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Albany Rifles
14 Aug 12,, 21:15
Over on DR Brooks Simpsson's Crossroads blog (Crossroads (http://cwcrossroads.wordpress.com/) ) he poses a question for discussion every Sunday. This last week he posted what do the readers think was the most important year of the ACW.

Below is my response to the question:

I believe the critical year was from early May 1863 to early May 1864. My reasoning:

In the West, Grant is finally on solid land to the south of Vicksburg and begins his cross-state swing. By mid July Vicksburg and Port Hudson are in Union hands and the Mississippi is an open waterway. Grant is elevated to take overall command in the West. While the Union drive towards Atlanta is halted at Chickamauga the Union wins an overwhelming victory at Chattanooga. Burnside takes Knoxville and holds it. These successes lead Lincoln to elevate Grant to overall command of the Army. Sherman is made overall commander in the West.

In the East, Confederate success at Chancellorsville proves to be a pyrrhic victory followed in early July by the disaster at Gettysburg. While Longstreet’s Corps has success at Chickamauga the losses of these three key battles absolutely shreds for once and for all the offensive power of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Both armies go into winter quarters with different views but similar outcomes. Amongst the Confederate forces an almost evangelical fervor sweeps through the armies. If they can just hold on they can win a peace in 1864. Oaths are sworn in many units to fight to the last.

In the Union Army we see a fairly large number of soldiers choosing to reenlist rather than opt out of their 3 year enlistments the following spring. Despite casualties at critical command levels the AOP reorganizes into an effective fighting force; while there are some failings at corps level the division and brigade level commanders are first rate in most units. The addition of Sheridan as corps commander would prove crucial over the next 16 months.

Union units have been refit and secondary arms have been replaced throughout the country.

As the campaign season opens we see the 2 opposing armies with a new determination. The Confederates have an almost religious fervor to their determination to defend the remaining key cities and industries. The Union forces are imbued with a new confidence and equal determination to end the rebellion. Early May 1864 sees the Union armies attacking across the country in a unified way for the first time. There would be set backs and failures, but there would be no backward step.


What are your thoughts?

JAD_333
15 Aug 12,, 03:10
Albany:

My thoughts? I completely agree with your summary. One could add a few more examples. I was a little thrown off that you used a 'fiscal' year rather than a calendar year. So, really it's the most critical 12 month period. Works for me.

It seems to me the cards were clearly not in the favor of the Confederacy as far back as 1862, early 1863, and the only good argument the Confederacy had to continue the fight was to force a negotiated settlement. But once the scales tipped decisively in favor of the Union, say mid-1864, the outcome was a foregone conclusion. The bloodbath should have ended then.

astralis
15 Aug 12,, 13:53
AR,


May 1863 to early May 1864

i would place it earlier-- sep 1862 to sep 1863.

GB and france were within weeks if not days of intervening (IIRC, the british PM palmerston was headed up to scotland to give a policy speech that would have recognized the confederacy when news of antietam reached him, and later declined Nappy III's offer to jointly mediate the ACW).

moreover by sep 63 the confederacy was already clearly in serious trouble. i'm not sure if they could have forced a negotiated settlement after vicksburg, let alone the one-two punch of vicksburg and gettysburg.

Triple C
22 Aug 12,, 02:54
Not to derail the thread but to derail it,

What could happen if Grant was not in charge of the AOP 1864-65?

Minskaya
22 Aug 12,, 10:58
I believe the critical year was from early May 1863 to early May 1864. My reasoning: In the West, Grant is finally on solid land to the south of Vicksburg and begins his cross-state swing. By mid July Vicksburg and Port Hudson are in Union hands and the Mississippi is an open waterway.
Agreed. Union seizure of the waterway was decisive. In conjunction with seizing Confederate ports along the river, Union forces also captured numerous critical rail junctions. Confederate logistics (foodstuffs/materials/troops) were severely degraded. The Union on the other hand, could now transport precious commodities from the heartland breadbasket east/south by both train and barge. IMHO, Grant's seizure of Vicksburg and environs truly heralded the beginning of the end of the CSA.

