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One thing about Grant critics I have never understood.

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  • aot1952
    Over the past months there is one thing about Grant critics here and on other boards that I have never understood. Why they seem to overlook or ignore what to
    Message 1 of 58 , Jan 3, 2002
      Over the past months there is one thing about Grant critics here and
      on other boards that I have never understood. Why they seem to
      overlook or ignore what to me was Grant's single greatest military
      miscue of the war. It was such a fundalmental and elementary error
      that it seems to have been overlooked in the sea of nit picks and
      semantics. It is also an error that Grant I believe never tried to
      directly explain or really address in his Memories.
      I confess I am no expert on Grant's actions in Virginia but in late
      March and early April 1862 Grant had placed his Army on the wrong
      side of the Tennessee River. How many pickets where or where not sent
      out, whether or not it was a good idea to entrench or not to
      entrench, Grant's excusable or unexcuseable absence from the front,
      whether he purposely lied when he stated Sherman had been severly
      wounded, etc... all seem to me to be various degrees of Monday
      morning quarterbacking that really miss the HUGE mistake.
      After the initial stabs at the Confederate rail roads clearly the
      purpose of the campaign had become for Grant to wait for Buell to
      hook up with his forces before the big push on Corinth.
      IMHO Grant's placement of his forces on the West side of the
      Tennessee River was an inexcusable error of the highest order and one
      that one would expect of a Pope, Banks, or Butler. I have read where
      Charles Smith was the one who made this decision and Grant merely
      accepted it upon re-assuming command in late March. I am not sure
      this is accurate and even if it was I do not see how it relieves
      Grant from liability for an incredibly 'bonehead' decision. Grant had
      more than enough time to change the troop dispositions after he was
      reasigned to command on I think March 17 or 18. By placing his forces
      (however arrayed) on the West side of the River Grant for no reason
      whatsoever set the stage for a possible Union disaster.
      For what it is worth this seems to me to have been the clearest,
      biggest mistake Grant ever made while commanding troops in the West.
      I think I am safe in ranking it up there with General Pillow's
      Mexican War experience of digging trenchs which faced in the wrong
      direction.
      Does this mistake make Grant a bad military commander, in my book?
      Not necessarily in view of his overall performance . But I do remain
      puzzled why his present day critics fail to focus on this error and
      instead concentrate on other areas of much more dubious substance.
      I suppose I could be wrong-
      Wakefield
    • FLYNSWEDE@AOL.COM
      In a message dated 1/18/02 6:31:10 PM Eastern Standard Time, theme_music@yahoo.com writes:
      Message 58 of 58 , Jan 18, 2002
        In a message dated 1/18/02 6:31:10 PM Eastern Standard Time,
        theme_music@... writes:

        << At any rate, Smith commanded the expedition at the time Sherman
        landed at Pittsburg.
        >>

        Eric,
        At the time that Sherman with his flotilla and divisision went up the river
        to close to Muscle Shoals and then back to Pittsburg Landing, Smith was not
        with him. Smith might have chosen Sherman to do the scouting and commanded
        him in that manner, but the overall commander of the expedition was Sherman.
        Smith was still back in Savannah when Sherman landed.

        Wayne
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