Sherman's deployment at Chattanooga
- Concerning the issue of Sherman's use of non-AotT troops at
On Page 189 of "Life of Major General George H. Thomas" by Thomas Van
Horne (I think the citation is correct), the author wrote: "The three
[divisions] that were under Sherman, two regiments excepted, were in
the, battle only as quiet reserves. Davis' division was in the rear
of Sherman's fighting forces and Howard's corps was between
Missionary Ridge and Chickamauga Creek at rest and undeployed.
General Davis, chafing under enforced inaction, requested permission
to turn the enemy's right flank by moving his division to its rear,
but this movement, which might have produced decisive results;
especially if Howard's corps, or part of it, had participated, was
forbidden by General Sherman. This movement would have supported the
direct attack most effectively, since there were no defenses on the
east side of the ridge, and the slope on that side was far from
steep. Besides it would have harmonized with Grant's plan of
dislodging the enemy by simultaneous attacks in two directions
It does appear that Mr. Van Horne was incorrect as there were three,
not two, non-AotT regiments utilized by Sherman (authors do make
mistakes sometimes). Otherwise, Van Horne describes an opportunity
which Sherman didn't deem worthy of trying.
Date: Thu Jun 28, 2001 3:55 pm
Subject: Re: Sherman's "jealousy" of the AotT
Having failed to take Tunnel Hill the day before--when he could have
occupied it without undue fuss--Sherman still could have achieved
this objective without unreasonable casualties, if he had acted with
dispatch and fortitude.
He was ordered to attack at early dawn. He had his three divisions
and Bushbeck's (I spelled his name incorrectly in a previous post)
brigade at hand. These 16,000-or-so men faced 4000. Only one
Confederate brigade (elite, as it may have been) was atop Tunnel
Hill. Sherman had another division, Davis', within supporting
distance. The remainder of Howard's corps was his for the asking.
Instead, Sherman belatedly sent forward his first wave--about 1100
men. Loomis' brigade, advancing next, received the highly unusual
order that "under no circumstances" was he to bring on a general
engagement. What was Sherman thinking? Wasn't he watching when
Thomas attacked Orchard Knob with an overwhelming force?
In fact, Sherman seems to have had some of his troops entrenching--
and wasting their energy--as late as 8:00 AM on 11/25. This was 90
minutes after the assault should have started. If he had started
sooner, than the enemy would not have been as well-entrenched.
Sherman not only faced Confederates atop Tunnel Hill. He could have
extended the battle to his left, stretching the Rebel resources. One
of his brigades was marching in that very direction, but was called
back before engaging. No other effort was made on that side of the
I do abhor, in general, frontal assaults against prepared positions--
unless there are other factors which make success reasonably certain
and keep casualties to a minimum. With his overwhelming force,
started early in the day, Sherman was in a position to "swamp" the
defenders on the 25th, forgetting about his failure of the previous
day which might also have been due, in part, by his jealousy.
You made no mention of Sherman's decision-making at Snake Creek Gap
and at the Battle of Atlanta. Do you have any opinions about this?
P.S. Thank you for the unintentional compliment implied in your
phrase, "frequently flawed analyses." Doesn't that mean that at
least a few of my opinions aren't flawed?
- In a message dated 9/4/2005 10:37:14 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, dan6764@... writes:
An 1866 document produced by laborers locating bodies on the battlefield stated that the heaviest concentrations of dead lay on the eastern and western sections of the field and that the dead were fairly light in the center where the Hornets Nest was located..This may be true Dan, but remember, as soon as the battle ended, Union troops started gathering up their dead as well as Confederate dead. Those that might have been found after the war was over, were most likely those that were killed in the brush and bramble of the battlefield, whereas, the Hornet's Nest was quite open and bodies were easily found there following the battle.Just a thought of common sense with only documentation of them finding and burying the dead following the battle. IIRC, Grant denied Beauregard access to Confederate dead, since they already had been gathered up and buried.JEJ