astralis
29 Aug 12,, 16:29
triple C,


What could happen if Grant was not in charge of the AOP 1864-65?

meade keeps his job and executes a lackluster offensive in spring 64 is my guess. in this scenario lee has more mobility and suffers less casualties in the spring-summer '64 timeframe...but then again, the AOP doesn't go through the massive bleeding, either.

meade is competent enough where i can't see lee massively defeating him, a la chancellorsville; and the only way out for the confederacy by '64 is a massive defeat of AOP and perhaps seizure of washington/capture of lincoln. if lee couldn't do it at gettysburg i really don't see how he can do it again in '64. AOP just needs to hold the ANV while sherman or grant embowels the confederacy from the west. anything more is just a cherry on top.

what would be interesting is if davis decided to not just have longstreet go out west but lee. longstreet holds meade while lee fights against grant/sherman in a far more manuverable western theater. THAT would have been damn interesting.

Albany Rifles
29 Aug 12,, 18:28
Weeelllllllll.....for starters Grant was NOT in charge of the Army of the Potomac....George Gordon Meade took command of the AOP on June 28 1863 and did not relenquish it until the AOP was disbanded after the war.

Grant was general-in-chief of all Union armies who colocated his HQ with Meade. While this did overshadow Meade, GGM was in command. I believe that this actually caused more problems than it was worth because of conflicts between the staffs not the two commanders. The Westerners and Easterners did not blend together well. Also the staff work often conflicted and caused each to assume the other staff had thought/done something. This really had impact during the Overland Campaign (the poorly worded orders for the Cavalry Corps to open the campaign, the lack of staff recon of the road networks around Spotsylvania, full knowledge of what was the topography at North Anna.)

That said Meade did offer to resign when Grant showed up...Grant shrewdly recognized that if he relieved the Hero of Gettysburg he would "lose" the AOP. Meade was never loved by his Army but he was well respected.

While I can't get my head around who would do this other than Grant (unless Grant was killed in Winter 1863) I do not know if we would see too much of a difference than what occurred. Having Grant in command did nothing really to help the AOJ or the AOS in the Spring 64. I believe Meade maybe would have done the opening of the campaign a little differently. I believe who would have totally sidestepped the Wilderness since he knew the land so well. He had already done a good job at Gettysburg, Bristoe and Mine Run. He knew not to go headlong into defenses.

What you would have seen was a more powerful Butler and Hunter since there would not have been someone with the authority, both legal and moral, other than Lincoln who could remove them.

I dont see that the various Confederate armies could have done much more than they did. After all, Lee never did beat Meade.

astralis
29 Aug 12,, 19:24
AR,


Grant was general-in-chief of all Union armies who colocated his HQ with Meade. While this did overshadow Meade, GGM was in command. I believe that this actually caused more problems than it was worth because of conflicts between the staffs not the two commanders. The Westerners and Easterners did not blend together well. Also the staff work often conflicted and caused each to assume the other staff had thought/done something. This really had impact during the Overland Campaign (the poorly worded orders for the Cavalry Corps to open the campaign, the lack of staff recon of the road networks around Spotsylvania, full knowledge of what was the topography at North Anna.)


good catch there. i wonder to what extent meade really had OPCON, though; grant seemed to direct the AoP just as much as meade did, if not rather more.


I dont see that the various Confederate armies could have done much more than they did. After all, Lee never did beat Meade.

yup. wonder how lee would have done against sherman, or longstreet against meade.

Albany Rifles
29 Aug 12,, 21:14
AR, good catch there. i wonder to what extent meade really had OPCON, though; grant seemed to direct the AoP just as much as meade did, if not rather more.

Grant was usually careful send his orders properly to Meade...there were times when he did bypass bu tthat was usually in the heat or the moment or done in manner to encourage some more aggressive behavior i.e., siding with Sheridan instead of Meade in going after Stuart (though Sheridan's leaving stripped the AOP of its eyes and ears during the Spotsylvania Campaign....remember my mentioning the lack of knowledge of the terrain during that campaign?)

