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 Civil War - General    
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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/24/2017 7:54:00 AM

Quote:
"McLellan may not have destroyed Lee at Antietam, but he prevented a potentially war-winning thrust by the Confederacy. In the heat of battle, he was aware of the stakes and believed himself outnumbered, yet still made attacks with the ambition of ending it once and for all.


So Colin-what on earth was he sacked for-was it a mistake on Lincoln's part in removing this General officer.????

Regards

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

Lightning
Glasgow, UK
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 442

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/24/2017 8:49:36 AM

Quote:
So Colin-what on earth was he sacked for-was it a mistake on Lincoln's part in removing this General officer.????--anemone


Goodness knows, Jim. Burnside, Hooker and Meade hardly did any better, the latter at not until least until Grant came east. Little Mac came the closest to winning the war in 1862 than any commander (of either side) did until 1865.

Cheers,

Colin
---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5945
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/24/2017 9:11:09 AM
But he stalled Colin, and at Antietam- reduced what should have been a convincing Union victory down to a dubious draw; and then refused to pursue the Confederate army. Something sadly amiss here surely- for a general to act so capriciously.

Regards

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

Lightning
Glasgow, UK
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 442

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/24/2017 9:30:10 AM

Quote:
But he stalled Colin, and at Antietam- reduced what should have been a convincing Union victory down to a dubious draw; and then refused to pursue the Confederate army. Something sadly amiss here surely- for a general to act so capriciously.

Regards

Jim
--anemone


Did not Meade do the same at Gettysburg, yet he kept his command?

Cheers,

Colin
---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5945
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/24/2017 9:51:54 AM
Not quite Colin-Meade did send his 6th Corps in pursuit the following day -they did not arrive at Meade until nightfall-having been sent for late;whereas McLellan flatly refused AFAIK.

Regards

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

Phil andrade
London, UK
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Posts: 2475

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/24/2017 11:26:48 AM
Burnside is a name that crops up a lot.

Synonymous with Fredericksburg, he is regarded as one the war's greatest fall guys.

Misfortune and failure attended him in his personal life, too....he was stood up at the altar on his wedding day.

He was , however, well liked by his troops and was renowned for geniality and courage.

He also gave Longstreet a beating at Knoxville in late 1863.

Bragg came to the fore in the west in 1862. Another name of ill repute in the war's historiography....he fell out with too many people, and was supposed to have argued with himself !

Many complained , but some saw his strong points, including Joe Johnston who wrote a letter to Senator Wigfall reminding the politician that Bragg, in his attack at Murfreesboro on the last day of 1862, inflicted more casualties in proportion to the size of his army than any other commander of modern times. A tall claim, but it stands up better than one might suppose.

Also in the west were Van Dorn and Price. I don't know much about Price, but Van Dorn was renowned for philandering and was shot dead by an outraged husband.

Buell, by his own reckoning the saviour at Shiloh, was knocked about by Bragg's army at Perryville ( where Hardee was in direct command of the confederates ) and fades off the radar after that.

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: 460

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/24/2017 11:44:31 AM
The Union could afford to lose territory in the West; with the sea lanes open and the blockade of the South in place, the Union could essentially cede ground in the West as long as it gained it in the East. Any Confederacy success in the West was icing on the cake - they needed to win where the papers were read.

The East was key; successful moves against the capital and key areas of the cities may have brought a clamour for peace and/or foreign mediation. McLellan may not have destroyed Lee at Antietam, but he prevented a potentially war-winning thrust by the Confederacy. In the heat of battle, he was aware of the stakes and believed himself outnumbered, yet still made attacks with the ambition of ending it once and for all.

Colin,

But it is the victory at Atlanta that wins the re-election of Lincoln because Grant in the "East" is considered stalemated in the summer/early fall of 1864. If the Union is still in Middle Tenn can the fall of Chattanoga have the same effect?
---------------
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: 5945
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/24/2017 11:55:50 AM
Hi John

From 23--25 November 1863, Union forces routed Confederate troops in Tennessee at the battles of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, known collectively as the Battles for Chattanooga.

