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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: 471

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/11/2017 2:09:22 PM
Steve,

Your right Grant's idea was to get between Lee and Richmond and force him to fight out in the open where the numbers and material advantage had the most value. In effect he was looking for that one knock out battle.
---------------
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
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2476

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 2:57:29 AM

Quote:
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.
--John R. Price


John,

Franklin differed, in so far as the incomprehensible decision by Wagner to place his brigades in front of the Union lines gave the Confederates the chance to break in and fight at close quarters. What on earth possessed Wagner to do such a thing ? It makes Sickles at Gettysburg look like a genius.

Another battle - not noticed as much as it should be - that has the same chilling sort of suicidal advance against entrenched positions is Corinth, in early October 1862.

This is worth mentioning because it actually served to give Grant his jumping off point to begin his subsequent advance against Vicksburg. With Corinth secured, and Price and Van Dorn dealt with, the business could be commenced.

The battle entailed direct frontal assault against redoubts and trenches, into the face of close quarters artillery fire and musketry.

It has about it features of Franklin, and the casualty figures testify.

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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Posts: 5958
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 3:09:55 AM
OK John-hereunder a report on the disaster at Franlin

The Battle of Franklin on 4th Nov.1864 was one of the worst disasters of the war for the Confederate States Army. Confederate Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood's Army of Tennessee conducted numerous frontal assaults against fortified positions occupied by the Union forces under Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield and was unable to break through or to prevent Schofield from a planned, orderly withdrawal to Nashville.

The Confederate assault of six infantry divisions containing eighteen brigades with 100 regiments numbering almost 20,000 men, sometimes called the "Pickett's Charge of the West", resulted in devastating losses to the men ie.c.4500 K,W and MIA and the leadership of the Army of Tennessee—fourteen Confederate generals (six killed, seven wounded, and one captured) and 55 regimental commanders were casualties.

After its defeat against Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas in the subsequent Battle of Nashville, the Army of Tennessee retreated with barely half the men with which it had begun the short offensive, and was effectively destroyed as a fighting force for the remainder of the war.

The 1864 Battle of Franklin was the second military action in the vicinity; a battle in 1863 was a minor action associated with a reconnaissance in force by Confederate cavalry leader Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn on April 10.

Regards

Jim


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

Phil andrade
London, UK
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 4:55:05 AM
Those of us who saw that movie FREE STATE OF JONES will remember the opening scenes which depict the Battle of Corinth.

The Confederate soldiers , in mass formation, literally tramp forward into the jaws of death.

Hardly an exaggeration , apparently.

The casualties are redolent of those at Franklin.

The Union - at Corinth - reported 355 killed in action, 1841 wounded and 324 missing : a total of 2,520 casualties. The total for Franklin was 2,326.

At Corinth, the Union commander, Rosecrans, reported that his troops killed, counted and buried 1,424 Confederates on the field ; at Franklin, 1,496 Confederates were exhumed from the field after the war and interred at the nearby McGavock Plantation Cemetery.

Such numbers of killed imply several thousand additional wounded.

The numbers engaged on both sides at Corinth and Franklin were roughy similar.

The official Confederate casualty return for Corinth admitted to only about 500 killed in action, but did acknowledge five times that number posted as missing.

Corinth is another " footnote " battle, and deserves more attention.

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: 7/12/2017 5:47:47 AM
Phil- At 2326 casualties for Franklin-I think you are way short .Having looked again at three separate sites,excluding my first; all cite c.6000 Confederate losses; and are as follows from Wikipedia= 1750K,3500W and 702M or POW-Total-6252.
NB.John Keegan gives 7000 Confederate total loss

PS. I did see the Free State of Jones-which I thought was rather good

Regards

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

Phil Andrade
London, UK
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 6:39:09 AM

Quote:
Phil- At 2326 casualties for Franklin-I think you are way short .Having looked again at three separate sites,excluding my first; all cite c.6000 Confederate losses; and are as follows from Wikipedia= 1750K,3500W and 702M or POW-Total-6252.
NB.John Keegan gives 7000 Confederate total loss

PS. I did see the Free State of Jones-which I thought was rather good

Regards

Jim
--anemone


You misread my post, Jim.