That is not to say that Grant never over ruled Meade, he did. Nor is it to imply Grant ever was wrong.

But definitely as things settled at Petersburg Grant truly worked through his subordinate Army commanders...he really had no choice.

Shek
30 Aug 12,, 04:12
good catch there. i wonder to what extent meade really had OPCON, though; grant seemed to direct the AoP just as much as meade did, if not rather more.


Grant was usually careful send his orders properly to Meade...there were times when he did bypass bu tthat was usually in the heat or the moment or done in manner to encourage some more aggressive behavior i.e., siding with Sheridan instead of Meade in going after Stuart (though Sheridan's leaving stripped the AOP of its eyes and ears during the Spotsylvania Campaign....remember my mentioning the lack of knowledge of the terrain during that campaign?)

That is not to say that Grant never over ruled Meade, he did. Nor is it to imply Grant ever was wrong.

But definitely as things settled at Petersburg Grant truly worked through his subordinate Army commanders...he really had no choice.

After the Wilderness, Grant became much more directive to Meade, naming specific Commanders/Corps in his orders to Meade. He did this in response to his angst in seeing potential opportunities slip away. Part of this was due to the different styles of leadership (Mark Grimsley has a great discussion of the "coping" style of leadership that Grant had vs. the more cautious style of Meade and the AoP), and part was due to the bulky command structure (Burnside as a separate corps commander under Grant instead of Meade to assuage the sensitivities to rank necessitate by Burnsides date of rank being earlier than Meade).

The below passages from letters between Meade and his wife demonstrate how Meade soured on the relationship as Grant become more directive (while still ensuring he went through Meade as Buck pointed out) in his orders and as the Overland Campaign failed to be decisive in ending the war. Also, the tone of the letters should also be placed in the context of the nature of continuous operations during the campaign, which depending how you slice when the campaign ended, can be a biblical 40 days and 40 nights of intense fighting, multiple night movements, and nearly continuous contact.


26 March 1864 - . . . The weather has been so unpropitious that no inspection has been practicable by General Grant. I spent several hours with him yesterday. He appears very friendly, and at once adopts all my suggestions. I believe Grant is honest and fair, and I have no doubt he will give me full credit for anything I may do, and if I don't deserve any, I don't desire it.

5-7 May - Wilderness
8-21 May - Spotsylvania
21 May - War Council at Massaponnax Church
22 May - Movement to North Anna
23-26 May - North Anna


23 May 1864 – . . . if there was any honorable way of retiring from my present false position I should understandably adopt it, but there is none & all I can do is to patiently submit and bear with resignation the humiliation which for some good purpose it has pleased God to inflict on me…

31 May - 12 June Cold Harbor


6 June 1864 – …I have written you so much & so often about my position, that I think it almost useless to refer any more to it. Duty & honor require me to remain quiescent for the present. What may or can be done in the future the future alone can develop…

9 June 1864 – …[Grant] has greatly disappointed me and since the campaign I really begin to think I am something of a General, upon which point I have heretofore had my doubts. There is one thing Grant has disappointed me in more than anything else, and that is his lack of delicacy of feeling & sensibility. I know he thinks a great deal of me & is most friendly, and would do anything for my benefit that should be suggested. I feel confident he would not intentionally do me injustice, and yet I don’t suppose he has the slightest appreciation of the position he has placed me in & probably is not conscious, that in all his despatches of the operations of t his army which he knows has been handled by me he has only once and then accidentally mentioned my name & so that the future historian when collecting official documents to compile a truthful read, would absolutely not know from any evidence Grant’s despatches contain that I was even present with the army. Now I feel sure if I was to tell this to Grant he would be amazed himself….[reference to “Libeler of the Press” incident] this malicious falsehood had been circulated all over the country, and that in Washington it was attributed to a Mr. Washburne member of Congress, a great friend of Grant’s who was present at the time of the reported occurrence. This I can hardly believe, but I have friends investigating the matter, and if I can only get evidence to sustain the charge, I shall show Mr. Washburne no quarter, and will make him very uneasy….

astralis
30 Aug 12,, 13:15
excellent stuff, shek. i'd not be too happy either, if i thought i was being micromanaged...all while the boss continues to put on a friendly face.

i have to note, though, that even when writing letters of complaint/disgruntlement, meade's cautious. got nothing on little mac!

