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Chogy
26 Jun 09,, 14:28
I am just an interested amateur when it comes to the Civil War. In my studies, I was struck at how similar some of the photos looked when compared to WW1. For example, the siege breastworks, trenches, and gigantic mortars commonly in use in 1864 could almost have been taken in 1914.

The rifled musket, improved artillery, and the staggering losses earlier in the war gave way to two "new" modes of combat:

1) Sherman's March - almost a blitzkrieg light, a high-speed total war concept of rapid movement, envelopment or bypass, with the target being the enemy's capacity to produce. They made extensive use of cavalry, rail, and sea transportation to overwhelm a large portion of the South.

2) Siege work - rather than hurling tens of thousands of troops at well-defended works, the technique of "dig in and bomb/starve them into submission" became the norm. Pictures of these sieges at Petersburg and elsewhere are stunning in their similarity to WW1.

Yet when I talk to people, the general impression is one of Napoleonic lines wheeling and getting cut down by the thousands. I maintain that any similarity was abandoned very early. Troops dug in, ducked, took cover, and it became a war primarily of maneuver, with the addition of localized WW1-style trench warfare in places.

Which vision is more accurate? Napoleonic, massed troop movements, or a preview of the horrors of WW1? Or both? Thanks.

Some pics:

http://www.historycentral.com/civilwar/Petersburg.gif

Dead soldiers in a trench (http://wigwags.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/warfare-trench.jpg)

A Confederate battery well-protected by sandbags (http://www.old-picture.com/civil-war/pictures/Civil-War-Battery-001.jpg)

astralis
26 Jun 09,, 16:38
Chogy,

depends on the timeframe you're talking about. from 1861-early 1863 both union and confederate commanders were enanamored of napoleon and tried to re-create the whole "napoleonic" style warfare of seizing the tactical offensive, massed artillery, and assault columns shattering the enemy army in a grand battle.

however, this died out by 1862/3, as the amateur armies got bloodied in actions such as malvern hill and antietam. the last really successful execution of something that might be classified as napoleonic was chancellorsville.

however, on both western and eastern campaigns, commanders found out that the faster, more accurate, longer-range rifles coming into play simply made the defense very hard to shatter even with a concentration of force. lee tried the ultimate napoleonic move at gettysburg and got shattered for it.

in the eastern campaign, terrain limited manueverability, and in any case grant soon realized that WWI style attrition tactics and fixing lee in place would do more to kill the confederacy than trying to match lee manuever for manuever.

in the western campaign, even with greater manueverability, the use of field works and better communications made it much harder for the union to have a "decisive" battle- instead sherman sought to outflank his enemy while ripping up the countryside.

WWI just sharpened all the technological advantages for the defender, at least until 1917-1918. if you think about it, the eastern campaign by sherman was eerily similar to what happened in 1914 with the "race to the sea", which ended once both sides had no more room to manuever.

Johnny W
26 Jun 09,, 17:39
The civil war was an odd mix of personalities and tactics. Lee ordered the use of trenches to defend Richmond as early as 1862. And suffered a lot of derisive comments for doing so, being called Granny Lee. Lee saw firsthand the horrible effect of masses of troops attacked entrenched or fortified positions at Fredricksburg, yet he did the exact same thing at Gettysburg, and suffered the same fate. And then Grant returned the favor at Cold Harbor. Over the course of the war, Napoleonic tactics did lose favor somewhat, but even at the last major battle of the war (Bentonville), they were still being used.

And it seems that even after that, American generals didn't learn their lesson. They were still charging entrenched positions in world war, despite their own lessons from the Civil War, and watching the French, Germans, and British bleed each other dry in the first three years of World War I.

astralis
26 Jun 09,, 18:04
johnny,


Over the course of the war, Napoleonic tactics did lose favor somewhat, but even at the last major battle of the war (Bentonville), they were still being used.

And it seems that even after that, American generals didn't learn their lesson. They were still charging entrenched positions in world war, despite their own lessons from the Civil War, and watching the French, Germans, and British bleed each other dry in the first three years of World War I.

i think the question here is, how much flexibility did technology of the time allow? in the trench warfare-style fighting in the eastern campaign, union troops were known to have used leapfrogging tactics. but obviously they didn't have the communication and transport technologies to really exploit this, so in the end the commanders (particularly union) could only rely upon napoleonic mass to substitute for manuever.

if you look at WWI, it was only with the development of much better coordination with artillery strikes, better artillery accuracy (box barrage) by mid-1916 that each side started to look at stormtrooper/leapfrogging tactics again instead of mass. even this couldn't really break the paradigm- the obvious response to that was to have a strong reserve and a thinly held front, and that highly limited anything commanders could do on an operational or strategic level until tanks came along.

smart generals knew that napoleonic warfare didn't really work anymore, but the limitations of technology really made it a lot harder to come up with anything else.

Johnny W
26 Jun 09,, 18:48
johnny,



i think the question here is, how much flexibility did technology of the time allow? in the trench warfare-style fighting in the eastern campaign, union troops were known to have used leapfrogging tactics. but obviously they didn't have the communication and transport technologies to really exploit this, so in the end the commanders (particularly union) could only rely upon napoleonic mass to substitute for manuever.

if you look at WWI, it was only with the development of much better coordination with artillery strikes, better artillery accuracy (box barrage) by mid-1916 that each side started to look at stormtrooper/leapfrogging tactics again instead of mass. even this couldn't really break the paradigm- the obvious response to that was to have a strong reserve and a thinly held front, and that highly limited anything commanders could do on an operational or strategic level until tanks came along.

smart generals knew that napoleonic warfare didn't really work anymore, but the limitations of technology really made it a lot harder to come up with anything else.


The obvious answer was to avoid attacking fixed positions. Of course, that limits one's offensive possibilities. But mobility and speed were the best options for attack. Get there before the enemy can entrench, build field fortifications, etc.. Some generals did seem grasp the changes better than others. Forrest is one that comes to mind. But once the enemy has been in a certain postion for a while, especially a strong position, then it was probably a good idea to avoid attacking him there, and move off somewhere else.

