Re: Vicksburg and Gettysburg / a question
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
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.
--- In civilwarwest@y..., "aot1952" <wakefield1952@m...> wrote:
> Obviously, this issue is one where everyone has an opinion and
> 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,
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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?