring further
investigation. You don't set up a battle line and purposely ignore a
division sized hole (although sometimes it happened). He reacted too
quickly. I'm sure the exigencies of the crises at hand caused the
lapse. But, I think this is where Rosecrans ability as a commander can
be questioned. Thomas, beset on his left with maintaining his line of
retreat, besieged on his right by the famous Hood and Longstreet and
barraged by Cleburne and Polk on his center and left has been described
by others as calm and visibly unperturbed. Not knowing (until about
3:00PM when Garfield returned to fill him in) what the status of the
army was on his right, Thomas made his dispositions as calmly and cooly
as the situation required. Longstreet, later reported he made 25
separate attacks on Thomas's right. Thomas was planning to strengthen
his right, protect his rear and no doubt worried as to how, when
Granger, riding to the sound of battle, moved up with Steedman and went
right into line and saved that flank from being overrun. Thomas,
reacted to their appearance with all the passion he ever exhibited by
telling Steedman that "he was always glad to see him, but, never so
glad as now, did you bring any ammunition?" Although he planned and
made an orderly retreat, Garfield wrote that many of the troops in line
(not aware of the entirety of the catastrophe they had prevented) were
suggesting that rather than pull out, they stay and attack the
Confederates. This seems to refute reports that they were demoralized.
They may have been tired and surrounded, but they were not willing to
concede defeat. They figured "Old Pap Thomas" would pull it off.
> Wood moves to the left....one thing that is often forgotten aboutDavis'
> Rosecrans creating a hole in his line is that he had also ordered
> division to the left to fill the gap that would be created by Wood'sthe
> departure. Why? Because as we all know the heaviest fighting was to
> Union left. Rosecrans was shifting his army to the left to assistthe able
> George Thomas. As the movement was taking place....Wood to theleft, Davis
> to the left....Longstreet attacks. Timing is everything. In addition,I
> always ask if Wood was still in place would he have been able to holdYour last question is intriguing. Don't know if Wood could have held
> against the onslaught of Longstreet? I don't know but I doubt it. :)
out. He was faced by Longstreet, Hood and 12,000 of the Confederacies
finest from the ANV and Tennessee. And they came at him in ranks of
Brigades (I think). At any rate, it was a whole bunch, moving at one
point. Also, Rosecrans didn't have much in the way of reserves
because, as you point out he was fortifying Thomas on his right. But,
Woods later record, show he was a good and dogged fighter. It was he
and Wilson that maintained the pressure on Hood all the way to the
Tennessee River, after Nashville. It was he who captured Orchid Hill
before the battle of Missionary Ridge. It was his Division with
Sheridan's that led the way up Missionary Ridge. And when he moved out
of line to Thomas at Chickamauga, he gave good service on the left. I
suspect your conclusion is right though, it would have been a good
> Finally, do we judge Rosecrans performance because he left thefield to
> go to Chattanooga and Garfield went to Thomas? I don't thinkso....where is
> the Commanding General's place? I think he should be establishinghis new
> lines and HQ, setting up a defense and preparing his army for morebattle.
> It is the job of aides and Chiefs-of-staff to deliver orders and toI agree with you throughly! For the reasons you cite. There are those
> ascertain situations.
that criticized Thomas for not being with Schofield at Franklin (Grant,
Schofield and Sherman amongst them) and there are those that criticize
Thomas for not being at the front of Wilson's and Wood's troops during
the pursuit of Hood after Nashville (Grant). The CinC no longer led
troops into battle, he HAD to remain in the rear to direct troop
movements and direct movements of reserves, supplies, pontoon trains
and munitions. He was in charge of planning and analyzing the various
facets of strategy as they develop, to destroy his enemy. Can't do all
that and lead the charge.
I think Rosecrans at times, was brilliant, in many ways. His
maneuvering Bragg out of Tennessee was a model of tactics that Napoleon
would have been proud of. Incidently, it went almost unnoticed in
Washington. They were apparently impressed with victories measured by
stacks of corpses and buckets of blood spilled by the victors.
Obviously such recognition of such successes aided Grant in untold
measure. But, just as `close' only counts in Horseshoes and Hand
Grenades, as CinC, the loss at Chickamauga was his. It didn't help
that he had lost much support in DC some of which he was resposible for.
> Your obedient servant,
> Kevin S. Coy
> REGIMENTALFLAG@... wrote:
> > What do you think of Rosecrans' actions at Chickamauga?