Lee won on the first day at Gettysburg because his army and the feds arrived at about the same time, and he had more men. He lost on the third day because the yankees had been there for three days and had time to prepare the position for attack.

astralis
26 Jun 09,, 19:28
johnny,


The obvious answer was to avoid attacking fixed positions. Of course, that limits one's offensive possibilities. But mobility and speed were the best options for attack. Get there before the enemy can entrench, build field fortifications, etc.. Some generals did seem grasp the changes better than others. Forrest is one that comes to mind. But once the enemy has been in a certain postion for a while, especially a strong position, then it was probably a good idea to avoid attacking him there, and move off somewhere else.


unfortunately in the eastern campaign that's a lot harder to do- only so many passable roads, fords, and trails...and establishing field fortifications was relatively easy.

there's a quote out there- forget whom said it, but basically within fifteen minutes of stopping an army could have rifle pits, within an hour a trench system with ramparts, within a day they would have a hardened system complete with palisade, ditches, and artillery emplacements.


Lee won on the first day at Gettysburg because his army and the feds arrived at about the same time, and he had more men. He lost on the third day because the yankees had been there for three days and had time to prepare the position for attack

and he very oblingly went napoleon style and charged right ****** ****** up the middle. i wonder how it would have went had longstreet gotten his way with a flank movement. :eek:

zraver
26 Jun 09,, 19:44
The obvious answer was to avoid attacking fixed positions. Of course, that limits one's offensive possibilities. But mobility and speed were the best options for attack. Get there before the enemy can entrench, build field fortifications, etc.. Some generals did seem grasp the changes better than others. Forrest is one that comes to mind. But once the enemy has been in a certain postion for a while, especially a strong position, then it was probably a good idea to avoid attacking him there, and move off somewhere else.

Forest and to an extent Jackson did not have to contend with automatic weapons. Had the defenses of Harpers Ferry and the Federal Troops in the Shenandoah Valley had a dozen machine guns....

Johnny W
26 Jun 09,, 20:49
Forest and to an extent Jackson did not have to contend with automatic weapons. Had the defenses of Harpers Ferry and the Federal Troops in the Shenandoah Valley had a dozen machine guns....

Yea, and if Jackson had a few Sherman tanks, then it would have been vastly different. Of course, Stonewall might not have called them Sherman's. :)


Seriously, it seems to me the best leaders are able to adjust to the circumstances they face. Lee did, to a certain extent, in 1864, although perhaps he was forced to due to the losses the South had suffered. I wonder if Stonewall would have been able to adjust his tactics if and when Grant moved east?

Johnny W
26 Jun 09,, 20:54
johnny,



unfortunately in the eastern campaign that's a lot harder to do- only so many passable roads, fords, and trails...and establishing field fortifications was relatively easy.

there's a quote out there- forget whom said it, but basically within fifteen minutes of stopping an army could have rifle pits, within an hour a trench system with ramparts, within a day they would have a hardened system complete with palisade, ditches, and artillery emplacements.



and he very oblingly went napoleon style and charged right ****** ****** up the middle. i wonder how it would have went had longstreet gotten his way with a flank movement. :eek:


Just as Grant did at Cold Harbor. Sometimes I wonder if both sides were so desperate to end the bloodshed, that they took to many risk in order to get that waterloo type of win?

astralis
26 Jun 09,, 21:11
johnny,


Just as Grant did at Cold Harbor. Sometimes I wonder if both sides were so desperate to end the bloodshed, that they took to many risk in order to get that waterloo type of win?

the difference being that lee thought smashing through the federal center would give him that waterloo win. i don't think grant really thought the cold harbor attack would give him that. for him, cold harbor was just another attrition battle, but so badly managed that he acknowledged that he gored himself much worse than lee did.

from what i understand, grant and sherman (unlike previous US commanders) moved considerably away from napoleon, while lee never really managed to free himself of that thinking. grant was the holding force while sherman was the killing force- killing here being the annihilation of the SOUTH (and southern cities/industries/countryside/logistics).

lee always wanted to annihilate a federal army. his two thrusts north were not meant to destroy northern infrastructure or attrite so much as movement into contact and win that waterloo. but he was stopped at antietam and gettysburg.

zraver
27 Jun 09,, 00:17
Yea, and if Jackson had a few Sherman tanks, then it would have been vastly different. Of course, Stonewall might not have called them Sherman's. :)


Seriously, it seems to me the best leaders are able to adjust to the circumstances they face. Lee did, to a certain extent, in 1864, although perhaps he was forced to due to the losses the South had suffered. I wonder if Stonewall would have been able to adjust his tactics if and when Grant moved east?

Your missing my point, by 1914 the advantage in defensive firepower was so great that the type of raids Forest and Jackson did would not have been possible except on the Eastern Front. The German attack into France lost a number of days and probably the war by the tiny Belgian Army who because of defensive firepower could not simply be brushed aside. The leige forts and 70,000 Belgians held off the Germans with 320,000 men for 12 days. had that been the South attacking the North the North could have moved in far more than 320,000 troops in 12 days.

Johnny W
27 Jun 09,, 02:06
Your missing my point, by 1914 the advantage in defensive firepower was so great that the type of raids Forest and Jackson did would not have been possible except on the Eastern Front. The German attack into France lost a number of days and probably the war by the tiny Belgian Army who because of defensive firepower could not simply be brushed aside. The leige forts and 70,000 Belgians held off the Germans with 320,000 men for 12 days. had that been the South attacking the North the North could have moved in far more than 320,000 troops in 12 days.

No, I understood your point, and I agree with you. My point was that if they couldn't find a way to attack without massed frontal assaults against fortified positions, then doing nothing would have been the best option. Of course, I realize thats a hard sell to military men trained to attack.

Johnny W
27 Jun 09,, 02:18
johnny,



the difference being that lee thought smashing through the federal center would give him that waterloo win. i don't think grant really thought the cold harbor attack would give him that. for him, cold harbor was just another attrition battle, but so badly managed that he acknowledged that he gored himself much worse than lee did.

from what i understand, grant and sherman (unlike previous US commanders) moved considerably away from napoleon, while lee never really managed to free himself of that thinking. grant was the holding force while sherman was the killing force- killing here being the annihilation of the SOUTH (and southern cities/industries/countryside/logistics).

lee always wanted to annihilate a federal army. his two thrusts north were not meant to destroy northern infrastructure or attrite so much as movement into contact and win that waterloo. but he was stopped at antietam and gettysburg.

Agree with you about Grant's purpose, but it was still a massed assault against a prepared position.

Chogy
29 Jun 09,, 13:55
The impression I get, then, is that Lee, despite his obvious talents, could not break out of the "I must destroy the Army of the Potomac" mindset, while later Union Generals took the fight more to the infrastructure of the South, blockading ports, destroying rail, enveloping cities, etc. Towards the end of the war, Lee knew he did not have the manpower to destroy the Union Army in the field, and rather than disburse his troops to possibly fight a guerilla war, he capitulated with much of his army intact, if hungry and ill-equipped.

