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Thread: US Civil War Experts needed

  1. #16
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    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=SQO...A455&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.
    Last edited by astralis; 29 Jun 09, at 17:05.
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    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    [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.
    Last edited by Mihais; 30 Jun 09, at 07:32.

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    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.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Astralis reply

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    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.

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    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.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  6. #21
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post

    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.

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    Chogy, et al

    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
    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.
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    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).
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  9. #24
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    ''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.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    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.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    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.

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chogy View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Johnny W; 01 Jul 09, at 14:10.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mihais View Post
    ''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.
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    Lincoln was all about preserving the Union. Everything he did was toward that goal. All else was secondary.
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
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