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 (1861-1865) Civil War Battles (Western Theater)    
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John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
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Posts: 527

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 11:01:43 AM
Jim,

Grant was singularly aggressive and sought a result regardless of cost to his Forces

Does this mean that you believe the result justifies the cost and basically lets Grant off the hook for the frontal attacks? In my book when the troops are pining their names inside their uniforms en masse so that their bodies can be identified before a attack they don't believe the attack has much of a chance. If the troops in the ranks can see that why can't the commander?
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 11:28:53 AM

Quote:
Jim,

Grant was singularly aggressive and sought a result regardless of cost to his Forces

1 Does this mean that you believe the result justifies the cost and basically lets Grant off the hook for the frontal attacks? 2 In my book when the troops are pining their names inside their uniforms en masse so that their bodies can be identified before a attack they don't believe the attack has much of a chance. 3 If the troops in the ranks can see that why can't the commander?
--John R. Price


1 Absolutely not John-this was purely an opinion formed whilst ploughing through you question.

2 Not really John- soldiers today have dog tags as a matter of course for recognition purposes; and I think some bright spark has come up with an idea that a soldier's remains ought to identifiable-it is a perfectly sensible idea and nothing to with the foreboding of the outcome of an action.However if YOU or anyone else is of that opinion -then so be it

3 I do not think that commanders at that time would be particularly concerned by this action; and as far as seeing it as an ill omen -I would doubt that very much.

PS Talking about soldiers indicating their doom -in 1916 at the Battle of Verdun-a regular slaughter house of a battle-French soldiers (poilus) going into the line "bleated like lambs" going to slaughter-this did NOT in any way divert them from the front line.


Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
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Moderator
Posts: 413

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 11:36:54 AM

Quote:
In my book when the troops are pining their names inside their uniforms en masse so that their bodies can be identified before a attack they don't believe the attack has much of a chance. If the troops in the ranks can see that why can't the commander?


John,

Could not agree more....

s.c.

Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
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E-7 Sgt First Class
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Posts: 413

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 11:43:14 AM

Quote:
Phil,

The key phrase is "mistaken belief that they were striking open flanks or weak spots." Grant isn't even trying to hit a open flank and his reasoning before the attacks in many cases is that all its going to take is one more push for the enemy to fold from the Wilderness to Petersburg. Hell it wasn't Sherman's men writing their names in their uniforms so their bodies could be identified.
--John R. Price



Yup. Agree. Bang on.

After Spottsylvania, it should have been clear to everyone that frontal assaults were a waste of manpower. Why Grant was able to deceive himself into believing that "one more push" would do it, is beyond me.

s.c.



Phil Andrade
London, UK
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 11:49:02 AM

Quote:
Hell it wasn't Sherman's men writing their names in their uniforms so their bodies could be identified.
--John R. Price


They might have been, if they'd been up against a Lee instead of a Johnston.

Easy enough for me to deal in " might have been " , of course, but this does excercise me...it's a question I've already asked: the degree to which Joe Johnston's reluctance to seek battle let Sherman off the hook.

Richmond, Vicksburg and Atlanta : in all three cases, when Johnston was in command, there was a suspicion that he relinquished the challenge of battle for too long.

I use the word " suspicion "...there are plenty of soldiers who admire Johnston, and, in fairness, he did
suffer a terrible wound whilst delivering a big attack at Seven Pines....he might well have tried it again before Atlanta a couple of years later.

Jeff Davis obviously had his doubts !

Regards , Phil





---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 12:29:44 PM

Quote:
During the American Civil War, soldiers were concerned that their bodies would not be identified in the aftermath of a battle because neither the Union nor Confederate government issued Identification Tags, commonly called “dog tags” today.


Consequently, many soldiers would write their name on a piece of paper and pin it to their clothing or scratch their name into the soft lead of their belt buckle.

On May 3, 1862, a New Yorker named John Kennedy wrote to U.S. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton offering to manufacture and supply all Federal army soldiers a “name disc.”

