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Re: [civilwarwest] Re: Brooks Simpson's Ulysses S. Grant

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  • CashG79@aol.com
    In a message dated 4/30/2001 10:14:45 PM Pacific Daylight Time, basecat1@aol.com writes: I do
    Message 1 of 12 , Apr 30, 2001
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      In a message dated 4/30/2001 10:14:45 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
      basecat1@... writes:

      << Many feel that
      Rosy and GHT are ignored...and I agree... >>


      I do too. There are what? Five books on Thomas? Plus a smattering of
      magazine articles? And only a couple of books and some articles on Rosey
      that I know of. These two definitely could use more scholarship devoted to
      them.

      Regards,
      Cash
    • Bob Huddleston
      A good scholarly biography of Thomas would be very welcome. However, I suspect part of the problem is that he was not at Gettysburg! Unfortunately the only
      Message 2 of 12 , May 1, 2001
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        A good scholarly biography of Thomas would be very welcome.
         
        However, I suspect part of the problem is that he was not at Gettysburg!
         
        Unfortunately the only thing that happened in the Civil War west of the Shenandoah Valley was that USG won a bunch of battles. How many decent and recent books are there on western battles, while the East and GB in particular, groan under the weight of the scholarship.
         
        I suspect that the only biographies from the west that would sell are books on USG and Uncle Billy. And the only battle that matters is Vicksburg.
         
        And that is a shame.

        Take care,

        Bob

        Judy and Bob Huddleston
        10643 Sperry Street
        Northglenn, CO  80234-3612
        303.451.6276   Adco@...

         
        In a message dated 5/1/2001 12:23:41 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
        josepharose@... writes:


         SNIP I'll be honest....I find HUG
        fascinating...but even I am tired of the lack of new scholarship on Thomas.  
        It seems that everytime I walk into the bookstore....a new book appears on
        Grant.   Is a big discussion in the us-civilwar chat room.....Many feel that
        Rosy and GHT are ignored...and I agree.... SNIP 
      • josepharose@yahoo.com
        To all: In Simpson s book, he stated that Baldy Smith urged Grant to make an all-out attack on the ridge at Chattanooga on 11/8/63 to be led by Thomas.
        Message 3 of 12 , May 2, 2001
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          To all:

          In Simpson's book, he stated that "Baldy" Smith "urged" Grant to make
          an all-out attack on the ridge at Chattanooga on 11/8/63 to be led by
          Thomas. The professor quoted Smith as saying he "instigated" the
          all-out attack. I said, according to all I had read (e.g., Cozzens
          and a Smith quote), that he did not. I suggested that any instigation
          may have referred to the advance on Citico Creek and demonstration
          toward the ridge which Smith did undoubtedly propose.

          Not having Smith's autobiography at hand, can anyone provide me with
          excerpts from it of from other sources which would enlighten us on
          this matter?

          Thanks in advance,
          Joseph

          P.S. If you want to read much more on the subject, my last post stated:
          Professor,
          You requested documentation for my assertion that, "Baldy Smith
          did no such thing" in response to your book's statement, "Smith,
          who had urged Grant to order the attack...." regarding Grant's
          peremptory order for Thomas to attack the northern end of
          Missionary Ridge on 11/7/63. As I stated before, "I don't have
          his autobiography present to look it up first-hand." My reading,
          though, had given me adequate confirmation that "Baldy" Smith did
          not share the feelings you ascribed to him.

          As evidence for this conclusion, and in deference to your opinion
          of Smith's reliability as a correspondent, I submit Charles Dana's
          three reports, which are copied below. They seem especially
          acceptable as documentation of the situation, having been written
          before and during the incident and not years after when other
          events may have colored his perspective. The change seen between
          11/5/63, when only an advance to the creek and a demonstration was
          considered, and 11/7/63, when Grant's all-out attack had been
          ordered, is obvious.

          Furthermore, I had quoted the following extract from Baldy Smith
          before: "When it is remembered that eighteen days after this
          Sherman with six perfectly appointed divisions failed to carry
          this same point of Missionary Ridge, at a time when Thomas with
          four divisions stood threatening Bragg's center, and Hooker with
          nearly three divisions was driving in Bragg's left flank (Bragg
          having no more strength than on the 7th), it will not be a matter
          of surprise that the order staggered Thomas." If Smith did urge
          such an attack as you say, he should definitely have been
          surprised if it staggered the very general who he knew was to
          carry it out.

          I would agree with your book's statement that Thomas "paled at the
          notion of a full-scale attack"--psychologically at least, if not
          physiologically. In reality, Grant's plan would have to be
          carried out by a still-hungry Army of the Cumberland--without
          cavalry or horses to draw artillery or a supply train, without
          holding Lookout Mountain or Orchard Knob, with Chattanooga left
          mainly undefended, with Hooker still in Lookout Valley, without
          Sherman's troops, with Johnson's Confederate division still on the
          field, with no advantage of surprise, and with only one day's
          notice. Once accomplished, the troops would take four days
          rations in their haversacks and cut the rail lines some twenty
          miles away. Even if they got that far, Longstreet would have been
          close enough to turn on them. Grant, furthermore, didn't even
          delineate how all of this was to be accomplished; he left that up
          to Thomas.

          Dana to Stanton, 11/5/63 11 AM
          Grant and Thomas considering plan proposed by W. F. Smith to
          advance our pickets on the left to Citico Creek, about a mile in
          front of the position they have occupied from the first, and to
          threaten the seizure of the northwest extremity of Missionary
          Ridge. This, taken in connection with our present demonstration
          in Lookout Valley, will compel them to concentrate and come back
          from Burnside to fight here.

