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(1861-1865) Civil War Battles (Western Theater)
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Message
Steve Clements
Toronto
ON Canada
Posts: 728
Rosecrans
Posted on: 4/25/2020 10:25:56 AM

Too much time on my hands...re-read an old North and South article on most under-rated generals...with several of the contributors making a good case for Rosecrans.

As a result, I pulled out a copy of "Gateway to the Confederacy", which is a collection of essays on the Chattanooga campaigns of 62 & 63.

For anyone wanting a more in depth take on Rosecrans, I would highly recommend two of the essays in particular.

One, "A Malignant Vindictiveness - The Two Decade Rivalry between US Grant and William Rosecrans" and Two, "Incubator of Innovation - The Army of the Cumberland and the Spirit of Invention in 1863".

Have been a Thomas fan for a while, and have been interested in the lack of trust that Grant appeared to place in Thomas. As a result, I have read as much as possible about both Chattanooga and Nashville.

As an aside, the more that I 'know' about the CW, the less and less that I respect Grant. Yeah, maybe the war might not have been won without his dogged determination in 64 & 65.....but I am increasingly seeing him as a nasty and insecure man. Who basically declared war on both Thomas and Rosecrans, because they were direct or potential rivals. They were not one of his "boys" i.e. Sherman and Sheridan....

I would also recommend a third essay in this collection, specifically "A Tale of Two Orders", which deals with Woods' "decision" to pull his division out of line during the second day of Chickamauga (and also deals with the "Hill is supposed to attack at sunrise" order...).

Thoughts???

s.c.

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morris crumley
Dunwoody
GA USA
Posts: 2875
Rosecrans
Posted on: 4/25/2020 4:57:13 PM

Steve, I know what you mean about Grant. I can tell you that the more I studied George Thomas, the less I thought of Grant and Sherman. From reviewing their campaigns, I would argue that it is a good thing that they were on the side with more men and more materials and logistical support. Much of their success was about having a larger force ( in the case of Sherman`s campaign in Georgia, more men with which to feign maneuver to hold Johnston in place ...though the biggest culprit was Johnston himself. )

Dogged determination? You bet.

Respects, Morris
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"You are a $70, red-wool, pure quill military genius, or the biggest damn fool in northern Mexico."
Gregory C. White
Canton
GA USA
Posts: 302
Rosecrans
Posted on: 4/25/2020 6:34:29 PM

Quote:
Steve, I know what you mean about Grant. I can tell you that the more I studied George Thomas, the less I thought of Grant and Sherman. From reviewing their campaigns, I would argue that it is a good thing that they were on the side with more men and more materials and logistical support. Much of their succes was about having a larger force ( in the case of Sherman`s campaign in Georgia, more men with which to feign maneuver to hold Johnston in place ...though the biggest culprit was Johnston himself. )

Dogged determination? You bet.

Respects, Morris

I believe the History Channel has a series on Grant in the near future. I wonder how it will treat him?
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"I do not believe that any man can adequately appreciate the world of to-day unless he has some knowledge of...[and] some feeling for...the history of the world of the past." Theodore Roosevelt
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre
PA USA
Posts: 1135
Rosecrans
Posted on: 4/26/2020 7:26:35 AM

Steve,

On Grant how much does Rollins(sp?) bring out/add too the insecurity/vindictiveness?

Woods' was dammed if he did and dammed if he didn't in his mind. Personality and the whole story is so important to understanding.

How can you attack if you've never received the order until after the time specified for the attack. Understanding Bragg and Bishop Polk and their clash of personalities really helps with this. Plus why doesn't Bragg go off on Longstreet because he wasn't ready to attack if Hill had attacked at sunrise. The whole idea was FUBAR
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre
PA USA
Posts: 1135
Rosecrans
Posted on: 4/26/2020 7:32:36 AM

Greg,

Like the best thing since sliced bread.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4714
Rosecrans
Posted on: 4/26/2020 7:57:11 AM

That recent biography by Ron Chernow makes Grant look pretty divine.

At the end of reading it, I was cast under his spell.

Should I reconsider ?

Wasn’t Old Rosey a superb battlefield commander, with the singular flaw of suffering from “ hyper mania “ ?