The victories forced the Confederates back into Georgia, ending the siege of the vital railroad junction of Chattanooga, and paving the way for Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign and March to Savannah, Georgia, in 1864.

Regards

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

Phil andrade
London, UK
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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2475

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/24/2017 12:45:17 PM
Allowing for a degree of guesswork on my part, it seems that, while Antietam 17 September 1862 was by a good margin the bloodiest day of the war, the second bloodiest day came almost exactly one year later : Chickamauga, 20 September 1863. That, of course, was just the second day of the battle : the day before had been a bloodbath, too.

Two of the worst days of 1862 had been " panoramic " battles : Antietam and Fredericksburg .

Chickamauga was much more of a " woods " battle.

It's hard to imagine such a huge and intense battle raging in timber. Much the same could be said of the Wilderness , 5-6 May 1864, which Grant admitted might have been even worse than Shiloh.

Shiloh itself had been fought in terraine that was largely wooded, although there were open fields too, where Grant insisted that there were so many confederate dead after the battle that it would have been possible to walk the field stepping entirely on their corpses.

It's intriguing trying to assess how far this woodland fighting helped or hindered the effective use of armies.

Artillery was certainly hindered by it.

But at Malvern Hill, 1 July 1862, the union gunners enjoyed such a field of fire that they caused over fifty per cent of all southern casualties that day.

Fighting in the woods tended to result in a greater preponderance of the number of wounded, and a smaller ratio of killed, among the casualties . The availability of cover, I suppose....more wounds to the arms, fewer to the torso ?

OTOH, when those woods caught fire, the fate of some of those wounded is unbearable to contemplate .

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
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 5945
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/24/2017 1:05:08 PM
"Fighting in the woods tended to result in a greater preponderance of the number of wounded, and a smaller ratio of killed, among the casualties . The availability of cover, I suppose....more wounds to the arms, fewer to the torso ?

OTOH, when those woods caught fire, the fate of some of those wounded is unbearable to contemplate ." Phil

General N.H. Harris, who commanded a brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia in 1864 at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House had this to say about methods used in woods fighting:
“… the line of battle was greatly aided in maintaining the direction by the fire of the skirmishers, and frequently the line would be formed with a flank resting on a trail or woods road, ravine or watercourse, the flank regiment in such cases acting as a guide.

In advancing through thick woods the skirmish line was almost invariably strengthened, and while the ‘line of battle’ covered by the skirmishers, advanced in two-deep line, bodies in the rear usually marched in columns of fours, prepared to come, by a ‘forward into line,’ to the point where their assistance might be desired. I never saw the compass used in woods fighting.

However close-quarters fighting among the dense woods created high casualties, but the battle proved inconclusive for both sides.

But it did produce an important strategic event, however; whereas before Union commanders had withdrawn their armies after failing to achieve victory south of the Rappahannock River, Grant did not retreat. Instead, he attempted to outflank Lee by moving to the left, setting the stage for the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse.

NB.With 16,170 Union and 18,454 Confederate casualties, the Battle of Chickamauga was the second costliest battle of the Civil War, ranking only behind Gettysburg, and was by far the deadliest battle fought in the West.


Regards

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

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Posts: 460

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/24/2017 3:52:48 PM
Jim,

I know that is what happened but Colin is saying the Union could afford to lose a few battles and territory in the West. So I'm asking if the Union is still in Middles Tenn in Nov 1863 and instead of the spring/summer campaign being for Atlanta in 1864 its for Chatanooga is the capture of Chattanooga in summer 1864 enough to give Lincoln the election in Nov 1864?

