Re: Vicksburg and Gettysburg / a question
- Obviously, this issue is one where everyone has an opinion and each
opinion is just as valid as the other. It is all huge what if!
Like Will my opinion of Lee has changed from the days of my love
affair with the writings of Douglas Southall Freeman. However, while
I no longer consider Lee a possible diety, (LOL) I still recognize
him as the best and most successful field commander the South
possessed. But that is actually a little off topic here I suppose.
However, as long as we are talking about the possible use of the
often spoken of "Southern interior lines" the one possibility that
intrigues me most is one not often discussed.
How about in August 1862 Bragg taking his 28,000 troops from
Chattanooga to Virginia instead of following Kirby Smith into
Kentucky? Since the South still held the direct line thru Knoxville
the move could have been made relatively swiftly. Grant's people in
West Tennessee are widely dispersed and not in a position to do much
more than hunker down in their various garrison assignments at
Bolivar, Memphis, Jackson, and Corinth. The slow moving Buell was
inching across North Alabama and seemed at the mercy of the constant
CS cavalry attacks on his actual or perceived required line of
communications. The US forces in Virginia where subject to a very
dangerous non-responsive division of command under the seeming
uncooperative and ineffective Pope, Little Mac and Henry Halleck.
Lincoln is waiting anxiously for a victory to play his political and
diplomatic 'trump' card-- the Emancipation Proclamation.
To me the possibilities of this move are very intriguing.
I apologize for this dangerously close to OFF TOPIC post.
- --- In civilwarwest@y..., "wh_keene" <wh_keene@y...> wrote:
> I always thought Grant had something to do with the initial
> evacuation of Nashville. Maybe score the point for Foote with an
> assist by Grant. (Sorry, basketball terminology sneaks in
> With an alternative outcome to Stone's River and a recapture of
> Nashville, I think the challenge for Bragg would be to contest any
> effort of Grant to cross the Tennessee.
1. Of course, it was Grant who captured Fort Donelson, opening the
Cumberland R. all the way to Nashville. But when A.S. Johnston
retreated from Bowling Green, he didn't even try to defend Nashville
against Buell coming down from Kentucky. He knew he couldn't do
anything to stop Foote's flotilla, nor could he keep them from
helping Buell to cross the river. So Johnston chose to abandon the
city and hook up with Beauregard at Corinth. (Here's another what if:
what if Beauregard had come to Nashville instead, and their combined
forces struck Buell after he crossed the Cumberland?)
2. Assuming, in our hypothetical scenario, that Bragg scores a
knockout at Stone's River, and recaptures Nashville, I think the best
next move on his part would be to go after Grant who is still in
northern Mississippi at this time, hopefully linking up with
Pemberton's army. Here again, we see that an overall commander in
this theater would be needed. Logically, that would be Bragg. Do
you think he could have managed a hook-up with Pemberton? What do
you think Grant's reaction to all this would be?