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Re: [civilwarwest] Battle of Iuka

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  • Kevin & Judy Coy
    Or why Grant or Ord did not send riders to ascertain why an attack was not being made, as expected, is a mystery to me. After all, Rosecrans was pitched into
    Message 1 of 14 , May 2, 2007
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      Or why Grant or Ord did not send riders to ascertain why an attack was not being made, as expected, is a mystery to me.  After all, Rosecrans was pitched into battle, whereas Grant and Ord were doing who knows what while waiting for a battle.
       
      Kevin S. Coy
       
       
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2007 3:31 PM
      Subject: [civilwarwest] Battle of Iuka

      Not sure if anyone has noticed this, but I think there's a more
      logical explanation for why Ord never attacked at Iuka.

      Ord was 4 miles north of Iuka, Rosecrans was 2 miles south. Ord
      reported at some point during the day (PUSG) that he heard irregular
      cannonading off to the south, but he did not seem to feel that it
      indicated a general engagement. Rosecrans reported after the battle
      that the terrain was very rough and at no point was he able to bring
      his artillery to bear upon the enemy for any length of time.

      So Ord was waiting to hear the sounds of artillery booming in the
      distance, but the musket fire that dominated the battle did not carry
      the distance between Ord and Rosecrans.

      Why Rosecrans, who had been communicating via telegraph regularly
      with Grant up to that point, did not send a rider back to the
      telegraph line to let Grant know that the general engagement had
      begun, is a mystery to me.

    • Bill Bruner
      Yes, it has always seemed to me that that the onus of Grant s and Ord s inaction has been unfairly shifted to Rosecrans. Bill bruner ... was not being made, as
      Message 2 of 14 , May 2, 2007
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        Yes, it has always seemed to me that that the onus of Grant's and
        Ord's inaction has been unfairly shifted to Rosecrans.

        Bill bruner


        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Kevin & Judy Coy"
        <thecoys1976@...> wrote:
        >
        > Or why Grant or Ord did not send riders to ascertain why an attack
        was not being made, as expected, is a mystery to me. After all,
        Rosecrans was pitched into battle, whereas Grant and Ord were doing
        who knows what while waiting for a battle.
        >
        > Kevin S. Coy
        >
        >
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: Tony Gunter
        > To: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
        > Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2007 3:31 PM
        > Subject: [civilwarwest] Battle of Iuka
        >
        >
        > Not sure if anyone has noticed this, but I think there's a more
        > logical explanation for why Ord never attacked at Iuka.
        >
        > Ord was 4 miles north of Iuka, Rosecrans was 2 miles south. Ord
        > reported at some point during the day (PUSG) that he heard
        irregular
        > cannonading off to the south, but he did not seem to feel that it
        > indicated a general engagement. Rosecrans reported after the
        battle
        > that the terrain was very rough and at no point was he able to
        bring
        > his artillery to bear upon the enemy for any length of time.
        >
        > So Ord was waiting to hear the sounds of artillery booming in the
        > distance, but the musket fire that dominated the battle did not
        carry
        > the distance between Ord and Rosecrans.
        >
        > Why Rosecrans, who had been communicating via telegraph regularly
        > with Grant up to that point, did not send a rider back to the
        > telegraph line to let Grant know that the general engagement had
        > begun, is a mystery to me.
        >
      • bjer50010
        ... not being made, as expected, is a mystery to me. After all, Rosecrans was pitched into battle, whereas Grant and Ord were doing who knows what while
        Message 3 of 14 , May 2, 2007
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          --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Kevin & Judy Coy"
          <thecoys1976@...> wrote:
          >
          > Or why Grant or Ord did not send riders to ascertain why an attack was
          not being made, as expected, is a mystery to me. After all, Rosecrans
          was pitched into battle, whereas Grant and Ord were doing who knows what
          while waiting for a battle.
          >
          > Kevin S. Coy
          >

          Kevin,

          I think you make a valid point. Grant and Ord certainly could have done
          more to find out what was happening and probably deserve more criticism
          than they are given. But consider the cases below, in both of which a
          major battle was raging, with assistance within marching distance, and
          in neither case did the commander away from the scene make a serious
          effort to find out what was happening.

          The same question that you raised can also be asked about Lew Wallace at
          Shiloh, a question which I have raised in the past and not gotten a
          satisfactory answer for. Grant's critics love to blame Grant for the
          delays by Wallace but ISTM that Wallace never made an effort to contact
          Grant throughout the day. All message traffic went from Grant to
          Wallace none from Wallace to Grant. Yet there are posters here and
          elsewhere who do not cut Grant the same slack that you do for Rosecrans
          above.