Regards, Phil
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"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
scoucer
Berlin
 Germany
Posts: 2807
Rosecrans
Posted on: 4/26/2020 9:39:34 AM

This is interesting as Rosecrans is someone I have never really looked at. I am a great admirer of Thomas. Thomas´s loyalty and friendship to Rosecrans was one of the problems between Thomas and Grant. Thomas and Sherman had been roomates and friends at West Point - they had no personality problems with each other. As an amateur historian and a proffessional therapist and consultant I have difficulty seperating looking at someone as a general ( their military actions) and their "personality" although that is also part of command skills.

Completely agree with John R. here.

Quote:
Steve,
Personality and the whole story is so important to understanding....................Understanding Bragg and Bishop Polk and their clash of personalities really helps with this.


Quote:
Too much time on my hands...re-read an old North and South article on most under-rated generals


This is something that has interested me for as long as I can remember and not just in the ACW. So I´ve been looking at Ewell and Burnside and thinking did Pope "really" deserve to be sent chasing Indians in Minnesota ?

The toxicity in Bragg´s command was equally reflected in the AoP.

Will enjoy taking a look at Rosecrans.

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: 728
Rosecrans
Posted on: 4/26/2020 11:47:05 AM

Hi Phil,

Yeah, I read Chernow's take on Grant last year. Certainly well written, and I seem to remember enjoying it...but I don't recall it saying anything out of the ordinary. Two Grant biographies that I would highly recommend would include those written by William McFeely's and Jean Smith.

"A Malignant Vindictiveness" makes a strong case for Charles Dana (who had just come from spying on Grant) having thrown Rosecrans under the bus. And very unfairly at that...

s.c.
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Steve Clements
Toronto
ON Canada
Posts: 728
Rosecrans
Posted on: 4/26/2020 11:58:44 AM

Trevor,

Quote:
As an amateur historian and a proffessional therapist and consultant I have difficulty seperating looking at someone as a general ( their military actions) and their "personality" although that is also part of command skills.


In my opinion, "their personality" is a HUGE part of their command skills-:) In fact, I think that to be a good historian almost demands that one be a pretty good amateur therapist-:)

I played stock market analyst for close to four decades....and in many to most large organizations, "culture" is critically important. I mean, if you had walked into a Wal-Mart and a K-mart, circa 1985, could you tell the difference (if one ignored the fact that the prices were lower in one...). Nope, they "looked" the same...but the cultures of the two companies were dramatically different (I had the pleasure of meeting Sam Walton on several occasions, albeit, always in a group setting, never one on one). And of course one became arguably the world's most successful retailer (Costco might argue with that -:), and the other is merely a footnote in corporate history...and the subject of a lot of bad jokes.

Certainly, from what I know about the CW, culture was critical to the success of a CW army.

We tend to focus at the nastiness and dissension within Bragg's army...but the ANV (under Lee) had just as many difficult personalities....I mean, both Hills, Jackson, Ewell were all close to whack jobs....certainly as senior managers in a Fortune 500 company, they would have "handle with care" written all over them. And frankly, once Longstreet left Lee and the ANV, he was as big a whack job as any of them....

And the political infighting within the AoP was legendary...and the subject of numerous books and articles.

s.c.
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Steve Clements
Toronto
ON Canada
Posts: 728
Rosecrans
Posted on: 4/26/2020 12:02:12 PM

Quote:
So I´ve been looking at Ewell and Burnside and thinking did Pope "really" deserve to be sent chasing Indians in Minnesota ?


My own bias is that Pope did deserve to be sent to Minnesota, but I wouldn't trust him to even chase Indians......the better question is why anyone might have thought that he was qualified to operate a large army.

As for Ewell, I have a soft spot for him...and i personally think that Lee treated him somewhat unfairly. Heck, anyone that can survive working under Jackson deserves my respect-:)

s.c.
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scoucer
Berlin
 Germany
Posts: 2807
Rosecrans
Posted on: 4/27/2020 8:04:13 AM

Quote:
Trevor,

Quote:
As an amateur historian and a proffessional therapist and consultant I have difficulty seperating looking at someone as a general ( their military actions) and their "personality" although that is also part of command skills.