Did the thought of guerilla warfare occur to him? Or, seeing the secession as a lost cause, surrender to spare the South further suffering?

Johnny W
29 Jun 09,, 16:39
The impression I get, then, is that Lee, despite his obvious talents, could not break out of the "I must destroy the Army of the Potomac" mindset, while later Union Generals took the fight more to the infrastructure of the South, blockading ports, destroying rail, enveloping cities, etc. Towards the end of the war, Lee knew he did not have the manpower to destroy the Union Army in the field, and rather than disburse his troops to possibly fight a guerilla war, he capitulated with much of his army intact, if hungry and ill-equipped.

Did the thought of guerilla warfare occur to him? Or, seeing the secession as a lost cause, surrender to spare the South further suffering?


I vaguely remember something about a guerilla war discussion between him and Jefferson Davis. Lee didn't want any part of it. Good thing to, if he had, things would have been worse. Fortunately, Lee had more influence than Davis did, even if he didn't always desire to use it.

astralis
29 Jun 09,, 17:02
chogy, johnny,


Did the thought of guerilla warfare occur to him? Or, seeing the secession as a lost cause, surrender to spare the South further suffering?



I vaguely remember something about a guerilla war discussion between him and Jefferson Davis. Lee didn't want any part of it. Good thing to, if he had, things would have been worse. Fortunately, Lee had more influence than Davis did, even if he didn't always desire to use it.

it was edward porter alexander, his artillery officer, whom suggested it.

http://books.google.com/books?id=SQO6fHpInk0C&pg=PA455&lpg=PA455

good thing he didn't. hell, even forrest in the end realized that fighting a guerrilla war was not going to work. although in the end, ironically, his founding of the KKK and the backroom Republican deal that ended the Reconstruction Era pretty much gave the South everything she was fighting for, past sovereignty.

Mihais
30 Jun 09,, 07:29
[QUOTE=

good thing he didn't. hell, even forrest in the end realized that fighting a guerrilla war was not going to work. although in the end, ironically, his founding of the KKK and the backroom Republican deal that ended the Reconstruction Era pretty much gave the South everything she was fighting for, past sovereignty.[/QUOTE]

Why?For how long the North could have supported 1 million troops,of which more than half are guarding the LOC's in an area that is 4-5 times bigger than Spain.It didn't work for Napoleon.Why should it work for US?
Also if both Lee's and Johnston armies merge,you have the equivalent of Wellington's army in Portugal,just enough to keep 100000 Yankees busy.

IIRC Forrest didn't backed the more violent hotheads in the KKK.

astralis
30 Jun 09,, 16:37
mihais,


Why?For how long the North could have supported 1 million troops,of which more than half are guarding the LOC's in an area that is 4-5 times bigger than Spain.It didn't work for Napoleon.Why should it work for US?

because napoleon did not have the advantage of rail, did not have a large population of friendly indigenious people (freed slaves for the US), did not have an army that by and large understood the language of the people it was occupying, and didn't have a very good political structure for inclusion. the US had these advantages. as for LOC, they wouldn't need one following southern collapse, they could simply move in and establish bases as necessary. (see occupation of new orleans from 1862 on out.) you forget that not 100% of the south was against the union.


Also if both Lee's and Johnston armies merge,you have the equivalent of Wellington's army in Portugal,just enough to keep 100000 Yankees busy.


lee was just about surrounded and johnston had already surrendered. by this time morale was at an extraordinary low. lee helped immeasurabily bringing about peace, but given lincoln and grant's extraordinary mercy and relative gentleness, popular support for an insurgency would be very low...especially if people knew that the radical republicans were more than ready to unleash sherman to complete the absolute devastation of the south, complete with arming former slaves.

Mihais
30 Jun 09,, 17:27
mihais,



because napoleon did not have the advantage of rail, did not have a large population of friendly indigenious people (freed slaves for the US), did not have an army that by and large understood the language of the people it was occupying, and didn't have a very good political structure for inclusion. the US had these advantages. as for LOC, they wouldn't need one following southern collapse, they could simply move in and establish bases as necessary. (see occupation of new orleans from 1862 on out.) you forget that not 100% of the south was against the union.



lee was just about surrounded and johnston had already surrendered. by this time morale was at an extraordinary low. lee helped immeasurabily bringing about peace, but given lincoln and grant's extraordinary mercy and relative gentleness, popular support for an insurgency would be very low...especially if people knew that the radical republicans were more than ready to unleash sherman to complete the absolute devastation of the south, complete with arming former slaves.

I agree with most of your arguments,but with a few observations.Lincoln re-election may have shattered CSA hopes in a negociated peace,but neither was the North 100% supportive of the war.Arming the blacks was as likely to enrage the northerners as much as the southerners(and there were blacks that fougth for CSA as well).Unleashing Sherman is good enough to cancel any effects Grant's mercy may have had.
Rail is LOC .
Anyway after Lee surrendered morale was gone.Any attempt should have taken place earlier.

astralis
30 Jun 09,, 18:36
mihais,


Lincoln re-election may have shattered CSA hopes in a negociated peace,but neither was the North 100% supportive of the war.Arming the blacks was as likely to enrage the northerners as much as the southerners(and there were blacks that fougth for CSA as well).

i don't think so- a few southern atrocities as part of the guerilla war and the north would be all for it. new england's abolitionists certainly wouldn't have minded, although i suppose places like west virginia or kentucky might. but in any case, not only did the north use black troops, but quite a few union officers were already arming freed slaves. not official policy, but could easily be expanded.



Unleashing Sherman is good enough to cancel any effects Grant's mercy may have had.

right, i think the US would have to make a decision to either try to cajole or hammer the insurgency into surrender.



Rail is LOC .

yes, i know. with the technology of the time it was actually fairly difficult to cut rail and telegraph links, and as the southerners saw the union could repair this far faster than they could cut it. the same wasn't true the other way around, though.


Anyway after Lee surrendered morale was gone.Any attempt should have taken place earlier.

yes. in the end it was a good thing he did. i have high doubts a confederate insurgency would have won, but they could have done enough damage so that it would provoke a harsh response from the north. in our timeline the south took fifty years to recover from the war, i can only imagine how much worse it would be otherwise. national reconciliation would have been VERY difficult...but the north would certainly not let go in any case, seeing the mortal threat an independent CSA would be to the US.