----

hope you're doing well, shek, we gotta make more civil war posts so you drop in more often!

Albany Rifles
30 Aug 12,, 15:50
Good points, Shek.

I think what we see in Meade is a natural caution but I would not place him as a nervous nellie type. He was personally courageous and was aggressive as a brigade, division and corps commander. He recognized that as he stepped up to command the primary army of the Republic he would have to tamp down some of his aggressiveness. That is why you see him recognizing the trap that was the line at Mine Run and not forcing that issue.

Simply, the nation could not afford to lose large numbers of the AOP. The blood letting that did occur almost wrecked the election chances for 1864. If they had occurred in 1863 the reenlistment rates would have been dramatically lower than they were....and remember that the reenlistment issue was mostly an AOP issue since the units were almost all 3 year with some 2 years regiments. The western armies, with the exception of a few units in the Army of the Cumberland, were mostly raised in 1862. Meade had to have known that.

I know Meade is often taken to task for his failure to follow Lee after Gettysburg. But what most people do not take into account, to include many in the Lincoln Administration at the time, was that the AOP was in a shambles. Stuart's Ride had been effective in disrupting the supply line between Gettysburg and the AOP's depot.

Here is a good read on that situation by DR Mark Snell out of Sheppard University. His final assessment was the AOP was in no shape logistically to go after the ANV. The AOP cavalry did pursue and they got the priority on supplies.


National Park Service: Gettysburg Seminar Papers — Mr. Lincoln's Army: The Army of the Potomac in the Gettysburg Campaign (http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/gett/gettysburg_seminars/6/essay3.htm)


__________________

hope you're doing well, shek, we gotta make more civil war posts so you drop in more often!

I double that sentiment! (Though I am currently on my War of 1812 kick!)

astralis
30 Aug 12,, 16:03
so this leads to the question, would things have gone better if meade had uncontested control of the AOP in 1864? would it have been better to sequester grant in DC?

or alternatively, what happens if Lincoln just kicks MEADE upstairs and makes grant AOP commander?

Albany Rifles
30 Aug 12,, 16:44
so this leads to the question, would things have gone better if meade had uncontested control of the AOP in 1864? would it have been better to sequester grant in DC?

or alternatively, what happens if Lincoln just kicks MEADE upstairs and makes grant AOP commander?

Have to think about the first one....Grant in DC would have been a mess. I think the emphasis Grant gave to the AOP was needed but Grant could have been a little more deft.

As to the second....too contentious. No one in Congress would support a LTG commission for Meade....he may have been the Savior of Gettysburg but he did not have any spectacular success through the fall to match the Vicksburg-Chattanooga one two of Grant. I believe the Eastern generals would have bridled under a Westerner coming east to comamnd them. I also don't think Sherman would have worked well with Meade...Thomas perhaps.

The situation in 1864 was such that Grant was the obvious choice.

As I alluded to but Shek made clear this was a situation which cleared up sufficiently by summer.

The two men forged a good working relationship to the overall benefit of the Union. There were ample examples in our history where command conflict occurred but for the good of the mission the leaders worked it out.

Shek
31 Aug 12,, 03:20
Good points, Shek.

I think what we see in Meade is a natural caution but I would not place him as a nervous nellie type. He was personally courageous and was aggressive as a brigade, division and corps commander. He recognized that as he stepped up to command the primary army of the Republic he would have to tamp down some of his aggressiveness. That is why you see him recognizing the trap that was the line at Mine Run and not forcing that issue.
__________________

hope you're doing well, shek, we gotta make more civil war posts so you drop in more often!