In my opinion, "their personality" is a HUGE part of their command skills-:) In fact, I think that to be a good historian almost demands that one be a pretty good amateur therapist-:)

I played stock market analyst for close to four decades....and in many to most large organizations, "culture" is critically important. I mean, if you had walked into a Wal-Mart and a K-mart, circa 1985, could you tell the difference (if one ignored the fact that the prices were lower in one...). Nope, they "looked" the same...but the cultures of the two companies were dramatically different (I had the pleasure of meeting Sam Walton on several occasions, albeit, always in a group setting, never one on one). And of course one became arguably the world's most successful retailer (Costco might argue with that -:), and the other is merely a footnote in corporate history...and the subject of a lot of bad jokes.

Certainly, from what I know about the CW, culture was critical to the success of a CW army.s.c.


Steve,

As the Berliners say " You are busting in an open door". Which means not only do I completely agree but have been unsuccessfully preaching the same for years.

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.
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4714
Rosecrans
Posted on: 4/27/2020 8:51:06 AM

It would be interesting to see what John Wilder, commander of the “ Lightning Brigade”, had to say about Rosecrans.

I see them both as men of high ability and in accord regarding how best to conduct operations in the field.

What did Wilder think of Dana , Rosecrans’s nemesis ?

Regards, Phil
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"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
Posts: 728
Rosecrans
Posted on: 4/27/2020 9:09:22 AM

Trevor,

The investment business is full of 30 year olds with MBA's and CFA's (the latter is now essentially mandatory). That can and do build neat little models on their computers that can forecast 'stuff' to the fourth decimal place. That make no sense....your inputs into the model might be logical (?), but people are not....cuz the world is not black and white and a bunch of numbers...but "people". And people are, sadly, very human...-:)

What the investment business should do is hire a bunch of MA's in psychology...business is people, and if you don't understand "people", your models are not worth shit!!!!

s.c.





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Steve Clements
Toronto
ON Canada
Posts: 728
Rosecrans
Posted on: 4/27/2020 9:15:04 AM

Quote:
It would be interesting to see what John Wilder, commander of the “ Lightning Brigade”, had to say about Rosecrans.

I see them both as men of high ability and in accord regarding how best to conduct operations in the field.

What did Wilder think of Dana , Rosecrans’s nemesis ?

Regards, Phil



Hi Phil,

I doubt that Wilder, as a brigade commander, would have had much contact with Dana. And Rosecrans "liked" Dana, and had no idea that Dana was throwing him under the bus.

I would add that Rosecrans was a big supporter of both mounting infantry AND giving his mounted infantry superior weapons...i.e. breech loading rifles...

s.c.
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Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4714
Rosecrans
Posted on: 4/27/2020 11:48:28 AM

Quote:
Quote:
It would be interesting to see what John Wilder, commander of the “ Lightning Brigade”, had to say about Rosecrans.

I see them both as men of high ability and in accord regarding how best to conduct operations in the field.

What did Wilder think of Dana , Rosecrans’s nemesis ?

Regards, Phil



Hi Phil,

I doubt that Wilder, as a brigade commander, would have had much contact with Dana. And Rosecrans "liked" Dana, and had no idea that Dana was throwing him under the bus.

I would add that Rosecrans was a big supporter of both mounting infantry AND giving his mounted infantry superior weapons...i.e. breech loading rifles...

s.c.



Steve,

Didn’t Dana prevent Wilder from coming to Rosecrans’s aid at Chickamauga ? Or, at least, insist that Wilder should provide a safe escort for him ( Dana) and get him away from the battlefield , instead of encouraging him to deploy his Lightning Brigade where it might have proved extremely effective in repulsing the rebels ?
Wilder insisted for the rest of his life that he could have turned the tide if it hadn’t been for Dana’s hysterical and self centred conduct. That’s what I’ve just gleaned from Cozzens.

