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Re: Battle of Iuka

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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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