View single post by calcav1
 Posted: Tue Sep 30th, 2008 03:30 pm
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calcav1
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Wrap10 has the answer. At the end of the day it is not the body count that separates victor from defeated; it is the achievement of goals or placing the foe in an untenable position. The Confederate goal was to destroy Grant’s army thus preventing a union of the Army of the Tennessee with the Army of the Ohio. It was imperative that the Federal forces were stopped in their quest to open the Mississippi River Valley. (Corinth was merely the next target, opening the river was the ultimate goal of the campaign). In this the Confederates failed.

What were the Union goals of the battle? To prevent the destruction of the Army of the Tennessee. To regain their lost camps. To drive the enemy from the field. In this they were successful.Were these goals achieved because the Confedrates willingly left the field? No. Beauregard himself personaly led a counterattack near Water Okas Pond to buy time while his army began thier retreat.

I believe most of us here are conceding the strategic loss of the battle but the question concerns the tactical loss on the field. Were the Confederates forced from the field? Yes, they were. By force of arms they were driven from off of Shiloh hill. Though they occupied the same ground they had the morning of the 6th, it was impossible for them to hold it. They did not even try. I do not consider the affair at Fallen Timbers an attempt to hold gains made by the Confederates. Forrest was able to rout a regiment of Federals but his small command did not turn back Sherman’s two brigades. Sherman’s orders were to confirm the enemy was returning to Corinth; he did so.

There was no Confederate supply system to maintain the army in the field. Even had they been successful the Confederates would have returned to Corinth, they had planned to do so all along. But the plan had been to return to Corinth and still hold the strategic and tactical initiative. They left the field on the 7th of April with neither.

I have to disagree with the statement that after the battle everything was as it had been before the battle. Beauregard was forced onto the defensive; his battered army was incapable of taking the offensive for the near future. The Federal presence at Pittsburg Landing was no longer five divisions; it soon grew to three armies of over 100,000 men. Ultimately, what was the difference? What had changed? The initiative had been lost. It would be months before Bragg could retake the initiative with his Perryville Campaign and Van Dorn could take it as well in his bid to retake West Tennessee.

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