Mihais
30 Jun 09,, 19:38
yes. in the end it was a good thing he did. i have high doubts a confederate insurgency would have won, but they could have done enough damage so that it would provoke a harsh response from the north. in our timeline the south took fifty years to recover from the war, i can only imagine how much worse it would be otherwise. national reconciliation would have been VERY difficult...but the north would certainly not let go in any case, seeing the mortal threat an independent CSA would be to the US.

Usually an insurgency wins when the other side gets bored and goes home.I have no idea how this one would have ended.But to convince the US that war is to costly was CSA objective from the beginning.I read earlier posts about Lee seeking a decisive battle. It's more fair to say that his purpose was to shift the balance in the favor of anti-war politicians by inflicting another defeat on the Army of Potomac(Gettysburg campaign).By no means CSA could have defeated US in a military sense and they knew it.
That makes me wonder what was so dangerous in late 19th century about an independent CSA.Viewed from 1860 perspective it was an agrarian nation with plenty of exports but with limited posibilities to expand westward and a social problem that everybody,including some of the slave owners knew it had to be solved sooner or later.

Albany Rifles
30 Jun 09,, 20:19
I come to this discussion fairly late but let me add a few things.
1. If you look at the battles 1861-1863 you will see quite a lot of maneuver and fighting more along the style of the Napoleonic era (though the Americans fought more like the British than the French.) But they bigger influence was the Mexican War. Why was this? Several reasons
a. While the Regular Army had much experience fighting in small units against Native Americans prior to the war, we had fought against the Mexicans using the same tactics and conducted this very successfully with an Army which was a mixed force of Regulars and militia/volunteers. So this was our most recent experience on a large scale and many of the officers who formed the large armies in 1861 fell back on that experience.
b. When William Hardee wrote his drill manual in 1855 he based it on his experience from the Mexican War.
Hardee's 1862 (http://home.att.net/~MrsMajor/1862.htm)
c. The linear method was a simple concept for new and inexperienced officers and NCOs to grasp as the armies first formed. And in a day where a commander controlled his trips by his voice commands it was as simple way to conduct combat operations.
d. Artillery. The lessons of the artillery were the results of a concerted study made prior to the Mexican War and then the the doctrine, equipment and training were modified as a result of that war. The way the gunners fought in 1861-1865 was very much how they fought in 1846-1848.
e. So what did this lead to? It lead to the realization that massed formations armed with rifles supported by rapid fire artillery lead high casualties. Look at the losses at Shiloh, Corinth, 2d Manassas, Perryville, Seven Days, Stones River, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Chickamauga for the attacking forces. The attacking force took extremely high casualty rates….and in most of those campaigns the Confederates were the attacker. The high casualties in both theaters forced the Confederates in almost all cases onto the defensive. And once that happened the spade took over the battlefield.
2. Maneuver warfare. While you bring up Sherman’s March, remember his army group faced no significant resistance after Atlanta until Bentonville and Averasborough….battles which were 6 months later. Sherman was operating on a national stage to break the will of the Confederate forces in the field by destroying the heartland. At this he was highly successful. But prior to this you need to look at the maneuver campaigns which had already occurred…Lee’s 1862 Maryland and 1863 Pennsylvania Campaigns, McClelland’s 1862 Peninsula Campaign, Bragg’s 1862 Kentucky Campaign, Rosecrans’ 1863 Central Tennessee Campaign, Meade’s 1863 Mine Run Campaign, Grant’s 1863 Vicksburg and 1864 Overland Campaign as well as Sherman’s own Atlanta campaign. Heck, you can even throw in Sterling Price’s 1864 Missouri Campaign. Each of these were operational level campaigns which had a regional objective. Not all were successful. It was Grant’s 1864 Petersburg Campaign and Sherman’s 1864 Georgia campaign which really had national, Strategic level goals and objectives. So Sherman’s March was a culmination of the maneuver campaigns prior to it. And overall they all harken back to Scott’s 1847 Mexico City Campaign.

2 side notes.
1. There were really only 2 sieges in the Civil War. Chattanooga and Vicksburg. Petersburg was a maneuver campaign which was a slow movement to the west. Lee had an open supply line until the evening of 1 April 65 when his flank finally was turned at Five Forks and the Southside Railway lay open.
2. I would ease up a bit on the “Grant The Bloody Butcher” at Cold Harbor. While not his brightest hour, Cold Harbor was more a testament to poor battlefield reconnaissance and a worn out army than plain bloody butchery on Grant’s part. And when all is said and done the bloody calculus of war is figured, Grant had Lee backed up against the defenses of Richmond with no room to maneuver. I highly recommend Gordon Rhea’s book on Col Harbor for a very effective and balanced study of this battle.

astralis
30 Jun 09,, 20:49
mihais,


That makes me wonder what was so dangerous in late 19th century about an independent CSA.Viewed from 1860 perspective it was an agrarian nation with plenty of exports but with limited posibilities to expand westward and a social problem that everybody,including some of the slave owners knew it had to be solved sooner or later.

an independent power that was within a few day's march of your capital city, had a geography that threatened to cut you in half, had considerable manpower, a good deal of exports, AND friendly with two relatively hostile Great Powers (the UK and france).

Mihais
30 Jun 09,, 21:10
''though the Americans fought more like the British than the French''.

British emphasis,for a number of reasons,was oriented on maximizing defensive firepower,followed by a charge.French tried (and failed vs British) approach was to attack in columns of companies or battalions.With the Minie rifle the defensive line is even more powerful.So I presume that only lip service was payed to Napoleon(operational level is another matter).What I see at tactical level are desperate attempts to envelop the enemy flanks vs the Napoleonic way of fixing the enemy in place than breaking the front in a selected spot.From the very beginning this is an concept that does not promises decisive victories.The closest thing to a decisive Napoleonic style battle,in my view was Chancellorsville.

Mihais
30 Jun 09,, 21:35
mihais,



an independent power that was within a few day's march of your capital city, had a geography that threatened to cut you in half, had considerable manpower, a good deal of exports, AND friendly with two relatively hostile Great Powers (the UK and France).

Well,Sir,that's the most straight and honest answer I received from an American of our age.Usually your countrymen make a mind boggling exercise to transfer Hollywood black and white in what should be affairs of state.Hat's off to you,sir.

zraver
01 Jul 09,, 02:58
mihais,



an independent power that was within a few day's march of your capital city, had a geography that threatened to cut you in half, had considerable manpower, a good deal of exports, AND friendly with two relatively hostile Great Powers (the UK and france).

