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 Posted: Sat Sep 6th, 2008 12:55 am
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javal1
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My only point was that had Spring Hill not happened, Hood arrives at Franklin first. Then what? River's just as flooded for him as it was for Schofield. Would have probably set up along the same Columbia Pike line. Would Schofield have sat behind Winstead and waited for the river to recede? Would Hood have headed for Nashville when it did, or decide to take on Schofield? Either way, history as we know it would have been re-written. Would the end result be different? Nope. But the narrative would. Either way, since the original post said blunder, not reversal, I'll stand by Spring Hill being a huge one.



 Posted: Sat Sep 6th, 2008 02:00 am
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CleburneFan
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Many egregious blunders at Gettysburg. One right off the top of my head is Major General Sickles moving the III Corps out into a difficult to defend salient on Day Two in front of Cemetery Ridge. This overextended Union lines at that sector and was in defiance of Meade's explicit orders about where he was to position his forces. 

The dangerously exposed position allowed Longstreet's troops (Maj. Gen. Lafayette McLaws's division) to rout Sickles's corps. They were of little use for the rest of the Gettysburg battle. Additionaly, Sickles suffered a leg wound that cost him that leg.



 Posted: Sat Sep 6th, 2008 02:18 am
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Scout
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Why is it that there was so much conflict among Western Confederate Generals? And so little effective conflict among the Western Union Generals?



That is a bigggg question, I will try to focus on the earlier part of Kirby-Smith and Bragg. During the summer and fall, the invasion of Kentucky was a joint expedition. The problem was that Bragg and Kirby-Smith came from two different departments and the high command never formally worked out who had overall command...due to vague (imagine) orders Kirby-Smith operated as an independent until Bragg actually reached the Lexington area. Even when Bragg arrived, K-S was uncooperative and operated on the flank, not in conjuction with Bragg's movements.

The Confederacy had serious problems in some situations when combined armies came from different departments. (Longstreet - Bragg -Chattanooga) ( Pemberton-Johnston- Vicksburg) etc. But the Union was not without conflict. Halleck spent the better part of '62 trying to sack Grant. Sherman was practically run off in the beginning. Mcpherson was only saved by his political connections. Rosecrans was forced out ....so on and so forth. The major difference is that in spite of their issues the Union problems are not illuminated due to eventual victory. And quite clearly the success of Grant is the modifier in the above examples. A winner can rise above such conflcits (Jackson and AP Hill/ DH  Hill et al.) (Grant and Mcpherson, Warren, Rosecrans et al.)

oops i think i've diverted....

in regards to Javal's Spring hill note....it is a blunder to be sure, and certainly would have prolonged the war in middle TN, with Hood's decision at Franklin being a criminal result. i would also add Longstreet's entire East TN campaign...and Bragg's decision to send him there..



 Posted: Sat Sep 6th, 2008 02:26 am
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The Iron Duke
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As far as missed opportunities go, I would like to throw in Glendale and McClemore's Cove for the Confederates. For the Federals I say Hooker not counterattacking Lee at Chancellorsville with his 2 remaining corps.

Fort Donelson may have been the absolute dumbest blunder of the war. No matter how many times I read about it I still have to shake my head at the sheer lunacy of the whole episode. It has to rank up there with some of those War of 1812 disasters.

Last edited on Sat Sep 6th, 2008 02:27 am by The Iron Duke



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 Posted: Sat Sep 6th, 2008 02:33 am
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CleburneFan
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One of the worst examples of Union blunders--actually a terrible series of blunders--was the 1864 Battle of the Crater at the Petersburg trenches.



 Posted: Sat Sep 6th, 2008 02:56 am
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CleburneFan
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Following up on the Hood/Spring Hill/Franklin/Nashville subject, after the fall of Atlanta to Sherman, Hood and Davis met to discuss Hood's plan to take his army into Alabama then Middle Tennessee. Davis agreed to let him pursue that objective.

But what if Hood instead had stayed in Georgia and pursued, harrassed and even battled Sherman again? That is what Sherman feared...that Hood would turn around and come back into Georgia. In fact, Sherman didn't leave Atlanta for the coast until he was certain Hood was truly committed to the Middle Tennessee campaign.

Of course, "what ifs" don't really get us very far because of all the assumptions that must be made.  But still, I  wonder if Hood should have dogged Sherman instead of taking on the seemingly impossible even quixotic mission of fighting his way through Tennessee.



 Posted: Sat Sep 6th, 2008 03:07 am
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The Iron Duke
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According to Thomas Connelly, Hood broke the plans he and Davis agreed upon.



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 Posted: Sat Sep 6th, 2008 03:53 am
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TimK
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Obviously, from the popularity of this thread, there were several major blunders during the CW. That is ONE of the reasons why this CW subject captivates me.

When I first read Pam's question, the first thing that came to my mind was Fredericksburg. But not just Burnside's foolishness of sending wave after wave of men to certain death. But also the major blunder of the bureaucrats in Washington getting the pontoon bridges to Fredericksburg a week late. I hate dealing with "what ifs" because what happened is what happened, but I would have to think that if those bridges got there when they were supposed to, that would have given Burnsides a clear road to Richmond.



 Posted: Sat Sep 6th, 2008 01:55 pm
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pamc153PA
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And then, of course, there was the whole notion, held by the North at the start of the war, that this was akin to a child's tantrum by the South, and that the North would, with their military superiority, etc., end the war inside of six months.

And then there was a little spectacle called First Manassas. . .

