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Re: Vicksburg and Gettysburg / a question

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  • hartshje
    Wakefield, Very interesting proposal about Bragg going east. Trying not to get too far off topic, let me just say this: Adding 28,000 men to Lee s army in
    Message 1 of 51 , Mar 2, 2002
      Wakefield,

      Very interesting proposal about Bragg going east. Trying not to get
      too far off topic, let me just say this:

      Adding 28,000 men to Lee's army in Sept '62 would still leave
      McClellan with a 100,000 to 70,000 advantage, very similar to a year
      later in PA, and may have ended in similar results. We will, of
      course, never know. But Lil'Mac was pretty good on defense (like
      Meade later), and if he knew Lee had been reinforced significantly he
      would surely have gone over to the defense. Instead of duking it out
      at Antietam in MD, Lee very well may have taken his shot into PA a
      year earlier.

      For my $0.02, I think Longstreet going to Johnston in late May would
      have been the best move. Longstreet truly respected Johnston, and
      vice-versa. They had already served together in Virginia. Rosecrans
      was still three months away from moving against Bragg. With the
      extra men, and confidence in Longstreet, IMO Johnston would have been
      much more aggressive against Grant.

      Although Lee may have done some great good if he had gone west
      himself, again IMO I think it would have hurt the Confederacy in the
      east too much. Without Lee at the head of the ANV, and Longstreet
      gone with a whole corp transferred to the west (and Stonewall dead),
      I think any Union commander, including Hooker, would have acted much
      bolder and launched a major offensive against Richmond, which most
      likely would have succeeded. As you said, it is all speculation.

      Regards,
      Joe


      --- In civilwarwest@y..., "aot1952" <wakefield1952@m...> wrote:
      > 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.
      > Wakefield
    • hartshje
      ... Will, 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
      Message 51 of 51 , Mar 7, 2002
        --- In civilwarwest@y..., "wh_keene" <wh_keene@y...> wrote:
        > Joe,
        > 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
        > sometimes.)
        > 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.
        >

        Will,

        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?

        Joe
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