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
Posts: 1135
Rosecrans
Posted on: 4/27/2020 6:08:30 PM

Steve,

Dana was getting the "ammo" used to throw Rosey under the bus from the brigade and regimental commanders as they would have the most information and the ax to grind.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre
PA USA
Posts: 1135
Rosecrans
Posted on: 4/27/2020 7:27:56 PM

Steve,

Also Wilder took out a personal bank loan to buy the Spencer rifles and had each man sign a IOU for $35 and he mounted his command without orders to do so.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre
PA USA
Posts: 1135
Rosecrans
Posted on: 4/30/2020 10:19:35 PM

Phil,

A article that may interest you,

https://www.historynet.com/battle-of-chickamauga-colonel-john-t-wilder-and-the-lightning-brigade.htm
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
Steve Clements
Toronto
ON Canada
Posts: 728
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/1/2020 8:56:16 AM

Hi Phil,

Quote:
Didn’t Dana prevent Wilder from coming to Rosecrans’s aid at Chickamauga ? Or, at least, insist that Wilder should provide a safe escort for him ( Dana) and get him away from the battlefield , instead of encouraging him to deploy his Lightning Brigade where it might have proved extremely effective in repulsing the rebels ?
Wilder insisted for the rest of his life that he could have turned the tide if it hadn’t been for Dana’s hysterical and self centred conduct. That’s what I’ve just gleaned from Cozzens


Thanks for posting this anecdote. Been a LONG time since I have read Cozzens book on Chickamauga (was shortly before the MHO muster at Chickamauga and Lookout Mountain...and that was - I believe - something like 15 years ago....).

s.c.
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Steve Clements
Toronto
ON Canada
Posts: 728
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/1/2020 9:00:42 AM

Quote:
Steve,

Also Wilder took out a personal bank loan to buy the Spencer rifles and had each man sign a IOU for $35 and he mounted his command without orders to do so.


Hi John,

Didn't know about the IOU's...

David Powell, in his "Incubator of Innovation" essay (page 103 in my hard copy edition) notes that the government "ultimately footed the bill". So I assume that everyone got paid back-:)

Although I believe you are correct, in that Wilder did so (mounted his men) without specific "orders", he would have done so with Rosecrans' "okay"...given that Rosecrans himself had an additional brigade mounted, as well as the 39th Indiana.

s.c.
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Steve Clements
Toronto
ON Canada
Posts: 728
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/1/2020 9:11:24 AM

Quote:
Phil,

A article that may interest you,

https://www.historynet.com/battle-of-chickamauga-colonel-john-t-wilder-and-the-lightning-brigade.htm




John,

Just read the article. VERY interesting...many thanks for posting it....

s.c.
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John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre
PA USA
Posts: 1135
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/1/2020 10:11:44 AM

Steve,

My understanding is the newspapers got a hold of the story about the loan and the politicians were shamed into a quick payment.

The first time Wilder "mounted" his brigade was with the mules used to pull his ammo and supply wagons because he was sick of skirmishing with Rebel Cavalry and their hit and run tactics. It was far from a success. It was after that failure that he sought Rosey's OK which was given a month or two later but the "mounts" wouldn't be provided by the army but would have to be "captured" or "the spoils of war."
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
scoucer
Berlin
 Germany
Posts: 2807
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/1/2020 11:06:21 AM

I´m enjoying reading about Rosecrans.

And on a personal note ( Lockdown and Home Office is making me somewhat emotional ).
It brings back some very wonderful memories to read a discussion between John and Steve over the Western front.

Trevor
----------------------------------
`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.
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4714
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/1/2020 1:27:41 PM

Quote:
Steve,

Also Wilder took out a personal bank loan to buy the Spencer rifles and had each man sign a IOU for $35 and he mounted his command without orders to do so.



Literally a case of getting a lot of bang for your buck !

Wilder is another of those warriors who , despite - ( or because of ?) - their outstanding abilities , inspired jealousies and disdain from the less gifted officers in the higher military hierarchy .

Editing : eighty years later, another innovator - the British soldier David Stirling, founder of the S.A.S. - encountered so much resistance to his ideas from his military superiors , that he , in exasperation, described them as layers of fossilised shit !

Regards, Phil
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"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
Posts: 4714
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/2/2020 7:12:40 AM

It’s a troubling thing to contemplate , isn’t it : Rosecrans being “airbrushed” out of his rightful place in the narrative ?