Cleburne won the nickname Stonewall of the West for his stand at Ringgold Gap saving the remnents of the AOT and their trains and it wouldn't have even got that far if he hadn't stopped Sherman cold at Tunnel Hill and then Polk's Brigade hadn't held the crossing of Chickamauga Creek open for the retreat. So I wouldn't say the entire army was routed.
---------------
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: 460

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/24/2017 4:02:09 PM
Jim,

It wasn't until 1864 that the Union had the logistical capability to switch bases of supply quickly. Until Grant evety other commander had no choice but to retreat because if they didn't they couldn't be supplied. 25 miles from a railhead is about the limit for operations.

I'm sorry but why blame somebody for not doing what was impossible to do?
---------------
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: 2475

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 4:02:16 AM
They came forward in the same old way ; and we met them in the same old way.

So said Wellington of the tactics of Waterloo, where forty five to forty seven thousand men were cut down in a single day.

His remark infers that little had changed over the previous decade or so of warfare.

Might the same be said of the American Civil War ?

Those dreadful battles of 1862, with their fifteen, sixteen or even twenty one thousand being killed or wounded on a single day.....did they impart a learning curve ?

The casualties at Gettysburg on every single one of its three days, and those of both Chickamauga'a days, would suggest that nothing much had changed.

But a learning curve applies to both sides : .so if one army adapted its tactics.....in all probability , so would the other, resulting in a deadly equilibrium.

There is one feature that merits reconsideration, though. Consider the awful results of the fighting at the base of Marye's Heights on the 13th December 1862.

This is surely the most notorious example of tactical folly that 1862 produced : repeated massed frontal assaults across an open field that gave the defending confederates an eight to one hit advantage.

On the same ground, on 3 May 1863 - another day with sixteen thousand plus killed or wounded, albeit over two widely separated battlefields - that very position was carried at bayonet point.

There were, of course, significant differences in the strength of the defence in the two episodes, so circumspection is required ; but it does suggest that refinement and adaptation in deployment had occurred.

Editing here : re. 3rd May casualties in the Chancellorsville campaign, I've just browsed the wiki article which - inspired by Stephen Sears, I think - cites an estimate of 21,357 casualties for the fighting that day, spread over the Chancellorsville , Fredericksburg and Salem Church battlefields on 3 May 1863, making that day, after Antietam, the bloodiest day of warfare in American history. This is misleading - erroneous, actually - in so far as probably five thousand of those casualties were unwounded prisoners.


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

Lightning
Glasgow, UK
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 442

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 4:19:55 AM

Quote:
But it is the victory at Atlanta that wins the re-election of Lincoln because Grant in the "East" is considered stalemated in the summer/early fall of 1864. If the Union is still in Middle Tenn can the fall of Chattanoga have the same effect?
--John R. Price


Hi John,

Possibly not, (indeed, probably not) but my point was trying to convey the error the Confederacy made in trying to win everywhere, when it only really had to win in the East. Lincoln would have been gone before 1864 had Lee managed to crush the AoP in 1862/1863. The resources in the West in offensive actions could have been better spent elsewhere, IMO, although it would of course raise issues about supply and transport.

Cheers,

Colin

---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2475

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 4:27:21 AM
It's my suspicion that Lee was aware - intuitively at least - that relationships in the Confederate high command in the West were so toxic that diversion of strength to that theatre was bound to be wasted.

In the event, of course, he relented....and the subsequent events bore out his misgivings . The crushing victory at Chickamauga availed the South little in the long run, and might even have precipitated collapse at Chattanooga, on account of the Pyrrhic scale of confederate casualties sustained at Chickamauga. And Longstreet's ensuing foray to Knoxville was a failure, compounded by the embarrassment of being beaten by Burnside.

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

Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Moderator
Posts: 404

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 9:17:25 AM

Quote:

Quote:
"McLellan may not have destroyed Lee at Antietam, but he prevented a potentially war-winning thrust by the Confederacy. In the heat of battle, he was aware of the stakes and believed himself outnumbered, yet still made attacks with the ambition of ending it once and for all.


