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 (1861-1865) Civil War Battles (Western Theater)
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jthlmnn
Milwaukee, WI, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal


Posts: 191

Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 10/26/2017 2:08:03 PM
Critics of U.S. Grant posit that Buell's timely arrival (with the Army of the Ohio) on the evening of April 6-7, 1862 saved Grant from total disaster at Shiloh. Veterans of the Army of the Tennessee, including their commanding general, disputed this claim after the war, and a battle of memories and words ensued with veterans of the Army of the Ohio, including their commanding general. What is your opinion? How bad was the situation for Grant the night of April 6? Could the Army of the Ohio have arrived sooner? If so, why didn't they? If not, why not? How critical was Buell's/Army of the Ohio's role, once he/they arrived? (Feel free to address other, related questions.)

Yours,
JohnT

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 710

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 10/26/2017 3:27:49 PM
JohnT,

I think the question boils down to how much did the reinforcements mean in the terms of morale to the AOT. How many of the sulkers and stragglers were induced to rejoin the ranks with renewed courage upon seeing the arrival and hearing their taunts that night? It was at the point of stalemate that night and without the reinforcement I don't believe the AOT able to attack as early maybe giving the Confederates the chance to properly reorganize and distribute ammunition. Plus morale is a fickle thing and panic spreads quickly, without the sreadying influence of the reinforcement would more have lost heart?
---------------
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
Posts: 2969

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 10/26/2017 5:03:23 PM
From what can be inferrred from the casualty figures, the battle of the second day was nowhere near as intense and bloody as that of the first.

That's not to write it off as a piece of cake : Buell's army alone suffered two thousand casualties on 7 April ; and then there would have been the additional losses suffered by Grant's force that day.

But, all in all, the struggle was so preponderantly weighted toward the first day that one might be tempted to assume that, having survived the ordeal, Grant's army had escaped disaster by its own exertion.

There can be no doubt, however, that Buell's arrival was of crucial importance ; the damage suffered by Grant on the first day had been frightful, and it's understandable that the appearance of affairs around the bluffs at Pittsburgh Landing on the evening of 6 April was shocking for the arriving men of the Army of the Ohio to behold.

We ought,I suppose, to consult the memoirs of the confederate commanders to gauge the impact of Buell's arrival on the morale of the rebels.

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: 710

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 10/26/2017 7:05:58 PM
Phil,

At the time very few understood Buell was arriving. Forrest saw it and tried to report to PGTB but couldn't find him and when he found Hardee, Hardee told him to go back to bed. The truth is if you find diaries or communication from that night the very large majority thought they had Grant where they wanted him and were going to finish him off in the morning. If you find memories written well after the fact you are going to find a lot of hindsight. I know they didn't understand the impact of the gunboats nor their own disorganization , low state of ammunition and casualties taken.
---------------
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
Posts: 2969

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 10/27/2017 7:18:00 AM
Hard to make up my mind about this one : truly a difficult controversy to assess.

The impression I get is that Grant had managed to marshall a decent defensive gun line by the end of the first day ; that the confederate attack had been contained and that the rebel army was not in a condition to exploit the advantage it had gained.

To my regret, I have never visited Shiloh. I wonder about how far the terrain made the appearance of disaster worse than the reality : by this, I allude to bluffs on the riverbank, where frightened and demoralised men were concentrated in large numbers, conveying a sense of despair and alarm that was traumatic to all who beheld it.

Small wonder that Buell's troops, when they disembarked , were convinced that they were rescuing a throughly smashed up army.

The confederates, however, were fought out and disorganised. Many of their men had dispersed, either by choice or by the shock of battle. Their own casualties - at least seven thousand killed or wounded by nightfall on the first day - had been compounded by the death of their commander. Bled white and exhausted, they endured a dreadful night under fire from gunboats.

This , however, must not obscure how desperate that day had been for the yankees. The fight had been an existential one, the peril all too real. Surprised with a river behind them, ten thousand of their men killed, wounded or captured, and thousands more skulking in terror.....horrible.

No way could there have been a counter attack of sufficient force and resolve without Buell.

More reading required on my part !

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
Posts: 2969

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 10/28/2017 2:42:23 AM
John,

How much reliance would you place on Sherman's memoirs as a source when it comes to the story of Shiloh ?

Last night I pulled the book from my shelves and gave it a glance.

His view very much repudiates the depiction of Buell saving Grant.

He endorses my suggestion that the sights and sounds of several thousand desperate yankees cowering in the bluffs conveyed an impression of disaster that made things appear worse than they actually were.

Sherman also reckoned - and, according to his account, actually told Buell at the time of his arrival - that Grant's army had suffered ten thousand casualties on the first day ; but he estimated that there were still eighteen thousand AOT men in position to continue the battle.

Most importantly , he vividly describes Grant's demeanour and comments at nightfall : ready, willing and able to resume battle and mount a counter attack in the morning, exhibiting confidence without being in the least bit complacent.

It's a compelling account, written by one who not only witnessed the battle from beginning to end , but who could legitimately claim to have taken some of its worst shocks.

As to whether this compromises his objectivity , or renders his view suspect.....that, I suppose, is the essence of the historiography.

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: 710

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 10/28/2017 12:14:43 PM
Phil,

I take all the memoirs with a grain of salt so to speak on every battle. I have no doubt that Grant was "ready willing and able" to resume the battle in the morning but I do wonder without the reinforcement what the outcome would have been Also just how "ready, willing and able" were the majority in the ranks if they didn't know they had the AOO by their side and the stings of derision from the AOO in their ears. How many are saying there were 500 in the regiment yesterday and they drove us for 2-3 miles now there is maybe 200 left and he wants us to attack, what's he smoking in that cigar!
---------------
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"


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


Posts: 191

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 11/13/2017 8:59:11 PM
Just to add some further complication:

It is my opinion that Buell inflated his role in the battle. I believe he did so because his decision to move there by land had taken much longer than he anticipated, and his slow progression helped create the circumstances of April 6.