          The same point can also be made about Buell at Perryville with regards
          to McCook. McCook has been criticised for not sending to Buell earlier
          for help and for not informing him earlier that there was a major attack
          going on. But ISTM that Buell could and should have sent someone to
          find out what was happening. This case is especially appropriate to the
          discussion of Iuka because in both instances one of the major problems
          was the role of acoustic shadow in muting the sounds of the battle. Was
          McCook unfairly criticised? After all he was in the middle of a major
          fight. Does that excuse his NOT sending a messenger to Buell earlier
          than he did? Does the onus not fall on Buell as you state it should
          fall on Grant? And what fault rests with the right wing of the army for
          not determining what was going on?

          ISTM that the question under investigation tends to be answered along
          partisan lines, ie. if you suuport Grant the blame falls on Rosecrans.
          Similarly in the above cases Grant gets criticised relentlessly by his
          critics for his dealings with Wallace and McCook gets the majority of
          the blame at Perryville. In both of the latter cases, these were the
          commanders who were involved in the fighting, yet they get blamed.

          Just some points to ponder.

          J Barry Jewell


          >
          > ----- Original Message -----
          > From: Tony Gunter
          > To: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
          > Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2007 3:31 PM
          > Subject: [civilwarwest] Battle of Iuka
          >
          >
          > Not sure if anyone has noticed this, but I think there's a more
          > logical explanation for why Ord never attacked at Iuka.
          >
          > Ord was 4 miles north of Iuka, Rosecrans was 2 miles south. Ord
          > reported at some point during the day (PUSG) that he heard irregular
          > cannonading off to the south, but he did not seem to feel that it
          > indicated a general engagement. Rosecrans reported after the battle
          > that the terrain was very rough and at no point was he able to bring
          > his artillery to bear upon the enemy for any length of time.
          >
          > So Ord was waiting to hear the sounds of artillery booming in the
          > distance, but the musket fire that dominated the battle did not carry
          > the distance between Ord and Rosecrans.
          >
          > Why Rosecrans, who had been communicating via telegraph regularly
          > with Grant up to that point, did not send a rider back to the
          > telegraph line to let Grant know that the general engagement had
          > begun, is a mystery to me.
          >
        • James W. Durney
          Why is Grant always responsible to find out what is going on? Why isn t General So-n-so responsible to report to his Commanding Officer? James
          Message 4 of 14 , May 2, 2007
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            Why is Grant always responsible to find out what is going on? Why
            isn't General So-n-so responsible to report to his Commanding Officer?

            James
          • William H Keene
            ... I thought that the explanation you give is the same as the explanation I have heard it the past. ... carry ... I think the communication connection was not
            Message 5 of 14 , May 2, 2007
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              --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Tony Gunter" <tony_gunter@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > Not sure if anyone has noticed this, but I think there's a more
              > logical explanation for why Ord never attacked at Iuka.
              > ...

              I thought that the explanation you give is the same as the
              explanation I have heard it the past.



              > Ord was 4 miles north of Iuka, Rosecrans was 2 miles south. Ord
              > reported at some point during the day (PUSG) that he heard irregular
              > cannonading off to the south, but he did not seem to feel that it
              > indicated a general engagement. Rosecrans reported after the battle
              > that the terrain was very rough and at no point was he able to bring
              > his artillery to bear upon the enemy for any length of time.
              >
              > So Ord was waiting to hear the sounds of artillery booming in the
              > distance, but the musket fire that dominated the battle did not
              carry
              > the distance between Ord and Rosecrans.
              >
              > Why Rosecrans, who had been communicating via telegraph regularly
              > with Grant up to that point, did not send a rider back to the
              > telegraph line to let Grant know that the general engagement had
              > begun, is a mystery to me.

              I think the communication connection was not as good as you
              indicate. IIRC, Rosecrans did sent couriers, but the distance was
              long and the message did not get through.
            • Tony Gunter
              ... was not being made, as expected, is a mystery to me. After all, Rosecrans was pitched into battle, whereas Grant and Ord were doing who knows what while
              Message 6 of 14 , May 2, 2007
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                --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Kevin & Judy Coy"
                <thecoys1976@...> wrote:
                >
                > Or why Grant or Ord did not send riders to ascertain why an attack
                was not being made, as expected, is a mystery to me. After all,
                Rosecrans was pitched into battle, whereas Grant and Ord were doing
                who knows what while waiting for a battle.
                >
                > Kevin S. Coy


                Rosecrans telegraphed Grant on Sept. 18th to let him know that he
                hadn't made it as far as he wanted because his scouts had gotten
                lost. He was still 20 miles from Iuka, and the plan was to wake up a
                4:30 a.m. and reach Iuka by 1 or 2 p.m.