Add to that the CSA could cork the Mississippi and with it the Ohio river valley and a good portion of the Great Lakes. Would have left the CSA with the easiest route to the California goldfields if Utah blew up as it almost did, had better relations with several tribes of Indians who could (and did) side with them vs the USA, had claim on large chunks of territory that had not, or had not yet succeeded but might try to in the future. Could manipulate cotton and hurt northern textiles, all them slaves fleeing north threatened the free labor movement.... Its a nearly endless list why a CSA was not a good idea for the USA to let be.

Chogy
01 Jul 09,, 13:53
Gentlemen: you maintain, then, that the prime motivation for Lincoln, his cabinet, and the North, was NOT the preservation of the Union, but rather the destruction of a nascent threat? I have a difficult time believing this, given what we have of Lincoln's writings. Speeches are one thing - they can be crafted to persuade a public to stay a difficult course by patriotic appeal, but in all the letters and personal documents that have survived, and there are many, the evidence points to a genuine desire by Lincoln to restore the Union, not simply choke off an infant competitor in the cradle.

Obviously restoration of the Union would accomplish the latter, but calling that the prime motivator, the driving force, I believe is unfair.

I also believe this is further reinforced by Lincoln's benevolent reconstruction plans. Much of the North wanted to see the mass hanging of "traitors", but Lincoln would have none of it.

If I am wrong in my impression of what is being said here, then the fault is mine.



zraver, excellent point on the control of the Mississippi. Even today, river barges move a tremendous amount of cargo, and in the 19th century, it was even more critical from an economic standpoint.

Johnny W
01 Jul 09,, 14:08
Gentlemen: you maintain, then, that the prime motivation for Lincoln, his cabinet, and the North, was NOT the preservation of the Union, but rather the destruction of a nascent threat? I have a difficult time believing this, given what we have of Lincoln's writings. Speeches are one thing - they can be crafted to persuade a public to stay a difficult course by patriotic appeal, but in all the letters and personal documents that have survived, and there are many, the evidence points to a genuine desire by Lincoln to restore the Union, not simply choke off an infant competitor in the cradle.

Obviously restoration of the Union would accomplish the latter, but calling that the prime motivator, the driving force, I believe is unfair.

I also believe this is further reinforced by Lincoln's benevolent reconstruction plans. Much of the North wanted to see the mass hanging of "traitors", but Lincoln would have none of it.

If I am wrong in my impression of what is being said here, then the fault is mine.



zraver, excellent point on the control of the Mississippi. Even today, river barges move a tremendous amount of cargo, and in the 19th century, it was even more critical from an economic standpoint.


Preservation of the Union was imo the primary goal. Some of the things mentioned are reasons that they wanted the Union preserved. Also, freeing the slaves, while not the primary goal of Lincoln and the government, was a major goal for many of Lincoln's supporters.

Albany Rifles
01 Jul 09,, 14:08
''though the Americans fought more like the British than the French''.

British emphasis,for a number of reasons,was oriented on maximizing defensive firepower,followed by a charge.French tried (and failed vs British) approach was to attack in columns of companies or battalions.With the Minie rifle the defensive line is even more powerful.So I presume that only lip service was payed to Napoleon(operational level is another matter).What I see at tactical level are desperate attempts to envelop the enemy flanks vs the Napoleonic way of fixing the enemy in place than breaking the front in a selected spot.From the very beginning this is an concept that does not promises decisive victories.The closest thing to a decisive Napoleonic style battle,in my view was Chancellorsville.

I don't know about desperate attempts to attack the flank....recall the difference in the armies at the officer level. Napoleon army were national armies with a modicum of training and a good leavening of expertise. The American armies of the Civil War had at the beginnign almost no experience. Regimental commanders were selected by state governors and company grade officers and NCOs were elected by their men. Most of these men learned their craft in the face of battle....a very stern teacher. And this existed all the way through the war as new units were cycled into the forces.

I fully realize the difference between the British and French systems...which is why I used the example. And both armies would use massed assault columns with differing degrees of effect....just look at Longstreet at 2d Manassas, Gettysburg, Chickamauga or the Brock Road in the Wilderness, Hancock and Wright at Spotsylvania, Meade at Cold Harbor and finally Wright at Petersburg. And there were many examples of maneuver besides Chancellorsville.....Vicksburg comes to mind right off the bat as well as Rosecrans East Tennessee campaign, Sherman's North Georgia Campaign, Meade's Mine Run Campaign, Bragg's Kentucky and Jackson's Valley Campaign just to name a few.

As for what was the big deal about an independent CSA....Zraver and Astralis have handled the practical very well. From my perspective an independent CSA would have rendered meaningless the sacred pact of the Constitution and I am not sure hwo well the remainder would have survived politically.

Albany Rifles
01 Jul 09,, 14:11
Lincoln was all about preserving the Union. Everything he did was toward that goal. All else was secondary.

astralis
01 Jul 09,, 14:43
chogy,


Gentlemen: you maintain, then, that the prime motivation for Lincoln, his cabinet, and the North, was NOT the preservation of the Union, but rather the destruction of a nascent threat? I have a difficult time believing this, given what we have of Lincoln's writings. Speeches are one thing - they can be crafted to persuade a public to stay a difficult course by patriotic appeal, but in all the letters and personal documents that have survived, and there are many, the evidence points to a genuine desire by Lincoln to restore the Union, not simply choke off an infant competitor in the cradle.

Obviously restoration of the Union would accomplish the latter, but calling that the prime motivator, the driving force, I believe is unfair.


i was answering the question, "what is so dangerous about an independent CSA?"

which is a different question from "what was the prime motivator for lincoln to fight the civil war?"

i agree preservation of the union was foremost in lincoln's mind. however, it is important to note that if there was a guerilla war, i find it very unlikely that a US president would have given the south independence-- a guerilla war inflicts fleabites while having a great power war would be a head wound.

Mihais
01 Jul 09,, 17:28
I don't know about desperate attempts to attack the flank....recall the difference in the armies at the officer level. Napoleon army were national armies with a modicum of training and a good leavening of expertise. The American armies of the Civil War had at the beginnign almost no experience. Regimental commanders were selected by state governors and company grade officers and NCOs were elected by their men. Most of these men learned their craft in the face of battle....a very stern teacher. And this existed all the way through the war as new units were cycled into the forces.

I fully realize the difference between the British and French systems...which is why I used the example. And both armies would use massed assault columns with differing degrees of effect....just look at Longstreet at 2d Manassas, Gettysburg, Chickamauga or the Brock Road in the Wilderness, Hancock and Wright at Spotsylvania, Meade at Cold Harbor and finally Wright at Petersburg. And there were many examples of maneuver besides Chancellorsville.....Vicksburg comes to mind right off the bat as well as Rosecrans East Tennessee campaign, Sherman's North Georgia Campaign, Meade's Mine Run Campaign, Bragg's Kentucky and Jackson's Valley Campaign just to name a few.

