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

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  • 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 1 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 2 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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