Consider that he had the option to move his army by land or by river. His stated preference (approved by Halleck on March 16) was land. While each had its own set of complications and risks, moving by river would have been faster, and comparatively safer. As it was, it took Buell 3 weeks (March 16- April 7) to move the AOO from Nashville to Savannah, due to delays caused by weather and the destruction of critical bridges.


Quote:
From Gen. Buell to Gen. Halleck, March 19, 1862:
"Our progress has been retarded by heavy rains and high water. I have now 3 divisions at Columbia, or near there, working with all industry on bridges. The endeavor to save the bridges by a forced march of cavalry succeeded with some of them, but failed with one at Columbia and 4 miles this side. They were in flames when the troops arrived. I may be delayed there four or five days, but beyond that I do not expect any interruption, and the march will be pursued with all possible dispatch."



Quote:
From Gen. Buell to Gen. Grant, March 23, 1862:
"Our progress has been retarded by high water and the absence of bridges, almost every one on the road, however small, having been destroyed by the enemy. I shall be at Columbia myself by the time the bridge there is ready for crossing, probably three or four days yet."



Quote:
From Gen. Buell to Gen. Halleck, March 27, 1862:
"I arrived here (Columbia) yesterday. The progress of the bridge over the Duck River has been much slower than I expected, but the difficulties have also been greater than I supposed. I find the bridge cannot be ready for crossing until Monday (March 30)."


Had Buell chosen to move by river, a much larger federal force would have been present at Pittsburg Landing, radically altering the events of April 6.

Yours,

JohnT

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 710

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 11/17/2017 12:07:43 AM
JohnT,

Don't think it possible because it is my understanding that there weren't enough transports to move both armies and enough supplies to sustain them at the same time. As it was each was pulling multiple barges if I'm not mistaken and were strained just moving Grant's force with supplies.
---------------
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: 710

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 11/17/2017 9:40:59 AM
JohnT,

Grant required 173 steamboats to transport 42,000 troops and the Army of Ohio was about 37,000 so lets say 160 for them plus the barges each is pulling. Given all the garrisons left along the way using the rivers for supply and communication where are all the transports coming from? Plus what about landing/docking capacity?
---------------
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"


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


Posts: 191

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 11/17/2017 10:25:12 PM
Valid questions, John P.

While transports were busy, nothing in the correspondence between Buell and Halleck states any shortage of vessels for the purpose. Buell, on March 15 writes:


Quote:
"Undoubtedly we should use the river to get supplies, but I am decidedly of opinion that my force should strike it by marching. It can move in less time, in better condition, and with more security to our operations than by the river."


From other messages to Halleck, preceding this one, Buell seems to be very concerned with possible rebel operations to the east of Corinth, while Smith, Grant and Halleck are convinced (correctly, as it turned out) that the confederates were concentrating at Corinth. It is my opinion that this perceived threat had more to do with Buell's preference for movement by land than concerns over the availability of river transport.

Be that as it may, Buell certainly did not anticipate being delayed for a solid week awaiting the construction of bridges at Columbia. That was the flaw in his logic - he did not take into account how easily his force could be delayed by the destruction of a few bridges. Had he moved his army by river, how many could have been transported and in place at Pittsburg Landing between March 16 and April 5 (a span of 3 weeks)? If that is more than the 12 companies that arrived and fought in the late afternoon-early evening of April 6, then Buell is partially responsible for the circumstances under which the battle was fought on the first day.

Yours,

JohnT


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 710

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 11/19/2017 12:10:36 AM
JohnT,

When were the last of Grant's troops landed at Pittsburg Landing and how long did it take to get all of Grant's force there?

Plus if it still hasn't been decided, river or land transport, on March 15 as the quote implies even if there were enough transports to move both Halleck couldn't have coordinated with the Navy and had them assembled and ready to pick up Buell for at least a week or ten days. In effect Buell is responding to a possible start date of March 23 at the earliest and another period of time in the actual boarding, transport and landing.

I also have to ask if 12 companies could be there in time to fight on Day 1 there had to be a lot more troops ready to board with them, 12 companies aren't going to be moving alone through what in effect is unconquered enemy territory, so why were only 12 companies ferried to the Landing in time to join the fight? Where were the transports to ferry more?
---------------
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"


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


Posts: 191

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 11/19/2017 10:43:14 PM

Quote:
JohnT,

When were the last of Grant's troops landed at Pittsburg Landing and how long did it take to get all of Grant's force there?


The question is not relevant. After Gen. Curtis' success in Arkansas, reinforcements intended for him were diverted to Grant. Suffice it to say that virtually all of the original army under Grant's/Smith's command was present before April 6. Diverted troops arriving up to the last minute.


Quote:
Plus if it still hasn't been decided, river or land transport, on March 15 as the quote implies even if there were enough transports to move both Halleck couldn't have coordinated with the Navy and had them assembled and ready to pick up Buell for at least a week or ten days. In effect Buell is responding to a possible start date of March 23 at the earliest and another period of time in the actual boarding, transport and landing.


River transport was on its way to Buell as early as the first week of March, when Buell and Halleck still commanded two separate districts. Buell was to reinforce Halleck's Tennessee River Campaign. To facilitate troop movement, Halleck employed a ruse to get river boats to Nashville, without their troop-moving intent being obvious. The correspondence between Halleck, Buell, and Secretary Stanton, dated March 8, states this in plain language. The clearest sample, To Sec'y Stanton, is quoted below.

