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(1861-1865) Civil War Battles (Western Theater)
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Steve Clements
Toronto
ON Canada
Posts: 688
Thomas and Grant
Posted on: 3/31/2020 4:01:07 PM

There was a thread on the board a little while ago, which appears to have been "consolidated" away -:) about why there was apparently a lack of trust etc. between Thomas and Grant.

Read a Thomas biography a couple of weeks ago, and the author argued that, on several occasions at Chattanooga, Thomas moved with noticeably less speed than what Grant wanted.

1) Well before the successful attacks of Nov. 23 to 25th occurred, Grant had tried to order Thomas to attack Missionary Ridge on the 7th. I believe that Grant was concerned about Burnside at Knoxville, (I think that Longstreet had left by that date...) and Grant certainly had Lincoln and Stanton on his case to not forget about Knoxville.

Thomas thought the idea very premature, and used Baldy Smith to help convince Grant to wait until Sherman etc., had come up. Thomas is almost certainly correct, but Grant is a man that does not like to have his orders questioned.

2) On the 25th, with Sherman completely bogged down in front of Cleburne (on Bragg's far right), Grant gave his famous order to Thomas to have Thomas' four divisions attack Bragg's centre i.e. Missionary Ridge and take the lower set of trenches..... and then for a while, nothing happened. Grant, apparently uncomfortable with asking Thomas directly as to why no one was moving, goes to General Wood and asks him why his division was not attacking. Wood answered, cuz no one had told him to do so. Grant goes to Thomas, and Thomas tells Grant that he has told Granger to arrange the attack..and of course, Granger is busy sighting a firing an artillery piece. Why Thomas did not do a more thorough job of making sure that his orders were followed is a good question. Even from this distance, sure looks like a passive/aggressive manner of handling an order that Thomas does not approve of...

3) After Chattanooga is 'won', Grant orders Granger to take his corps and go to Burnside's rescue. Short version, Granger moves more slowly than what Grant wants...still busy getting his men in order etc., Grant had a fit, and then orders Sherman to go to Burnside's rescue.

s.c.
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scoucer
Berlin
 Germany
Posts: 2715
Thomas and Grant
Posted on: 3/31/2020 8:03:09 PM

Steve,

Yes, it was on the commanders board.

Off the top of my head.

I believe Thomas believed he was to wait until Hooker threatened the Confederate flank from Rossville Gap.What neither Grant nor Thomas knew was that the retreating Confederates had burned the bridges over the river and Hooker didnĀ“t show. Grant had, however, ordered Hooker only to march into the Lookout Valley. So a complete misunderstanding.

Trevor
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`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
Steve Clements
Toronto
ON Canada
Posts: 688
Thomas and Grant
Posted on: 4/1/2020 10:16:31 AM

Hi Trevor,

I agree with part of what you wrote....but no, I do not believe that Grant's order to Thomas was conditional upon Hooker's success. Particularly given that Grant was not a big supporter of Hooker's attack on Lookout Mountain. In fact, I seem to remember that the original orders were to make a demonstration i.e. try to draw Confederate forces away from Missionary Ridge).

Grant was desperate to try and 'rescue' Sherman...and I think that his orders to Thomas were pretty straight forward. Attack the centre of the ridge, and hopefully, you will draw off some of the defenders that are keeping Sherman at bay.

In addition, Grant's orders were only to take the bottom line of trenches, and anecdotal evidence would suggest that he was kinda pissed when Thomas' men started to move up the ridge, without orders.

Somewhat ironically (John Price and I were discussing this....), Hooker's eventual attack on the flank and rear of Stewart's division (Steward held the far left of Bragg's Missionary Ridge line) drove some Confederates off of the ridge, and towards one of Thomas's divisions (Johnson) that were moving up the ridge. And double ironically, the division that was doing Hooker's work for him belonged to Osterhaus, which was the one division belonging to Sherman that had got "left behind", and as a result, was lent to Hooker.

If you google "Chattanooga, battle, Missionary Ridge" I think that you will find several maps that very nicely lay this out.

s.c.
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Steve Clements
Toronto
ON Canada
Posts: 688
Thomas and Grant
Posted on: 4/1/2020 11:28:10 AM

from page 215 of Chris Einolf's biography of Thomas:

Quote:
Grant now went to Thomas, and gave him a direct order to attach the rifle ;pits. Thomas went to Granger and spoke to him for a few minutes, and then Granger walked off. This seemed to indicate that an attack was about to start, but time passed and nothing happened. Finally, Grant went to Wood, whom Granger commanded, and asked him "Why is your division not in motion?" "We have received no such orders, sir" answered Wood. Grant then went to Thomas, "General Thomas, why are not these troops advancing?" "I don't know" Thomas replied, "General Granger has been ordered to move them forward".

Grant looked for Granger and found him at a nearby artillery battery, personally aiming and firing the pieces......"If you will leave that battery to its captain" Grant scolded, "and take command of your corps, it will be better for all of us." Granger immediately set the attack into motion.


s.c.
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Steve Clements
Toronto
ON Canada
Posts: 688
Thomas and Grant
Posted on: 4/1/2020 1:09:24 PM

(at the risk of flogging this to death...)

Trevor,

There is an essay on the web by Bob Redman "Politics in the Union Army at the Battle for Chattanooga" that argues that Thomas did, in fact, deliberately delay his ordered attack until there was some evidence that Hooker had got in Stewart's rear.

Not sure if there is any hard evidence that this is the case, but Redman argues that Thomas was probably aware of Hooker's progress, if for no other reason than that Thomas would have been aware of the noise of combat between Hooker and Stewart. Redman talks about Thomas hearing an artillery exchange...of this I am somewhat doubtful, as Hooker's artillery would have been the last thing across the stream (men could walk across stringers....wagons and guns needed a competed bridge).

Anyways...food for thought.

s.c.
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