I double that sentiment! (Though I am currently on my War of 1812 kick!)

Buck,
Things are well, but as activity on the board indicates, busy! I wasn't trying to dig into Meade. In fact, the contrasting styles should not be surprising. The only time Grant had suffered defeat was in the defense at Shiloh, whereas, the Meade's greatest success had come in the defense. Thus, experience had taught both mean contrasting lessons - Grant saw opportunity in the offense, while Meade saw opportunity in the defense.

Albany Rifles
31 Aug 12,, 14:37
Shek...got it.

Excellent points.

Hope all is well with you and your family. And I understand about busy...we just started fielding a new system which has taken 18 years to get up an running. After 3 failures we finally got it to work.

So in the coming years I'll be coming to a post, camp or station near you!

Minskaya
12 Sep 12,, 07:52
Grant's victories at Forts Henry/Donelson in February 1862 saved him from being cashiered from the military on formal charges of scandalous drunkenness filed by the politically connected river tycoon William J. Kountz.

Taking advantage of this reprieve, Grant's western campaigns from spring of 1862 to autumn of 1863 sealed the fate of the Confederacy. Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga were critical engagements. The Confederacy was split at the Mississippi River. This in turn spawned Sherman's violent and fiery march to the sea which effectively quartered the Stars and Bars. No one knew it yet, but Grant had already defeated Lee by the time he went east to grapple with the Virginian.

One of the most interesting aspects of the ACW to me is the demographics of Union/Confederate military leadership and how it came to be. Far more prevalent on the southern side, military commissions were obtained primarily due to familial wealth, power, and political connections. It is highly doubtful to me that a sod-of-the-earth whiskey-lover such as Ulysses S. Grant either could have or would have ascended to a high-command position in the CSA. There are of course exceptions to the rule, but of the 25 men who would become Confederate LG or higher, only three were non-West Point aristocrat's (Nathan Forrest, Richard Taylor, Wade Hampton) .

Chogy
12 Sep 12,, 16:19
Minskaya, the American Civil War is almost an obsession in the USA. The battles have been analyzed down to where individual foot soldiers were located at a given time. But I find it fascinating that it is studied at all outside the USA.

What makes it interesting is its location in the military/industrial time line. It took place at a critical juncture in human history.

- Industry was moving into a mass production model rather than a one-at-a-time handcrafting of individual components.
- Napoleonic war was giving way to trenches, heavy siege weapons, presaging later wars like WW1, where the defender ruled the field and offensive casualties were horrendous.
- Breech-loading and repeating weapons were becoming more common towards the end, like the Spencer and Henry rifles. Breech-loading Sharps rifles were superb weapons
- Naval battle saw the diminishment of sail and wood, and the introduction of steam and ironclads

These factors and many others presaged the extreme casualty counts that the world would see in the upcoming century.

Albany Rifles
12 Sep 12,, 18:56
One of the most interesting aspects of the ACW to me is the demographics of Union/Confederate military leadership and how it came to be. Far more prevalent on the southern side, military commissions were obtained primarily due to familial wealth, power, and political connections. It is highly doubtful to me that a sod-of-the-earth whiskey-lover such as Ulysses S. Grant either could have or would have ascended to a high-command position in the CSA. There are of course exceptions to the rule, but of the 25 men who would become Confederate LG or higher, only three were non-West Point aristocrat's (Nathan Forrest, Richard Taylor, Wade Hampton).

Errrr, not so much. Political patronage was alive and well in the Union as well as the Confederate armies. Quite a number of generals on both sides graduated from either USMA or from state military academies, especially West Point. Jefferson Davis valued either a West Point education or service in the Mexican War as a requirement to hold a generals commission....because of the large number of southern states which provided volunteers for the war the new Confederacy had a large pool of veterans who were West Pointers as well as quite a number who were not. So why was a West Point education seemingly more important in the Old South than in the North? Well, mostly because a) the education was free, b) the number of slots allotted was the same whether you had a huge population or small because you had 2 senators and finally c) there were many more opportunities to get a college education in the northern states than in the southern during the ante bellum period.