"The opening of trade to Nashville was a military ruse, to get steamers up the Cumberland for the movement of troops, without the enemy's suspecting the object. If sent up empty, the object could not have been concealed."


Quote:
I also have to ask if 12 companies could be there in time to fight on Day 1 there had to be a lot more troops ready to board with them, 12 companies aren't going to be moving alone through what in effect is unconquered enemy territory, so why were only 12 companies ferried to the Landing in time to join the fight? Where were the transports to ferry more?
--John R. Price


The 12 companies in question were the advance of Buell's Army. They were part of Nelson's division, which had waded across the Duck River on the 29th, while the rest of the army crossed on the 30th. They arrived at Savannah in the afternoon of April 5. Buell himself arrived in Savannah somewhere around dusk on the 5th, but did not communicate his presence to Grant. The rest of the army was behind him, in column, stretched out for several miles. In brief, the bulk of the army had not yet arrived. As they did, late on April 6, through the night, and during the day of April 7th, they were promptly transported across the river.

Before leaving Savannah (7-7:30 am) on the morning of the 6th, Grant ordered Gen. Nelson to "...move your entire command to the river opposite Pittsburg." A similar message was sent to Gen. Wood, commanding the division next closest to Savannah. Grant sent two other hurry-up orders to Nelson that morning. Nelson, however, did not begin to march until 1 pm, at the earliest, after having Grant's order "reiterated" to him by Gen. Buell. They arrived across from Pittsburg Landing several hours later, and were transported asap, with twelve companies being in-place and engaged, before the confederates quit for the day. (Note: as per orders from Gen. Halleck, Grant and Buell had indepedent commands, unless Grant's army was attacked. If this occurred, then Grant was authorized to exercise overall command of both armies.)

Yours,

JohnT



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


Posts: 191

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 11/19/2017 10:53:23 PM
Sorry. Double post.

Yours,

JohnT



John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 710

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 11/20/2017 5:39:39 AM
JohnT,

It is relevant in trying to understand the availability of transports. If some or all of the transports would have had to do double duty to transport both armies.

Again how much and when was all of it going to be available. 173 transports and 12 gunboats is what Grant had when he weighed anchor for 42,000 men. Buell has 37,000 so were there 150-160 transports there in the first week of March? How about barges for the supplies, wagons, horses and mules?

I have seen a order quoted from Grant to Nelson from afternoon of the 5th when Nelson was arriving at Savanah to camp there and not cross the river that night. Plus in looking at a present day map of Hardin County alongside a map from 1862 the place where Nelson set up camp would be a little south of the city where the present day industrial park is located and that is no more than 3-4 miles from the crossing point at Pittsburg Landing and there was a road. If he left camp at 1PM he was at Pittsburg Landing an hour later, two at most.

I also have to add that it took most of the night, the last of Buell's most engaged divisions were across at about 4AM, and that was only about 15,000 men and that was with very little of their artillery. All this is telling me there weren't all that many transports at Pittsburg Landing on the 6th.
---------------
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"


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


Posts: 191

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 11/22/2017 8:04:57 PM
Well, let's see. For roughly the first two weeks of March, Buell commanded the Department of the Ohio. I would be much surprised if that command did not include river boats, steam or otherwise, for whatever needs Buell might have. Add to that, whatever Halleck was sending him under the guise of commerce. I do not know how many that is, but I would assume enough to move more than 12 companies, and sufficient supplies, in one month's time.

Now let's add those freed up after dropping off Grant's original army of 5 divisions(as of March 18, 1 at Crump's Landing-Wallace, 2 at Pittsburg Landing- Sherman and Hurlbut, and 2 at Savannah-McClernand and Smith, the latter already on transports and ready to move). On March 18, Grant wrote to Halleck:


Quote:
I immediately ordered all troops, except McClernand's command, to Pittsburg, and to debark there at once and discharge the steamers, to report at Paducah for further orders. (This would be Smith's Division and the currently unattached troops that had been diverted from Arkansas. Wallace was to remain at Crump's Landing.)


After that, Grant was only receiving the remnants of the diverted troops.

As for Nelson's travel time from Savannah to a point across from Pittsburg Landing, his official report, Dated April 10, states:


Quote:
"In obedience to orders received yesterday from headquarters of the Army of the Ohio, I have the honor to report that the Fourth Division of the Army of the Ohio, under my command, left Savannah, by order of General Grant, reiterated by General Buell in person, at 1.30 p.m. on Sunday, April 6, and marched by land to the point opposite Pittsburg Landing. The anxiety of the soldiers to take part in the battle which was going on on the left bank of the river enabled me to achieve the distance, notwithstanding the dreadful state of the road over a lately overflowed bottom, in four hours."


Had Nelson got his division moving when Grant first ordered it, he could have been crossing the Tennessee 4-5 hours earlier, at the least.

Yours,

JohnT

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 710

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 11/22/2017 11:06:32 PM
JohnT,

And a significant percentage of the shipping assets in the Department of Ohio are going to have to stay in the Department to supply the garrisons and patrol the rivers because its conquered territory.

So you are telling me that it took two full weeks to transport the majority of Grant's force with 173 transports and 12 gunboats available to him. Smith and Sherman were actually ordered earlier than the 4th of March to conduct raids I believe while Grant was ordered to Savanah on March 4th. So lets say he releases 120 transports on the 18th, its going to be 2-3 days to get to Paducah and another 2-3 days to repair take on fuel and get to Buell so lets say 4 days which gets us to the 23rd March and two weeks from the 23rd gets us to the 6th of April earliest.

