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 (1861-1865) Civil War Battles (Western Theater)
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Larry Purtell
Little Meadows PA USA
Posts: 1797
Joined: 2004
Bragg decieved.
2/12/2024 7:25:02 PM

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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 8320
Joined: 2006
Bragg decieved.
2/13/2024 8:51:40 AM
Hi Larry,

Braxton Bragg, never was the sharpest pencil in the box!!!!

MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6513
Joined: 2004
Bragg decieved.
2/13/2024 12:52:07 PM
Quote:
Hi Larry,

Braxton Bragg, never was the sharpest pencil in the box!!!!

MD


Irascible is the most commonly used word in describing Bragg.

He was afflicted with physical pains and he was - and still is - blamed for Confederate failure in the West.

He was, IMHO, actually quite able, and was no pushover.

I think he was as much - maybe more -sinned against than sinner.

Joe Johnston wrote a letter to Senator Wigfall and was keen to defend Bragg against his many detractors.

He pointed out that at the Battle of Murfreesboro Bragg inflicted more damage on the enemy in a shorter time than any general in modern times.

Dave, I reckon that the relationships between high ranking officers on both sides in the Western Theatre were so toxic that Bragg and several others were in difficulty from the start.

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: 3275
Joined: 2010
Bragg decieved.
2/13/2024 2:18:31 PM
Note that Thomas is refered to as "habitually deliberate".

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.
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 230
Joined: 2020
Bragg decieved.
2/16/2024 6:48:26 PM
Bragg deceived

02162024

Group,
truth stranger than fiction!

Whats the date and name of correspondent?

This is the apparent source for the repeat account in Battle of Stone’s River by A. F. Stevenson 1884.
Stevenson repeats p144 story but cites no source. Good example for our circumspect reading.
mention of in Off. Recs. Vol 20. Pt 1
Pg 195 Rosecrans report

“Deeming it possible that the enemy may attack on our right and center, thus weakened,
I thought it advisable to make at demonstration on our right by a heavy division of camp fires,
and by laying out a line of battle with torches, which answered to the purpose.”

This seems to reasonably be authoritative source for the account, tough lacking some detail.

OR confirms Capt. C. R. Thompson as Rosecrans staff ADC p199; Horace M. Fisher ADC for McCook p255;
And Lt. Col. E. Bassett Langdon IG for McCook p258.

Bragg’s report says he was outnumbered from the beginning (true) and Rosecrans receiving additional troops (not true) near the end of the Battle.
Polk Hardee Cheatham and Withers all recommended retreat on the third.

An interesting feature of Rosecrans report giving union losses he gives figures for relative hits p196-197
“Their average loss taken from the statistics of Cleburne’s Breckinridge’s and Withers’ divisions
was 2080 each. This for six divisions of infantry and one of cavalry, will amount to 14560 men, or to ours nearly as 165 to 100.

“Of 14560 men struck by our missiles, it is estimated that 20,000 rounds of artillery hit 728 men,
2,000,000 rounds of musketry hit 13,832 men, averaging 27.4 cannon shots to hit one man, 145 musket shots to hit 1 man.

“Our relative loss was as follows: Right wing 15,933 musketry and artillery, loss 20.72 per cent. Center 10,866 musketry and artillery, loss 18.4 per cent. Left wing 13,288 musketry and artillery, loss 24.6 per cent. (apparently these are the numbers of Union men for each wing giving 40,087)

“On the whole it is evident we fought superior numbers on unknown ground; inflicted much more injury
than we suffered, were always superior on equal ground with equal numbers, and failed of a
most crushing victory on Wednesday by the extension and direction of our right wing.”

Fox Stones river union loss 1730 kia; 7808 wia; 3717 mia; 13249 tot. (wia to kia; 4.51)
Confed loss 1294 kia; 7945 wia; 1027 mia; 10266 tot. (wia to kia; 6.14)
Livermore numbers and losses.
Union loss. 1677kia; 7543; 9202 k&w; 3686 mia; total 12906. (wia to kia; 4.5)
Confed loss. 1294; 7945 wia; 2500 mia; 11739 total loss. (wia to kia; 6.14)
(Livermore about 3% lower Union loss; 14% higher confed loss vs fox)
For confed mia Livermore cites 20 pt 1 pgs 229, 669, 674.