Kennedy’s letter and the disc design (what looks very similar to what the War Department eventually adopted forty-four years later) can be seen in the National Archives along with the Army’s reply: an abrupt rejection of the idea, no explanation.



[Read More]

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
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Posts: 527

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 12:40:57 PM
Jim,

2. But before this instance it hadn't happened before on the scale we are talking about. Plus I don't think you understand just how much of a slaughter Cold Harbor was. It wasn't like the attacks surged up anywhere near the enemy lines.

3. No but they should have been able to look at the potential battlefield and understand that there wasn't a chance in Hell.

And don't we have a negative opinion of the many of the generals involved in ordering those attacks across no mans land?
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 527

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 12:58:08 PM
Phil,

I don't think it matters because the quality of the troops isn't ant different and Johnston didn't site any of his lines on the topographical rather than military crest. Actually it was the AOT doing in the next campaign after getting a taste of Hood's command.

But Lee isn't the aggressor and neither is Johnston. Both beat the respective opposite army to the point of contention after being flanked out of their previous position. The difference being that at each point Grant attacks the new fortified position frontally by design while Sherman probes and then starts looking for the flank.

Richmond I tend to agree. Vicksburg he had a grand total of 6,000 troops at Jackson before Grant's attack and never more than 25,000 once Vicksburg was under siege without the logistical capability to even reach the city. Atlanta you have Hood declining to attack ywice and Brown turning down the wrong road once. But again this isn't the point Johnston doesn't leave his lines during the Atlanta Campaign until they are clearly flanked.

And Jeff Davis backed Bragg!
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


Phil Andrade
London, UK
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 1:17:08 PM
There were tantalising successes that lured Grant in the Overland fighting.

He sensed that a juggernaut attack was in order on close of battle on 5 May in the Wilderness, and his judgment was apparently vindicated when twenty odd thousand yankees surged forward into the remnants of Heth's command the following morning. The arrival of Gregg's Texans to save the day for the Confederacy is the stuff of legend.

Then it was Lee's turn to be tantalised as rebel counter attack put theAoP in jeopardy.

Spotsylvania and 10 May shows what Upton'a consummate tactics can achieve....a division today, a corps tomorrow!

Grant's reaction says it all.

Even at Cold Harbor, the Yankee attack on 1 June made a lodgement and captured hundreds of rebels, albeit at the cost of 2,200 casualties.

One more push, and let's make it a cruncher this time !

June 3rd is the notorious episode: shattering repulse, with 7,500 Union soldiers cut down, several thousand of them in half an hour : Confederate casualties about one tenth of that number. Worse still, the wounded are left to die in front of Lee's lines, so that Grant can save face by not seeking a truce - regarded as an admission of defeat.

This is a repeat of 22 May 1863 at Vicksburg, on a more horrific scale.

Grant had felt bad about that one, too, but was redeemed six weeks later.

Had Vicksburg itself been a tantalising episode?

Perhaps it had raised Grant's expectations too high.

Regards, Phil

---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 1:24:21 PM

Quote:
Jim,

2. But before this instance it hadn't happened before on the scale we are talking about. Plus I don't think you understand just how much of a slaughter Cold Harbor was. It wasn't like the attacks surged up anywhere near the enemy lines.

3. No but they should have been able to look at the potential battlefield and understand that there wasn't a chance in Hell.

And don't we have a negative opinion of the many of the generals involved in ordering those attacks across no mans land?
--John R. Price


Trouble is John- I am not aware of the incident whereat this "show of discontent and lack of confidence" in what they were about to do-so when and where did Union soldiers first don a name tag please.???I take it also that the article that I put up- was a load of bull???

Next point is the complete disregard for losses on forlorn actions-that I can well believe-especially citing the likes of Pickets suicidal Charge at Gettysburg; and I am willing to accept there were many others- where the pre battle reconnaissance was either poor or non existent.

Coming to "open attacks in broad daylight over no man's land -this was a Haig speciality at the Battle of the Somme-so in 50 years the British generals had learned nothing; so back in the 1860's-this was never a consideration and that is putting it straight.