Rather like Stalin fretting about being eclipsed by Zhukov .

From what little I’ve read about Rosecrans, his pre war career suggests a highly innovative and adaptable mind, versed in things well beyond the straitened regime of a military academy.....although he did excel as a cadet there, too.

A businessman and technology enthusiast , he was bound to be receptive to the ideas of a man like Wilder.

There was an awful lot of inventiveness in this war, a surprising amount of it emanating from the so called technologically “ backward” South.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention.

One of the most challenging and fascinating aspects of the war is the degree to which other military leaders have been traduced in reputation.

I’ve heard some very interesting things said about Burnside that have made me sit up, listen, and reconsider.
Likewise about Hood, and, of course, McClellan.

I would like to see some rehabilitation of Bragg.

Many would consider that a fool’s errand. For some reason, I sense that he has been given a worse press than he deserves.

Perhaps, of all people, Rosecrans himself could have given a sound judgement here.

Did he make comments about Bragg’s abilities ?

I would have thought that he found fighting Bragg a distinctly unpleasant experience . No major battle of the war was deadlier for Union soldiers than Stones River ; as for Chickamauga .....well, there’s scope for widely differing interpretations !


Regards, Phil

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"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
Posts: 728
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/2/2020 11:46:43 AM

Hi Phil,

Quote:
I’ve heard some very interesting things said about Burnside that have made me sit up, listen, and reconsider.
Likewise about Hood, and, of course, McClellan.


I am willing to listen to an argument for Burnside....if for no other reason than that he appeared to be a very decent man. Although after Fredericksburg, he certainly went after some of his senior officers -:) And of course I am intrigued that Lincoln (generally not a bad judge of character...) offered the "job" to Burnside on multiple occasions-:)

NOT willing to listen to an argument for "Mac". I know that you have a soft spot for him, but.... I have had enough of self serving men in positions of great power-:) Who care nothing about their country, and can only think in terms of their own inflated egos.

I personally think that Lincoln should have had "Mac" taken outside and shot....incompetence is one thing....thinking you are God's gift to the world (when you are THAT incompetent) is simply unforgivable.

As for Hood, I just don't think that there is any excuse for a Franklin....you don't "punish" your men by deliberately killing them off. And the less said about Nashville, the better-:)

As for Bragg, I have vol. one of Grady McWhiney's bio of Bragg. I had read that he never wrote vol. two cuz he was too disgusted with his subject-:) No idea if that id true (Maybe John P. can comment here), but the fact that it is believable says volumes, eh?

Going back to your Dana/Wilder anecdote...well, while looking for my copy of Cozzens, I came across a copy of "Wilder's Lightening Brigade" on my shelf (had forgotten that I owned it...), and the author tells basically the same story as Cozzens.

As an aside, because I didn't remember even having the book, I assumed that I had never got around to reading it....'til I flipped it open and found my orange and blue highlighting in various places.

s.c.
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John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre
PA USA
Posts: 1135
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/2/2020 12:42:13 PM

Phil,

You have heard the expression "one step forward two steps back" I'm sure but with Bragg it is one step forward five steps back. You point to Stones River but fail to mention the inability to react to Union actions and modify the plan of attack to meet the changing situation. You point to Chickamauga without mentioning the exact same fault and many more. It isn't Bragg that needs rehabilitation but the officers and men who served under him, maybe they were a hell of a lot better then given credit.

Hood and Burnside didn't have brains and Mac the guts for the jobs. There is so much that goes into being a good commander of even a squad and with each move up the chain more is needed. Every single general or officer we discuss have some of those qualities but very few have them all and even those that do don't win every battle.

Edit I think maybe we should take a look at the loss suffered in many of the Confederate Brigades at Chickamauga. Many are down to 700-800 men when they are attacking Thomas mainly because Bragg won't change the plan long after the Union movements made the plan undoable.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre
PA USA
Posts: 1135
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/2/2020 12:50:35 PM

Steve,

Two excuses for Hood laudnum(sp?) and Bragg in his corner as military advisor to the president.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
Steve Clements
Toronto
ON Canada
Posts: 728
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/2/2020 1:08:54 PM

An issue of the now defunct North & South had an article on the worst ten generals of the CW.