As for what was the big deal about an independent CSA....Zraver and Astralis have handled the practical very well. From my perspective an independent CSA would have rendered meaningless the sacred pact of the Constitution and I am not sure hwo well the remainder would have survived politically.

Sir,you are the expert on ACW.My point is that CW battles tend to follow a different pattern than the classic Napoleonic battle,both in their execution and aftermath.Think of any decisive victory of Napoleon:Austerlitz,Friedland,Wagram and so on.Even after Lutzen and Bautzen in 1813 coalition armies were so shattered that they had to ask for an armistice(and Napoleon made the mistake to grant them one).Civil War generals usually can't hope to make a decisive frontal attack that destroy the opposing army as a fighting force because of the defensive power of the rifle as stated before by many posters.For comparison think what chances has Soult to take Pratzen heights in time at Austerlitz,if both forces are equiped with rifles.As for repeated flanking maneuvers,they just seemed obvious when I studied the battles on the map.

Re the Constitution I really can't have an opinion becuase I don't posses the knowledge.By what I consider common sense I came to the conclusion that both sides interpretations had a legal support in the document.So the US was both might and right,in this order.BTW,were southern leaders tried for rebellion?

Albany Rifles
01 Jul 09,, 18:40
B]Sir,you are the expert on ACW.My point is that CW battles tend to follow a different pattern than the classic Napoleonic battle,both in their execution and aftermath.[/B]

Well, thanks for the kind words.

And you are absolutely right. It just took me 2 long posts to say what you did in 1 sentence!

Civil War generals usually can't hope to make a decisive frontal attack that destroy the opposing army as a fighting force because of the defensive power of the rifle as stated before by many posters.

I actually think 2 other reasons precluded this from happening more often....artillery and terrain. Earl Hess has a new book out on that very subject.

As for repeated flanking maneuvers,they just seemed obvious when I studied the battles on the map.

Walking the ground really gives you an appreciation over reading the maps. I have changed my views on many a battle after reading about and then seeing the ground (Perryville comes to mind). The old "Why didn't they just...." goes out th ewindow pretty quickly once you walk the terrain.

BTW,were southern leaders tried for rebellion?

No, they weren't. Most were paroled pretty quickly. Jeff Davis was held for 2 years and then paroled. The only Confederate officer tried after the Civil War was CPT Henry Wirz who commanded Camp Sumter at Andersonville, GA, the prison camp. He was tried and convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and war crimes and was executed in summer 1865. No other Confederate leader was tried for war crimes or treason.

Here is a little bit about Bobby Lee's parole

General Robert E. Lee's Parole and Citizenship (http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2005/spring/piece-lee.html)

Triple C
02 Jul 09,, 06:35
Walking the ground really gives you an appreciation over reading the maps. I have changed my views on many a battle after reading about and then seeing the ground (Perryville comes to mind). The old "Why didn't they just...." goes out th ewindow pretty quickly once you walk the terrain.


And THAT, sir, is why I am considering working on a different area of history other than the history of war which I love. Almost no amount of research or study can match the hands-on experience of professionals who fight wars for a living. The terrain might as well be written in Greek for the layman. :rolleyes:

Albany Rifles
02 Jul 09,, 13:39
I was guilty of being one of thsoe who wrote my thesis wihtout having walked all of the ground. I did it on Grant at Shiloh, Vicksburg and Chattanooga and I had only been to the last one. When I finally got to visit the other two battlefields a few years later I came home and amended my thesis. Of course, soem would say I am an idiot because I live in central Virginia but wrote abotu the Western theater.....;):biggrin:

Big difference once you have walked the ground.

Mihais
02 Jul 09,, 17:21
I was guilty of being one of thsoe who wrote my thesis wihtout having walked all of the ground. I did it on Grant at Shiloh, Vicksburg and Chattanooga and I had only been to the last one. When I finally got to visit the other two battlefields a few years later I came home and amended my thesis. Of course, soem would say I am an idiot because I live in central Virginia but wrote abotu the Western theater.....;):biggrin:

Big difference once you have walked the ground.

Agreed,nothing beats the walk on the terrain,but sadly it can't be done in many cases,also the features change over time.
Sir,since you've spoken,I won't let you go until you say what was your position and what made you amend it.:biggrin:
You mentioned Perryville.What is so particular about the terrain there.As for the battle itself,IIRC it was a series of missed oportunities for the Federals.If Crittenden's corp would have pushed beyond the cav. screen,or if Sheridan would have marched to guns it would have fallen on unsuspecting Confederate left.But of course,it's easy now to pass judgements.Doing the right thing in chaotic situation is a different matter.

Mihais
02 Jul 09,, 17:26
And THAT, sir, is why I am considering working on a different area of history other than the history of war which I love. Almost no amount of research or study can match the hands-on experience of professionals who fight wars for a living. The terrain might as well be written in Greek for the layman. :rolleyes:

Well it was Eisenhower who said that amateurs beat professionals in two domains:prostitution and war.No need to change to women studies or some other unimportant thing.:biggrin:

Johnny W
02 Jul 09,, 18:41
I have walked the terrain of a few of the battlefields, Gettysburg, Fredricksburg, and Fort Fisher. Oh, and Guilford Courthous from the Revolutionary war. And Fredricksburg has changed so much since the battle, that I am not sure it really gives you an idea of what it would be like to attack Longstreet's entrenched corps from the river. Walking Fort Fisher makes me wonder how the fort was able to hold out as long as it did. Gettysburg is of course a magnificiently preserved battlefield, and gives one a far better idea of what the troops went through those three days. Its hard to imagine confederates charging up little roundtop. Just walking up it without anyone shooting at you would be tough enough.

Albany Rifles
02 Jul 09,, 19:30
Agreed,nothing beats the walk on the terrain,but sadly it can't be done in many cases,also the features change over time.
Sir,since you've spoken,I won't let you go until you say what was your position and what made you amend it.:biggrin:
You mentioned Perryville.What is so particular about the terrain there.As for the battle itself,IIRC it was a series of missed oportunities for the Federals.If Crittenden's corp would have pushed beyond the cav. screen,or if Sheridan would have marched to guns it would have fallen on unsuspecting Confederate left.But of course,it's easy now to pass judgements.Doing the right thing in chaotic situation is a different matter.