The 2,326 casualties I allude to are for the UNION at Franklin, not the Confederates.

As you can see, this is a very similar figure to their casualties at Corinth, and, judging by the claims of Rosecrans and the number of Southern dead buried in that cemetery at Franklin, the confederate losses in the two battles were remarkably similar also.

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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Posts: 5958
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 7:12:25 AM
I am WRONG!!! Aaaagh!!after Falling on his sword and is no more.Yes Phil I did misread your post- could not think why you mentioned the Union casualties-was it a trap for the unwary ???

Regards

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

Phil andrade
London, UK
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 7:49:53 AM
Far be it from me to lay traps, least of all for you, old pal !

I mentioned the Union casualties because they, too, need to be considered : the fact that they were so closely matched in the two battles catches my eye ; especially in view of the entrenched nature of the defence, and the full blown frontal nature of the assaults that the rebels made in both engagements.

When it comes to Franklin, the Confederates never filed a complete report. Some of their units did provide figures, and, IIRC, these totalled about 2,750 including more than 500 killed...but these were from perhaps half the troops engaged.

Hood stated that the total was about 4,500. If that's correct, that would equate very closely to the reported Southern casualty list from Corinth, too.

The Union commander, Schofield, revisited the Franklin battlefield some weeks later and reported that 1,750 Confederate graves were counted there, that 3,800 of their wounded were in the hospitals, and that 702 of their men had been taken as unwounded prisoners.....hence the total of 6,252.

One has to decide who - if anybody - to believe.

I have noticed that there is more hyperbole when it comes to claimed casualty counts in the Western theatre of war than there was in the Eastern.

I wonder if this reflects the more toxic relationships at command level that dogged the Western armies ; did this lead to officers making exaggerated claims in order to protect their position ?

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: 7/12/2017 8:06:28 AM

Quote:
The Union commander, Schofield, revisited the Franklin battlefield some weeks later and reported that 1,750 Confederate graves were counted there, that 3,800 of their wounded were in the hospitals, and that 702 of their men had been taken as unwounded prisoners.....hence the total of 6,252.


An independent witness ought to carry the day IMHO.I was surprised at Keegan's report of 7000 total casualties for Franklin; but it was a bloody affair-that is why John pointed me in that direction-another Pickett's Charge- but with a worse outcome.This was one hellish war.

Regards

Jim

---------------
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anemone
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 8:51:43 AM
Looking Back

The wholesale destruction of Atlanta was not Sherman’s intention. He had officers draw up a plan to destroy military targets, which included a detailed map marking the structures. No private residences were among them. Captain Poe was selected to execute the plan because it was thought his engineers would be less reliant upon explosives and fire.

Still, there was little doubt about the plan’s consequences: Six days earlier, when Poe first heard of the plan, he wrote his superior engineering officer in Washington that by the time his letter arrived, “Atlanta will have ceased to exist.”

The real cause of the subsequent mass destruction was Sherman’s acquiescence to widespread disobedience among his soldiers. Ever since he had been post commander in Memphis, two years earlier, Sherman had advocated a brutal approach to Confederates, both military and civilian.

So fellow members is there a grain of truth in the aforementioned.????


Regards

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

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Posts: 471

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 11:09:50 AM
Phil,

"Well General, few of us will ever return to Arkansas to tell the story of this battle." "Well Govan, if we are to die let us die like men."

There was close quarters fighting at Pickett's Charge also and a bit of a break in. The thing is Franklin had been "fortified" earlier in the war and you had a stone wall to use for cover across the entire front and even some abates on the flanks.