Six CW historians 'voted", each giving a list of ten .... the results were tabulated (top of the worst list got ten points, the second worst got nine points etc.).

The results?? John B. Floyd got the most weighted votes, at 39.5 - despite one historian leaving him off the list and admitting after the fact that he shouldn't have.

Coming in a close second was Mr. Bragg, at 39.0. Only one of the six managed to leave Bragg of off his list.

Worst Union officer was Banks, at 28.0, second worst was Mac at 26.0.

Interesting to me .... Mac was completely left off of three of the lists...but made the number one spot on two of the others (including Sears, which should be no surprise-:)

One voter (Steve Newton) defended Mac, saying he wasn't as bad as Burnside, Meade or Hooker and gave Mac credit for moving quickly in the Maryland campaign...I personally would take issue with the latter, given that Mac actually slowed down his advance AFTER finding the 'Lost Order".... and I think that Meade was generally pretty competent, just had the bad luck to go against arguably the best CW general ...Hooker did have a bad two days at Chancellorsville, but was also poorly served by some of his subordinates, and had a pretty good track record as a divisional and corps commander. I mean, Mac had a lot more than just two bad days...and his actions in not supporting Pope at Second Manassas amounted to treason, IMO. I wasn't kidding when I said that I think that Lincoln should have had Mac propped up against a wall and shot.

The choice of Banks was also interesting to me....not someone that I ever paid a lot of attention to...but Banks was held responsible for the Red River fiasco, couldn't take Port Hudson and was chased around by Stonewall in the "Valley" in '62. Not a great track record. And frankly, a pretty extensive portfolio of failure....

s.c.
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Steve Clements
Toronto
ON Canada
Posts: 728
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/2/2020 1:25:19 PM

John,

well, you remember what Mrs. Reagan said "just say no to drugs" -:)

Sorry, you are allowed to make mistakes...you are not allowed (in my opinion) to deliberately sacrifice your men. And that was what Franklin was....

As for Bragg...yeah I assume that you are arguing that Bragg permitted Hood to go to Alabama and then up into Tennessee....but if Spring Hill had of been different (you and I have debated this before, I believe), there never would have been a Franklin.

As for Nashville, a couple things come to mind...even above and beyond the fact that Hood's army should never have had to suffer thru Franklin etc., and how much weaker Thomas would have been had the Spring Hill trap been sprung....

1) Smith's two divisions (from the Army of the Tennessee's XVI corps) got there just in time...and one veteran soldier is worth a bunch of men that have served primarily guard duty etc.

2) According to Stephen Starr (2002, downloaded off the web..."Grant and Thomas December 1864", A Cincinnati CWRT Presentation) , of the 27K in the 4th and 23rd corps, that were 'given' to Thomas, a full 15k were either on furlough home (to vote) or were about to be mustered out. Now Starr does note that perfectly green regiments (of about 12k in size) were added to replace the lost veterans...but again, green troops are no match for bloodied veterans.

Frankly, IMO, a lot had to go right for Thomas, back in November and December 1864. And a lot had to go wrong for Hood, and almost all of it did, and much of it was Hood's direct fault. Including Franklin AND (IMO) Spring Hill.

There is a book out there, written by a descendant of Hood's...that attempts to downplay the impact of drugs on his ancestor....yeah, I can't spell the name of the drug either-:) Have you read it? This is not necessarily an endorsement...I did read most of it...but left it outside overnight...and mother nature conspired to take it from me, and I never felt the need to replace it.

s.c.