With Perryville I thought much the same until I was there both before and after the crops were in. With the crops in it was easy to understand the terrain and go, "Yeah, the ridges are steep but hey aren't THAT much of an obstacle!" But then look at the terrain with the corn in place and a little fog on the gorund and you can understand the difficulties much better. I highly recommend Ken Noe's book. It cleared up a A LOT for me! And wishing for Crittendon to do something was the bane of the Army of the Cumberland for quite some time!

zraver
03 Jul 09,, 00:58
I've only walked a few battlefields- Antietam and Vicksburg. But I think it would be mindful to point out that walking them alone won't reveal as much as walking them and knowing how to estimate distances. 83 paces or less is canister range, 100 paces is about the limited aimed musketry, 300 paces and musket rounds start hitting the ground, and 600 paces is about the effective max range of a 12 pound Napoleon. At double time march that is 28 seconds under cannister, just over 30 seconds of aimed rifle fire, about 1 and a half minutes of area fire from rifles and just over 3 minutes of long range artillery fire.

Chogy
03 Jul 09,, 02:58
zraver - For the standard .58 caliber Minie bullet, 100 paces seems a bit short to me. If you assume a pace to be 2.5 feet, that would be 250 feet, less than 100 meters. Those rifles at 100 meters would probably kill two or three men if they are lined up, given the mass of the Minie ball. I had no problems hitting man-sized targets well in excess of 100 meters with a reproduction Springfield. Obviously in the heat of combat, aimed fire of that nature is difficult, but it is somewhat compensated for by the volume of fire, and the congestion of the targets. In other words, you might not hit the guy you're aiming at 150 meters away, but you might easily hit his buddy.

The Southerners especially were more likely to compensate for drop, and as a whole would be superior riflemen to their Northern counterparts.

The state of small arms was vastly improved over flintlock, Napoleonic-era musketry. The Sharps breechloading rifles (among others) were carried West and became famous for their excellent long-ranged work on both Buffalo and Native Americans if called for. I have a pair of 45-70 Sharps rifles (post CW metallic cartridge but not vastly differing ballistics) that are quite accurate, and can drop metallic rams at 500 meters without too much trouble.

I think in trained hands these rifles were capable of terrible execution at respectable ranges.

zraver
03 Jul 09,, 04:26
zraver - For the standard .58 caliber Minie bullet, 100 paces seems a bit short to me. If you assume a pace to be 2.5 feet, that would be 250 feet, less than 100 meters. Those rifles at 100 meters would probably kill two or three men if they are lined up, given the mass of the Minie ball. I had no problems hitting man-sized targets well in excess of 100 meters with a reproduction Springfield. Obviously in the heat of combat, aimed fire of that nature is difficult, but it is somewhat compensated for by the volume of fire, and the congestion of the targets. In other words, you might not hit the guy you're aiming at 150 meters away, but you might easily hit his buddy.

The Southerners especially were more likely to compensate for drop, and as a whole would be superior riflemen to their Northern counterparts.

The state of small arms was vastly improved over flintlock, Napoleonic-era musketry. The Sharps breechloading rifles (among others) were carried West and became famous for their excellent long-ranged work on both Buffalo and Native Americans if called for. I have a pair of 45-70 Sharps rifles (post CW metallic cartridge but not vastly differing ballistics) that are quite accurate, and can drop metallic rams at 500 meters without too much trouble.

I think in trained hands these rifles were capable of terrible execution at respectable ranges.

was anyone shooting at you? Accuracy much past 100 yards is the exception not the rule unless one side is dug in. One side is advancing and firing on the move or doing a hasty stop and kneel, and the other side has to stand and take it neither is really conducive to accuracy.

Although I admit I made a pace a full yard instead of the military 30 inch step, my mistake. My mistake aside, figuring out the ranges of ACW weapons and knowing how to range would make a battlefield a lot more interesting. A perosn would be able to see the flow better if they knew the ranges. Often in the Civil War one side or the other would watch the other side forming up in full view but out of effective range. For people like us who live in a world where the battlefield is measured in tens of kilometers it might be hard to translate.

Chogy
03 Jul 09,, 14:38
I certainly wasn't arguing about the benefit of walking a battlefield so as to understand the issues the commanders faced, just the effective range of the arms which seemed a bit short to me.

I think one of the reasons ranges may have been shorter than what the weapons were capable of was due to the slow reloading and the need for fire discipline for raw troops. If your line started blazing away at 300 meters, haphazardly, you will have a significant % of unloaded weapons when the charge does begin. I'm guessing the commanders wanted to wait a bit so the massed fire will have a greater chance of wholesale execution.

Sniping/marksmanship in the sense of dedicated personnel and specialty rifles was becoming more common, and I wonder why each unit did NOT have a few marksmen capable of 500 meter work... they could have done some serious damage during the "massing" portion of a battle - pushing the formations back, so the amount of ground they would have to cross with little cover would have been even greater than it was.

Albany Rifles
03 Jul 09,, 21:04
You are discounting 2 very important factors which greatly denigrated accuracy of small arms fire.

1. After 2 volleys, you couldn't see squat because of the smoke from the black powder....and don't tell me about reenactments. they use 3F or 4F which smokes at about 25% of original black powder.

2. So many of te fights were in woods, not open areas. Very few folks got off long range shots because they weren't there to be had.

And by late 1862-early 1863, the supposedly vaunted superiority in marksmanship was long gone. Afraid that is another myth. What was not a myth, though, was the Federal arrtillery which greatly outclassed its Confederal counterpart in quality and capability.

Triple C
07 Jul 09,, 10:53
Shouldn't the modern rule that combat halves weapon accuracy apply to Civil War?

Mihais
07 Jul 09,, 16:13
Shouldn't the modern rule that combat halves weapon accuracy apply to Civil War?

Probably even less than half.

Mihais
07 Jul 09,, 16:21
A problem that bothers me for a while is why didn't the CSA put even more emphasis on raiding?Southern cavalry leaders like Forrest,Stuart or Morgan achieved considerable success during the war.Was it because of significant Federal forces dedicated to LOC protection,or was it because of CSA leadership strategic priorities?Or was it because of logistical problems of supporting forces deep behind Northern lines?

Officer of Engineers
07 Jul 09,, 16:52
Raiding is not a decisive engagement

astralis
07 Jul 09,, 18:47
and can actually be harmful when the decisive engagement rolls around. lee was blinded at gettysburg because stuart took his cavalry raiding.

Johnny W
07 Jul 09,, 19:22
and can actually be harmful when the decisive engagement rolls around. lee was blinded at gettysburg because stuart took his cavalry raiding.

Exactly.