As a rule, the Southern states also took the militia requirements much more seriously. Why? In a word, slaves. Slave revolt was always a fear in a region where slave populations often outnumbered the white population. As a result the southern militias tended to be better organized and practiced regularly. In the North the seriousness of how you took militia duty often depended on how close you were to hostile Native Americans. By the 1850s the Massachusetts Militia was a glorified drinking society.

As for a West Point education…how many senior Union commanders were non-West Pointers? Ben Butler, Black Jack Logan (though he served in the Mexican War as a 1st Lieutenant in the 1st Illinois), John McClernand (though he got sacked), James Blunt in Kansas, Nathaniel Banks and John Fremont come to mind. Of the group Logan held a key corps position in the Atlanta Campaign, Butler had to be kept in place because of his strong political ties, Banks operated in secondary areas, McClernand was discarded like used tissue paper and Blunt and Fremont operated in a tertiary combat zone.

If you look at the field army and corps commanders, and many of the division commanders of the AOP, the AOC & AOT you will see a LOT of West Pointers. They may not have been careerists but you had to pass that requirement for senior leadership. Now there were quite a number of political generals in both armies but they tended to be brigadier generals or be in non-key divisions. And let’s not forget it was Senator John Sherman (William T. Sherman’s step-brother) who got an obscure colonel of volunteers commanding the 21st Illinois Infantry Regiment his brigadier general’s strap….that colonel was named U.S. “Sam” Grant.

Minskaya
12 Sep 12,, 19:33
Albany Rifles ~ Thank you kindly for the detailed explanation. With more potential for violence in the south, it makes perfect sense that southerners would be better prepared for any impending violence.

If I am not mistaken sir, there are still private military academies in the southern states today no?

Albany Rifles
12 Sep 12,, 20:28
If I am not mistaken sir, there are still private military academies in the southern states today no?

Minskaya,

There are still several junior military academies spread throughout the US....those are mostly meant as college prep schools within the construct of a military program. They are not formally affialited with any branch of the service other than the standard affilaition within a services' JROTC

Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junior_Reserve_Officers'_Training_Corps)

At the college level the most notable military schools in the US are The Citadel in SC and Vriginia Military Institute. Both are public universities where the corps of cadets live in a total military setting, 24/7. In addition there are four state schools, Virginia Tech, Texas A&M, North Georgia University and Norwich University in Vermont which have a large corps of cadets who exist within a larger student body. The casts wear uniforms, etc, but attend classes with regular students. They do tend to segregate into certain dormitories and dining halls. All are Coed and offer ROTC programs from all 4 services.

Within the larger education system is ROTC sponsored at a lot of private and state universities and colleges. There cadets are regular students most of the time and a few hours a week are in unifrom performing military functions....that's what I did.

At the height of the Cold War the majority of the officers for the US military came from the ROTC program. Today its about 35%.

Minskaya
13 Sep 12,, 07:32
At the college level the most notable military schools in the US are The Citadel in SC and Vriginia Military Institute. Both are public universities where the corps of cadets live in a total military setting, 24/7.
Yes. Those are the two I was thinking of. Very good schools.


At the height of the Cold War the majority of the officers for the US military came from the ROTC program. Today its about 35%.
In Israel there is the Talpiot program. The IDF looks at the test scores of graduating high school seniors. To the best and brightest, it offers to pay for a college education in which their military service will commence upon graduation. They are then commissioned as Talpiot officers and are charged with going anywhere within the IDF where they can suggest/develop/implement advancements in military methodology and/or materials.

S2
13 Sep 12,, 12:57
"...To the best and brightest, it offers to pay for a college education in which their military service will commence upon graduation..."

What term of service obligation is initially incurred for this education? Do these young men/women partake in military training while attending college?

