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 Civil War Commanders and Units    
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John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 523

Re: A Critical Look at General Grant
Posted on: 10/10/2017 9:05:18 AM
1stVermont,

But Wallace did reinforce McClerand as one of his brigades, Cruft's, which relieved Oglesby's and McArthur's and took the brunt of Buckner's attack. Cruft then fell back as the Confederate force overlapped his flanks.

With respect Martin is being overly optimistic and in my opinion unrealistic. First the attack was never designed to win a smashing victory. Second Pillow's Division, which was the large majority of the force involved, was almost as disorganized, low on ammo and basically a spent force in victory as McClerand's was in defeat. Third the large majority of the Confederate force had been engaged at this point while only about half the Union force had been. Last the Union force wasn't "smashed" it had been pushed back and needed to be resupplied with ammo and reorganized but it hadn't been "smashed" and it was back in the battle within a hour.

I also have to ask if you realize that Buckner's force was only 6 regiments? Pillow was commanding 19 regiments and I believed used 14 plus Forrest's Cavalry in the attack.
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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"


Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2859

Re: A Critical Look at General Grant
Posted on: 10/10/2017 9:29:28 AM
Hey Guys,

As a side light I recently visited Grant's hometown of Galena, Illinois, a really historical place near the Mississippi River in Northern Illinois. It's like going back in time, to the 1800's, all the buildings from that era are still up! In addition to the Ulysses S Grant Home Historical Site, is this really cool historical Desoto Hotel where not only did Grant use this as his Presidential Election Headquarters, but both Lincoln, & Steven Douglas used it when they were debating back in the 1850's. Here are some picks to give you an idea how historical it is, also they have a micro brewery, distillery, & some wineries, also some great museums.

[Read More]

Tourist guide,
Dave

Just how historical, & picturesque? check it out!? Four Stars for Historical Beauty!

[Read More]

Have you been there? What say you about USS Grant's hometown??
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

jthlmnn
Milwaukee, WI, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal


Posts: 168

Re: A Critical Look at General Grant
Posted on: 10/13/2017 9:56:35 AM

Quote:
"the most serious charge against Grant was the fact he did not order his army to entrench...Halleck had ordered Grant to entrench, and grant did not do so"
--1stvermont


You quote Mr. Martin here, and repeat the charge throughout this conversation. I have reviewed, in detail, the communications found in the Official Records for this time frame - the entire month of March and that part of April up to the confederate assault - and have found no such order.

I did find a message that could possibly be misunderstood by Mr. Martin, and, by extension, yourself. In a message to Grant dated March 20, 1862, Halleck writes,

Quote:
Don't let the enemy draw you into an engagement now. Wait till you are properly fortified and receive orders.
(emphasis mine)

This is not an instruction to entrench. If that were the intention, Halleck would have told Grant to wait until his position was properly fortified, or to see that his position (or encampment, or other term denoting place) was properly fortified, or to properly strengthen his fortifications.

Here, Halleck is referring to troop strength. This conclusion is easily reached when one considers the context of the situation, along with other messages.

1) Troops are being moved and amassed in preparation for an offensive campaign.

2) Halleck, as well as Grant and Buell, are aware that the confederates are also concentrating.

3) Halleck, as well as Grant, wants to get the offensive move under way asap, but is more concerned with having enough troops to guarantee success. His concern is aggravated by the slow progress of Buell's movement toward Grant.

Two messages from Halleck to Buell support this reading of the March 20 communication. Both are dated March 29, 1862.


Quote:
"Don't fail in this (movement towards Savannah/Pittsburg Landing), as it is all important to have an overwhelming force there."



Quote:
"We must be ready to attack the enemy as soon as the roads are passable."


Full messages transcribed here: [Read More]

These messages and considerations also go a long way in explaining why Sherman, Smith, Grant, and Halleck were fine with amassing the troops at Pittsburg Landing. Even if there was a place on the east side of the river that had comparable advantages to Pittsburg Landing (and there wasn't, I checked into that), all wanted to get moving as quickly as possible and moving the combined armies across the river would have been an unacceptably slow process. It would also have left open the slim possibility that the enemy could have moved to block the crossing.

Yours,

JohnT

jahenders
Colorado Springs, CO, USA
top 60
E-3 Private First Class
Posts: 54

Re: A Critical Look at General Grant
Posted on: 10/18/2017 10:31:19 AM
Grant was certainly far from perfect -- Cold Harbor and Shiloh demonstrate that well.

However, he was ultimately the general the Union needed to win the war and he did that. He assessed the strategic situation and his resources relative to his enemy and conducted the war accordingly.

Additionally, multiple analyses (including Bonekemper III, Edward H. “The Butcher’s Bill.” Civil War Times L, no. 2 (April 2011): 36-43.) have shown that Lee actually suffered more casualties throughout the war than Grant. Even had Grant suffered the same, more somewhat more, that would still be a strategic victory for the Union because Lee could afford those casualties far less than most Union forces he faced.

Lee could be great on maneuver and defense, but if he was looking for a fight he fought the enemy in front of him even if maneuver would better suit him. He suffered casualties NVA could not afford.

Grant suffered heavy casualties at times, but it rarely ever cost him a battle and not the war.

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2859

Re: A Critical Look at General Grant
Posted on: 10/19/2017 7:46:10 PM
So who's buried in Grant's Tomb, anyway??

[Read More]
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

 Civil War Commanders and Units    
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