First had Grant ordered Nelson to keep coming he could have crossed on the night of the 5th. There was more than enough intel pointing to an attack for days prior to the 5th. Second fighting continued until about 8PM on the 6th and the final Union line was within sight of the Landing. Plus if the division was up "in four hours" then the van was there in three and as there was a hell of a fight going on the units would be transported across as they arrived. So the van of the division would have gotten there at 4:30 which tells me there was limited transport available if only 12 companies made it across in 3:30 hours. As it is the transport there took over 12 hours to get less than 15,000 men across over what a mile wide river and they had very little artillery and none of the wagon train.

I'm sorry but you can't put it all on Buell
---------------
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: 710

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 11/23/2017 12:35:02 AM
JohnT,

You do understand that the US government only owned 91 river steamboats during the war and that all the others used were either impressed or contracted. That the majority of Captains, pilots and crews were civilian not Navy. Also that on the Tenn River the sternwheel rather than sidewheel was the preferred type because of the draft and less chance of paddle damage to floating obsticles.
---------------
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"


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


Posts: 191

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 11/23/2017 10:16:17 AM

Quote:
JohnT,

You do understand that the US government only owned 91 river steamboats during the war and that all the others used were either impressed or contracted. That the majority of Captains, pilots and crews were civilian not Navy. Also that on the Tenn River the sternwheel rather than sidewheel was the preferred type because of the draft and less chance of paddle damage to floating obsticles.
--John R. Price


Yep. I do.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yours,
JohnT

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


Posts: 191

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 11/24/2017 9:20:30 AM

Quote:
JohnT,

And a significant percentage of the shipping assets in the Department of Ohio are going to have to stay in the Department to supply the garrisons and patrol the rivers because its conquered territory.


Significant, but not all, certainly not even most. For supply: "An Army supply officer calculated that an ordinary Ohio River steamboat of 500 tons would carry enough supplies on one trip to subsist an army of 40,000 men and 18,000 horses for nearly two days. This was the equivalent of five 10-car freight trains." [Read More]

In early March, Buell, as a separate department commander, was to loan only a portion of his army to Halleck. (Say, a division or two. The number was never settled.) Not that many ships needed, and Halleck is supplementing the number of available ships. By mid-March, Buell is under Halleck's command and is moving his whole army, save for those doing garrison duty. The bulk of supplies has to follow the bulk of the men. Therefore, the bulk of the boats already in service remain in service and available for the movement/supply to Savannah/Pittsburg Landing.


Quote:
So you are telling me that it took two full weeks to transport the majority of Grant's force with 173 transports and 12 gunboats available to him. Smith and Sherman were actually ordered earlier than the 4th of March to conduct raids I believe while Grant was ordered to Savanah on March 4th. So lets say he releases 120 transports on the 18th, its going to be 2-3 days to get to Paducah and another 2-3 days to repair take on fuel and get to Buell so lets say 4 days which gets us to the 23rd March and two weeks from the 23rd gets us to the 6th of April earliest.


If these were the only ships available to Buell, I would cede the point. They weren't, however. As noted above, there were ships already available to Buell, those added by Halleck, and finally, those released by Grant. Had Buell started moving even one division by river in early March, it would have been in place weeks before the battle. Had he decided to to move the rest of his forces by river in mid-March, how many more divisions could have been in place three weeks later? (Keeping in mind that it took Grant two weeks to move 5 divisions.)


Quote:
First had Grant ordered Nelson to keep coming he could have crossed on the night of the 5th. There was more than enough intel pointing to an attack for days prior to the 5th.


I agree. In Grant's own words, he was expecting an attack, but not for another day or two. Pontoon bridges had also arrived on the 5th, and I am guessing that Grant wanted that in place for Nelson's move across the river. He definitely wanted it in place for Buell's two other divisions due to arrive on the 6th. That was a miscalculation on Grant's part. That does not, however, excuse Nelson for sitting on his butt for hours after being ordered, (two/three times) to move out.


Quote:
Second fighting continued until about 8PM on the 6th and the final Union line was within sight of the Landing. Plus if the division was up "in four hours" then the van was there in three and as there was a hell of a fight going on the units would be transported across as they arrived.


I take Nelson to mean that the head of his division was there in 4 hours, with the whole division immediately behind him, in column, stretched out on a narrow road.


Quote:
So the van of the division would have gotten there at 4:30 which tells me there was limited transport available if only 12 companies made it across in 3:30 hours. As it is the transport there took over 12 hours to get less than 15,000 men across over what a mile wide river and they had very little artillery and none of the wagon train.


As noted above, Grant had released many of the transports and sent them up to Paducah. So, no, there were not a lot of transports sitting there, and the pontoon bridge was not yet in place. How does that change the fact that, had Buell travelled by river, he could have had multiple divisions in place, at Pittsburg Landing, well before the battle commenced?


Quote:
I'm sorry but you can't put it all on Buell
--John R. Price


I am not, and have not, "put it all on Buell." My post of 11/13 stated, "It is my opinion that Buell inflated his role in the battle. I believe he did so because his decision to move there by land had taken much longer than he anticipated, and his slow progression helped create the circumstances of April 6." On 11/17 I wrote, in part: "...then Buell is partially responsible for the circumstances under which the battle was fought on the first day." (emphases added)



Yours,

JohnT

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 710

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 11/24/2017 11:07:16 PM
JohnT,

And from a member of Halleck's staff who rose to Brig Gen in 65,
In the 1860′s, nothing could equal a river as a supply route.  A river could not be blown up.  But due to the natural unpredictability of a river that lifeline was not always available.  Military opinions on railroads and steamboats were mixed.  Describing his aversion to the Tennessee River, Col Richard D Cutts wrote “The railroad to Memphis and Columbus will be open next week & the Tennessee River may then go to hell where water is most needed.”