"...They are then commissioned as Talpiot officers and are charged with going anywhere within the IDF where they can suggest/develop/implement advancements in military methodology and/or materials."

Virtually all newly-commissioned officers in the U.S. armed forces are considered novitiates whom require considerable augmented training before making meaningful service-wide contributions. Even our best and brightest. Not to say that the military doesn't begin seeing a return on their investment nearly immediately but responsibility corresponds closely to experience and formalized training.

The cultural transition from college to the military, alone, is too often a daunting hurdle even with exposure which might come from ROTC Advanced Camp, Airborne School or Ranger School.

My apology for digressing. Once again, another excellent civil war discussion.

Albany Rifles
13 Sep 12,, 13:55
Virtually all newly-commissioned officers in the U.S. armed forces are considered novitiates whom require considerable augmented training before making meaningful service-wide contributions. Even our best and brightest.

What The Dude is saying is that he and I along with all of the second lieutenants in our proud history were not worth a warm bucket of spit until our NCOs got hold of us and poured/pounded soem reality into us. At that point we were considered able to be seen in public without embarassing ourselves!

Let's keep the ACW rolling.

I have a few thoughts I will post later and I really have some ideas on War of 1812 I went to get out there.

Minskaya
13 Sep 12,, 21:41
Do these young men/women partake in military training while attending college?
Yes.


What The Dude is saying is that he and I along with all of the second lieutenants in our proud history were not worth a warm bucket of spit until our NCOs got hold of us and poured/pounded soem reality into us. At that point we were considered able to be seen in public without embarassing ourselves!
My apologies for not being more clear. These are not military officers in the traditional sense. They are intended and directed to be... innovators. Their primary task is to invent, or improve, or refine the warfare machinery of the IDF. This is accomplished not in a lab, but out in the field with the military people who operate these systems. Depending on the field of expertise, they could be exploring innovations in platforms as diverse as a Merkava tank or a Dolphin submarine. I hope this brief explanation helps.

Albany Rifles
13 Sep 12,, 21:59
Yes.


My apologies for not being more clear. These are not military officers in the traditional sense. They are intended and directed to be... innovators. Their primary task is to invent, or improve, or refine the warfare machinery of the IDF. This is accomplished not in a lab, but out in the field with the military people who operate these systems. Depending on the field of expertise, they could be exploring innovations in platforms as diverse as a Merkava tank or a Dolphin submarine. I hope this brief explanation helps.

Intriguing. Sounds like a good approach for a smaller force. For us we bring users I from the field to get input and then give to a unit to do operational testing of the product. Most of our stuff has to work worldwide. Plus out college we tend to want generalists. What you describe is our civil service intern program.

Minskaya
19 Sep 12,, 07:29
May I ask a question? I know this is applicable in the Western campaigns, not sure about in the East. Oftentimes, rather than send POW's to an internment camp, they were "paroled". As I understand it, the prisoners would promise to return home and not take up arms again. Do I understand this correctly and if so, how did paroling the prisoners pan out in reality? Did they usually honor the conditions?

Albany Rifles
20 Sep 12,, 04:34
Minskaya,

You have the general idea correctly.

I can do a greather explanation later...dont have time now....but it is more complex which you have already figured out.

Albany Rifles
21 Sep 12,, 20:13
Surprisingly, Wikipedia has a pretty decent explanation and overview

Dix (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dix-Hill_Cartel)

That said here are a few additional thoughts on parole and exchange.

As the article states, the treatment of the US Colored Troops by the Confederates was to cause a major obstacle for paroles.

The greatest Union general of the war, U.S. Grant, recieved his nickname "Unconditional Surrender Grant", because he refused to negotiate terms for the surrender of the Confederate forces at FT Donelson. His response to a request for parlay from the Confederate commander was

"No terms, except unconditional and immediate surrender, can be accepted. I propose to move immediately on your works. I am very respectfully, your obedient servant, U. S. GRANT," Grant's Response to Rebel General Buckner's request for an armistice, at the Battle of Fort Donelson, February 16, 1862.