Rosecrans estimate of Confed losses is off by about 2821 from Livermore and 4294 from Fox.
Livermore gives hit in 1000 Union 223 (22.3%); hit by 1000 223 (confed loss per 1000 union men)
Livermore gives hit in 1000 Confed 266 (26.6%); hit by 1000 265 (Union loss per 1000 Confed men)
Livermore gives engaged Union 41,400 vs 34,732 Confed (fox does not state engaged)

Rosecrans estimate Confed army at 46200 inf; 1200 sharpshooters(?); 1840 Artillery; 13250 cav.;
Total 62,490 total p197

appears we can accept Newspaper account as mostly true
and yes very interesting as a good way to get in the opposing
generals mind and reinforce his wavering morale.

in spite of Rosecrans Chickamauga mistakes he did show a number of credible efforts. IMHO

thanks,
Mike_C.
mikecmaps



Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6513
Joined: 2004
Bragg decieved.
2/17/2024 12:49:31 PM
Mike,

Interesting rendition of Confederate casualties by Rosecrans.

Also note the relatively high loss of Union killed ; lower for the rebels, with their wounded outnumbering their killed by more than six to one, while yankees lose 4.5 wia to every one kia.

My guess is that the rebels retreated, leaving many of their dead unaccounted for: a few hundred more of their killed being subsumed into the missing in action , perhaps ?

Anecdotal federal reports speak of two thousand confederate dead interred in mass graves, and a CSA surgical history states that 1,600 rebel soldiers were killed and eight thousand wounded.

Note the very similar numbers of confederate casualties at Shiloh, Murfreesboro and Antietam ( using Carman for the latter). About one thousand posted as missing in action in all three , and very similar numbers of killed.

I don’t accept Livermore’s 2,500 rebel missing. He’s bloating the southern casualty list for whatever reason.

Rosecrans is, IMHO, underrated as a commander.

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: 230
Joined: 2020
Bragg decieved.
2/17/2024 6:11:33 PM



Group & Phil,
I agree.

What caught my eye was Rosecrans figure for 27.4 canon shot to hit one man and 145 muskets
round to one man loss. For the 2 million musket shots he estimates for his roughly
40k infantry, yes, I know not the precise number but a general number, that’s about 50 shots fired for
each Union infantry man which actually sounds pretty reasonable to me? Also sheridans div ran out of ammo. So high volume of infantry rounds expended.

I also think Rosecrans get bad reputation for Chickamauga, understandable to an extent,
but then over looks his pretty successful W.VA. campaign, Corinth, and Tullahoma campaign.
Tullahoma is to me the most underrated campaign. With the very minimum in casualties he drove
Bragg back 80 miles in nine days and less than 1000 union losses.

It appears yes Livermore’s Confed mia is poorly reported.
There is a big difference reported by Rosecrans nearly 3700 as confed prisoners’
and what Bragg reported as missing; Braggs battle report 1027 and his general report 1200.
Apparently, Livermore averages the two for 2500??
But Rosecrans report does not separate those captured at the battle
vs others captured during the whole Dec campaign, in the many small actions.
Livermore’s way of trying to equalize the two reports, I guess?
Livermore accepts Braggs reported kia&wia.

So it may seem reasonable to simply accept Braggs 1200 number for missing for the battle.

Thanks, all Mike_C.
mikecmaps





Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6513
Joined: 2004
Bragg decieved.
2/18/2024 1:45:44 AM
Mike,

It really surprises me that Rosecrans attributes such a small number of rebel casualties to artillery fire.

Bearing in mind the repulse of Breckinridge on the final day of the battle, which was caused largely by massed union artillery (50guns?) in a few dreadful minutes, with the “Orphan Brigade “ being badly smashed up, it seems hard to reconcile the story of that fighting with Rosecrans’s estimate of the total damage caused by his gunners.

The terrain of the battlefield was characterised by large clumps of limestone rocks, and I can imagine few features more prone to amplifying the horrible effects of artillery fire than the fragments of those rocks scything through the air.

Heck, Rosecrans himself witnessed the effect of artillery fire in that battle when his poor Chief of Staff, Garesché , was decapitated alongside him by a cannonball, leaving the general spattered with the blood and brains of the victim .