This is from a article on "Georgetown Steamboats" and the quote you give from Sherman is right below it. From more reading I've discovered that the Tenn was very shallow and suited better to the shallow draft boats that couldn't carry as large a load. Also for some reason it was very debris filled causing much damage to side wheel steamers because it would break the paddles in the side wheel.

But you haven't given how many ships Buell had nor how many Halleck sent and your acknowledging that the number of troops going to Pittsburg Landing hasn't been decided upon yet. Plus its one number of ships to supply and a totally different number to transport and supply. Plus again it isn't 3 weeks. If Grant sends X number of transports to Paducah on the 18th its 3-4 days in transport north then at least another 3-4 days loading fuel and supplies and making repairs then another 2-3 days getting upstream to Buell so its the 28th if everything goes perfect before Buell starts loading troops. Grant started his floatilla moving on the 4th and sent them back on the 18th. That is two weeks travel and unloading time. Plus you aren't considering limited unloading space and capability. Were the docking capacity at Pittsburg Landing and Savanah sufficient to accomidate both forces at the same time?

So what your telling me is that it doesn't matter if Nelson moved early or not because it was going to be at least 4 hours before his entire division was in position to be ferried across and there wasn't enough transport to ferry more than 12 companies at a time.

I think Grant saying he expected attack is hindsight. For 2 days as Confederate infantry arrived they were shooting off their rifles to make sure the powder was dry enough. The pickets were reporting contacts and sounds and so was the cavalry. But the attck still caught them with their pants down. If he expected being attacked in a day or two his commanders would not be blowing off the signals they were getting from the enemy they would have been better prepared.

Sorry but I think you are trying to take some of the blame off Grant. I don't care how many more men he has he is in enemy territory and has to expect an attack and be prepared to meet an attack 24/7 not in a day or two and he wasn't ready and neither would have the extra troops.
---------------
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"


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


Posts: 191

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 11/27/2017 1:35:44 AM

Quote:
JohnT,

And from a member of Halleck's staff who rose to Brig Gen in 65,
In the 1860′s, nothing could equal a river as a supply route.  A river could not be blown up.  But due to the natural unpredictability of a river that lifeline was not always available.  Military opinions on railroads and steamboats were mixed.  Describing his aversion to the Tennessee River, Col Richard D Cutts wrote “The railroad to Memphis and Columbus will be open next week & the Tennessee River may then go to hell where water is most needed.”


Yes. Some really liked river travel, and others did not.


Quote:
This is from a article on "Georgetown Steamboats" and the quote you give from Sherman is right below it. From more reading I've discovered that the Tenn was very shallow and suited better to the shallow draft boats that couldn't carry as large a load. Also for some reason it was very debris filled causing much damage to side wheel steamers because it would break the paddles in the side wheel.


This is spring time and the Tennessee River is flowing high. High enough, in fact, that some of the other landings were not available, due to flooding. High enough that, on April 6, Nelson noted the poor state of the roads, which had been recently flooded over.

Yes. In the OR, there are messages from this time frame where Halleck communicates to Buell that he has diving boats assigned to clearing snags.

I would note that Buell is perfectly happy to have his supplies transported via the Tennessee River, which would have the boats carrying more weight than if filled with troops.

Finally, Grant moved his entire army, and their supplies, down to Savannah & Pittsburg Landing on this same Tennessee River, in about 2 1/2 weeks. (Reinforcements were also arriving via the Tennessee.)


Quote:
But you haven't given how many ships Buell had nor how many Halleck sent and your acknowledging that the number of troops going to Pittsburg Landing hasn't been decided upon yet. Plus its one number of ships to supply and a totally different number to transport and supply. Plus again it isn't 3 weeks. If Grant sends X number of transports to Paducah on the 18th its 3-4 days in transport north then at least another 3-4 days loading fuel and supplies and making repairs then another 2-3 days getting upstream to Buell so its the 28th if everything goes perfect before Buell starts loading troops. Grant started his floatilla moving on the 4th and sent them back on the 18th. That is two weeks travel and unloading time. Plus you aren't considering limited unloading space and capability. Were the docking capacity at Pittsburg Landing and Savanah sufficient to accomidate both forces at the same time?


No, I have not seen any accounting of how many vessels were available to Buell in the first two weeks of March. Lacking that, I fall back on logic. Buell already had ships in use and available, whether by impressment or contract. Halleck, a very capable administrator, was providing him with more. Halleck would have known, as well as, if not better than, anyone else in that theater what would have been necessary to move Buell's troops and supplies, whatever the number.

Buell does not mention an insufficiency of vessels as the reason for not moving, to begin with, and, later, for moving by land. His correspondence is clear that he is seeing confederates where they aren't, and really wants to go in a totally different direction than to Savannah. When his department is subsumed into Halleck's, and he is ordered to Savannah/Pittsburg Landing, his rationale for land movement is based upon speed and security. With clear, good roads, and with all the bridges intact and secured, he might have been correct. Reality proved him to be wrong, however. It would have been faster and more secure to move by river.

As for the ships Grant released, I doubt that they would have been sent to Paducah if Buell had chosen to move via the river. Much more likely that they would have been sent to Nashville. According to your timetable, they would have been available to move the remnants of Buell's army by the 28th, at the latest. Four days travel to Savannah/Pittsburg Landing would have had them unloading troops starting April 1.


Quote:
So what your telling me is that it doesn't matter if Nelson moved early or not because it was going to be at least 4 hours before his entire division was in position to be ferried across and there wasn't enough transport to ferry more than 12 companies at a time.


No, that is not what I have stated. I am tempted to believe you are being intentionally obtuse.