In this case Grant demanded and got an unconditional surrender, something almost unheard of in western warfare to this time. It catapulted him to national prominence.

18 months later he gladly paroled the Confederate Army of Mississippi which surrendered to th Army of the Tennessee at Vicksburg.

What had changed?

Grant knew that handing the Confederate forces back to the them posed several problems for the Confederacy....

1. The Confederates would have to feed a force it could not employ in battle causign a drain on resources away from combat units
2. The discouraged troops, many from Mississippi and the gulf coast, would be tempted to desert....which they did in large numbers, further drainign manpower from the Confederates.
3. If the Confederate government did not honor the paroles then the Union would be justified in releasing from parole soem Union soldiers it was holding.

All three things ended up happening.

Minskaya
30 Sep 12,, 12:49
In one of his western-campaign commander decrees, Grant forbade Jews from being in his area of operations. It seems that he intended this decree to ban war profiteers who were buying southern cotton on the cheap. Grant's own father was working with these profiteers and he knew it. Grant never commented on this, but it seems reasonable that he wanted his father gone so there could be no impression of scandalous impropriety attached to him.

Shek
02 Oct 12,, 00:29
In one of his western-campaign commander decrees, Grant forbade Jews from being in his area of operations. It seems that he intended this decree to ban war profiteers who were buying southern cotton on the cheap. Grant's own father was working with these profiteers and he knew it. Grant never commented on this, but it seems reasonable that he wanted his father gone so there could be no impression of scandalous impropriety attached to him.

Sarna discusses 'When Grant Expelled the Jews' | BrandeisNOW (http://www.brandeis.edu/now/2012/march/sarnaqanda.html)

Albany Rifles
02 Oct 12,, 17:14
Grant's General Order # 11 is one of the stains on his legacy, without a doubt. It did cause a lot of problems short term for the White House. And while a not foaming at the mouth anti-Semite I believe it did reflect some of his attitudes about businessmen in general (look at his own bad experiences on that score) and conflating that with Jews. But that was hardly a unique position in the country at the time and definitely within the officer corps of the US Army, particulalry those from the Mid West.

It did become an issue in his presidential campaign but he worked through that. And he was the first US president to ever visit a synagogue, which he and several member sof his administration did in 1874.

Minskaya
03 Oct 12,, 07:11
Grant's General Order # 11 is one of the stains on his legacy, without a doubt.

I fully realized this topic was indelicate, and I appreciate your candor and honest reply. I also do not consider Grant antisemitic. Familiar with Grant's core ethics and appreciative of his numerous heavy burdens, I can both understand and forgive General Order #11, which President Abraham Lincoln revoked within a fortnight.

Officer of Engineers
03 Oct 12,, 13:25
One of the hardest thing when looking at history is to abandon your own set of beliefs and adopt what was standard for the area and time. Not easily done ... even today.

Albany Rifles
03 Oct 12,, 16:15
In grad school for History the first course you take is Historiography. In that course you not only review research methods you also have lengthy discussions on historicism. What gets drilled into you is when you look at historical events make sure you do not apply your societal mores and interpretations. You have to learn to look at events with the lens of how people thought at the time.

This can lead to many "interesting" discussions!

Applying that I can still greatly admire Grant in spite of GO 11.

Triple C
04 Oct 12,, 08:53
One of the marks of a great leader is to realize when to abandon such prejudices. Grant seemed to have done so.

Minskaya
05 Oct 12,, 07:20
One of the hardest thing when looking at history is to abandon your own set of beliefs and adopt what was standard for the area and time. Not easily done ... even today.
It can also be postulated that one cannot fully understand the present without understanding the past. This is a truism in many of the space sciences. You cannot understand Cosmology (the origin and evolution of the universe) unless you have an understanding of particle physics. Comparative Planetology requires an understanding of geophysics. Organic Chemistry is a requisite of Exobiology. And so it goes.