          Dana to Stanton, 11/7/63 10 AM
          Before receiving this information, Grant had ordered Thomas to
          execute the movement on Citico Creek, which I reported on the 5th,
          as proposed by Smith. Thomas, who rather preferred an attempt
          on Lookout Mountain, desired to postpone the operation until Sher-
          man should come up, but Grant has decided that for the sake of
          Burnside the attack must be made at once; and I presume the
          advance on Citico will take place to-morrow morning, and that on
          Missionary Ridge immediately afterward. If successful, this
          operation will divide Bragg's forces in Chattanooga Valley from
          those in the Valley of the Chickamauga, and will compel him either
          to retreat, leaving the railroad communications of Cheatham and
          Longstreet exposed, or else to fight a battle with his diminished
          forces.

          Dana to Stanton, 11/8/63 11 AM
          Reconnaissance of Citico Creek and head of Missionary Ridge
          made yesterday by Thomas, Smith, and Brannan, from the heights
          opposite on the north of the Tennessee, proved Smith's plan of
          attack impracticable. The creek and country are wrongly laid
          down on our maps, and no operation for the seizure of Missionary
          Ridge can be undertaken with the force which Thomas can now
          command for the purpose. That force cannot by any efforts be
          made to exceed 18,000 men. The deficiency of animals, forage, and
          subsistence rendering any attacks by us on Bragg's line of
          communications at Cleveland or Charleston out of the question, it
          follows that no important effort for the relief of Burnside can be
          made.

          P.P.S. To be fair, herewith is the professor's response, starting
          with a quote from my post [so you won't be confused]:
          "You requested documentation for my assertion that, 'Baldy Smith
          did no such thing' in response to your book's statement, 'Smith,
          who had urged Grant to order the attack....' regarding Grant's
          peremptory order for Thomas to attack the northern end of
          Missionary Ridge on 11/7/63. As I stated before, 'I don't have
          his autobiography present to look it up first-hand.'"

          Joseph, have you ever seen the book in question? Have you read
          the part under discussion? And how can you assert that I've
          taken something out of context when you do not have the context
          at hand?

          "My reading, though, had given me adequate confirmation
          that 'Baldy' Smith did not share the feelings you ascribed to
          him."

          Well, I think Smith knew better than you what his feelings were,
          and he set them down in his autobiography.

          "As evidence for this conclusion, and in deference to your opinion
          of Smith's reliability as a correspondent, I submit Charles Dana's
          three reports, which are copied below. They seem especially
          acceptable as documentation of the situation, having been written
          before and during the incident and not years after when other
          events may have colored his perspective."

          Exactly. Each dispatch credits Smith with the concept of the
          operation.

          "The change seen between
          11/5/63, when only an advance to the creek and a demonstration was
          considered, and 11/7/63, when Grant's all-out attack had been
          ordered, is obvious."

          Not to Dana; not to Smith.

          "If Smith did urge
          such an attack as you say, he should definitely have been
          surprised if it staggered the very general who he knew was to
          carry it out."

          That's what Smith said in his autobiography.

          "Grant, furthermore, didn't even delineate how all of this was to be
          accomplished; he left that up to Thomas."

          True. I've already quoted Grant on this. Don't you think it was
          wise of him to allow Thomas to devise the best way to execute the
          order? And, when Thomas and Smith returned with news that
          Smith's plan wouldn't work, didn't Grant heed Thomas's advice?

          So what's the problem?

          As for authorship of the plan, let's focus on the Dana dispatches:

          Dana to Stanton, 11/5/63 11 AM
          "Grant and Thomas considering plan proposed by W. F. Smith to
          advance our pickets on the left to Citico Creek, about a mile in
          front of the position they have occupied from the first, and to
          threaten the seizure of the northwest extremity of Missionary
          Ridge."

          Note Dana says "plan proposed by W. F. Smith."

          Dana to Stanton, 11/7/63 10 AM
          "Before receiving this information, Grant had ordered Thomas to
          execute the movement on Citico Creek, which I reported on the 5th,
          as proposed by Smith."

          Note Dana says "as proposed by Smith."

          Dana to Stanton, 11/8/63 11 AM
          "Reconnaissance of Citico Creek and head of Missionary Ridge
          made yesterday by Thomas, Smith, and Brannan, from the heights
          opposite on the north of the Tennessee, proved Smith?s plan of
          attack impracticable."

          Note Dana called it "Smith's plan."

          Smith's autobiography and Dana's dispatches settle the matter: it
          was Smith's plan. Thanks for providing us with the additional
          information.

          P.P.P.S. Simpson also had asked whether I was as critical of other
          authors; I replied:
          As a very critical reader, I find problems with most
          articles and books that cross my path. On the CivilWarWest
          e-group, someone mentioned errors in Cozzens' "Shipwreck..." and I
          asked what they were. The individual only mentioned a mistake in
          an officer's rank and one other smallish problem. I have yet to
          finish the book, but I have found two more--what I feel
          are--substantial issues. On page 259, enumerating Thomas' assault
          force, Cozzens writes: "On Granger's right, Palmer's Fourteenth
          Corps was represented solely by Richard Johnson's division." Yet,
          in his appendix (no, not that appendix), it correctly states that
          Palmer's third division is Baird's which was on the opposite end
          of the line. Worse, in my mind, the timing of Hooker's delay at
          the bridge appear to be self-contradictory. On page 244, it
          notes, "It was 1:25 P.M. when the ... advance guard ... bumped up
          against the bank of the creek." On the next page, "[Hooker]
          scribbled a note apprising Thomas that his march had stalled ...."
          On page 247, "[Thomas] had heard nothing from Hooker since 1:30
          P.M., when Hooker had reported his delay at the creek ...." Not
          only would these times give Hooker only five minutes to determine
          his situation, scribble a note, and send it over the creek three
          miles to Orchard Knob, but the time of first encountering the
          creek must have happened much sooner.
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