EDIT: About to leave civilization for a few days....so if I do not respond to a post, that is why, not lack of interest-:)
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mikecmaps
CAMARILLO
CA USA
Posts: 29
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/2/2020 1:57:01 PM

Sorry to be late here. And may miss some of the points made.
But my main point is my 2008 CIVIL WAR DISPATCH article comparing POPE vs GRANT.
GRANT AT MANASSAS
To the point of Grant as a commander;
Main point/ conclusion (counter-factual) of article was that had Grant been sent east 1862 instead of Pope, Grant would have suffered similar fate. Not room here but a compare and contrast that looks at Grants 1862 performance vs Pope.
Concluding paragraph
“The point here is not that Lee would have beat Grant at Bull Run. More important is that the margin between good and bad commanders may be quite small. While it’s common to hear Pope called incompetent, in fact Grant may be regarded very differently today had he been in Pope’s place at Bull Run.”
Also study by objective/quantitative evaluation showing Grant rating quite low.
Regarding Rosecrans; again a single defeat seems to overwhelm his reputation. In contrast his Tullahoma campaign should rank as a masterpiece. But as Rosecrans himself noted it was not accorded much value because it was not punctuated by a bloody battle.
Mike_c.
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Steve Clements
Toronto
ON Canada
Posts: 728
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/2/2020 3:17:55 PM

Mike,

If you are arguing that generals needed time to hone their craft, I would agree....and certainly, Grant benefited (?) from Belmont, Shiloh etc. And took those lessons with him.

I would also suggest that some of those lessons actually worked against him (i.e. attack asap, delay will only benefit your opponent), at The Wilderness and at Spotsylvania (sp?) Court House.

But I don't agree about Pope. IMO, not unlike little Mac, his personality flaws got in the way of whatever skills he was capable of bringing to the table.

It took blind arrogance to not understand that Longstreet was on his flank...and as someone else once wrote (and I must paraphrase here), writing in Battles and Leaders decades later, Pope still seemed to not understand that Longstreet was on his flank on the second day.

s.c.
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mikecmaps
CAMARILLO
CA USA
Posts: 29
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/2/2020 4:07:42 PM

Steve,

you indicate something of what I mean. Rosecrans is criticized for Chickamauga to the point that Tullahoma is largely forgotten. & with Pope similarly, yes he got the dickens beat out of him by Lee/Jackson team – who didn’t. Whole reason Pope sent east was a good performance at IsL NO 10. Grant likely would have met same fate. Our evaluations tend to be entirely too subjective. Grant and Sherman like wise completely failed to detect Johnston before Shiloh. But survived to fight again & redeem themselves. Buell’s troops were decisive.

Analysis of personality flaws or subjective assessment tend to be circular – general defeated / bad character. Not necessarily true. None of these guys had any real qualification to command at that level. So yes some major blunders occurred. Grant won last battle/ great general; Mac lost first try at Richmond/ Bad general. Such evaluations are too simplistic to be helpful, IMHO.

Mike_C.
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scoucer
Berlin
 Germany
Posts: 2807
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/2/2020 4:50:50 PM

Quote:

Regarding Rosecrans; again a single defeat seems to overwhelm his reputation. In contrast his Tullahoma campaign should rank as a masterpiece. But as Rosecrans himself noted it was not accorded much value because it was not punctuated by a bloody battle.
Mike_c.


It also was overshadowed by Gettysburg and Vicksburg.

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.
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre
PA USA
Posts: 1135
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/3/2020 2:38:22 AM

Steve,

I don't think Hood would have stayed in command or maybe ever been given command if not for Bragg's advice to Davis.

And I agree Franklin was no mistake it was ordered suicide but that is basically what the whole campaign is. So what if Hood beats Thomas at Nashville? The election has taken place and the Republicans have been re-elected.

Plus I'm sorry but do you agree that on the retreat from Nashville the route could be followed by following "bloody footprints in the slush and snow" because so many in the AOT had no shoes? How much straggling do you think there was on the cross country flank march by Cheatham's and Stewart's Corps between the Duck River and Spring Hill? How much to get to the Duck River? At the very least there is going to be a frost on the ground to start the march in the mornings. Realistically Cleburne and Cheatham's(under Brown I believe) were up with some sunlight left in the sky to attack plus Forrest Cavalry. Throw in that Cleburne's strongest brigade is detached and you have 7 brigades that started the campaign with about 1,000 men each and about 3,500 Cav who's had mounts breaking down and casualties to skirmishing all along the march. I think you would have been lucky if there were 7,500 men at the end of a day of forced marching many barefoot and all on short rations in the ranks.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4714
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/3/2020 5:36:39 AM

Rosecrans appears to have a bad start at Stones River and a good finish : the opposite at Chickamauga.