I would also say that although I agree Corinth is under appreciated the experience levels for all involved are drastically different. What they didn't know or understand about the effectiveness of the rifle and rifled artillery in 62 they should have known in late 64. No every subordinate officer in the high command was advising against the attack at Corinth.
---------------
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 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Posts: 471

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 11:17:44 AM
Phil and Jim,


All you have to do is look at the consolidations in the two Corps after Franklin to know Hood is understating greatly. Personally I think when you factor in those that lost all heart after Franklin you might be talking up to 15,000. It was the Divisional, Brigade and Regimental leadership that was holding many of the men in the ranks to their posts and that was decimated.
---------------
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
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2476

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 11:28:05 AM
John,

Yes....Franklin was truly grotesque.

Two years after Corinth : it beggars belief that it happened the way it did.

There was a locust fence abatis at Franklin, manned by Federals with repeating rifles.

I get upset by the citation of distorted casualty statistics.

This happens a lot with Franklin.

The Yankees retreated and did not give a full account of their dead. They posted only 189 killed, but they admitted to 1,104 missing.

People refer to the 1,750 confederate graves counted by Schofield, and compare it with the 189 federal return of killed, and insist that it was a nine to one disparity. They're not comparing like with like.

In fact, a significant number of the yankee missing had been killed.

A recent study has named about 480 Northern killed or died from wounds in the battle, which should be the figure to compare with the 1,750 southerners.

Hell, though, that's bad enough, isn't it ?

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

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2476

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 11:56:35 AM

Quote:
Looking Back

The wholesale destruction of Atlanta was not Sherman’s intention. He had officers draw up a plan to destroy military targets, which included a detailed map marking the structures. No private residences were among them. Captain Poe was selected to execute the plan because it was thought his engineers would be less reliant upon explosives and fire.

Still, there was little doubt about the plan’s consequences: Six days earlier, when Poe first heard of the plan, he wrote his superior engineering officer in Washington that by the time his letter arrived, “Atlanta will have ceased to exist.”

The real cause of the subsequent mass destruction was Sherman’s acquiescence to widespread disobedience among his soldiers. Ever since he had been post commander in Memphis, two years earlier, Sherman had advocated a brutal approach to Confederates, both military and civilian.

So fellow members is there a grain of truth in the aforementioned.????


Regards

Jim
--anemone


Not in my reckoning . As civil wars go, the American conflict 1861-5 is remarkable for its essential restraint. Think of Russia and Spain in the twentieth century, or the Paris Commune a few years after Sherman's March, and you'll appreciate my point.

Sherman was an advocate of bringing the harsh reality of war to the home front, and aimed to beat down rebellion by destruction of property. But he was fastidious about physical attacks on civilians and, compared with the atrocious conduct of combatants in European civil wars, he was an absolute gent.

Atrocities did occur in the American Civil War, but they stand out as notorious exceptions ; they were the rule in other civil wars.

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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Posts: 5958
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 11:56:44 AM
Eye witness account after the battle

"After the battle, the Confederate soldiers who were not injured began walking among areas of the battlefield like this, where the action was hottest. Comforting their wounded. Confirming the dead. Carrying the wounded to local ‘hospitals’ in the homes of residents and the local churches.

With some 800-1,200 casualties (just wounded and killed) in this two-acre section a person attending to the wounded after the battle could attend to one comrade, then turn in any direction and walk 8-10 feet and attend to another.

The another . . . and another. And don’t forget, right in front of the Federal line, in the trench, the dead were likely piled 4-6 high.

Imagine 1,000 people today, lying down in this two acre section, symbolizing the casualties around the Carter cotton gin."

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: 7/12/2017 12:21:10 PM
The Carter Cotton Gin was where the rebels broke in to the Union position, and they had to be expelled by a counter attack that resulted in close quarters fighting of murderous intensity.

The Yankees also lost heavily here. After the battle, Moscow Carter, eldest son of the Carter family counted fifty seven dead Yankees within an area from the smokehouse to about thirty yards north of the house. Many of these, I would guess, were numbered among the 1,104 " missing" that the Union casualty list contained.

I think that it was after this crisis, when the Yankees regained their works, that the rebels were trapped in a big ditch in front of the enemy breastworks, and were literally massacred by constant fire at point blank range. To advance was suicide ; to retreat was fatal.

