View Poll Results: Which theater in the American Civil War was the most important?

Voters
11. You may not vote on this poll
  • Eastern Theater

    5 45.45%
  • Western Theater

    6 54.55%
Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123
Results 31 to 40 of 40

Thread: Eastern vs. Western Theater in the American Civil War?

  1. #31
    Senior Contributor clackers's Avatar
    Join Date
    15 Nov 07
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    810
    Quote Originally Posted by JAD_333 View Post
    ... saying the public's mindset in the north at the time of the Civil War had, by 1864, become inclined to accept a settlement with the south. I agree the sentiment was widespread, but I wouldn't necessarily agree that it represented the view of the majority. Lincoln won by half a million in the popular vote, 55%, and carried all but 3 states. Whether he would have won without Atlanta is conjecture.
    James B Macpherson (Edit: my mistake, James M McPherson, author of Pulitzer Prize winning Battle Cry of Freedom, not the Civil War general!) thinks Lincoln's victory of 1864 was actually a near thing.

    Earlier in the year, the Confederates got to within five miles of Washington ... Grant got slaughtered at Cold Harbour and then got bogged down hopelessly around St Petersburg ...

    Macpherson thought that military success in the second half of the year was needed to secure Lincoln's reelection, and he got it with the victories of Mobile Bay and Atlanta ...
    Last edited by clackers; 19 Nov 07, at 05:25.

  2. #32
    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
    Join Date
    15 Apr 07
    Location
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    Posts
    11,214
    Quote Originally Posted by clackers View Post
    James B Macpherson thinks Lincoln's victory of 1864 was actually a near thing.

    Earlier in the year, the Confederates got to within five miles of Washington ... Grant got slaughtered at Cold Harbour and then got bogged down hopelessly around St Petersburg ...

    Macpherson thought that military success in the second half of the year was needed to secure Lincoln's reelection, and he got it with the victories of Mobile Bay and Atlanta ...
    That's not an uncommon hypothesis. Military success did come and Lincoln did win. So, naturally one would be inclined feel vindicated in their hypothesis. Of course, they had the benefit of knowing the outcome. That's not to say there wasn't a similar hypothesis among the politically savvy at the time.

    Lincoln himself had forebodings that he would lose; the Radical Republicans who nominated Fremont to run against Lincoln must have sensed that Lincoln was vulnerable; and surely McClellan ran because he thought he could beat the divided Republicans. This is unusually strong opposition against a war president.

    On the other hand, when Lincoln proposed sending a peace plan up to Congress to boost his campaign, his cabinet vehemently opposed it. They didn't share Lincoln's forebodings. Even though Fremont withdrew after Atlanta, the victory Lincoln wanted, it still wasn't likely the Radicals would return to the fold. And McClellan without the help from the military elite that he had counted on hardly looked invincible. The key lies with the voters and exactly how they were split when the campaign started (before Atlanta) is anybody's guess in the absense of modern polls. But inasmuch as a large number of voters were in uniform and 75% of the military vote went to Lincoln, maybe things weren't quite as dire as Lincoln thought. Who knows?
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

  3. #33
    Banned Defense Professional Bluesman's Avatar
    Join Date
    24 Nov 04
    Location
    Misawa Airbase, Japan
    Posts
    8,578
    Hey, how come this poll doesn't have a THIRD answer: 'Ron Paul'.

  4. #34
    Senior Contributor clackers's Avatar
    Join Date
    15 Nov 07
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    810
    Quote Originally Posted by JAD_333 View Post
    The key lies with the voters and exactly how they were split when the campaign started (before Atlanta) is anybody's guess in the absense of modern polls.
    Yes, JAD, we sadly only have anecdotes, and no hard numbers.

    McPherson's examples are the editor of America's most important newspaper writing to Lincoln, saying:

    Our bleeding, bankrupt, almost dying country longs for peace - shudders at the prospect of fresh conscriptions, of further wholesale devastations, and of rivers of human blood

    and a veteran Republican declaring

    the people are wild for peace ... Lincoln's reelection is an impossibility

    With Sherman distracted in front of Atlanta and Grant held up by the St Petersburg trenches (Burnside finds a way to lose again at the extraordinary Battle of the Crater), Lincoln stubbornly resisted all this pressure to negotiate peace with the Rebels, and the Princeton professor flatly concludes:

    If the election had been held in August 1864 instead of November, Lincoln would have lost.
    Last edited by clackers; 19 Nov 07, at 11:02.