Regards

jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
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E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 527

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 1:36:09 PM
Phil,

The attacks and lodgement of June 1 were against Cavalry trying to hold the actual crossroads and the a counterattack by a inexperience temporary brigade commander and they couldn't really hold that lodgement because the positions were too exposed to artillery. It became in effect part of "no mans land."

But there were frontal attacks before and after Upton's.

With respect the railroad cut extended past Heath's and Wilcox's flank and there was plenty of Union Cavalry available to scout.

But the only way he ever put Vicksburg under siege was to flank the main defensive lines of the city.

I think fighting against Pemberton/Loring and Bragg might have raised those expectation but I'm not sure it should have because Vicksburg wasn't easy and Missionary Ridge was a fluke.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 1:44:55 PM
See previous post first please

Near Cold Harbor on June 3, Grant’s impatience led to a battle he later said he regretted badly.

An uncoordinated series of attacks on Confederate works cost him 7,000 men—virtually all of whom died because the Union wounded lay between the lines for days while Grant engaged in a war of words with Lee, trying to avoid admitting a defeat.

Navy Secretary Gideon Welles wrote in his diary the day before this battle, "Grant has not regard for human life."

In reality, Grant did have regard for human life, but he used what he had—numerical superiority—to wear down his famous opponent. He continued moving around Lee’s right, crossed the James River, and got south of Richmond, where another Union force, the Army of the James under Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler was already operating.

The two armies began a 10-month siege of the Confederate capital and the city of Petersburg, the main Confederate supply base for the region because of the railroads there.

This denied Lee the mobility he needed for maneuver. The campaign became one of trench warfare presaging that of World War I, fought in a series of costly battles.

On April 2, 1865, Federal troops broke through the Confederate lines at Petersburg; by the evening of April 3, that city and Richmond were both in Union hands. Lee escaped with his badly diminished force, but at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9 he met with Grant and surrendered his army.

Grant, the "butcher" who had been unrelenting and uncompromising in pursuit of victory, extended very generous terms to the defeated Confederates.

Source-historynet.com

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 527

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 1:50:43 PM
Jim,

I don't have the time to go looking but its was in all three of the books I have on the Cold Harbor battles. The thing is the scale, it wasn't just a few here and there but entire regiments en masse.

And with respect your missing my point. A frontal attack as the main plan of attack wasn't the norm or first option of Lee but it was time and time again for Grant. That is one of the reasons I rate Lee better.

Yes it was a consideration in the 1860's. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign, the plans if not the execution in the Seven Days, Chancelorsville and Stones River to name just some.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 527

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 1:56:38 PM
Jim,

The difference is from my point of view Grant could have achieved the same results without the frontal attacks and the fact that he keeps moving around the flank after a casualty filled failed attack IMHO proves it. It wasn't the attacks by Sherman that ground down the AOT but the day to day skirmishing and then forcing them to attack his force.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 2:18:20 PM

Quote:
Jim,

The difference is from my point of view Grant could have achieved the same results without the frontal attacks and the fact that he keeps moving around the flank after a casualty filled failed attack IMHO proves it. It wasn't the attacks by Sherman that ground down the AOT but the day to day skirmishing and then forcing them to attack his force.
--John R. Price


John-I can do no other than agree with the above.Heavens Above-have I not hammered Grant enough.Did you not ask me about Cold Harbour and Spotsylvania many posts ago; and I said then that Grant's penchant for frontal attack only ended in abject failure and needless losses-then and only then- switching to a flank attack with a weakened force.Lincoln could not sack him-because "HE FIGHTS".Ask me another?My shift is up-back tomorrow -the Good Lord willing

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 2:19:26 PM
John,

Quote:
But Lee isn't the aggressor and neither is Johnston. Both beat the respective opposite army to the point of contention after being flanked out of their previous position. The difference being that at each point Grant attacks the new fortified position frontally by design while Sherman probes and then starts looking for the flank.


One difference is that Johnston RETREATED to a new position (that Sherman would have to flank him out of....again), vs. Lee who had to actually do something to block Grant's right flanking moves. Johnston had slaves building him new trenches long before he even abandoned the more forward lines. Not a luxury that Lee enjoyed.

At Spotsylvania, Grant had the shorter route (from the Wilderness), but a screw up with Sheridan's cavalry blocking Warren's V corps, and the fact that Anderson did not allow his I Corps men a rest on the way to Spotsylvania Court House (in part, cuz the burning woods did not allow a place to stop and rest) meant that Lee was able to beat Meade's men to Spotsylvania Court House. Kudos to Anderson and to Lee. Brickbats to Meade/Sheridan/Grant.

s.c.

Phil Andrade
London, UK
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 3:05:28 PM
Grant's notorious reputation for being prodigal with his men's lives is something to reflect upon.

I have analysed his " worst " days in command ranked in order of bloodiness.

Note that prisoners are excluded: these are figures for killed and wounded only.

The first day of Shiloh cost him 7,000 : this was truly a terrifying figure: not just because it was huge in itself; it was also sustained by a force that numbered (by his reckoning) only 33,000 present and effective and was compounded by the additional loss of some three thousand prisoners. This was beyond anything in previous American experience . Above all, it was suffered in a desperate defensive battle in which- most would agree- he had been surprised. An existential struggle in which his divisional commander, Sherman, witnessed his troops taking the worst of the shock.

Nothing at Vicksburg compared with this; the worst day costing three thousand. Chattanooga likewise.

The first day of the Wilderness rivalled its Shiloh counterpart: the second day exceeded it. The bloodshed of May 12th at Spotsylvania was of the same order of magnitude, and the culminating slaughter at Cold Harbor replicated it again.

And to make the cup run over, the biggest Federal assault at Petersburg on 18 June failed at a cost that approached the same level.

I don't think that Joe Johnston was willing - and constitutionaly able - to preside over such bloodshed.

Lee was.

Both Grant and Lee were humane men who had regard for human life and were yet reconciled to slaughter.

The quality of the men who served under Lee and Johnston was equal....but the quality of the man made a difference.

I hope to make a more coherent argument and join up some dots !

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 527

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 3:08:26 PM
Jim,

Then I'm sorry I thought you were more on Grant's side of the discussion.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 527

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 3:16:17 PM
Steve,

Not really in retreating Johnston had to beat Sherman to the spot and block him from cutting the AOT off from the single rail line supplying it. The flank marches weren't just to get him out of his position they were to do that and if possible cut him off from his supplies. Johnston was defending his line of supply and blocking Sherman from cutting it.

Kudos to JEB's Cavalry also who put up a hell of a delaying action.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 527

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 3:28:53 PM
Phil,

I'm not bitching about the willingness to risk the army in battle but how that risk was taken. That for the most part Grant's battle plans added to the slaughter is harsh but its basically what I'm saying.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Moderator
Posts: 413

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 4:13:25 PM

Quote:
Steve,

Not really in retreating Johnston had to beat Sherman to the spot and block him from cutting the AOT off from the single rail line supplying it. The flank marches weren't just to get him out of his position they were to do that and if possible cut him off from his supplies. Johnston was defending his line of supply and blocking Sherman from cutting it.

Kudos to JEB's Cavalry also who put up a hell of a delaying action.
--John R. Price



Not really, IMO. Johnston wasn't beating Sherman to a spot, so much as every time Sherman got a couple of brigades "around" Johnston's flank, Johnston retreated back down the rail line (towards Atlanta) to his next line of trenches.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 527

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/10/2017 10:24:26 PM
Steve,

I don't think any of Sherman's flanking movements were less than a Corps. Maybe one had only 2 Divisions initially but either way Johnston can't let the rail link be severed. Look I agree he should have attacked but I blamd Hood more than Johnston because twice Hood declined to engage.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/11/2017 3:21:27 AM
Facing an enemy with a massive numerical advantage, Johnston's strategy was to strategically withdraw whenever it was necessary to avoid being surrounded or cut off from his supply lines, while looking for the right opportunity to make a defensive stand.

Although he won a minor victory against Sherman at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, the opportunity to make a decisive stand that could turn back the Union tide never came.

Fed up with Johnston's constant withdrawal from Confederate territory, Davis relieved him of command after he withdrew from northwest Georgia to the outskirts of the city. In the final days of the war, he was returned to command of the small remaining forces in the Carolinas Campaign.

Following a failed attempt to stall Sherman's advance at the Battle of Bentonville, he surrendered his armies to Sherman at Bennett Place near Durham Station, North Carolina on April 26, 1865.

Two of his major opponents, General Ulysses S. Grant and Sherman, made comments highly respectful of his actions in the war, and they became close friends with Johnston in subsequent years.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Phil Andrade
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/11/2017 3:54:02 AM
Manoeuvre versus slaughter: that is the nub of it.

How far should generalship be predicated on the assertion of manoeuvre and the suppression of slaughter?

If that is the criterion of success, then Johnston was eminently successful: the trouble is, his manoeuvring tended to be preponderantly based on retirement.

If successful generalship is based on reconciling manoeuvre with slaughter, then Grant was a superb practitioner. The trouble is, the slaughter was so heavily weighed against him in the Overland battles that attritional arithmetic worked in the South's favour.

At Vicksburg, Grant had gained the correct balance between slaughter and manoeuvre: in the Overland the balance had gone awry....although his crossing of the James - literally stealing a march on Lee - must be acknowledged as a brilliant triumph of manoeuvre over slaughter.....albeit only a temporary one.

Regards, Phil

---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/11/2017 4:46:55 AM
Grant's methodology lives on at 2nd Battle of Petersburg

One of the leading regiments at 2nd Petersburg was the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment, 900 men that had been converted from essentially garrison duty manning artillery to be infantrymen at the start of the Overland Campaign. The regiment quickly lost 632 men in the frontal assault, the heaviest single-battle loss of any regiment during the entire war.

Having achieved almost no gains from four days of assaults, Meade ordered his army to dig in. Union casualties were 11,386 (1,688 killed, 8,513 wounded, 1,185 missing or captured).A ratio of almost 3U to 1C

Confederate 4,000 (200 killed, 2,900 wounded, 900 missing or captured).

Grant's opportunity to take Petersburg easily had been lost, but Lee, who arrived at Petersburg around noon on June 18, was unable to prevent the Union army from laying siege to the city. The siege would last until April 1865.

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Phil andrade
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/11/2017 8:28:53 AM
Thirty two years ago I visited the site of that massacre.

There was a large memorial plaque there, commemorating the fate of that regiment.

What was shocking was the fact that the number of men who died of their wounds was even greater than the number who were killed outright .....although, it must be said, some of the mortally wounded survived until after the war had ended.

The Maine Heavy Artillerymen were themselves a testimony to the attritional failure of Grant's fighting. He had the numbers, yes, but the men who were deployed were not suited to the battles....they were just completely inexperienced in battle craft, and advanced like robots into the storm of fire that burst from the rebel trenches. The experienced contingents of his army had bled and died away in excessive numbers.

The Confederates had sustained heavy casualties, too, but not to the extent that damaged them qualitatively in the same way as the Union cohorts.

A similar thing had occurred a month earlier , when another green regiment of Yankee Heavy Artillerymen had been deployed as infantry, and were frightfully cut up by the more battle wise veterans who confronted them. This had been in a sector of the Spotsylvania battle, at a place called Alsop's Farm, on 19 May 1864.

In the Petersburg attack of 18 June, the Yankee infantry - veterans - had tried to stop the men of the 1st Maine from being slaughtered.

The old hands sought cover, and lay down wherever they could find a scrape or a mound of earth.

Lie down, you damned fools ! they yelled at the rookies who were marching past and over them, even trying to grasp their legs to stop them... No one can take them works !

To attribute this to Grant himself is hardly fair.....but it has to be admitted that the horrors of relentless attack against such wily and determined opponents - especially when they were entrenched - will always be associated with him.

Regards , Phil





---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/11/2017 8:48:20 AM
Thank you for that Phil-By Jove you are far travelled Good Sir

Hare’s House, Assault on Petersburg

Sustained the greatest loss of any one Regiment in any one action of the war: 635 killed and wounded out of 900 engaged.

From the wayside marker on the Petersburg battlefield:

The field became a burning, seething, crashing, hissing hell, in which human courage, flesh and bone were struggling with an impossibility.…
– Capt. Horace H. Shaw, 1st Maine Heavy Artillery

At 4:30 p.m. on June 18, 1864, this regiment of former garrison troops charged across this field toward the Confederate lines near Colquitt’s Salient. As they moved, their supports — veteran regiments who knew the folly of attacking entrenched positions — huddled under cover, leaving the 1st Maine to attack alone. Confederate musketry and artillery devastated the regiment.

For the next ten minutes, the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery lost the equivalent of a man each second: 632 men killed and wounded (out of almost 900 engaged), more than any other regiment in any other single battle of the war. The Confederates, behind earthworks, lost just 25.


PS- Not attaching direct blame on Grant; but do not old bad habits die hard

Regards

Jim
---------------
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John R. Price
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/11/2017 9:29:43 AM
Phil,

That really isn't what I'm saying. If you look at Grant's battlefield history the main plan of battle is a frontal attack. Even in the final successful Vicksburg Campaign at Champion Hill, at the Big Black and in the attack on the lines of the city the plan was to attack frontally and steam-roll them.

As for Johnston I'm pointing out the fact that to have a good balance of manoeuvre vs slaughter you have to have your orders to engage in battle followed. I'd also make two other points first Peach Tree Creek was his plan but he was relieved before its execution and none of the aborted attacks nor peach Tree called for frontal attacks as the main tactic.

---------------
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"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


anemone
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/11/2017 9:49:55 AM
Frontal Assault

This style of combat was used in the American Civil War. Although officers were taught the value of tactical flanking attacks and strategic turning movements, they did resort to direct assaults even when other options were available.

The bloody results of such assaults against field fortifications as Cold Harbor, Fredericksburg, and Franklin have made these battles some of the most morbidly memorable of the war. Pickett's Charge, arguably the most famous direct assault of the war, was unsuccessful against defenders with minimal fortifications, but with superior artillery support.

This style of combat was did become outmoded because of the increased accuracy of rifles and the increased use of defensive field works in the later years of the war; but not every general was won over.

Regards

Jim
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Phil andrade
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/11/2017 10:27:54 AM

Quote:
Phil,

That really isn't what I'm saying. If you look at Grant's battlefield history the main plan of battle is a frontal attack. Even in the final successful Vicksburg Campaign at Champion Hill, at the Big Black and in the attack on the lines of the city the plan was to attack frontally and steam-roll them.

As for Johnston I'm pointing out the fact that to have a good balance of manoeuvre vs slaughter you have to have your orders to engage in battle followed. I'd also make two other points first Peach Tree Creek was his plan but he was relieved before its execution and none of the aborted attacks nor peach Tree called for frontal attacks as the main tactic.


--John R. Price



When I think of Johnston in the Atlanta Campaign, Seven Pines before Richmond comes to mind.

Yes, he was surely planning to do the same sort of thing....but he had an exasperating tendency to refuse communication with Jeff Davis .

His constant retirements also imposed their own special attrition : men were drifting away in numbers on account of exhaustion and desertion. A lot of men left behind because they were ill or simply fell asleep. Relatively low battle casualties were counter acted by this ebbing away of strength.

Combine this with such an alarming rate of withdrawal, and it's understandable that he was replaced.

Strange that Johnston's orders were not followed : had that happened before Seven Pines too ?

Was there something about him that caused this ?

Regards , Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/11/2017 10:53:35 AM
In January 1865, the Congress passed a law authorizing Robert E. Lee the powers of general in chief, and recommending that Johnston be reinstated as the commander of the Army of Tennessee. Davis immediately appointed Lee to the position, but refused to restore Johnston.

In a lengthy unpublished memo, Davis wrote, "My opinion of General Johnston's unfitness for command has ripened slowly and against my inclinations into a conviction so settled that it would be impossible for me again to feel confidence in him as the commander of an army in the field."