                Clearly, that plan was shaky ... it would be difficult to move a
                force half that size 20 miles in 9.5 hours.

                The original plan called for Ord to attack Price, and Rosecrans to
                sweep in on Price's flank. Grant informed Ord based on this
                telegraph that he should wait to hear the sounds of battle before
                moving.

                Rosecrans again telegraphed Grant on Sept. 19th at 6:00 a.m. to let
                him know he had moved two miles (!), but that he still planned to be
                at Iuka by 2 p.m. (18 miles in 8 hours). The telegraph was received
                at 9:00 a.m., so it was a three hour ordeal to get a telegraph to
                Grant.

                Rosecrans once again telegraphed Grant at 12:40 p.m. (IIRC) to let
                him know that he had hit the pickets and was sending out cavalry and
                infantry to the east to block Price's escape. No mention was made
                concerning how much of his force was up or when he might be ready for
                the attack. Given the 3 hour turn-around time, Grant would have
                received this message at 4:00 p.m. (!)

                Rosecrans had informed Grant that the ground to the south of Iuka
                would be completely open, while the ground over which Ord would
                attack would be very wooded. Given this intel, there's no reason
                Grant had to suspect that the general engagement wouldn't involve a
                great deal of cannon fire. However, Rosecran's final telegraph to
                Grant, sent at 10:30 p.m. (!), indicated that the Rosecrans' fight
                had been over very difficult terrain and that he had no opportunity
                to bring his cannons to bear.

                The plan for the attack was Rosecrans', the bulk of the attacking
                force was under the command of Rosecrans, the problem with the
                timetable was due to Rosecrans, Rosecrans was communicating to Grant
                throughout the day (except, or course, for the duration of the actual
                battle), and Grant had no reason to suspect that Ord would not hear
                continuous cannonading throughout the engagement.

                There's an undated message from Ord to Grant in PUSG in which Ord
                indicates that he could hear irregular cannonading off to the south.
                It makes much more sense to me that Ord simply couldn't hear the
                musketry of the engagement (six to eight miles over heavily wooded
                terrain), and was waiting to hear regular cannonading than the silly
                sounding "acoustic shadow." Yeah, there was an accoustic shadow ...
                it's called eight miles of thick woods.
              • theme_music
                If you are Rosecrans, and you know Ord is waiting to hear your guns before he begins his assault, wouldn t it make sense to unlimber a battery or two and start
                Message 7 of 14 , May 2, 2007
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                  If you are Rosecrans, and you know Ord is waiting to hear your guns
                  before he begins his assault, wouldn't it make sense to unlimber a
                  battery or two and start firing, even if you really had nothing to
                  shoot at? Doesn't that make a lot more sense as "communications" than
                  sending riders back around the 3 hour minimum loop? Now I'm certainly
                  not stating that I know of some precedence for this, in fact I don't,
                  but my question would be, why not?

                  Eric
                • Tony Gunter
                  ... attack ... a ... be ... received ... and ... for ... Actually, I see this message in the O.R., and it does say that one division has moved forward
                  Message 8 of 14 , May 2, 2007
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                    --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Tony Gunter" <tony_gunter@...>
                    wrote:
                    >
                    > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Kevin & Judy Coy"
                    > <thecoys1976@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Or why Grant or Ord did not send riders to ascertain why an
                    attack
                    > was not being made, as expected, is a mystery to me. After all,
                    > Rosecrans was pitched into battle, whereas Grant and Ord were doing
                    > who knows what while waiting for a battle.
                    > >
                    > > Kevin S. Coy
                    >
                    >
                    > Rosecrans telegraphed Grant on Sept. 18th to let him know that he
                    > hadn't made it as far as he wanted because his scouts had gotten
                    > lost. He was still 20 miles from Iuka, and the plan was to wake up
                    a
                    > 4:30 a.m. and reach Iuka by 1 or 2 p.m.
                    >
                    > Clearly, that plan was shaky ... it would be difficult to move a
                    > force half that size 20 miles in 9.5 hours.
                    >
                    > The original plan called for Ord to attack Price, and Rosecrans to
                    > sweep in on Price's flank. Grant informed Ord based on this
                    > telegraph that he should wait to hear the sounds of battle before
                    > moving.
                    >
                    > Rosecrans again telegraphed Grant on Sept. 19th at 6:00 a.m. to let
                    > him know he had moved two miles (!), but that he still planned to
                    be
                    > at Iuka by 2 p.m. (18 miles in 8 hours). The telegraph was
                    received
                    > at 9:00 a.m., so it was a three hour ordeal to get a telegraph to
                    > Grant.
                    >
                    > Rosecrans once again telegraphed Grant at 12:40 p.m. (IIRC) to let
                    > him know that he had hit the pickets and was sending out cavalry
                    and
                    > infantry to the east to block Price's escape. No mention was made
                    > concerning how much of his force was up or when he might be ready
                    for
                    > the attack. Given the 3 hour turn-around time, Grant would have
                    > received this message at 4:00 p.m. (!)