Quote:
I think Grant saying he expected attack is hindsight. For 2 days as Confederate infantry arrived they were shooting off their rifles to make sure the powder was dry enough. The pickets were reporting contacts and sounds and so was the cavalry. But the attack still caught them with their pants down. If he expected being attacked in a day or two his commanders would not be blowing off the signals they were getting from the enemy they would have been better prepared.


The correspondence between Generals Lew Wallace, Grant, Sherman and W.H.L. Lewis on April 4 clearly demonstrate that they were aware of confederate build up at Purdy, and preparing for a possible attack on Lew Wallace's division at Crump's Landing. From Grant to Sherman, dated April 4th:

"Information just received indicate that the enemy are sending in a force to Purdy, and it may be with a view to attack General L. Wallace at Crump's Landing. I have directed General W.H.L. Wallace, commanding Second Division temporarily, to reinforce General L. Wallace in case of an attack with his entire division, although I look for nothing of the kind, but it is best to be prepared.

I would direct, therefore, that you advise your advance guards to keep a sharp lookout in that direction, and should such a thing be attempted, give all the support of your division and General Hurlbut's, if necessary.

I will return to Pittsburg at an early hour tomorrow, and will ride out to your camp."


While not the same as expecting Johnston's full army, it is also not the same as total complacency.



Quote:
Sorry but I think you are trying to take some of the blame off Grant. I don't care how many more men he has he is in enemy territory and has to expect an attack and be prepared to meet an attack 24/7 not in a day or two and he wasn't ready and neither would have the extra troops.

--John R. Price


No need to be sorry. I am most definitely taking some of the blame off of Grant. (Not all, but some.) Had Buell not sat still for the first two weeks of March, there would have been at least one or two more full divisions present well before April 6. Had he started moving the rest of his army by river in mid-March, he could have had most, if not all, of his army in place at Pittsburg Landing, also before April 6. Since Johnston's object was to attack before the federal armies combined, he would have been too late, leaving him the choice of a frontal assault against a force twice his size, or calling off the assault. Either way, April 6, 1862 would have been very different.

Yours,

JohnT

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 710

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 11/27/2017 4:53:38 PM
JohnT,

I just finished reading the Official Records Correspondence online at Cornell for the first 18 days of March. Grant more than once points out he doesn't have enough transports to move all his troops at the same time and we know he has 173 transports available to him. He also complains of a shortage of coal for the transports and the limited capacity to land troops and supplies.

Buell also explains to Halleck that one section of his command has lost all supply and that all of his command is short on transport to bring men, equipment and supply to the point to which they can board transport. That he has to use the transports steamers available to bring needed equipment and supply. Yes this could be Buell dragging his feet but the fact is his entire command was not concentrated and would need to be equipped with transport no matter. He is also complaining that the transports Halleck sent weren't being allowed to dock at Nashville by order of the civilian representative of the President carrying out Lincoln's order that "no commerce be allowed with states then in rebellion." It took Halleck explaining to Washington that the commerce angle was a ploy and it wasn't until the 11th or 12th that the transports were even allowed to dock and then there wasn't any coal to resupply them.

Also with respect Crump's Landing is how many miles away from Pittsburg Landing? Plus the plan was for Johnston to attack on the 5th but they pushed it back a day because all the troops weren't up but troops had been arriving in front of the Union position since the 3rd and with each new unit some or all fired of their guns to check the powder because of the recent rains. Also the advance guard had pushed in the pickets as early as the 1st. I'm sorry but there was all the evidence needed to tell Grant a major force was a hell of a lot closer than Crump's.
---------------
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"


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


Posts: 191

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 11/27/2017 8:13:40 PM

Quote:
JohnT,

I just finished reading the Official Records Correspondence online at Cornell for the first 18 days of March. Grant more than once points out he doesn't have enough transports to move all his troops at the same time and we know he has 173 transports available to him. He also complains of a shortage of coal for the transports and the limited capacity to land troops and supplies.


Correct, Grant could not move them all at once. He moved them as fast as he could and got the job done. As for the coal, his exact words on why there was a lack of it were:

March 17
"It is with great difficulty that quartermasters at Paducah and Cairo can be impressed with the magnitude of our wants in coal and forage. We are now short in both these articles." (emphasis mine)

To my reading, Grant is complaining that the quartermasters are being stingy and slow, as opposed to there simply isn't any available.


Quote:
Buell also explains to Halleck that one section of his command has lost all supply and that all of his command is short on transport to bring men, equipment and supply to the point to which they can board transport. That he has to use the transports steamers available to bring needed equipment and supply. Yes this could be Buell dragging his feet but the fact is his entire command was not concentrated and would need to be equipped with transport no matter. He is also complaining that the transports Halleck sent weren't being allowed to dock at Nashville by order of the civilian representative of the President carrying out Lincoln's order that "no commerce be allowed with states then in rebellion." It took Halleck explaining to Washington that the commerce angle was a ploy and it wasn't until the 11th or 12th that the transports were even allowed to dock and then there wasn't any coal to resupply them.


Yes, I wrote about this above. Yes, I believe it is, in large part, Buell dragging his feet. In another part, it is the result of Buell having gone where he wasn't needed and not where his superiors in Washington had wanted him to go. (A whole 'nuther kettle of fish.)

Speaking of which, Buell complains a lot about how the high rivers and bad roads have impaired the movement of his forces by land, slowing the concentration of his forces. Why then would he elect to go overland to Savannah? I would think he would have learned a lesson.


