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Re: [civilwarwest] Re: The AotT at Chattanooga

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  • FLYNSWEDE@AOL.COM
    In a message dated 4/2/01 4:19:32 PM Eastern Daylight Time, josepharose@yahoo.com writes:
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 2, 2001
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      In a message dated 4/2/01 4:19:32 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
      josepharose@... writes:

      << What is your opinion on Ewing's reason for mistating the results of
      his assault? Did he actually think that no one would notice the
      discrepancy between his and everyone else's reports? It seems a most
      egregious misstatement.
      >>
      On the 24th, Sherman told his brother-inb-law Hugh Ewing to go ahead and keep
      his lines intact. He also specifically told Ewing, "Don't call for help
      until you actually need it." Ewing, although had available nine brigades,
      decided to use only two for the attack on Tunnel Hill, Corse's and Loomis's.
      Corse was to come up the narrow valley between Ewing's (Alexander's) Hill and
      Tunnel Hill. Loomis was to be on Corse's right and attack via the open
      fields. Matthies's and Raum's brigades were to move forward behind Loomis as
      emergency support. Giles Smith and his brigade was to move up the eastern
      face of Tunnel Hill. Cockrill's and Alexander's brigades were to remain in
      their entrenchments. The advancement of the brigades was to be
      simultaneously. Sherman's reasoning in utilizing a single brigade as the
      striking column was based upon the narrow ridge of Tunnel Hill, which would
      limit the number of troops operating on that ridge. Any one that has ever
      visited the Sherman Reservation at Tunnel Hill knows that the egress to where
      the Confederates were entrenched is not only fairly steep, but also only
      about 75 yards wide. To the west of where the Confederates were, the slopes
      are between 30 degrees and 45 degrees, thus making it extremely difficult to
      scale. That is the area that would be to Corse's right, and to where Loomis
      was to press his attack.

      Ewing told Loomis to hug the hills to the first open field west of Tunnel
      Hill, then to wheel to the left (which would be towards where Swett's
      Mississippi Battery was placed) and push away skirmishers. Ewing also
      directly ordered Loomis not to bring on a general engagement.

      Sherman gave oral orders to Lightborn to send 200 men to occupy Tunnel Hill.
      Lightborn sent Col. Theodore Jones of the 30th Ohio with 170 men and added to
      that strength, 30 men from the 4th West Virginia.

      Halfway down the southern slope of Lightburn's Hill, Jones ran into Captain
      Sam Foster's 24th Texas. Fierce fighting evolved from tree to tree, but
      eventually, Foster fell back to Tunnel Hill. Jones made it to the rebel
      breastworks (perhaps these are breastworks that Ewing refers to in his
      report, which are below Tunnel Hill and the breastworks where Swett's MS
      Battery was placed.) 250 yards from the crest of Tunnel Hill and in full open
      view of Swett's guns.

      Corse and Jones meet and disagree on a plan of attack. Jones then goes back
      and meets with Sherman. Sherman orders charge (which concur with the orders
      given to Corse by Ewing). "I'll give you all you want - more men, more
      artillary," Sherman told Jones.

      The attack was to have begun at 6:30 AM - but with all the disagreements,
      time to run back and forth for clarification, it was just before 9:00 that
      Major Hiram W. Hall's 40th Illinois, with five companies totalling 130 men,
      the lead regiment, started moving forward. Corse's Brigade consisted of the
      40th Illinois, 103rd Illinois, 46th Ohio, and the 6th Iowa . Corse gave Hall
      three companies of the 103rd IL which Hall placed 30 paces behind his five
      companies. The 46th Ohio (with Col Walcutt in command) lined up behind
      these troops and the remainder of the 103rd IL and the 6th Iowa trailed in
      support.

      As Hall pushed forward, he ran into Foster's pickets, but within minutes was
      passing beyond Foster's flanks. They made it to the breastworks that Foster
      had abandoned. Corse had promised Hall support for his advance, but when
      Hall looked around, none was to be seen. His troops in diaries said it was
      the first time they ever heard Hall swear. Hall later wrote, " We could
      easily have driven the enemy back and captured their battery."

      The delay in the advancement allowed Cleburn time to reenforce Smith's
      Brigade (6-10th Tx Inf, 15th, 17th, 18th, 24th, 25th Tx Cav Dismounted), the
      7th Texas under Grandbury, and Swett's MS Battery, with John Brown's
      Tennesseeans and Lewis's Orphan Brigade.

