Snake Creek Gap one more time
- Is anyone familiar with the book "Grant, Lee and Sherman" by Alfred
Burne? I saw it in the bookstore and read a few pages out of it.
Burne argues that Sherman's actual plan for the Snake Creek Gap move
was not what he later says it was in his memoirs, or what we
generally argue about. He bases his argument on correspondence by
Sherman made at the time.
Burne claims that Sherman intended McPherson's move to be essentially
a raid. Though Burne does not make this analogy, the idea was for
McPherson to do essentially what Van Dorn and Forrest did to Grant in
northern Mississippi in December of 62. McPherson was suppossed to
threaten Johnston's rear and supply line, such that Johnston would
have to draw back from his position. McPherson was not suppossed to
bring on a general engagement nor assume a position in Resca, but
rather draw back to the gap once he had broken the railroad (thus
McPherson leaves his wagons back of the gap).
Burne argues that Sherman intended to have Thomas make the main
attack from his existing position once Johnston began pulling back
and then McPherson could sally forth from the gap a second time and
take Johnson in the flank.
Burne argues that McPherson failed to break the railroad due to lack
of cavalry and poor intelligence as to the strength of the force at
Resca. Burne places the blame for these mistakes with Sherman, not
Burne dismisses the idea of Thomas making the Snake Creek Gap move
instead of McPherson becuase a) Sherman only intended that movement
to be a diversion to the main attack by Thomas and b) it would have
been logistically more difficult becuase of the starting positions of
the forces (ie: from a traffic management point of view it would have
been a challenge to route Thomas and McPherson around each other).
This was all very interesting to me. Any comments?
- Yesterday I had the opportunity to drop by the library and check out
Schofield's memoirs. It is interesting reading in light of our
discussion about Sherman and incidents of the Atlanta campaign. If I
have the chance I will transcribe some of it for the group. He has
critical things to say about Sherman yet also seems to admire him.