Would be keen to discuss Corinth here.

That, and Iuka....a couple of lesser battles, but characterised by fighting of the bitterest kind, and a test of mettle for Rosecrans.

Agitated and somewhat incoherent under pressure, he yet gave a first rate account of himself as a battlefield leader. I need to know more before I press that opinion : but that’s the image I get.

He knew all too well about “ letters of blood” after Stones River, spattered with the blood and brains of his poor aide.

It’s fashionable to ascribe present day mental health “ issues” to discussions on the generals of this and other wars. Was Bragg autistic ? We’ve just been discussing Sherman as a candidate for bi-polar depression.
How about Rosecrans being a victim of PTSD ?

A man of innately sensitive nature, I daresay. Kind to his soldiers, dying of a broken heart at the loss of a beloved granddaughter . Imagine the impact of Stones River.

I’m stating the bleeding obvious here, and the same applies to other soldiers at all levels : but I’ll pitch it in for our consideration.

Regards, Phil
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"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
Posts: 4714
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/3/2020 10:06:13 AM

Quote:
Our evaluations tend to be entirely too subjective.


How right you are, Mike !

And yet, how dull history would become if we were to deny ourselves the indulgence of our emotions. The crucial thing is, I suppose, that we are aware of our subjective approach.


Heartiest of welcomes to you, by the way.

Regards, Phil
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"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
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO
CA USA
Posts: 29
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/3/2020 10:41:21 AM

Steve, Phil,

I think I have title right. Goss, Thomas J. The War Within the Union High Command: Politics and Generalship During the Civil War. He talks about how professionals like Rosecrans were accorded little/no leeway, while political generals like Banks, Butler, and McClernand were allowed to continue whatever they did. I see grant as a political general in that his offer for service to war department was ignored since his record was well known. But he got a political appointment in the state militia and rose from there. & yes certainly made the most of it. contrast Pope & Rosecrans after some success got booted for one mistake (yes a big one) Grant was surprised three times april – Dec 1862 and managed to hang on and claw his way up until he could gain a major victory. (Shiloh, corinth, Holly springs) & perhaps Lincoln fixated on VA helped too.

I often think about the responsibility/stress of commanding 120k men & the power to order the deaths of 10-15k any moment. Yes the nature of command. We should remember that these commanders were flawed ordinary men and ill prepared for what they were expected to do.
Mike_C.
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John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre
PA USA
Posts: 1135
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/3/2020 12:25:21 PM

Mike C,

I don't really buy the ill prepared because just about all of them saw combat in multiple wars, Mexico and against various Native tribes in levels of command and it leaves no explination for the those like Forrest or Cleburne or Wilder to name but a few. No they weren't army commanders but command talent isn't limited to army command and that is what we are talking about. Plus with respect I believe only Grant, Sherman and Mac commanded 120K men and they aren't the only commanders being discussed. Yes I believe it was possible to be promoted above your command talent but I don't believe there is any form of preparation that could change that. I agree that all were flawed ordinary men ill prepared for what was expected of them but that describes every commander throughout time. You can only prepare to refight the last war and each new war brings different situations and new horrors that have to be overcome by commanders at every level.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO
CA USA
Posts: 29
Rosecrans
Posted on: 5/3/2020 1:42:17 PM

John & group,

Respectfully, I cannot see that Indian wars pre-1860 or Mexico campaign were remotely relevant experience for an army commander 1861-1862. (apart from most basic knowledge) Yes, they all made due the best they could, they blundered along and some found success. Non-professionals like Forrest were able to show some success in relation to the typical low performance. Forrest in command of a brigade or division not comparable to and army or corps. Yes, he did well in his sphere. And yes even some professionals didn’t show very well, Johnston, Longstreet, Thomas, Bragg, Beauregard, all had their bad moments. And Sherman, Sheridan, Lee, Jackson made their own blunders. (and some may argue that Mexico taught the wrong lessons).
Subjective analysis/evaluation has no basic measures or standards. Not very effective in understanding events & why & what aspects were most important in driving the result.
(my reference to 120k was a generalization for High command, sorry)
Mike_C
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