Vice President Alexander H. Stephens and 17 senators petitioned Lee to use his new authority to appoint Johnston, bypassing Davis, but the general in chief declined. Instead, he recommended the appointment to Davis himself and he relented.

However IMO this was a mistake- because the old dog had not learned any new tricks; and like Grant- he continued to carry on as before,until the final retreat and capitulation

Regards

Jim
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John R. Price
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/11/2017 12:07:55 PM
Phil,

At Seven Pines Johnston's plan wasn't followed with Longstreet being a major reason why. I'm going from memory but Longstreet got into a argument with another Division commander in the attack about who was to go first on the approach march insisting that it was his Division and trying to pull seniority to prove he was right. It threw the timming off and instead of the Division Longstreet went before attacking from the flank as the start of a enchelon attack DH Hill the 3rd Division in line was the first to engage.

In the Atlanta Campaign it was Hood who declined to attack twice, it was Hood writing back channel letters to Davis and Bragg that Johnston should be relieved, it was Bragg who Johnston replaced that Davis sent to investigate and it was Hood who replaced Johnston. Connecting the dots doesn't paint Hood nor Bragg in a good light.

Also although I agree about the ebbing away of strength there was skirmishing and probing fights everyday and the retreats were well conducted with little straggling. Deserting is another issue but I'd say that a hell of a lot more left because of Missionary Ridge. Johnston did one hell of a job rebuilding the AOT and attracting men back to the colors. At its low after Missionary Ridge the AOT was down to no more than 25,000 men total.


Edit I added "on the approach march" and I think it was in crossing a creek that the mix up happened.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/11/2017 12:16:05 PM
Jim,

Take a look at what happened to the AOT at Franklin and Nashville and what was left of it after for Johnston to command in North and South Carolina. Now take a look at the forces Sherman had opposite him. There was nothing Johnston could do.

As a side note at Bentonville in one of the last charges of the war General Hardee's teenage son was KIA. Hardee had kept him out of combat the entire war as a member of his staff, he was really just a child playing at war as were so many others.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


Phil andrade
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/11/2017 12:32:39 PM
The personalities really fascinate me.

I can't help but think there was something innately irascible about Joe Johnston : he seemed so defiant in his refusal to liaise with the political authority.

I must take a look at the photographs of him, and revisit the anecdotes.

Looking at Sherman, you can sense the nervous intellect, the agitation and twitchiness.

I remember you telling me about Bragg, John : the deep seated resentments that he felt on account of his family's artisan status....presumably he experienced the snobbish side of North Carolina society, and it left its mark.

In British slang, we refer to having a " chip on the shoulder ". That person might be described as being " chippy"....a feeling of resentment and a sense of grievance, often associated with perception of social status. Ironically, a carpenter is known as a " chippy " : this, of course, relates to the chips of wood, just as an electrician is nicknamed " sparky".

Bragg's father was a carpenter.

Bragg was clearly " chippy".

Was Johnston from an aristocratic - or, at least, privileged - background ?

Regards , Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/11/2017 12:54:06 PM
Joseph E. Johnston was born into a prominent family of Prince Edward County, Va. He enrolled at West Point in 1825 and, except for a brief interlude as a civil engineer, remained in military service until 1865.

In 1845 he married Lydia McLane, the daughter of a diplomat and U.S. Cabinet officer. Johnston was a member of Gen. Winfield Scott's expedition against Mexico City during the Mexican War and was made brevet colonel in 1848.

In 1860 he became quartermaster general of the U.S. Army.

Regards

Jim
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Steve Clements
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/11/2017 1:03:00 PM

Quote:
Referring to the Overland Campaign here, it seems to me that Grant did exactly what he had to do to win. His series of flanking movements were excellent, as was Lee's response.

Had Grant's opponent been a lesser general than Lee, Grant might have beaten the ANV with fewer casualties. But against Lee, Grant's manoeuvering-he could not force the decisive battle.

Instead however, it forced Lee back, and it forced Lee to fight a battle of attrition. Pretty awesome strategy in my book. And it worked.


Jim,

That Grant deliberately set out - during Overland - to fight a campaign of attrition, is a mistake, IMO. Yes, Grant eventually "won"....but (again IMO) he came close to losing the war in the summer of '64. Grant bled the AoP dry....to the point that, after Cold Harbor, it was not unlike a gun-shy hunting dog. Not good for much....

That Overland and the initial Petersburg attacks ended up being a 'war of attrition" is probably fairly accurate. But the extent to which Grant "gutted" the AoP is hard to believe.

A couple of excerpts from Sears "Lincoln's Lieutenants", if I may.

Page 712: "At City Point, meanwhile, harsh accounting was underway. In the month and a half of the Overland Campaign, the AoP had suffered 64,000 killed, wounded and missing. At the beginning of May that army had present for duty 122,119 men; ..."

Page 712: "John Gibbon was a careful record keeper and in his memoir he recorded the damage inflicted on his Second Corps division in the Overland Campaign. He began the campaign with 6,799 men and officers....By the end of June his losses had ounted to 72 percent of the men he originally took into this virtually continuous battle. It was the quality of the losses that made it especially disastrous, Gibbon wrote, 'for the very best officers, and the very bravest men were those who fell'."

Page 736: "Returns for August 31 showed the three AoP corps, the II, V, IX plus one cavalry division (the VI and two cavalry divisions were in the Shenandoah) totaled only 28,900 for duty. The Army of the James added only 17,000."

s.c.


anemone
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/11/2017 1:19:52 PM
On paper at the beginning of the Atlanta campaign, Sherman outnumbered Johnston 98,500 to 50,000, but his ranks were initially depleted by many furloughed soldiers, and Johnston received 15,000 reinforcements from Alabama. However, by June, a steady stream of reinforcements brought Sherman's strength up to +112,000- almost twice that of his opponent.

Opposing Sherman, the Army of Tennessee of 65,000 was commanded by Gen. Joseph E. Johnston.Being overhelmingly out matched in troops at his disposal;Johnston decided on "a war of manoeuvre" wherein under attack he would make a tactical withdrawal-trouble was he was forced into more withdrawals than was militarily practicable; and thus he lost his way.

Regards

Jim
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John R. Price
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/11/2017 1:57:57 PM
Phil,

Yes that is part of his personality but its more IMO that he held a grudge against those who he believed did him wrong or who disagreed with him or didn't see things his way. Hell when he was a Lt he sent a series of articles to a newspaper basically claiming most of his superiors right up to the Sec of War were idiots who didn't know what they were doing. Then you have the fued with Longstreet that he sends him to Knoxville reiforceing him with Bushrod Johnson's and Cleburne's Division even after Lookout Mountain has fallen to Hooker and there are ample signs that Grant is ready to attack. Or relieveing Cheatham and breaking up his Division at basically the same point. Grant is knocking at the door and he's sending away his best officers and troops and disorganizing the whole army, how stupid is that?
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


Phil andrade
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/11/2017 2:04:30 PM
Jim,

The numerical odds you cite in the Atlanta Campaign do not differ significantly from those of the Overland Campaign.

Lee fought so much more aggressively than Johnston : he was up for the full on slug fest from beginning to end.

We must strike them a blow ! , he moaned from his sickbed as opportunity passed by at the North Anna.

I am convinced that Steve is right about the dreadful attrition of this campaign in Virginia : Lee was attriting ( is that a word ? ) Grant more than the other way round.

There is a school of thought that Lee was excessively profligate of the lives of his men. I do not think that this bears up under scrutiny. On no account imagine that I seek to downplay the extent of his casualties : they reached awful dimensions....but they were sustained by men who were willing to pay a price for victory, under the leadership of a man who understood what made them tick.

Regards , Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
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Posts: 527

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/11/2017 2:04:55 PM
Jim,

You want to see the mother of all frontal attacks in the Civil War check out Franklin. IMHO there we two cases of ordered suicide during the war and they were Franklin and Cold Harbor. Hood remarked to the effect that the troops were getting too skittish about attacking breastworks and he was going to do something about that.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


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