                    Actually, I see this message in the O.R., and it does say that one
                    division has moved forward skirmishing with pickets for one mile, and
                    the at head of the second division had arrived. It doesn't
                    necessarily say how long it will take Rosecrans to deploy for the
                    attack, and the message was sent by courier, not by telegraph. The
                    courier apparently didn't reach Grant until late that night, however,
                    after the engagement had ended.
                  • Tony Gunter
                    ... I ve never heard this explained without invoking the acoustic shadow, which sounds like so much magic to me. I don t think sporadic heavy musketry could
                    Message 9 of 14 , May 2, 2007
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                      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "William H Keene" <wh_keene@...>
                      wrote:
                      >
                      > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Tony Gunter" <tony_gunter@>
                      > wrote:
                      > >
                      > > Not sure if anyone has noticed this, but I think there's a more
                      > > logical explanation for why Ord never attacked at Iuka.
                      > > ...
                      >
                      > I thought that the explanation you give is the same as the
                      > explanation I have heard it the past.

                      I've never heard this explained without invoking the "acoustic
                      shadow," which sounds like so much magic to me. I don't think
                      sporadic heavy musketry could be heard through thick woods at eight
                      miles.


                      >
                      > I think the communication connection was not as good as you
                      > indicate. IIRC, Rosecrans did sent couriers, but the distance was
                      > long and the message did not get through.

                      From going back to the O.R., it appears that the 12:40 p.m. message
                      took ~10 hours to reach Grant through the woods. I think if
                      Rosecrans had sent it back to the telegraph line, it would have
                      gotten there in less than half that time. But that's hindsight.
                    • James W. Durney
                      ... I think Cozzen s covers this problem in his book on these battles. ISTM they got lost along the way too. James
                      Message 10 of 14 , May 2, 2007
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                        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "William H Keene" <wh_keene@...>
                        wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        > I think the communication connection was not as good as you
                        > indicate. IIRC, Rosecrans did sent couriers, but the distance was
                        > long and the message did not get through.
                        >

                        I think Cozzen's covers this problem in his book on these battles.
                        ISTM they got lost along the way too.

                        James
                      • James W. Durney
                        ... than ... certainly ... My understanding is that Rosecrans thought the sound of his guns was going to be heard. This is one of those sound problems that
                        Message 11 of 14 , May 2, 2007
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                          --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "theme_music" <theme_music@...>
                          wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          > If you are Rosecrans, and you know Ord is waiting to hear your guns
                          > before he begins his assault, wouldn't it make sense to unlimber a
                          > battery or two and start firing, even if you really had nothing to
                          > shoot at? Doesn't that make a lot more sense as "communications"
                          than
                          > sending riders back around the 3 hour minimum loop? Now I'm
                          certainly
                          > not stating that I know of some precedence for this, in fact I don't,
                          > but my question would be, why not?
                          >

                          My understanding is that Rosecrans thought the sound of his guns was
                          going to be heard. This is one of those sound problems that pop up
                          from time to time. Neither side is fully to blame and neither is free
                          of guilt. However, Rosecrans was responsible to keep Grant informed
                          and should have done more to make sure his message was received.

                          James
                        • Kevin & Judy Coy
                          Tony, I think I agree with everything you have written. :) Rosecrans told them of the delay. Told them of the problems he was having. ISTM that if Grant and
                          Message 12 of 14 , May 2, 2007
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                            Tony,
                            I think I agree with everything you have written. :)  Rosecrans told them of the delay.  Told them of the problems he was having.  ISTM that if Grant and Ord were expecting a battle...and one had not started, a scouting party could have been dispatched to find out why.  Hell, for all Grant and Ord knew, Rosecrans could have been completely surrounded and had to surrender.  You would think they would be a little curious about what was happening and not wait until after the battle and ....
                             