Quote:
Also with respect Crump's Landing is how many miles away from Pittsburg Landing? Plus the plan was for Johnston to attack on the 5th but they pushed it back a day because all the troops weren't up but troops had been arriving in front of the Union position since the 3rd and with each new unit some or all fired of their guns to check the powder because of the recent rains. Also the advance guard had pushed in the pickets as early as the 1st. I'm sorry but there was all the evidence needed to tell Grant a major force was a hell of a lot closer than Crump's.
--John R. Price


Crump's Landing is 6 miles from Pittsburg Landing, if one follows the River Road. Purdy is to the west of Crump's Landing. Maj. Gen. Cheatham's command was at Purdy, and Wallace moved most of his division west to Adamsville to face it, thus protecting the federal rear and flank. (This map should be helpful: [Read More])

I am not arguing whether both Grant and Sherman were overconfident. They were. No doubt about it. Each deserves some of the blame for the circumstances on the morning of April 6. I am arguing, however that Halleck was quite accurate when he wrote to the War department on March 6,

"What a mistake that Buell did not send forces with us up the Tennessee, so as to seize that point. Smith has gone to do it, but I fear it is too late and that he is too weak. I cannot make Buell understand the importance of strategic points till it is too late."

And frustrated when he wrote to McClellan on March 10,

"That is now the great strategic line of the Western Campaign (the Tennesse River), and I am surprised that General Buell should hesitate to re-enforce me. He was too late at Fort Donelson, as Hunter has been in Arkansas. I am obliged to make my calculations independent of both."

Then there is the constant need to re-focus Buell on getting to Savannah/Pittsburg Landing. Even on the march, Buell is constantly "seeing squirrels."

Yes, Buell deserves some of the responsibility for the morning of April 6. He was late.

Yours,

JohnT



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


Posts: 191

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 11/27/2017 8:18:53 PM
For those interested in reading the correspondence John p and I have been citing, the volume where these have been transcribed can be found here: [Read More]

I find this online version to be the easiest and fastest to use.

Yours,

JohnT

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 710

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 11/28/2017 11:45:06 AM
JohnT,

Grant has 173 transports and 47,000 troops to move and he can't get it all done at once and is having difficulty with supply of coal and fodder and this with a staff that has been involved in planning the movement for a couple of weeks but you expect Buell to move as quickly with no advance planning, the same difficulty with supply and less transports?

It doesn't matter why Grant is complaining about a shortage of coal it matters that there is a shortage of coal impacting the movement of men and equipment by river and that Buell is experiencing the same shortage.

Well then Washington should have made it clear that Halleck was Buell's superior earlier something that you really can't blame Buell for completely. Until Washington makes it perfectly clear Buell is following his interpretation of Washington's orders about the occupation of Middle Tenn.

If the Tenn River is high it would also be running fast and since if lows northwest and river movement to Savannah is going upriver against a strong current in a debris filled river with a shortage of coal and not nearly as many transports as Grant has and limited landings available. Plus if I'm not mistaken there is a well built up "pike" that he will be using for much of his overland march instead of the side roads and byways needed to concentrate and he's just had the river transport bring wagons, teams and supplies. There are advantages and disadvantages in both forms.

Cheatham's command was all of 3,700 and had left Purdy days before to concentrate with the army. Cheatham's was one of the first to get into position at Pittsburg Landing before Grant's note to Sherman.

But Halleck was talking about Corinth and Buell didn't have the transport or strength to seize Corinth before Smith gets to Pittsburg Landing. It needed a combined force of the two and I'm saying that IMHO there wasn't enough transport to get the two forces there any quicker. And Halleck had always planned to "take the field" and be in field command when Corinth fell, its in the letter ordering Grant to stay at Donelson and send Smith in command.

Halleck was also at this point doing all in his power to make Grant look bad to Washington with the continued accusations about not informing him of his strength. I think Halleck was maybe self promoting a little at Buell's expense and not explaining the logistical situation completely or completely correctly.
---------------
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: 710

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 11/29/2017 11:24:36 AM
JohnT,

I started reading the Navy records last night for late Feb and early March and I'm starting to think that there weren't enough gunboats to convoy any force of Buell's until Grant releases some from duty with him. That between battle damage, non battle damage, shortage of manpower, refitting, ships under construction and operational demands/requests Foote was stretch way to thin.

There were also a few good reports on raids up the Tenn River and the and an exchange with a battery and infantry at Pittsburg. Plus they were giving intel from the raids on troops dispositions and numbers and that southern Tenn and northern Alabama and Miss were decidedly Unionist in sentiment. That if a strong regiment was sent a home guard could be raised to reclaim the whole for the Union and if only armed and supplied that force would hold it. Seems they were basing it in part on the vote on secession in those areas being majority against and a handful of recruits enlisted.

There is also mention that most of the transports under Buell were withdrawn once Nashville fell to support Pope and Grant and that there were only 3 gunboats available to patrol and convoy supplies for the Tenn and Cumberland Rivers in the first week of March.
---------------
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: 710

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 12/1/2017 11:33:42 AM
JohnT,

Grant provided the transports that moved Nelson's Division to Nashville and expected their return ASAP.

I also have found reference that the number of transports sent by Halleck to "reopen commerce" might be as few as 6. There is reference by the Sec of the Navy in correspondence to that number waiting permission to dock at Nashville.
---------------
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"


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


Posts: 191

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 12/4/2017 12:29:49 PM

Quote:
JohnT,

Grant provided the transports that moved Nelson's Division to Nashville and expected their return ASAP.


Arriving too late for Fort Donelson, Grant ordered the transports carrying Nelson's division to Nashville. Nelson's division was at Nashville about the 25th of February.

On March 18, Grant wrote to Halleck, "I immediately ordered all troops, except McClernand's command, to Pittsburg, and to debark there at once and discharge the steamers, to report at Paducah for further orders."


Quote:
I also have found reference that the number of transports sent by Halleck to "reopen commerce" might be as few as 6. There is reference by the Sec of the Navy in correspondence to that number waiting permission to dock at Nashville.
--John R. Price


What leads you to believe that the "might be as few as 6" were all that were coming, much less all that were available to Buell?