      Corse then ordered a second charge, with again the 40th Illinois in the lead
      but this time, Corse was with them. Smith's riflemen, on top of the hill,
      had begun firing at a range of about four hundred yards. But it was the
      cannister from Swett's guns firing down the throats of the advancing troops,
      made it almost impossible for any troops to withstand it.

      The 40th kept on going forward. Men began dropping by the dozens. Still
      they went forward. Corse and the 40th pushed within 300 yards of the rim
      when suddenly Corse was struck down (some of the men reported he was hit
      slightly in the leg - some authors say he was hit in the head) and removed
      down the hill. The front line now began to waver and halt and with some of
      the men falling back in small groups. Hall once again complained that for
      the want of support, the attack failed.

      Gathering troops together, now under the command of Col. Walcutt who replaced
      Corse, the troops moved forward again only to try to take the Hill. Again,
      with the combination of cannister and rifle fire from the well positioned and
      entrenched rebel troops, and again the brigade kept on going forward.
      Eventually, two men of the 40th made it over the rebel entrenchments but were
      killed immediately. Swett's Battery initially commanded by Lt H. Shannon
      would eventually be commanded by a Corporal and using infantry to act as a
      gun crew. Some of Foster's men jumped over their works, running down the
      hill yelling and started engaging the Union troops in hand to hand fighting.
      Other rebels, exhausting their cartridges, started throwing rocks at the
      Union troops struggling up the hill.

      Needless to say, only two men mentioned before made it over the breastworks
      and they died immediately. The whole affair was a slaughter and Corse's
      brigade was given an impossible task. They failed, but not for trying. Even
      if Sherman had sent additional men, there was not the room for them due to
      the narrow egress terrain. Slopes were steep and slippery due to recent
      rains. The whole operation was doom to failure even before the start.

      Your obedient servant,

      Wayne Bengston
    • josepharose@yahoo.com
      Wayne, You wrote that, The whole affair [assaulting Tunnel Hill] was a slaughter and Corse s brigade was given an impossible task. They failed, but not for
      Message 2 of 8 , Apr 4, 2001
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        Wayne,

        You wrote that, "The whole affair [assaulting Tunnel Hill] was a
        slaughter and Corse's brigade was given an impossible task. They
        failed, but not for trying. Even if Sherman had sent additional men,
        there was not the room for them due to the narrow egress terrain.
        Slopes were steep and slippery due to recent rains. The whole
        operation was doom[ed] to failure even before the start."

        Some authors have suggested that, with up to seven divisions at his
        disposal, Sherman's force far outnumbered Cleburne's and could have
        overwhelmed it. By starting earlier in the day, when the Confederates
        wouldn't have had as much time to prepare entrenchments, and attacking
        en masse from the creek to his far right, Sherman's chances could have
        been quite good.

        Do you think that Sherman could have and should have taken Tunnel Hill
        on the 24th, utilizing a more aggressive advance, employing more of
        his troops, and starting at an earlier time?

        Joseph
      • FLYNSWEDE@AOL.COM
        In a message dated 4/4/01 10:52:31 PM Eastern Daylight Time, josepharose@yahoo.com writes:
        Message 3 of 8 , Apr 4, 2001
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          In a message dated 4/4/01 10:52:31 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
          josepharose@... writes:

          << Some authors have suggested that, with up to seven divisions at his
          disposal, Sherman's force far outnumbered Cleburne's and could have
          overwhelmed it. By starting earlier in the day, when the Confederates
          wouldn't have had as much time to prepare entrenchments, and attacking
          en masse from the creek to his far right, Sherman's chances could have
          been quite good.

          Do you think that Sherman could have and should have taken Tunnel Hill
          on the 24th, utilizing a more aggressive advance, employing more of
          his troops, and starting at an earlier time? >>

          Sherman could have had twenty divisions and it would not have matter. As it
          was, the egress was too narrow, even for a full brigade to charge up it.
          The numbers do not matter. The terrain prohibited a massive number assault.
          Lets face it, Cleburne and Smith chose a fantastic spot to protect Tunnel
          Hill.

          It is a possibility that Sherman could have taken the hill if:
          1. The attack started at 6:30 as planned rather than having Corse and
          Jones argue about how to go about the attack, and then Jones running back to
          Sherman for advice.

          2. Hall almost took the ridge twice, but failed at doing so as a result
          of lack of support from his own brigade when reenforcements were needed.
          It was between these two attacks by Hall and the delay by Corse and Jones,
          that allowed Cleburne to reenforce Smith and Swett's battery. If Hall had
          the support the first time, or even the second time, there was a possibility
          that he could have taken the rebel position. If Corse and Jones hadn't
          argued about how to attack, and just pressed forward, again the possibility
          of them taking the hill since there would be no time delay for Cleburne to
          bring up reenforcements.