More than twenty years after the battle, James Barr, of Company E, 65th Illinois Volunteers, reflected on his experience :

I was a re-enlisted veteran, and went through twenty seven general engagements, but I am sure that Franklin was the hardest-fought field that I ever stood upon.....I never saw men put in such a terrible position as Cleburne's division was in for a few minutes. The wonder is that any of them escaped death or capture.

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 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Posts: 471

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 12:29:56 PM
Phil,

The thing that gets me about Franklin and Cold Harbor, the troops in the ranks, the regimental leadership, brigade leadership, divisional leadership and corps leadership all knew that what they were about to try was suicide but they still tried. Why couldn't Hood, Grant and Meade see it? I've read a hell of a lot on the Civil War and these two battles are the only two in which I get the impression from what I've read that the attacking force believe there was basically no chance in hell to accomplish the mission and not very much more of a chance that they could survive trying.
---------------
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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Posts: 5958
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 1:17:02 PM
Fruitless butchery was not limited to one side in the American Civil War. At Cold Harbor on 3 June 1864, General Grant lost his temper at the drawn out trench fighting.

Following an argument with his fellow officers, he announced that he would break through the Confederate lines that very day.

7,000 men were lost in the ensuing head-on assaults. One of Grant’s own colonels would write of the events of the day that “I am disgusted with the generalship displayed.”

NB.He just did not give a damn; and did it his way.He stands alongside Napoleon- before him; and Haig- after him.

The more I learn about this ghastly slaughterhouse of a war
the harder it gets to comprehend.


Regards

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

Phil andrade
London, UK
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 1:17:52 PM
Cold Harbor ....on that very ground, almost exactly two years earlier, the Confederates under Hood's command stormed the Yankee earthworks at bayonet point.

This was also a direct frontal assault, against a position so daunting that Jackson himself commented The men who took this position were soldiers indeed !

Stonewall did not bestow such praise lightly.

The Confedearte casualties at Cold Harbor on 27 June 1862 were even higher than those of the Federals on 3 June 1864....although they were suffered over a longer period of fighting , and had the redeeming feature of being accompanied by victory.

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
top 5
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Posts: 5958
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 1:34:35 PM
AS an aside IF the British Army had been able to pull their heads out of their arses-they just might have sent some real observers to view this war- instead of popinjays from the Guards and Cavalry-they "just might" have just learned a bit more about tactics that DID NOT work.

The Boer War of 1899-1902 started very badly at Magersfontein,Talana Hill and Spion Kop- where British soldiers were ordered to charge up bloody steep hills on each occasion- where Boer marksmen- sat at the top- picked them off like rabbits.It'd make one spit !!! Rant over.

Regards

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

Phil andrade
London, UK
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 3:22:45 PM
Jim,

At Spion Kop, the British sodliers did not get cut down when they were going up the hill : it was when they were trying to hunker down AT THE TOP that they got massacred. I've stood there....it's a chilling place....they were subjected to converging fire from positions around that hill : height does not always confer the advantage we imagine.

At Gettysburg, the Yankees occupying the Round Tops enjoyed the observational advantage of the high ground....yet they were being picked off like billy-oh by rebel sharpshooters down below in the Devil's Den. Read the story of Hazlett, it's a good example of what I'm driving at here : I don't have the military background, and would ask the help of others more versed in topography and the dynamics of firepower to explain.

I don't know if I'm recalling correctly, but I think that the confederate engineer who helped out at Vicksburg had the unlikely name of Smith : he might have been a Pennsylvanian who sided with the South, as Pemberton did. Anyway, I think this might have been the same Smith who transferred East to help Bobby Lee construct his lines at Spotsylvania.

I wonder if he compared the resistance in Virginia to the capitulation in Mississippi : those Vicksburg positions were immensely strong...the ones at Spotsylvania were constructed on a wing and a prayer, without the aid of slave labour....yet it was the haphazard and the improvised works that prevailed, while those that had been prepared meticulously and thoroughly were undone, so to speak.

A big hill and a strong wall doesn't always work ....