                            Oh never mind, so many aphids in my rose garden. LOL
                             
                            Kevin  
                            ----- Original Message -----
                            Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2007 12:56 PM
                            Subject: [civilwarwest] Re: Battle of Iuka

                            --- In civilwarwest@ yahoogroups. com, "Kevin & Judy Coy"
                            <thecoys1976@ ...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Or why Grant or Ord did not send riders to ascertain why an attack
                            was not being made, as expected, is a mystery to me. After all,
                            Rosecrans was pitched into battle, whereas Grant and Ord were doing
                            who knows what while waiting for a battle.
                            >
                            > Kevin S. Coy

                            Rosecrans telegraphed Grant on Sept. 18th to let him know that he
                            hadn't made it as far as he wanted because his scouts had gotten
                            lost. He was still 20 miles from Iuka, and the plan was to wake up a
                            4:30 a.m. and reach Iuka by 1 or 2 p.m.

                            Clearly, that plan was shaky ... it would be difficult to move a
                            force half that size 20 miles in 9.5 hours.

                            The original plan called for Ord to attack Price, and Rosecrans to
                            sweep in on Price's flank. Grant informed Ord based on this
                            telegraph that he should wait to hear the sounds of battle before
                            moving.

                            Rosecrans again telegraphed Grant on Sept. 19th at 6:00 a.m. to let
                            him know he had moved two miles (!), but that he still planned to be
                            at Iuka by 2 p.m. (18 miles in 8 hours). The telegraph was received
                            at 9:00 a.m., so it was a three hour ordeal to get a telegraph to
                            Grant.

                            Rosecrans once again telegraphed Grant at 12:40 p.m. (IIRC) to let
                            him know that he had hit the pickets and was sending out cavalry and
                            infantry to the east to block Price's escape. No mention was made
                            concerning how much of his force was up or when he might be ready for
                            the attack. Given the 3 hour turn-around time, Grant would have
                            received this message at 4:00 p.m. (!)

                            Rosecrans had informed Grant that the ground to the south of Iuka
                            would be completely open, while the ground over which Ord would
                            attack would be very wooded. Given this intel, there's no reason
                            Grant had to suspect that the general engagement wouldn't involve a
                            great deal of cannon fire. However, Rosecran's final telegraph to
                            Grant, sent at 10:30 p.m. (!), indicated that the Rosecrans' fight
                            had been over very difficult terrain and that he had no opportunity
                            to bring his cannons to bear.

                            The plan for the attack was Rosecrans', the bulk of the attacking
                            force was under the command of Rosecrans, the problem with the
                            timetable was due to Rosecrans, Rosecrans was communicating to Grant
                            throughout the day (except, or course, for the duration of the actual
                            battle), and Grant had no reason to suspect that Ord would not hear
                            continuous cannonading throughout the engagement.

                            There's an undated message from Ord to Grant in PUSG in which Ord
                            indicates that he could hear irregular cannonading off to the south.
                            It makes much more sense to me that Ord simply couldn't hear the
                            musketry of the engagement (six to eight miles over heavily wooded
                            terrain), and was waiting to hear regular cannonading than the silly
                            sounding "acoustic shadow." Yeah, there was an accoustic shadow ...
                            it's called eight miles of thick woods.

                          • Tony Gunter
                            ... Grant did send out two staffers to ride to Rosecrans and see what was going on. They also tried to make the return trip across country and got so lost
                            Message 13 of 14 , May 2, 2007
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                              --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Kevin & Judy Coy"
                              <thecoys1976@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Tony,
                              > I think I agree with everything you have written. :)
                              > Rosecrans told them of the delay. Told them of the
                              > problems he was having. ISTM that if Grant and Ord
                              > were expecting a battle...and one had not started, a
                              > scouting party could have been dispatched to find out
                              > why. Hell, for all Grant and Ord knew, Rosecrans
                              > could have been completely surrounded and had to
                              > surrender. You would think they would be a little
                              > curious about what was happening and not wait until
                              > after the battle and ....
                              >
                              > Oh never mind, so many aphids in my rose garden. LOL

                              Grant did send out two staffers to ride to Rosecrans and see what was
                              going on. They also tried to make the return trip across country and
                              got so lost that they didn't show up until the next morning.

                              :)
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