          3. Ewing telling Loomis specifically not to bring on a general
          engagement.

          I do not fault Sherman so much in failing to take Tunnel Hill as I do his
          field commanders, Ewing, Corse, Loomis and Jones. Time was of essence. They
          failed to utilize an early attack and their procrastination allowed Cleburne
          to more heavily fortify the hill, not only with troops, but additional
          artillary. Their bungling cost the Union a possible victory, and of course,
          since Sherman was in overall command, the blame for their bungling falls upon
          him by historians. His troops failed to take their objective.
        • Baron VonTecumseh
          On 4-Apr-01, FLYNSWEDE@AOL.COM wrote: In a message dated 4/4/01 10:52:31 PM Eastern Daylight Time, josepharose@yahoo.com writes:
          Message 4 of 8 , Apr 4, 2001
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            On 4-Apr-01, FLYNSWEDE@... wrote:
            In a message dated 4/4/01 10:52:31 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
            josepharose@... writes:

            << Some authors have suggested that, with up to seven divisions at his
            disposal, Sherman's force far outnumbered Cleburne's and could have
            overwhelmed it. By starting earlier in the day, when the Confederates
            wouldn't have had as much time to prepare entrenchments, and attacking
            en masse from the creek to his far right, Sherman's chances could have
            been quite good.

            Do you think that Sherman could have and should have taken Tunnel Hill
            on the 24th, utilizing a more aggressive advance, employing more of
            his troops, and starting at an earlier time? >>

            Sherman could have had twenty divisions and it would not have matter. As it
            was, the egress was too narrow, even for a full brigade to charge up it.
            The numbers do not matter. The terrain prohibited a massive number assault.
            Lets face it, Cleburne and Smith chose a fantastic spot to protect Tunnel
            Hill.

            It is a possibility that Sherman could have taken the hill if:
            1. The attack started at 6:30 as planned rather than having Corse and
            Jones argue about how to go about the attack, and then Jones running back to
            Sherman for advice.

            2. Hall almost took the ridge twice, but failed at doing so as a result
            of lack of support from his own brigade when reenforcements were needed.
            It was between these two attacks by Hall and the delay by Corse and Jones,
            that allowed Cleburne to reenforce Smith and Swett's battery. If Hall had
            the support the first time, or even the second time, there was a possibility
            that he could have taken the rebel position. If Corse and Jones hadn't
            argued about how to attack, and just pressed forward, again the possibility
            of them taking the hill since there would be no time delay for Cleburne to
            bring up reenforcements.

            3. Ewing telling Loomis specifically not to bring on a general
            engagement.

            I do not fault Sherman so much in failing to take Tunnel Hill as I do his
            field commanders, Ewing, Corse, Loomis and Jones. Time was of essence. They
            failed to utilize an early attack and their procrastination allowed Cleburne
            to more heavily fortify the hill, not only with troops, but additional
            artillary. Their bungling cost the Union a possible victory, and of course,
            since Sherman was in overall command, the blame for their bungling falls upon
            him by historians. His troops failed to take their objective.


            If it was such a bad place for an attack,which it was.Doesn't the blame fall on Grant for picking that spot for the MAIN attack. The Baron



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          • josepharose@yahoo.com
            Wayne, You note that, on the 25th, Time was of [the] essence. Wasn t the entire premise of Grant s plan based on the concealment of the AotT until they
            Message 5 of 8 , Apr 4, 2001
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              Wayne,

              You note that, on the 25th, "Time was of [the] essence." Wasn't the
              entire premise of Grant's plan based on the concealment of the AotT
              until they could make a surprise river crossing in order to make a
              dash for Tunnel Hill?

              Two AotT divisions had crossed by daylight, Howard had two which were
              available by 12:00 (although he only led three regiments to the
              bridgehead, leaving when it turned out that Sherman didn't want to
              utilize his corps), and Sherman started the advance with his three
              around 1:00 PM. As he was only a mile and a half away from Tunnel
              Hill, he could have occupied it easily before 2:00 PM when Cleburne
              received his orders to go there himself.

              Worse, it appears that Sherman stayed at the river until after dark,
              which is why he did not find out about his mistake until the next morning.

              All of Sherman's problems on the 25th stem from his failure to
              successfully accomplish his objective on the 25th.

              Joseph
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