I think that Bragg was meticulous in his compilation of casualty reports: of all the confederate corps commanders at Shiloh, he reported the highest number of missing in action, both relatively and absolutely, and was adamant in his post battle report that virtually all his missing had been killed, were dying , or were too badly wounded to escape capture. I also believe that he insisted on including slightly wounded in the returns. Perryville - that overlooked battle of remarkable ferocity- demonstrates this. Union killed outnumber confederate by 1.65 to one, while the wounded are close to parity . This intrigues me.

Editing: if memory serves me, Livermore’s citation of rebel missing at Murfreesboro is predicated on a report by Rosecrans which mentions the significant number of sick and wounded which Bragg abandoned in hospitals in the town after his retirement. I’ll check this, of course.
But if my suspicion is correct, it would be tantamount to double counting casualties, whereby a man posted among the 7,945 rebel wounded is picked up by the yankees after the battle, and then included among the notional 2,500 missing.

Editing again : it’s a fool’s errand for me ! I cite things from memory, try and find references, and then find that I’ve lost the book and can’t cite the sources properly. Forgive my chaotic approach. But here’s something pertinent and illustrative, from page 71 of Larry J. Daniel’s SOLDIERING IN THE ARMY OF TENNESSEE:

Following the Battle of Murfreesboro, the problem of evacuating patients once again cropped up. Bragg deliberated whether to postpone his withdrawal twenty-four hours so as to evacuate all the wounded. Waiting proved impossible, however, and in a wrenching decision, he abandoned seventeen hundred men ( twelve hundred wounded, three hundred sick, and two hundred surgeons and attendants) to the enemy.

I’m convinced that therein lies the source of Livermore’s attribution of 2,500 missing to the confederate casualty total for the battle. Those twelve hundred wounded alluded to might well have been initially posted in the return of just under eight thousand wounded, and are, in effect, counted twice.

Final edit : note the rather arbitrary attribution of five per cent that Rosecrans used to produce the 728 figure for artillery hits from the estimated 14,560 rebels that were killed or wounded.


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
DT509er
Santa Rosa CA USA
Posts: 1529
Joined: 2005
Bragg decieved.
2/27/2024 1:14:57 PM
Quote:
Rosecrans is, IMHO, underrated as a commander.

Regards, Phil


I agree Phil. As I continue to read and learn about the Civil War battles and leaders, I was somewhat befuddled why Major General Rosecran was moved out. Well, much like McClellan (and Patton, and...), Old Rosy's ego, obtuseness and insubordinate attitude toward his superiors is what did him in; along with that retreat at Chickamauga.

Outside of that, his battlefield success and implementation of battle plans was successful. I think by Chickamauga, Lincoln after dealing with Generals in the East lagging in movement and pursuit had had enough. That obstinance he had during the war remained with him throughout much of his post war days with a focus on Grant. Too bad really, as his success post war was genuine and admirable of which California had a large part in his post war career; each and every time I return to San Diego (I am a native of), I always visit Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.

Dan
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"American parachutists-devils in baggy pants..." German officer, Italy 1944. “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” Lord Ernest Rutherford
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6513
Joined: 2004
Bragg decieved.
2/27/2024 2:42:48 PM
Dan,

Didn’t Rosecrans exhibit some form of hysterical agitation that got the better of him when he was in extreme moments of battlefield challenge ?

That sounds a bit woolly, I know, but I heard it - IIRC- mentioned by Peter Cozzens when he delivered a lecture over here. In this context, Cozzens was giving Rosecrans high praise to Old Rosey, and cited this as the attribute that might account for his failure to get more acknowledgment for his significant achievements.

I’ve often wondered about the Battle of Corinth in this regard. A nasty affair too often overlooked. Isn’t this battle worthy of attention when it comes to the assessment of Rosecrans as an imposing commander?

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: 230
Joined: 2020
Bragg decieved.
2/27/2024 7:16:09 PM


Phil and group,

The War Within the Union High Command: Politics and
Generalship during the Civil War (Modern War Studies)
by Thomas Joseph Goss

he discusses the professional vs political union military leadership question (and more).
Professionals like Rosecrans were sacked for one Significant mistake,
Political ones were given multiple chances due to their political value and reputation as a
strong Lincoln man or emancipation man (again in part)

Mainly Rosecrans suffered for Chickamauga mistake as a professional that may not have
occurred with a political general. He had a good record up to sept 1863.
His win at Stones River might have set off vs Chickamauga.
He was also pretty bold in not jumping when Lincoln, Stanton Grant and
Hallack said to in summer 1863.

he was right that they gave little notice to the TULLAHOMA “Victory”
since it had so few bloody losses.