So Colin-what on earth was he sacked for-was it a mistake on Lincoln's part in removing this General officer.????

Regards

Jim
--anemone


Mac was put in command (for the Antietam campaign) only very reluctantly. Lincoln gave Mac back command of the AoP, only over the strong objections of most of the members of the cabinet, several of whom wanted to put him in front of a wall and shoot him....which is what I think he deserved. So Mac was on a short leash, at best. And post Antietam, he basically all but refused to pursue the ANV...Lincoln understood that he could never win the war with someone like Mac in charge of one of his armies. But at the time of the post Second Bull Run crisis, he had no one else to put in Mac's place. And we all saw how what happened when Burnside was given command.

Pre-Antietam:

1) Glendale. Completely deserted the army. Headed off (escaped??) downstream in a friggin' boat. Left no one in command. As background, IMO, Glendale was one of the very few legitimate opportunities that Lee had to shatter and destroy the AoP. Maybe the only one....that Lee's army badly misfired probably saved Mac's neck. Maybe literally....altho Americans do not have a tradition of shooting generals.

2) Malvern Hill. Sorta deserted the army. Was on a remote part of the field, but basically left the army to fend for itself.

3) Second Bull Run. Wanted Pope to fail. Read the letters he sent to his wife. And did his best to make sure that various AoP divisions were not able to participate at Second Bull Run.

As for the potential war-winning thrust by the ANV...do not agree. Including Hill's division, Lee probably had fewer than 40k men (including artillery and cavalry) at Antietam. His move into Maryland could only have lost the war for the South....but the rag tag army that fought on the banks of the Antietam (with their backs to the Potomac) was an opportunity for the North, not a real threat.

As an aside, altho Mac used the "I am outnumbered" line as an excuse for his multiple failures, I personally am doubtful that he actually believed his own bull shit. But it was a convenient excuse....

s.c.

Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Moderator
Posts: 404

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 9:23:58 AM

Quote:

Quote:
But it is the victory at Atlanta that wins the re-election of Lincoln because Grant in the "East" is considered stalemated in the summer/early fall of 1864. If the Union is still in Middle Tenn can the fall of Chattanoga have the same effect?
--John R. Price


Hi John,

Possibly not, (indeed, probably not) but my point was trying to convey the error the Confederacy made in trying to win everywhere, when it only really had to win in the East. Lincoln would have been gone before 1864 had Lee managed to crush the AoP in 1862/1863. The resources in the West in offensive actions could have been better spent elsewhere, IMO, although it would of course raise issues about supply and transport.

Cheers,

Colin


--Lightning


IMO, Lee could defeat the AoP in the East (in 62/63), but he had almost no chance (outside of Glendale, IMO) of "crushing" the AoP. At the best of times, CW armies were remarkably resilient, and victory was often as confusing to the victor as defeat was to the defeated.

The only real battle of annihilation during the war was Nashville, in Dec. '64. And Thomas had only the scraps of the AoT in front of him....

In addition, Lee could really only play "defense" effectively. Or counter-punch (Second Bull Run/Chancellorsville).

As the Maryland campaign of '62 and the Gettysburg campaign of '63 showed, the ANV did not have the logistical skills/capabilities to mount an effective invasion of the North. And John P. would argue, neither did the North (i.e. able to invade the South) in '62 or '63. So basically, Lee needed to play defense - which is what he did so successfully for much of '64, in the Overland and Petersburg campaigns. Arguably, maybe this is what Lee should have done in '62 and '63, instead of wasting away his army at Malvern Hill, Antietam and Gettysburg.

s.c.

Lightning
Glasgow, UK
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 442

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 10:10:18 AM

Quote:
As the Maryland campaign of '62 and the Gettysburg campaign of '63 showed, the ANV did not have the logistical skills/capabilities to mount an effective invasion of the North. And John P. would argue, neither did the North (i.e. able to invade the South) in '62 or '63. So basically, Lee needed to play defense - which is what he did so successfully for much of '64, in the Overland and Petersburg campaigns. Arguably, maybe this is what Lee should have done in '62 and '63, instead of wasting away his army at Malvern Hill, Antietam and Gettysburg.

s.c.