Sending small forces such as Mosby's riders out to raid is ok. Sending large portions of your recon elements out for a raid can lead to disaster.

Mihais
07 Jul 09,, 20:22
And Van Dorn and Forrest collapsed Grant's first attack on Vicksburg.Stuart making a mistake and Lee losing control of his subordinates doesn't mean the concept is unsound.There is a time and place for everything.And no matter how I look at it,Stuart's absence,while of course detrimental,was not the decisive factor in Lee's defeat.

Johnny W
07 Jul 09,, 20:32
And Van Dorn and Forrest collapsed Grant's first attack on Vicksburg.Stuart making a mistake and Lee losing control of his subordinates doesn't mean the concept is unsound.There is a time and place for everything.And no matter how I look at it,Stuart's absence,while of course detrimental,was not the decisive factor in Lee's defeat.

Probably not, but I wonder how different the battle would have gone had Stuart been with Lee? Maybe Stuart takes and holds the high ground east of Gettysburg until Hill arrives. Or maybe Lee learns that the Union forces are closer than he thinks, and he decides not to gather his troops there. There are mountainous areas along the Chambersburg pike where Lee could have held off Union forces for a long time while Early took the long way to rejoin him.

Mihais
07 Jul 09,, 21:07
Then Meade's stand would have been S of Gettysburg,as planned initially.What puzzled me was Longstreet's divisions losing precious time during their deployment on the 2nd.Without that they have 2-3 extra hours to maul Union left(they did a fair job as it was) combined with a full assault by Ewell's corp instead of the piecemeal commitment during that night.

Johnny W
07 Jul 09,, 21:48
Then Meade's stand would have been S of Gettysburg,as planned initially.What puzzled me was Longstreet's divisions losing precious time during their deployment on the 2nd.Without that they have 2-3 extra hours to maul Union left(they did a fair job as it was) combined with a full assault by Ewell's corp instead of the piecemeal commitment during that night.

Maybe, or maybe Lee would not have attacked the Pipe Creek position. I think the defeat they inflicted on the Federals on the first day caused Lee to underestimate the Union army. Had that first day not happened, who knows what he would have done.

From what I have read, that delay was caused by taking the wrong route, basically not knowing the ground. During the march, Longstreet discovered that the route they were taking would cover ground that could be easily seen by Union forces, so they decided to take a different route that took longer. Another problem that might have been avoided if Stuart had been present.

Mihais
08 Jul 09,, 13:39
Failure to recon the approach route was a failure of Longstreet and Lee's staffs.What the heck were they doing in the morning between 7AM and 10AM?Also it was a display of inflexible leadership,because they could have inverted the divisions once a mistake has been discovered,instead of marching the troops for hours.They spotted the lack of defense at Little Round Top without Stuart being present.

p.s I have the impression that only Waterloo has been talked about as much as Gettysburg.Both have an almost mystical aura.

Johnny W
08 Jul 09,, 13:55
Failure to recon the approach route was a failure of Longstreet and Lee's staffs.What the heck were they doing in the morning between 7AM and 10AM?Also it was a display of inflexible leadership,because they could have inverted the divisions once a mistake has been discovered,instead of marching the troops for hours.They spotted the lack of defense at Little Round Top without Stuart being present.

p.s I have the impression that only Waterloo has been talked about as much as Gettysburg.Both have an almost mystical aura.

Lee did send out a staff officer, Captain Johnston, to do reconnaisance. It seems that he didn't do a very good job. Plus the situation changed during the time between his recon efforts and the march.

No doubt that Lee and Longstreet should have made a greater effort in this regard in light of Stuart's absence. But imo, scouting and recon was still Stuarts jobs, and he bears the brunt of the blame for any deficiencies in that area.

I agree that both Waterloo and Gettysburg have a mystical aura. Primarily due to the scope of the battle, generals who were approaching legendary status (Lee and Napoleon), and the size and scope of the battles.

Albany Rifles
14 Jul 09,, 15:11
Stuart's Raid did have an effect on the aftermath of the battle, however.

Stuart tore up the rail lines to the west of the Union rail depot at Westminster, MD which forced the wagons to go 1 way for 40 miles ot get to Gettysburg. The AOP was in dire straights logistically from 2-8 July 63 (many horses in the pursuit starved to death).

As for raiding in general, it had a very limited effect strategically. It could provide a local effect but most rail line destruction was repaired within days. Read about teh Wilson-Kautz Raid in 1864, for example.

One of the few raids which did succeed was Grierson's Raid as part of the Vicksburg Campaign. It served to draw resoruces away from the Confederates which allowed Grant toslip across the Mississippi unnoticed.

Van Dorn's raid the previous winter had soem effect but all it did was to help Grant decide to take the water route to Vicksburg as opposed ot the land route.

Shek
13 Nov 09,, 00:53
johnny,



the difference being that lee thought smashing through the federal center would give him that waterloo win. i don't think grant really thought the cold harbor attack would give him that. for him, cold harbor was just another attrition battle, but so badly managed that he acknowledged that he gored himself much worse than lee did.

Eric,

Grant did think that he could win it there. Just a week earlier he had included this in a dispatch to Halleck:


Chapter LIV. Grant, Ulysses S. 1885–86. Personal Memoirs (http://www.bartleby.com/1011/54.html)

Lee’s army is really whipped. The prisoners we now take show it, and the action of his army shows it unmistakably. A battle with them outside of intrenchments cannot be had. Our men feel that they have gained the morale over the enemy, and attack him with confidence. I may be mistaken, but I feel that our success over Lee’s army is already assured. The promptness and rapidity with which you have forwarded reinforcements has contributed largely to the feeling of confidence inspired in our men, and to break down that of the enemy.

Having extended the lines for some six miles and with Lee defending with his back against the Chickahominy River, he thought that a breakthrough would leave Lee's lines exposed to flanking attacks with no where to run. Recent research has posited that the losses were 4000 for Grant and 1500 for Lee - not the one sided ratio that stuck as the statistics in the immediate aftermath of the battle.

Shek
13 Nov 09,, 00:59
Of course, soem would say I am an idiot because I live in central Virginia but wrote abotu the Western theater.....;):biggrin:

But my guess is your professors also lived in central VA, and so it was smart to move the thesis battle to neutral ground ;)

Albany Rifles
13 Nov 09,, 02:01
But my guess is your professors also lived in central VA, and so it was smart to move the thesis battle to neutral ground ;)


That obvious, huh?:biggrin:

Shek
13 Nov 09,, 02:23
That obvious, huh?:biggrin:

Rule #1 - Know your audience :cool: