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Shek
19 Sep 10,, 15:30
I finished reading Amazon.com: The Horrid Pit: The Battle of the Crater, the Civil War's Cruelest Mission (9780786718115): Alan Axelrod: Gateway (http://www.amazon.com/Horrid-Pit-Battle-Cruelest-Mission/dp/0786718110/ref=sr_1_1?s=gateway&ie=UTF8&qid=1284906364&sr=8-1) last week. It was a battle pregnant with possibility that made Grant remark, "It was the saddest affair I have witnessed in war." It saw the cold blooded murder of USCT soldiers by Confederates, stopped only by William Mahone's intervention. It also saw the beginning of the end for Ambrose Burnsides, who was soon thereafter relieved.

I think it's clear that Burnsides was wronged, and it also seems to me that his original plan for Ferrero's division would have been successful in creating a breach in the ANV's defenses at Petersburg. Should the war have ended in July 1864?

Tarek Morgen
19 Sep 10,, 16:25
Do yu believe that the venture was doomed from the start or could it had been an success if Ferrero's division had not been replaced for the iniatial assault?

Shek
19 Sep 10,, 18:06
Do yu believe that the venture was doomed from the start or could it had been an success if Ferrero's division had not been replaced for the iniatial assault?

I think the probability of local success was extremely high had his division remained on assignment. However, the question of whether they would have simply created a salient or have unraveled the Petersburg line to have made it untenable, thereby choking off Richmond and the Confederate seat of government in the process, is where the what if really dangles. I don't know if they had the flexibility to exploit the breakthrough to its fullest.

Tarek Morgen
19 Sep 10,, 19:19
is where the what if really dangles. I don't know if they had the flexibility to exploit the breakthrough to its fullest.

I don't really dare to make a call there, as the ACW is a field I have spent much less time on then most of the others here, but if forced I would put my money on the Union failling to to turn a Victory into a decisive Action, mostly because when reading about the ACW I got the feeling that it was a war that like few others was conflicts was one of missed Opportunities and unexploited Victories.