--Steve Clements


Steve,

I would accept all of the above, and I've argued in the past that the Confederacy really ought to have played for time and tried to grind the Union of the war by inflicting casualties so heinous as to make further conflict massively unpopular in the North.

My points about the Confederacy winning the war was that if they chose to win the war by offensive action (a path I would not have followed, were I Robert E. Lee), then the East was the only place where they could conceivably achieve the high profile victories needed to force a peace, by mediation or outright force of arms.

Cheers,

Colin
---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2475

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 10:54:43 AM
Steve and Colin,

Was Lee constitutionally able - or willing - to fight the kind of defensive war that you allude to ?

He got profoundly depressed in the aftermath of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville , and seemed unreconciled to continuing the war on these terms.

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: 460

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 10:55:41 AM
Phil,

The learning curve was from bottom up not top down and therin was a major problem. The men in the ranks went from naming Lee "Granny" for making them dig fieldworks to doing it themselves without being told and as Hood said before Franklin he was going to break the men of their skittishness for attacking breastworks.
---------------
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: 2475

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 11:07:34 AM
John,

This story about Hood saying that he was going to discipline his army by insisting that the men advance against breastworks : do you suspect that it has been invented, or, at least, exaggerated ?

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: 460

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 11:10:47 AM
Colin,

I agree about defending all territory but not really about winning in the East. See in my mind the Confederacy could never win but they could not lose. It doesn't really matter if Lee crushes the AOP because he's not going to be able to take Washington even if he does because there is always a healthy number of reserves in the Washington defenses and the rail connections to transfer troops from North or West quickly. Plus he's going to be greatly weakened by the battle with no quick reinforcement available.

And I'm sorry but Lincoln isn't going anywhere until the elections of 64 unless Washington falls and he's killed in the defense and like I said above I don't believe that possible.

For the Confederacy to win it has to be a loss of political will in the North and the Congressional election of 62 is way too soon for that.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Posts: 460

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 11:39:01 AM
Phil,

It was in a letter that Hood wrote at the time I believe. There are also reports that he blew up at Spring Hill saying basically the same thing. It wasn't just a one off remark. The more I think about he might have even used something similar in a official report
---------------
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: 460

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 11:42:15 AM
Steve,

But can Virginia continue to sustain the ANVA without a break from the occupation of both armies?
---------------
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"


Lightning
Glasgow, UK
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class


Posts: 442

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 11:55:35 AM

Quote:
It doesn't really matter if Lee crushes the AOP because he's not going to be able to take Washington even if he does because there is always a healthy number of reserves in the Washington defenses and the rail connections to transfer troops from North or West quickly. --John R. Price


I think if Lee crushed the AoP in the East (particularly in '62) then Britain and France would have probably intervened politically and at least ask the Union to consider mediation. The population would either demand a massive response (you allude to troops being shifted from all fronts, which is possible) or suffer from a collapse in confidence, forcing Lincoln to seek at least a temporary truce.

I don't think the Confederacy could ever have won outright in the style of total war by taking fortified cities and destroying the military machine of the Union, but it could have certainly made victory a price too high for the Union.

Cheers,

Colin
---------------
"There is no course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight to the end."

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Posts: 460

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 1:17:21 PM
Colin,

I don't disagree with what your saying but I also don't totally agree. The problem I have is its a all or nothing proposition for the Republican Party and the Republican Party can't compromise enough to satisfy both their base and the South. Lincoln can't just say for example slavery is secure and can have limited expansion because that isn't enough for the South and in reality its too much for his base because the base has been sold its the root of many of their problems. In all honesty the way the Republican Party is structured he really can't compromise on anything because they have interconnected the issues.
---------------
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: 2475

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 1:56:45 PM

Quote:
Phil,

It was in a letter that Hood wrote at the time I believe. There are also reports that he blew up at Spring Hill saying basically the same thing. It wasn't just a one off remark. The more I think about he might have even used something similar in a official report
--John R. Price


John,

He does make allusion to this in his memoir Advance and Retreat...more or less saying that he was very aware - and aggrieved - that the AoT had lost its appetite for battle unless secure behind earthworks.