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 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Posts: 471

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 3:28:04 PM
Phil,

But the difference between 62 and 64 is first Lee didn't plan a frontal attack and troops didn't have the experience or motivation to build "extensive earthworks" there was still the belief that fighting behind earthworks was unmanly and dishonorable. Remember "Granny Lee?"
---------------
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
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2476

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 3:49:18 PM
The confederate engineering officer I alluded to was Martin Luther Smith, born in New York, not Pennsylvania.

I wonder how many New Yorkers died attacking the works he helped to construct for Lee.

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 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Posts: 471

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 4:39:34 PM
Phil,

If I'm not mistaken Smith came East after being on Bragg's staff and again if I'm not mistaken I believe he was the first to point out that the line was miss-sighted on Missionary Ridge.

Pemberton was from PA and Thomas was from VA. I heard or read recently a number that actually shocked me because it was rather high in the number of me originally from the Gettysburg area that came back for a visit while serving in the Army of Northern Virginia. I want to say it was right around 50 but mt memory isn't what it was and I'm a little distracted at the moment.
---------------
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
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2476

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 5:14:43 PM
Thanks, John.

Your observations and comments are deeply appreciated, especially in view of the horrible times you're going through right now.

I hope that we can offer you some refuge in our discussions.

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

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2476

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 5:28:15 PM

Quote:
Phil,

The thing that gets me about Franklin and Cold Harbor, the troops in the ranks, the regimental leadership, brigade leadership, divisional leadership and corps leadership all knew that what they were about to try was suicide but they still tried. Why couldn't Hood, Grant and Meade see it? I've read a hell of a lot on the Civil War and these two battles are the only two in which I get the impression from what I've read that the attacking force believe there was basically no chance in hell to accomplish the mission and not very much more of a chance that they could survive trying.
--John R. Price



John,

There is still the feature of the battle that gave the attackers an unexpected chance : that ludicrous deployment of Wagner's men, who put their own defensive line in jeopardy by masking its fire.

These Yankees broke and ran, and the triumphant rebels pursued them, shooting, bayoneting and clubbing the terrified bluecoats.

Let's go into the works with them ! the southerners shouted, and surged through the Union position to the Carter House and it's cotton gin, where they were stopped by a determined counter attack.

This is what I remember reading about the battle in a book called ORDEAL BY FIRE.

It caught my imagination.

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 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Posts: 471

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 5:34:35 PM
Yes Phi it has been and I hope will continue to be.

I think I heard that Gettysburg tid-bit on a History Channel "Forgotten History" episode.

Wasn't GW Smith, Johnston's 2nd in command at Seven Pines from New York also?

---------------
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 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Posts: 471

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/12/2017 5:48:51 PM
Phil.

Yes it did mask Brown's and Cleburne's Divisions as they were on either side of the Nashville Pike the center of the line and the Pike was the weak point because obviously the stone wall didn't extend across it. But the Carter buildings were occupied and the reserve was posted right there. Wagner's two brigades were supposed to be a heavy skirmish line and were initially placed farther out closer to the ridge and more spread out over the length of the line. When the AOT started pushing through the gap on the Nashville Pike and pushing in the skirmishers they fell back to that previously constructed defensive position. IMO they should have fell right back into the town and I'm not sure why they didn't.
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anemone
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/13/2017 5:12:49 AM

Quote:
At Spion Kop, the British sodliers did not get cut down when they were going up the hill : it was when they were trying to hunker down AT THE TOP that they got massacred. I've stood there....it's a chilling place....they were subjected to converging fire from positions around that hill : height does not always confer the advantage we imagine.


Phil-not so

As dawn broke, the British discovered that they held only the smaller and lower part of the hilltop of Spion Kop, while the Boers occupied higher ground on three sides of the British position. The British had no direct knowledge of the topography of the summit and the darkness and fog had compounded the problem. Furthermore, the British trenches were inadequate for all defensive purposes. Because the summit of the kop was mostly hard rock, the trenches were at most 40 centimetres (16 in) deep and provided an exceptionally poor defensive position – the British infantry in the trenches could not see over the crest of the plateau and the Boers were able to fire down the length of the crescent-shaped trench from the adjacent peaks.

Regards

Jim
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/13/2017 5:36:47 AM
Time for me to eat humble pie !

They did die on top of that hill, though.

That Gettysburg episode I mentioned about Hazlett is worth revisiting.

His battery occupied a commanding position on the Round Tops, and he was killed by sharpshooters firing from the battlefield below. As he fell dying, a fellow officer lent over him to hear his last words, and then that officer was shot, too....as the dying men were carried away, some of the carrying party were struck down as well.

I write this from memory , so forgive me if I've got it wrong.

All errors are mine, as my Spion Kop rendition clearly demonstrates !

Regards, Phil

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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/13/2017 6:04:53 AM
Sure thee British did die at the top of a hill-it was a knoll below the summit of Spion Kop in a slit trench barely 13 inches deep. Warren-their GOC was not a "regular" general officer; but was a Commissioner of London Police. 1899 was a miserable year for the British-wretchedly handled, in the main; by what can only be described as poor generals' Major-General Fitzroy Hart's 5th (Irish) Brigade attacked the next high ground to the northeast, Hart's Hill. Not waiting for all his battalions to arrive, Hart sent his troops up piecemeal and they were repulsed with almost 500 casualties and So THE tragi/comedy continued.

Regards

Jim
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/13/2017 8:50:16 AM
Spion Kop was the nearest thing to Franklin that the Boer War produced.

Reverting to Vicksburg, I've really enjoyed reading about the fighting on the river itself. The attempts to run the batteries makes for dramatic reading; but what especially catches the imagination is the extraordinary improvised gunboats/ rams that a brilliant Confederate engineer made, literally out of an old hulk and scrap iron.

I've never read the like...the story is even more dramatic than the duel between the Monitor and the Merrimac .

What sights and sounds the townsfolk of Vicksburg must have experienced in those days !

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
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/13/2017 11:06:42 AM
Phil,

There was a diary of a woman of Vicksburg about life during the siege out there someplace. Don't remember if it was published whole or just highly quoted in another book I've read on the campaign. If memory serves the tone changed drastically from beginning to end but then weeks of dodging shells, living in caves and eating just about anything to survive will do that.

Edit No disrespect intended just me being more than a little sarcastic. Yes the cobbled together CSS Navy on the Miss had its moments but they were usually very brief filled with unquestionable bravery against insurmountable odds. The Union flotilla's went through them like a hot knife through butter.
---------------
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
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/13/2017 11:16:28 AM
In 1861, the United States was divided between free states and slave states, North vs. South. The Mississippi River became the battleground during the Civil War for control of the river, vital to supply lines and to winning the war.

The Union forces pushed on the river from two directions. Moving south, the Union won victories at New Madrid, Missouri, and Memphis, Tennessee. Moving north, the Union battled for New Orleans and Baton Rouge in Louisiana, Jackson, Mississippi and smaller cities. But General Ulysses S. Grant's major objective was Vicksburg, the most strategic Confederate stronghold on the river.

The Siege of Vicksburg began on May 18 and dragged on until July 4, 1863. The Confederates resisted surrender as long as humanly possible under brutal bombardment. Residents were forced to eat rats to survive and by June, serious illness had set in. But Grant was merciless and won his prize on Independence Day, simultaneous with the Union victory at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

With the capture of Vicksburg, the North controlled the entire length of the Mississippi which split the Confederacy. Grant's victory brought him national acclaim and eventual promotion to head all Union forces. The fighting along the river did not end after Vicksburg was defeated, but later skirmishes were minor.


[Read More]

Regards

Jim

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Michigan Dave
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/13/2017 11:55:18 AM
This historian does a nice lecture on the battle!

[Read More]

Also I have been to the battlefield NMP, and it is outstanding!

[Read More]

[Read More]

Regards,
MD
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/13/2017 12:18:38 PM

Quote:
Phil,

There was a diary of a woman of Vicksburg about life during the siege out there someplace. Don't remember if it was published whole or just highly quoted in another book I've read on the campaign. If memory serves the tone changed drastically from beginning to end but then weeks of dodging shells, living in caves and eating just about anything to survive will do that.

Edit No disrespect intended just me being more than a little sarcastic. Yes the cobbled together CSS Navy on the Miss had its moments but they were usually very brief filled with unquestionable bravery against insurmountable odds. The Union flotilla's went through them like a hot knife through butter.
--John R. Price


John,

This passage, in particular, hits me hard. It's from my Time Life series of volumes which I bought so many years ago, and which I still love to look through.

It had been a phenomenal exploit - one unknown Confederate officer and his jerry-built vessel tweaking the nose of a top Federal admiral and his whole fleet - and it had been witnessed with indescribable delight by a large audience of townspeople. Nevertheless, as the battered Arkansas drew into the Vicksburg docks the cheering died down. The ram's decks and deckhouse were a horrendous scene of carnage : Blood, hair, brains and bone fragments were everywhere.
The Arkansas had suffered 12 killed and 18 wounded - and because she was a relatively small boat, the evidence of the human damage was widespread and chilling.


This hotchpotch, cobbled together craft had inflicted significant damage, disabling one vessel and scoring hits on many others. Every wooden ship in Farragut's fleet had taken at least one hit, and 17 Yankee sailors had been killed and 42 wounded.

If ever you sought an action from the Civil War that could exemplify the story of David and Goliath , this would be a contender.

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: 7/13/2017 12:33:33 PM
John-I think this is the diary that you have been talking about.It is quite a read I must say-it is warts and all.

Sample
"June 21st. - I had gone upstairs to-day during the interregnum to enjoy a rest on my bed and read the reliable items in the “Citizen,” when a shell burst right outside the window in front of me. Pieces flew in, striking all round me, tearing down masses of plaster that came tumbling over me. When H_ rushed in I was crawling out of the plaster, digging it out of my eyes and hair. When he picked up a piece large as a saucer beside my pillow, I realized my narrow escape. The window-frame began to smoke, and we saw the house was on fire. H_ ran for a hatchet and I for water, and we put it out. Another [shell] came crashing near, and I snatched up my comb and brush and ran down here. It has taken all the afternoon to get the plaster out of my hair, for my hands were rather shaky."

[Read More]

Regards

Jim-the Ferret
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John R. Price
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Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/13/2017 10:10:18 PM
Phil,

Try finding some accounts of the Battle of Mobile Bay and the CSS Tenn. The Confederate Admiral had been Captain of the CSS Virginia at Hampton Roads and the Captain of the CSS Tenn had been his second in command who took over when he was wounded during the first ironclad vs ironclad battle.
---------------
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
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Posts: 471

Re: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863--A Turning Point for the Union ?
Posted on: 7/13/2017 10:11:20 PM
That's the one I was thinking of Jim.
---------------
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: 7/14/2017 1:47:22 AM
The story of how McClernand was given a special dispensation - on account of his political connections - to make his own special move on Vicksburg is astonishing. This must have been insufferable for Grant, who had to liaise with Halleck in order to keep political intrusions at bay.

Grant actually admitted that he chose to make his move early - along with Sherman in the North - in order to escape McClernand.

This political interference and its toxic effect on military conduct was phenomenal in the Civil War, and its effects were more apparent in the West. Why was this ?

What's more, it afflicted both sides....Davis, Pemberton and Johnston failed to agree on if - and how - Vicksburg should be defended.


Editing : was there freeer reign for ambitious "political" generals in the Western theatre, because it was more akin to a " frontier", with greater scope for speculators and chancers ?

As I've already commented, the battlefield claims of generals fighting in the West seem more unrestrained than those of their Eastern counterparts, and here I allude to the casualty counts.....the numbers of enemy dead counted by burial squads appear to be grossly inflated : unless, of course, these claims turn out to be true.


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

 (1861-1865) Civil War Battles (Western Theater)    
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