Grant as a political General was granted more chances after his four failed
efforts vs Vicksburg = political general by Goss’s reckoning.
His military position was ignored by the war department and was
finally due to political connections in Illinois.

Thanks & respectfully
Mike_C.
mikecmaps





Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6513
Joined: 2004
Bragg decieved.
2/28/2024 4:29:51 AM
Thanks for that , Mike.

It looks all too plausible.

I’m interested in seeing how this might apply to , say, O.O. Howard and his relationship with fellow generals .

The Atlanta Campaign, especially, comes to mind here.

Was John Logan a “political “ appointee ? He was apparently a first rate combat commander, wouldn’t you say ?

But , although he took over command of the Army of the Tennessee when McPherson was killed, he was replaced by Howard shortly thereafter.

Howard was of the professional class of soldiers, although his abolitionist stance must’ve ticked a big box for the more radical politicians.

I’d be grateful to see what your opinion of Howard is.


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: 230
Joined: 2020
Bragg decieved.
2/28/2024 1:11:29 PM

Phil,

IMHO,
I am always circumspect in reading and stating subjective performance assessments. I don’t regard the typical “character” or “personality” approach as very useful. They tend to be circular and self-validating. Also, I am certainly no expert on Howard. But He was only 7 years out of west point when the war began with high graduate standing. He led a brigade at Fair oaks at 32 was wound twice one taking an arm. 4 mos later he led a brigade at Antietam and lead corps at 33. So, his record seems good . but yes, there is Chancecoerville and Gettysburg where he gets some criticisms. To say criticisms is not to say he was a poor leader. His contemporaries give a clue in getting the thanks of congress, one of only 15 and the medal of honor for fair oaks as a 32 year old brigade commander. He was sent west to help redeem the union place at Chattanooga and given corps command and army command by Sherman. These are basic facts but at face valued I think very fair to say certainly more than mere competence is proven?? Chancellorsville ?? there was no general there that foresaw Jacksons march and attack even though it was observed, its one thing to know something and quite the other to use the knowledge to draw the right conclusion. Howard’s fault was he ignored warnings from his own outpost which conflicted with Hookers and Howards belief that Jackson was retreating. For this he does rate strong criticism. This appears to make the best conclusion that he was an effective division and corps commander while yes acknowledging his mistake along with hooker at Chancellorsville.

Edit; first day at Gburg Howard a little out of joint when Meade put Hancock over him. But both got MGEN same date but Howard got corps before Hancock (only couple of months). Looks like Meade preferred Hancock’s 14-year senior commission even though Howard senior as BG and Corps command.

Appears to be cause for jealousy by Meade & Hancock toward the much younger Howard???
Meade BG 8/31/61
MG 11/29/62
Led division at
Antietam and
Fredericksburg
Meade 47at MG

Hancock BG 9/23/61
MG 11/29/62
led division at
Antietam and
Fredericksburg
Hancock 38 at MG

Howard BG 9/3/61 snr to Hancock
MG 11/29/62 same Meade & Hancock
led division at
Antietam and
Fredericksburg
same Meade & Hancock
Howard 32 at MG

Had Meade given to Howard at Gburg Hancock would have likely been out of joint??

Thanks,
Mike_C.
mikecmaps
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 6513
Joined: 2004
Bragg decieved.
2/28/2024 6:10:14 PM
That’s helpful, Mike, thanks.

I must find out a bit more about Howard : he’s too easily consigned to the Fall Guy role because of the shocks of 2 May and 1 July 1863.

As soon as I read his name, those are the first things I think of .

Ironically, as a religious man he assumed the role of heretic when he stated that the Yankee and Rebel casualties in the big fight at Atlanta on 22 July 1864 were about even at four thousand each. Quite a slap in the face to Logan, who insisted that the confederates suffered at leat ten thousand casualties, and reported that 3,220 of their dead were buried on the field .

Why this sobriety in Howard’s rendition ?

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

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