Yes, he did lose it at Spring Hill and say some bad things.

I don't think that's quite the same as some rather more hyperbolic accounts would have us believe .....the claim that he actually insisted on a fatal direct frontal assault in order to punish his men for being too ' trench bound ".

It' the same syndrome as the allegation that Bragg had a soldier shot for discharging his rifle against orders : the man was attempting to shoot a chicken, and accidentally shot and injured an Afro American child. And so it was said that Bragg valued the life of the soldier less than that of the chicken.

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

Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 1:58:10 PM
Colin,


Quote:
...and I've argued in the past that the Confederacy really ought to have played for time and tried to grind the Union of the war by inflicting casualties so heinous as to make further conflict massively unpopular in the North.


Which is what almost happened in the summer of '64. And not because Lee chose this path strategically, but because Lee was forced to 'react' to Grant's (Meade's) never ending attempts to get around his right flank. Of course, once the Petersburg campaign settled down into trench warfare...Lee tried to go on the offensive - with Early in the Valley - once again. Which, all things being equal, I suspect did a lot of damage to Lincoln's re-election chances (nothing like having a couple of Confederate infantry divisions tapping at the Washington forts).

Given the apparent failure of the Overland and early Petersburg campaigns....If it wasn't for the fall of Atlanta (and maybe the Confederate defeat at Cedar Creek), would Lincoln have been re-elected?

s.c.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 3:43:29 PM
Phil,

He went off at Spring Hill early in the morning of Nov 30 and he's giving the orders for the attack at Franklin by 1PM Nov 30 over the objections of every officer present. He wouldn't even let Forrest finish his idea for a flanking movement. The plan was to line up and charge over open fields a superior force in a prepared defensive position with plenty of artillery with little artillery support of your own. He wouldn't even wait for Lee's Corps to come up with the large majority of artillery. It was worse than Cold Harbor and everybody in those attacking Divisions knew it.

Now I hear what your saying and to some extent I agree but the pain, the wounds and the drugs changed Hood.


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


Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 4:12:31 PM

Quote:
Steve,

But can Virginia continue to sustain the ANVA without a break from the occupation of both armies?
--John R. Price


John,

Well, my impression is that, until the winter of 64/65, generally yes. As you are fully aware, post the Crater, most of what Grant tried to do was cut the remaining rail lines into Petersburg and Richmond.

Based on my limited readings (and an excellent post on another site that went into great detail on this issue), my understanding is that most of what the ANV "consumed" came from the deeper south, and not much from Virginia (of course, by 1863, I guess northern Virginia was pretty trashed out), including not much (relatively speaking) from the Valley.

s.c.

Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 4:17:33 PM

Quote:
Steve and Colin,

Was Lee constitutionally able - or willing - to fight the kind of defensive war that you allude to ?

He got profoundly depressed in the aftermath of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville , and seemed unreconciled to continuing the war on these terms.

Regards, Phil
--Phil andrade


Phil,

My understanding is that Lee believed that the South's best chance for victory was for a short war. And his 'strategy' of almost always taking the offensive was based on his desire to make that one knock-out punch.

