Re: One thing about Grant critics I have never understood.
- I think it did go like this:
- the confederates under-emphasize Tennessee defenses because too many expected a short war in the East to decide everything, for a
while Kentucky's "neutrality" was expected to protect the area, there was an odd concern about "the left flank" which displaced troops
into the Arkansas wilderness, and too few Reb planners knew what to expect or do or to anticipate in the war for the control of the
- after a series of disasters, it becomes clear that the area has been neglected and a call goes out to concentrate troops in the area;
notably, the post- Pea Ridge Arkansas troops do not make it in time for Shiloh, and the gamble to strip New Orleans is another disaster.
- the great opportunity to strike presents itself: evidently the Union forces are unaware of the build-up; Grant and the others are
confident that there are not enough Confederate forces in the area to worry about. Didn't they just round them all up at Fort's Henry
and Donelson? The Federals allow themselves to camp in an unprepared condition with their backs to a River: the incredible blunder
of Steven's post.
How bad was this mistake? IMHO, pretty bad, allowing over-confidence to set in with an opponent who has every motivation to pull
off a secret troop re-disposition to try to reverse a huge loss in territory and with the clear ability to do so with the use of the
railroads, wow. Hadn't Bull Run demonstrated the value of the RR for the war? Depending on whether one agrees that the Secesh
forces could have won at Shiloh - and I would say yes with a couple of "what ifs" thrown in - the Union's fortunes could have gone
from the triumph of a thus-far brilliant campaign in the West to the disaster of losing a major battle. I truly believe it would have
meant the ends to the careers of Grant and Sherman both.
What can be said in defense of Grant? I would only say that bad intelligence often makes great generals look bad. I think we can add
RE Lee to that list.
--- In civilwarwest@y..., FLYNSWEDE@A... wrote:
> In a message dated 1/3/02 9:59:20 AM Eastern Standard Time,
> wakefield1952@m... writes:
> << 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. >>
> In addendum to my previous post, one also has to remember that Grant was at
> Savannah not Pittsburg Landing. I have not found any evidence that Grant was
> at the Landing prior to that April day when the Confederates attacked.
> Pickets were sent out by the various regiments. Two days before the battle,
> a detail including an officer got into a skirmish with Confederate pickets
> and were captured, and a rescue party went out and did get some of them back.
> There were signs galore of strong Confederate activity, yet these signs were
> mainly ignored by Sherman and other division commanders. There was a lot of
> frustration amongst regimental commanders that when reporting enemy activity,
> they were rebutted as a result of the belief of the command officers that the
> Confederates would not dare to attack the camp. Ooooh were they ever
> wrong. In dispatches to Grant, none of them indicated a heavy buildup of
> enemy troops, and reported that there were only minor skirmishes, most likely
> with the enemy's cavalry or forward pickets.
> As much as I am an afficiando of Sherman, I will admit he was the one that
> made the major goof, not Grant. He along with the other Division Commanders
> failed to heed the warnings by their subordinates. If they had listen to
> the warnings, IMHO the battle of Shiloh would have had a different historical
> Daggumit - Getting more like Wakefield where I too (like Sherman) could be
- In a message dated 1/18/02 6:31:10 PM Eastern Standard Time,
<< At any rate, Smith commanded the expedition at the time Sherman
landed at Pittsburg.
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.