Yours,

JohnT

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 710

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 12/6/2017 1:35:15 AM
JohnT,

Your argument has been that Buell should have/could have started his movement by water to Pittsburg Landing at the same time as Grant. That he had transports under his command that would have allowed him to do that. My question has been is Grant using all or the great majority of transports available until the 18th? Given what I've been seeing in the records and the fact that it isn't the only operation ongoing I think Grant has the very large majority available and he still doesn't have all he needs with 173 transports being used.

And again if Grant releases the transports on the 18th they will move north on the Tenn River to Paducah at which point they can either turn east and use the Cumberland River to take them to Nashville or west to get to the Miss River. Given both rivers are flowing fast, there is a shortage of coal, for whatever reason, the probable need for repairs and loading time it isn't the quick round-trip you are implying.

A letter in the Official Naval records trying to get clarification from Washington if 6 transports filled with goods for commerce should be allowed to dock at around the same time Halleck is explaining to Washington that the "commerce" end of it is a ruse.
---------------
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"


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


Posts: 191

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 12/9/2017 10:08:40 AM

Quote:
JohnT,

Your argument has been that Buell should have/could have started his movement by water to Pittsburg Landing at the same time as Grant. That he had transports under his command that would have allowed him to do that. My question has been is Grant using all or the great majority of transports available until the 18th? Given what I've been seeing in the records and the fact that it isn't the only operation ongoing I think Grant has the very large majority available and he still doesn't have all he needs with 173 transports being used.

And again if Grant releases the transports on the 18th they will move north on the Tenn River to Paducah at which point they can either turn east and use the Cumberland River to take them to Nashville or west to get to the Miss River. Given both rivers are flowing fast, there is a shortage of coal, for whatever reason, the probable need for repairs and loading time it isn't the quick round-trip you are implying.

A letter in the Official Naval records trying to get clarification from Washington if 6 transports filled with goods for commerce should be allowed to dock at around the same time Halleck is explaining to Washington that the "commerce" end of it is a ruse.
--John R. Price


I would have a much easier time accepting that logic if Buell had stated somewhere that there aren't enough boats to move his troops by water. At the time Grant began his move down the Tennessee, Buell (commanding a separate department from Halleck) was only being asked for the loan of maybe a division. He is later ordered (as a subordinate to Halleck in the newly merged department) to move the bulk of his army. By that time, the bulk of Grant's army is already in place or will be shortly.

His reason for not moving any troops, as originally requested (request supported by Buell's superiors in Washington), is that they are too spread out and have been hampered by high waters/flooding/mud/etc. Yet, this does not seem to be a consideration when he plans his move from Nashville to Savannah. He states that it will be faster and safer to move his men by land (while supplies are transported by river).

At first glance, this might appear reasonable. At a distance of 90 miles, a modest pace of 10 miles per day would have the lead elements arriving within a week and a half, and the supplies transported by river would be waiting. The results proved otherwise, as the confederates were able, by destroying a few bridges, to completely halt any movement of the Army of the Ohio for more than a week. At the very least, one has to question his judgement as to how fast he could move his army by land, and, even more so, his estimation as to the security of his route.

In the end, three weeks after Buell finally began his movement, only one division was near enough to be of any help on April 6, and that help was quite late in the day. Had Buell started moving any of his troops, even if it had to be in a piecemeal fashion (like Grant did), by river, said troops would have been in place earlier. That "earlier", would have been significant, even if it was only a few days.

In assessing responsibility, I hold Sherman, Grant and Halleck responsible for for assuming that Johnston would not come out of Corinth. That was a huge mistake. I hold Buell responsible for dragging his feet, seeing rebs where they weren't, and then choosing a route that allowed him to be frozen in place for more than a week. That was poor planning and execution. While Buell was not responsible for any lack of preparation at Pittsburg landing, I find his claim to have saved the day to be rather weak, considering his delayed arrival.

Yours,

JohnT



John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 710

Re: Shiloh-Did Buell Really Save The Day?
Posted on: 12/16/2017 11:13:40 AM
JohnT,

Maybe he isn't putting in words that which is obvious to all. Plus at the time Grant was preparing for his move he was also returning a division to Buell, if everybody knew that a division was going to be requested again why send it back? If there was so much shipping available to Buell and Grant was in need of it to move to Pittsburg Landing why did Grant use shipping assigned to him to move the division back to Buell with orders to return ASAP? Why didn't Buell send some of his abundant shipping to pick up the division? Can you show me anything that says there are over 500 transports available to the two Departments? Remember Pope is in the mix and running a operation and equipment and supplies have to be moved so 500 is really a low number.

You are leaving a reason out, that there is a shortage or complete lack of transport, wagons and teams, and supplies with the individual units. In one case it was because flooding washed them away but I'm getting the impression from other dispatches that another reason is the fluidity of the situation and the fact that movement of armies and supply has been tied to the rivers for all. That the river transportation system was taxed to the breaking point and that there was a shortage of operational boats and men to man them. See Halleck and Foote requesting that infantry regiments be broken up and made sailors and Foote being questioned about repair times and costs.

Shouldn't have Halleck provided Cavalry to guard the route and ensure the bridges remain intact?

Personally I don't think more troops would have changed the outcome of Day 1 because they were going to be any more prepared to meet a attack. I would also ask if the sulkers under the bluffs don't see significant reinforcement arriving are any going to take heart and return to their units? Aren't there going to be a whole lot more of those sulkers because Buell's troops are any more experienced than Grant's were in large part. I'm of the opinion that Buell's arrival meant more in morale to Grant than anything else and it was that boost in morale that carried the day in the following days attack. With no reinforcement visable arriving where is that boost coming from?
---------------
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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