  5. #35
    Global Moderator
    Military Professional
    Defense Professional
    Albany Rifles's Avatar
    Join Date
    27 Apr 07
    Location
    Prince George, VA
    Posts
    8,888
    With Sherman distracted in front of Atlanta and Grant held up by the St Petersburg trenches (Burnside finds a way to lose again at the extraordinary Battle of the Crater), Lincoln stubbornly resisted all this pressure to negotiate peace with the Rebels, and the Princeton professor flatly concludes:

    If the election had been held in August 1864 instead of November, Lincoln would have lost.
    [/QUOTE]


    Gee, in all of my graduate work, I never realized that Grant was fighting in Florida!!!!) ) ) )

    I believe you mean Petersburg, VA. And in many ways Burnside was the scapegoat. I am a great admirer of Sam Grant but Burnside never received the support his plan deserved.

    SIDE NOTE: What is often lost on a lot of people are the 2 main reasons for the difficult time which the Union faced outside of Petersburg in 1864 - 1864. The following chart shows manpower comparison between the 2 sides from begining to end of the campaign.

    Date: Federal Confederate Ratio

    June, 1864 96,076 55,350 1.74 - 1
    July, 1864 89,049 57,528 1.55 - 1
    August, 1864 51,142 48,501 1.05 - 1
    September, 1864 71,504 45,563 1.57 - 1
    October, 1864 77,302 54,651 1.41 - 1
    November, 1864 81,922 58,287 1.41 - 1
    December, 1864 95,131 59,171 1.61 - 1
    January, 1865 100,429 45,829 2.19 - 1
    February, 1865 106,286 47,197 2.25 - 1
    March, 1865 97,185 --------
    Average 86,603 52,453 1.65 - 1

    Additioanlly, all through the summer of 1864 the Army fo the Potomac was hemorrhaging manpower due to 3 year enlistments running out. Soldiers who knew that had just days left on their enlistments were loath to attack fixed defenses. Same was true in a lot of units in Sherman's Army. By October there were new regiments in place as well as Veteran Volunteer regiemtns doing the fighting.


    And yes, if the election was in AUG of 64 it would have been rough on Lincoln. But by the end of OCT 64, with Atlanta in Union hands and a crushing Union victory at Cedar Creek Lincoln's victory was secured. McClellan was repudiated at the polls by, of all people, the soldiers of the Union Army. They overwhelmingly voted for Lincoln, i.e., they wanted to finish what they had started.

    Little Mac really did not stand a chance once the successes of the Fall of 64 started to roll in.


    Oh, and as for which was the most important theater? Depends on whcih phase fo the war. Up through teh Emancipation Proclamation, the Eastern theater was the critical theater since the Union had to hold on and win on the diplomatic front by forestalling a recognition of the Confederacy by the European powers. In 1863 the impetus switched to the West with the criticality of opening and securing the MIssissippi. All campaigns west of the Apps supported that. In the east is was just hold on. By 1864 it had switched initially to the East with the plan to destroy Lee but it then became of equal importance with the taking of Atlanta (which was still considered a western campaign), the Valley Campaign and the destruction of the Army of Tennessee at Nashville.
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
    Mark Twain

  6. #36
    Global Moderator Defense Professional JAD_333's Avatar
    Join Date
    15 Apr 07
    Location
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    Posts
    11,214
    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Gee, in all of my graduate work, I never realized that Grant was fighting in Florida!!!!) ) ) )

    I believe you mean Petersburg, VA.
    Let's give Clakers some credit. How many Aussi's are up on our Civil War? At least there's no confusion about Grant being in Russia.


    And yes, if the election was in AUG of 64 it would have been rough on Lincoln.
    That's a good neutral viewpoint. I second it.

    But by the end of OCT 64, with Atlanta in Union hands and a crushing Union victory at Cedar Creek Lincoln's victory was secured.
    Having recently read an exhaustive, blow-by-blow book devoted to the last battle of Winchester and Cedar Creek, which I am sure you'll agree are very much sister battles. With Cedar Creek coming on the heels of the Early's loss at Winchester, I wonder which is more decisive in terms of the Uniion finally gaining control of the Shenandoah. It seems to me that the brilliant, nearly successful, but ultimately disasterous attack on Union forces at Cedar Creek, would not have gained the south much except a month or so of time. Which battle do you think gets credit as the decisive of the two?