Pam



 Posted: Sat Sep 6th, 2008 01:57 pm
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Scout
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"But still, I  wonder if Hood should have dogged Sherman instead of taking on the seemingly impossible even quixotic mission of fighting his way through Tennessee."

 

Great Point. Even after some wildly wasteful attacks around Atlanta, the A o T was still strong enough to deter Sherman's march. If he moved and Hood somehow kept his cavalry together (since Sherman's had been reduced to about 5,000 men by constant raids on Atlanta's rail lines) it would've been extremely difficult for Sherman to capitalize on Atlanta.



 Posted: Sat Sep 6th, 2008 02:21 pm
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Wrap10
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Great points made here. Way too many outstanding discussion ideas. We could be stuck on any of them for weeks!

A few more that come to mind for me -

Halleck not following up on the successes at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson.

Halleck again, this time not following up on the opportunity presented after capturing Corinth, with the largest army the Western Theater would see during the war.

Grant and Buell not pursuing Beauregard after Shiloh. This one might be a little more iffy, but it held the promise of shortening the war in the West.

Halleck once again (I see a pattern here), this time withdrawing McClellan from the Peninsula in 1862. They had Lee's army squarely between two powerful Union armies, and the only way he can deal with the situation is if one sits still or withdraws. That's exactly what happened. Granted it was McClellan and Pope in command on the Union side, but if both armies advance simultaneously, it places Lee in a very bad spot.

20/20 hindsight is my friend. :)

Perry



 Posted: Sat Sep 6th, 2008 02:21 pm
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CleburneFan
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pamc153PA wrote: And then, of course, there was the whole notion, held by the North at the start of the war, that this was akin to a child's tantrum by the South, and that the North would, with their military superiority, etc., end the war inside of six months.

Pam


But similar attitudes were entertained in the South as well, such notions as Northerners were just wage slaves who were cowardly, ungentlemanly and would not stand and fight. They believed that Southerns were superior fighters, braver, better horsemen and shooters, etc. 

 Like the Union, many also believed that they would lick the cowardly enemy in a matter of weeks or months and the war would soon be over, especially because the Confedrate cause was just and God was on their side. Though such ideas were the vogue, Jefferson Davis, himself, did not share such illusions, believing instead that the war could be long and hard fought against a formidable enemy.

These ideas are evidently quite human--not solely Confederate or Union illusions. Siimilar ideas were popularly held before World Wars I and II, Viet Nam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.



 Posted: Sat Sep 6th, 2008 03:19 pm
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pamc153PA
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Cleburne,

I suppose I was looking at it through my Northern spectacles, being from PA, but you added good "flip side" points.

It has always interested me how common themes/views have run through history, and the point about the wars that came after the CW (and, too, those that came before) illustrates that.  I suppose, why would you instigate a war if you weren't (maybe falsely) confident that you could "lick" the other side?

Pam



 Posted: Sat Sep 6th, 2008 04:08 pm
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izzy
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pam153PA:  In regard to "common themes",  I heard military historian and classicist, Victor Davis Hanson, say on BookTV,  "Until the end of history, keep your gunpowder dry."  And on another occasion on BookTV he asked,  "Why were the Spartans outside Athens? (He then answered his own question:) Because they could."

Last edited on Sat Sep 6th, 2008 04:09 pm by izzy



 Posted: Sat Sep 6th, 2008 11:01 pm
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ole
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Gonna commit a major hijack here. Those who would disagree might go make a sandwich or something.

Has anyone noticed that we've had a major invasion of some really fine newbies? I won't name names because I'll leave out one or two, but we have experienced a major jump in quality contributors

You don't have to jump up and down, but I'm very well pleased with our new blood.

ole



 Posted: Sat Sep 6th, 2008 11:25 pm
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izzy
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You got that right.  I look forward to reading their posts.  I learn everyday on this board.  Thanks to you all.)(90



 Posted: Sat Sep 6th, 2008 11:53 pm
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ole
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On the other hand, bear with me please, I'll suspect that we all went to high school. During the season -- football, basketball, track -- did we not assume that those people were beneath our own valiant athletes? (Nevermind that we got the crap kicked out of us time and again -- bad referees.)

So I take that memory of when I was young and stupid, and I apply it here. It's quite remarkable that so many of our kind have not shed that self-image, teener BS.

Now I'm reminded of my first and only confrontation with "Coach." You've all had exposure to "Coach," yes? I was into the music end of competitions and "Coach," as principle, had to be there. He decried the comptetition as not somthing beneficial. Being a complete dork, I had to ask how a music comptetion differed from an athletic competition. It was well that I had already completed all his classes. (By the way, we swept any semblance of competition in every category. Us rednecks do appreciate the gentler arts.)

End of maundering.

ole



 Posted: Sun Sep 7th, 2008 12:26 am
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Crazy Delawares
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Grant & Sherman being surprised at Shiloh.

At G-burg...Sickles AND Barlow's move to the Bloecher Knoll. I still put that move on the same plane as Sickles'.



 Posted: Sun Sep 7th, 2008 12:27 am
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Crazy Delawares
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My apologies for a poor poste! I meant to separate Sickles' move form Barlow's.



 Posted: Sun Sep 7th, 2008 12:45 am
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CleburneFan
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Crazy Delawares wrote: My apologies for a poor poste! I meant to separate Sickles' move form Barlow's.
Not to worry, those who study the Gettysburg battle closely know and understand exactly what you meant.



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