I can understand his logic - he believed that the South did not have the resources to fight a long war. But did the North have the stomach for a long war? In the end, the North did prove to have said "stomach", but in the late summer of '64, it sure did not look like it-:)

In addition, many would also argue that it was in Lee's nature to always be aggressive, and no doubt there is more than a grain of truth to that assertion.

s.c.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 4:48:13 PM
Steve,

From what I've read maybe in 62 but by 63 for the lack of locomotives, cars and track tons of food was rotting waiting to be deliver to Virginia. Plus lets not forget about the fodder and grain for the mounts and mules. Its why Longstreet is at Suffox in 63 and why the ANVA is so spread out in 64 coming out of winter quarters much more than for tactical reasons. The decline in the mounts had a lot to do with the decline in the cavalry over and above Union improvements.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


Phil andrade
London, UK
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Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/25/2017 6:53:53 PM
Steve,

....many would also argue that it was in Lee's nature to always be aggressive ...

Heck, yes !

Lee's appetite for combat was phenomenal .

No other general indulged in such relentless fighting, and this was especially so in 1862.

Seven Days, Second Mannassas and then the Maryland Campaign : scarcely a pause, and eighty five thousand men killed or wounded - Union and Confederate - roughly equally divided. Without Lee, would this have happened ? Surely not.

Lee was the unique dynamo of bloodshed. His legendary decency as a human being makes this all the more remarkable.

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
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Posts: 2475

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/26/2017 5:04:56 PM
Any information about the relative prevalence of rifles versus smoothbores in the respective armies in those 1862 battles would be appreciated .

Were southerners labouring at a significant disadvantage in that respect in the earlier part of the war?

The more fighting occurred in woods, the less this mattered?

Regards,

Phil

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

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

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
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Posts: 460

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/26/2017 6:57:59 PM
Phil,

Early in the war both sides used a lot of smoothbores and given the disparity in absolute numbers enlisted I wouldn't be surprised in the percentages were very similar. I've even seen stories that some Union units preferred the smoothbores because of the ability to use the buck and ball load. I think the Irish Brigade was one of those units at least early in the war.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
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Posts: 2752

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/27/2017 8:04:31 AM
Hi John,

So true that smooth bore weapons were more prevalent during the 1st half of the war. But rifled barrels had to be the choice of the Union soldiers later because of distance, & accuracy, plus the quick breech-loading really helped their fire power!

[Read More]

What say you?
Regards,
Dave
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Dick Evick
Waco , TX, USA
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Posts: 142

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/27/2017 10:11:28 AM
The increased range and accuracy of rifled artillery made open terrain deployment and fighting much more hazardous.

Dick.

Dick Evick
Waco , TX, USA
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E-4 Corporal
Posts: 142

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/27/2017 10:11:40 AM
The increased range and accuracy of rifled artillery made open terrain deployment and fighting much more hazardous.

Dick.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Posts: 460

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/27/2017 10:16:05 AM
Dave,

In the infantry I think your getting a little ahead of the curve with the breach-loaders and especially the repeating versions although with the cav the Sharpes and Burnside were widely distributed.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


Phil andrade
London, UK
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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2475

Re: 1862--A Year of Bloody Battles
Posted on: 7/27/2017 11:43:13 AM
A British military historian, Paddy Griffith ( sad to say, now deceased ) wrote a masterful handbook on tactics in the battles of the Civil War, and depicted two hypothetical firefights between regiments of 400 men on either side.

One was set in the spring of 1862 ; the other in the fall of 1864.

In both cases, the confederates attacked over reasonably open ground.

In the 1862 example, the confederates carried 350 smoothbore muskets, 30 shotguns and 20 Bowie knives into action and advanced against 400 Yankees who were all armed with .69 rifled muskets.

In the 1864 action, the attacking rebels deployed 395 Enfield rifle muskets and 5 breechloaders against Yankees with 400 Springfield rifled muskets.

The two fights differed in terms of range at which fire was opened, and duration of the ensuing combat.

The analysis revealed the disadvantages the Confederates laboured under, and the arithmetical consequences.

Significantly, the Yankees carried 50 rounds of ammunition per man, while the rebels carried only 30.

In both cases, the rebels took heavier casualties, taking 110 hits, while inflicting 90 ; but, in both, the rebels achieved a higher ratio of hits per round fired.

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

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