    BTW, I live 4 miles from Cedar Creek battlefield. Just north of it is Middletown where the Confederate forces paused just long enough for Sheridan's forces to pull together a successful defensive position. The town is much as it was back then. [/QUOTE]
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

  7. #37
    Senior Contributor clackers's Avatar
    Join Date
    15 Nov 07
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    810
    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    I believe you mean Petersburg, VA. And in many ways Burnside was the scapegoat.
    Yes, and definitely not the former Leningrad!

    At least Burnside was trying something different, as with his pontoon bridges back in Fredericksburg, his rifle factory, his attempt to stop war between the French and the Prussians ... but you've got to wonder about a guy who kept on rolling snake-eyes in life as often as he did ...

  8. #38
    Senior Contributor clackers's Avatar
    Join Date
    15 Nov 07
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    810
    Quote Originally Posted by JAD_333 View Post
    Let's give Clakers some credit. How many Aussi's are up on our Civil War?
    I love it, JAD ... and after being introduced (reluctantly) to the conflict years ago by the wonderful old Avalon Hill wargame, I discovered, what's not to love about it? The personalities were quirky, the battles made a mockery of their planners, the politics was tough ...

  9. #39
    Global Moderator
    Military Professional
    Defense Professional
    Albany Rifles's Avatar
    Join Date
    27 Apr 07
    Location
    Prince George, VA
    Posts
    8,888
    Having recently read an exhaustive, blow-by-blow book devoted to the last battle of Winchester and Cedar Creek, which I am sure you'll agree are very much sister battles. With Cedar Creek coming on the heels of the Early's loss at Winchester, I wonder which is more decisive in terms of the Uniion finally gaining control of the Shenandoah. It seems to me that the brilliant, nearly successful, but ultimately disasterous attack on Union forces at Cedar Creek, would not have gained the south much except a month or so of time. Which battle do you think gets credit as the decisive of the two?

    I am curious which book you are talking about? Jeff Wert's Winchester To Cedar Creek?

    Sheridan's Valley campaign got off to a slow start, with his fumblin garound Western Maryland looking for Jubal Early in AUG 64 (part of Grant's frustration of that month across the US). His inexperience as an independent commander really shows up in the start of the campaign. I believe his success at Winchester owed more the the experienced VIth Corps and its commanders than anything Sheridan did.

    All of that said I don't see how you can divorce Winchester and Fisher's Hill from Cedar Creek. Cedar Creek was the only choice Early had to try to reverse the operational failure of his forces to stop Sheridan in the Valley.

    I always believed 2 of the men who receive little credit for the Union success in that battle are Getty and, of course, the acting Army commander, Wright. Yes, Wright was caught off guard, but he did reorganize the Army and got it ready for the counterattack. Sheridan arrived in time to execute a plan which was already starting to execute. And Getty's sure handling of the VIth Corps, and particulalry his stand at the cemetary at Middletown, provided the bulwark Wright needed to get the counterattack set.


    BTW, I live 4 miles from Cedar Creek battlefield. Just north of it is Middletown where the Confederate forces paused just long enough for Sheridan's forces to pull together a successful defensive position. The town is much as it was back then. [/quote]


    I am well versed on the Middletwon and Cedar Creek. I live about 160 miles SE of you in Prince George County, right outside of Petersburg (hence my comment to Clackers! ) ) ) ) And I work about 300 yards from the battlefield (I walk on it every day at lunch)

    Be advised, my screen name is the nickname of the 43rd New York Volunteer Infantry....who were the extreme left of the VIth Corps line at Middletown Cemetary on 19 OCT 1864. The were a Veteran Volunteer regiment at teh time of the battle but would become a battalion afterward due to discharges and casualties. They were the first 3 year regiemtn from New York in AUG 61 and were all the way through to Appomattox.
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
    Mark Twain

  10. #40

    Military Professional
    Military Professional S2's Avatar
    Join Date
    11 Sep 06
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    10,829

    A.R.'s Pet Peeves

    "I believe you mean Petersburg, VA."

    JAD, clackers isn't alone and they're not all foreigners either. Nailed my ass over on stratpage with the same thing two years ago!!!...

    Seared into my memory henceforth.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Armistice Day on the 11th November
    By glyn in forum World Affairs Board Pub
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 11 Nov 13,, 22:49
  2. British Propaganda And The Turks
    By Big K in forum The World Wars
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 26 Jun 07,, 12:19
  3. Articles and links for the Military Professional
    By Officer of Engineers in forum The Staff College
    Replies: 115
    Last Post: 20 Nov 06,, 16:28
  4. 911 4 year anniversary...never forget.
    By Bill in forum International Politics
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 11 Sep 05,, 17:07

Share this thread with friends:

Share this thread with friends:

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •