kezardinjnr
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Sun May 06, 2012 10:48 pm

Stauffenberg wrote:But how good was he? He certainly is not rated extremely high in ACW and as the CSA I routinely transfer him to command in MO where his surprise attack ability might prove useful. For the defense of Tennessee and southern Kentucky I bring Joe Johnston out as his defensive abilities far outweigh those of A.S.

I wonder if his values are under-rated here.



I've played a number of civil war games over the last 30 odd years, (both board games and computer games) and I can't recall any of them giving ASJ particularly high ratings.

For example, the original War Between The States board game rated Lee 4-5-3 (initiative/command limit/combat modifier), J. Johnson as 3-3-1 and A. S. Johnson as 2-3-1.

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Sun May 06, 2012 11:36 pm

I just finished the Wiki article on ASJ.

* ASJ & Jeff Davis were at the Point together - JD two years behind. Apparently, they became friends, either there or later. ASJ was eighth out of a class of 41. Upper ranks, but wasn't appointed an instructor, or anything like that, which went to the brainy grads.

* Was first commisioned in the infantry. Unremarkable. The better ones taught trig or were commisioned Engineers, in those days.

* Veteran of the Texas War for Independence and Mexican War. Again, nothing sterling. Capable, resorceful, aggressive, but nothing that seems to be of the first water. Seems to have been a good administrator and good with the men; personally brave, but not any one thing that is gold standard.

* I think Jeff Davis's personal feelings were interfering too much with an honest assessment. Wiki faintly criticizes him for appointing bad leaders at H&D and not overseeing construction details, etc., enough (Henry was abysmally sited - anyone with enough experience would not site a fort below the riverbank).

Methinks he deserves his AACW rating and was not any kind of a wonder boy.
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Mon May 07, 2012 3:05 am

This thread is interesting, thanks to all who have commented. One of the reasons I like to purchase and play historical games with leader qualities is to explore the view others have of leaders. Your comments remind me of an old SPI ACW game where all leaders start with no value and then earn value through successful battle. AS Johnston will always be a mystery. This is a good reason to at least occasionally play with random leader statistics. While it makes some sad to see Lee and Jackson have really poor numbers in this radical 'what if,' we play historical simulations from the perspective of historical performance more than the standpoint of what if. What if Jackson refused to fight on Sunday? What if AS Johnston was the Western Lee. His battle plan anticipated the future, not the past. What is Davis could not part with Lee as Roosevelt could not part with Marshall? Lots of fun in this thread.
My favorite what if - What if Jeff Davis arriving at the carnage of 1st Bull Run and decided the South was winning, not losing, and sent the armies to Washington.

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Lee as CSA Chief of Staff Fall of 1863

Sun May 20, 2012 5:09 pm

There was a reason Winfield Scott wanted Lee right off the bat, offering him the entire northern army in '61--Lee had the strategic grasp of an entire war in his head and could situate the activities of his army precisely in that equation.

Longstreet had strategic depth too as far as the prosecution of the war went. In an ideal CSA universe, and a what-if possible to explore in the game, Lee should have handed off the ANV to Longstreet in '63-64 and become overall Chief of Staff. Davis should have given Lee much of what he was attempting to micro-manage militarily, and done the job he was supposed to be doing... wooing and beating the southern governors into line politically--make them realize the absolute need for synergy in assets and purpose to enable their forward armies to bleed the Yanks to death. Longstreet would have bled Grant white, far worse than Lee did. Lee built up ANV elan to incredible heights with "best defense is an offense" brilliance; however, the time for this was over when Grant appeared, actually, right after Pickett's charge.

The South could have fielded tens of thousands more men defending Richmond and Atlanta. Longstreet would be given full rein to enact his new defensive tactics and emphasis upon field fortifications. With Johnston out West, Longstreet in the east, all beautifully orchestrated by Lee in overall command, and Davis assiduously wooing the states to ante up... Lincoln would have lost the election fall of '64. Copperhead victory, southern recognition, both sides rejoice that the slaughter is over. The South, realising the insurmountable incubus slavery is in the eyes of the modern world, set about dismantling it (as Lee was doing personally with his own land and assets historically anyway). Yankee capitalists are only to pleased to invest in the South and build up its infrastructure. Who knows, the north might even woo the south back into the union. With southern chivalry and pride intact from their victory, the bitterness of the intense war years would have quickly been replaced by a conciliatory progressive spirit. Atlanta was not burned, Sherman the Hun would not have launched his scourge across Georgia. Grant, hounded by the northern press as "Butcher Grant" after his disastrous campaigns in '64, would resign and hit the bottle. Rhett Butler would have stayed with Scarlett O'Hara. A happy ending for all. :thumbsup:

Of such are what-if dreams made of...
;)

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Mon May 21, 2012 4:48 pm

I can't agree more that Davis allowed his military background to mean he focused too much on military matters, Lee should have had overall command and full power of appointments much earlier, maybe after Chancellorsville or Gettysburg. I think Davis' favouritism was a huge problem for the CSA as he favoured leaders such as Polk, Bragg and ASJ out west and then sent a reluctant Joe Johnston out there to "coordinate" when he wasn't really in the right frame of mind and the two armies were widely separated.

Bragg is a bit of an engima, as he had a habit of winning battles then retreating, it is hard to truly assess him, was he talented but undid himself by being so unlikeable or did he truly throw away clear cut chances? Would Joe Johnston have done better if he had accepted Davis' offer to take over Bragg's army after Stones River? J.Johnston didn't seem at his best at this time, after his wound, as his actions at Vicksburg made a bad situation worse for Pemberton, asking him to link up with him rather than get ready to defend the Big Black river line.

ASJ will always be a mystery. He started badly and then lost his life before history could see what he could do.

I always think commanders like Kirby Smith were overlooked. Books say Davis stuck with Bragg as he had no alternative, I say why not replace Bragg with Kirby Smith after the Perryville campaign? Kirby Smith performed well in that winning the only decisive battle and moving more decisively than Bragg while he was acting independently.

Also a shame Beauregard pissed off Davis with his egotistical comments and leaving his army without leave. I think he too would have done better than Bragg.
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Tue May 22, 2012 9:20 am

Hello !

1. I think Lee had been always overvalued : good tactician but no so good in strategy
2. in the other hand, J Johnston and Beauregard were underestimate
3. Jefferson Davies was a plague for CSA
4. The most important : in the real history, CSA have no good strategy to win the war in the long term

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Tue May 22, 2012 5:45 pm

Chuske wrote:I can't agree more that Davis allowed his military background to mean he focused too much on military matters, Lee should have had overall command and full power of appointments much earlier, maybe after Chancellorsville or Gettysburg. I think Davis' favouritism was a huge problem for the CSA as he favoured leaders such as Polk, Bragg and ASJ out west and then sent a reluctant Joe Johnston out there to "coordinate" when he wasn't really in the right frame of mind and the two armies were widely separated and .

Bragg is a bit of an engima, as he had a habit of winning battles then retreating, it is hard to truly assess him, was he talented but undid himself by being so unlikeable or did he truly throw away clear cut chances? Would Joe Johnston have done better if he had accepted Davis' offer to take over Bragg's army after Stones River? J.Johnston didn't seem at his best at this time, after his wound, as his actions at Vicksburg made a bad situation worse for Pemberton, asking him to link up with him rather than get ready to defend the Big Black river line.

ASJ will always be a mystery. He started badly and then lost his life before history could see what he could do.

I always think commanders like Kirby Smith were overlooked. Books say Davis stuck with Bragg as he had no alternative, I say why not replace Bragg with Kirby Smith after the Perryville campaign? Kirby Smith performed well in that winning the only decisive battle and moving more decisively than Bragg while he was acting independently.

Also a shame Beauregard pissed off Davis with his egotistical comments and leaving his army without leave. I think he too would have done better than Bragg.


All good points.
After Manassas the usual narrative focuses upon McClellan restructuring the AoP, reorganising the training and creating an esprit de corps that would stand it in good stead in the years of war to follow. All true of course; however, what is usually missing in this is a more detailed look at the other side, where the combined genius of Davis and Lee put together a brand new army out of thin air, in the midst of the birth of a new nation, in a new nation's capital in Richmond. They did a brilliant job of it as a team, up to Manassas and beyond, and I would argue they did a far better job of it than McClellan in picking brigade and division commanders with proven talent, while keeping political appointees, always inevitable, to a minimum. This is to be expected as Lincoln was not a military man, and McClellan was no politician (not yet). Davis was a sterling asset in the early part of the war in putting all the pieces together--essentially what the CSA player will be doing; in the long war however, he became a liability. His handling of the defense of New Orleans was a disaster, as were his personality issues with Bragg and Johnston. He also overrode the wisdom of Lee in appointing Hood as commander in front of Atlanta--the result was another disaster in the west.

In 1860 and '61 the old federal army officer corps was split right down the middle, with an astounding majority of the officer talent heading south. Davis and Lee were able to mine this gold extensively, but they also had to deal with the flip side of this bonanza, in particular the high strung personality issues the South had to deal with early on--Beauregard and Joe Johnston both loom large here as you point out. It was pretty miraculous that Lee managed to get into the position of taking over in Virginia when he did. Beauregard working with or under Lee was an impossibility. His grandiose plans would have led to a southern disaster; he was, however, a brilliant on the spot defensive innovator, and by golly that's how he was employed for the duration of the war. Davis and Johnston had serious bad chemistry, far worse than McClellan and Lincoln, and that was pretty bad by the time Lee launched his peninsula counter-attacks.

Bragg is an enigma as you also mention. In a pbem I have going, I note that Bragg has finally had his talents more exactly valued--strategically very effective (having the ear of Davis and following orders without fail or delay), also a very effective iron disciplined troop trainer, but with a very bad effect on cohesion due to his utter lack of charisma.

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Thu May 24, 2012 2:41 am

It is very interesting to see that foreigners know more about the American Civil War than we do. :mdr:
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Thu May 24, 2012 5:22 am

Well my step-dad was from the Deep South, I hope that counts for something. I sure as hell learned what corn pone, chitlins and grits were at an early age, and prefer an aged Knob Creek bourbon over a single malt any day. ;)

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Thu May 24, 2012 5:55 am

Can you get grits anywhere in Canada? I prefer standard salt+butter grits to spicy or cheese versions. Knob Creek was the first alcohol I ever tasted as well. Sounds like you could pass the Southern entrance exam. I've never even had Chitlins.

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Thu May 24, 2012 12:47 pm

No I found out what they were early on, but never did try chitlins. And straight salt and butter grits I still like--you can find that boxed up here in the rare location. Cornbread I make myself--you can get addicted to that stuff. ;)

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Thu May 24, 2012 4:08 pm

Really fun thread to read. . . . and ponder.
My question is. . . for those of us who are currently US citizens. As romantic as the South winning seems, could you really imagine the US being split up into 2 different countries right now?
How different it would be. . . I can only imagine.
Like it was stated earlier, perhaps the South could have been Whoo'd back to the Union after some time. . . but I think in the end, it worked out good for all of us.
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George McClellan
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Fri May 25, 2012 3:51 am

Coldsteel wrote:Really fun thread to read. . . . and ponder.
My question is. . . for those of us who are currently US citizens. As romantic as the South winning seems, could you really imagine the US being split up into 2 different countries right now?
How different it would be. . . I can only imagine.
Like it was stated earlier, perhaps the South could have been Whoo'd back to the Union after some time. . . but I think in the end, it worked out good for all of us.

Coldsteel, that is a question that could both fill volumes, and be answered in one sentence: The South, I believe, would eventually have to succumb to the North in less than fifty years because of superior manpower, economy, and because most things were invented in the North, because there was better opportunity there.
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Fri May 25, 2012 9:29 am

I've been trying to stay out of this conversation, but the South 'succumbing' to the North... :confused:

If you want to extrapolate what would have become of the Confederacy had she gained her independence from the Union, then you must first understand the people and the region.

The South's climate and land are ideal for growing several cash-crops (grown for exporting to other regions), especially cotton, which was the basis for the Southern economy.

The Southern culture was very much influenced by the example of the class hierarchy of the European nobility. Simply being wealthy and successful would not introduce you to higher society. One of the major supports for this caste system was religiosity -- the belief that being born into a family with high social status was an act of god and never a coincidence or accident. Introduction to the higher society was not taken lightly by those already belonging. They were very discreet in their decisions on who to accept into their closed ranks.

Norther culture was based on the idea that the individual should be judged on the merits of their actions regardless of the family into which one was born.

During the decades before the Civil War, the South continually lost on political influence versus a growing Northern industrial might -- money has always influence (bought) politics and politicians. American politics were turning way from the Souther values and toward the, for the South, very un-tasteful policies geared toward a capitalistic, industrialistic economy and society.

These differences and the mutual rejection of the others politics and culture caused the tension which lead to the Civil War. Slavery was simply the bone of contention which lead to an ever increasing conflict in policy.

If, as has often been said -- whether realistic or not -- the South had gained their independence and later abolished slavery -- whether actually or nominally -- it would change nothing of the of the society, economy or politics defining the South. In my opinion this is why an independent South would not be inclined to re-join the Union.

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Fri May 25, 2012 4:05 pm

Good point Captain,

There are so many what if's, in this case. Would we have fought again in WWI, more then likely, the South would have had a much closer relationship with Britian & France, so perhaps the North would have entered on the German side and had to slug it out on her own soil rather then Frances. . . (this was depicted in a Turtledove Novel I read, just got me thinking of how likely this really was).
How much longer would slavery of survived. . .
How would the Southern economy survived. . .
Would the Southern states have survived as a Conferderacy, or would you have seen States break off (Texas) and form their own contries? If they could do it once, why not again. . .?
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Fri May 25, 2012 4:07 pm

George McClellan wrote:Coldsteel, that is a question that could both fill volumes, and be answered in one sentence: The South, I believe, would eventually have to succumb to the North in less than fifty years because of superior manpower, economy, and because most things were invented in the North, because there was better opportunity there.


I agree with this . . . but I love that we can sit here and talk about the historical what if's. . . I love this kind of thing.
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Fri May 25, 2012 4:25 pm

Coldsteel wrote:the South would have had a much closer relationship with Britian & France, so perhaps the North would have entered on the German side
This idea crops up in a lot of what-ifs (including Turtledove's, of course) but I'm not sure how realistic it actually is.

Yes, Britain imported a lot of cotton from the South, so had an interest in maintaining good commercial relations. But they could buy cotton from Egypt as well, and by the 1880s Egypt was part of the British Empire. So why would they still need the South? Meanwhile, Britain's teeming millions ate bread baked from grain shipped in from the North, and British entrepreneurs invested in Northern railroads and factories. The sad fact, from the Confederacy's point of view, is that British trade relations with the North were much more important and profitable to them than those with the South. If forced to choose, over the long term, they'd stick with the North.

And that's not even accounting for the two other crucial facts:
1. The North could pose a credible military threat to Britain (Canada). The South could not. Therefore, Britain saw keeping friendly relations with the North as much more important.
2. Public opinion in Britain was strongly anti-slavery, and for a government to openly support a slave régime fighting against Abolitionists would have been very bad news for them at the polls.

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Fri May 25, 2012 4:30 pm

StephenT wrote:This idea crops up in a lot of what-ifs (including Turtledove's, of course) but I'm not sure how realistic it actually is.

Yes, Britain imported a lot of cotton from the South, so had an interest in maintaining good commercial relations. But they could buy cotton from Egypt as well, and by the 1880s Egypt was part of the British Empire. So why would they still need the South? Meanwhile, Britain's teeming millions ate bread baked from grain shipped in from the North, and British entrepreneurs invested in Northern railroads and factories. The sad fact, from the Confederacy's point of view, is that British trade relations with the North were much more important and profitable to them than those with the South. If forced to choose, over the long term, they'd stick with the North.

And that's not even accounting for the two other crucial facts:
1. The North could pose a credible military threat to Britain (Canada). The South could not. Therefore, Britain saw keeping friendly relations with the North as much more important.
2. Public opinion in Britain was strongly anti-slavery, and for a government to openly support a slave régime fighting against Abolitionists would have been very bad news for them at the polls.


Very good points Stephen!
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Fri May 25, 2012 9:12 pm

George McClellan wrote:It is very interesting to see that foreigners know more about the American Civil War than we do. :mdr:


Tis interesting you raise this Mac.

I do wonder why the ACW appeals to me so much as a Brit and others from Canada, France, Germany etc. I guess part of it is ties of blood apart from native americans, and african americans etc, americans are largely descended from Europeans and share many cultural roots with Europe. Secondly the ACW occurred at a really interesting time in history, when battles weren't yet dominated by the big guns, trenches and machine guns of WWI and there was still (at least in the early years) the Napoleonic dash and elan of charges and massed infantry but the new weaponry and railroads were the start of modern warfare. Above all the characters were really strong, I find no other war that quite has such an engaging mix of characters, Lee the unknowable atristocrat, Grant the quiet yet determined, McClellan the unmoveable hero (at least to his men!) and then Lincoln and Davis.

On top of all that the war is rich in terms of its causes and motivations, with rich slave holders fighting to keep slavery, abolitionists fighting to end it, poor southerners fighting because the north was "down here", northerners fighting for Union but not the slaves. So issues of freedom, and preserving tradition, of nobility vs equality. A true brother against brother war and also a war about values and way of life.

Finally the biggest reason for me discovering the rich history of ACW is Ken Burns and his excellent documentary.
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Fri May 25, 2012 10:58 pm

And it's not a 'what if', but let us, at least the Americans here, remember that this holiday weekend is one of solemn remembrance, a remembrance born in the struggle to preserve government of the people, by the people, and for the people, and to include all Americans in this, "the noblest experiment in self government ever attempted."
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Sat May 26, 2012 5:42 am

Chuske wrote:I always think commanders like Kirby Smith were overlooked. Books say Davis stuck with Bragg as he had no alternative, I say why not replace Bragg with Kirby Smith after the Perryville campaign? Kirby Smith performed well in that winning the only decisive battle and moving more decisively than Bragg while he was acting independently.


I may be mistaken but Bragg wasn't really despised that much after Perryville, things only became really agitated after Stones River, by which time I believe Smith had been bumped to command of the Trans-Mississippi.

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Sat May 26, 2012 7:43 pm

Chuske wrote:I do wonder why the ACW appeals to me so much as a Brit and others from Canada, France, Germany etc. I guess part of it is ties of blood apart from native americans, and african americans etc, americans are largely descended from Europeans and share many cultural roots with Europe. Secondly the ACW occurred at a really interesting time in history, when battles weren't yet dominated by the big guns, trenches and machine guns of WWI and there was still (at least in the early years) the Napoleonic dash and elan of charges and massed infantry but the new weaponry and railroads were the start of modern warfare. Above all the characters were really strong, I find no other war that quite has such an engaging mix of characters, Lee the unknowable atristocrat, Grant the quiet yet determined, McClellan the unmoveable hero (at least to his men!) and then Lincoln and Davis.


Nicely put. The ACW has to be the last hurrah for such an amazingly rich panoply of characters attempting to manifest a chivalrous/romantic approach to war on the one hand, with the new breed of modern warriors more concerned with statistics and specifications on the other: Lee and Longstreet faced off squarely over that divide at times, but were both still characters! After this, it seems you can still find examples of a personality having a huge impact upon the war--a Patton or a Rommel for example--but they appear alone as it were: you don't get an entire stage full as was the case with the ACW.

Chuske wrote:Finally the biggest reason for me discovering the rich history of ACW is Ken Burns and his excellent documentary.


And the wonderful Shelby Foote, who was interviewed in that film. There’s a man I would love to have sat down with for an evening while he was still alive, plying him with Knob Creek in front of a fire, to hear his anecdotes and stories of that era. RIP Shelby.

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The Longstreet Grand Strategy 'What-If'

Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:54 am

Well let's keep this thread rolling Gents... :dada:

I am currently reading one of the best memoirs of the CSA taken from the diaries of Porter Alexander, Lee's artillery commander at Gettysburg (Fighting for the Confederacy[I][/I] by Gary W. Gallagher, The University of North Carolina Press, 1989). He is well-represented in the game as one of the artillery enhancer commanders who appears early on. His experiences extend from Bull Run to Chickamauga, to the Wilderness, the siege of Petersburg and Appomattox, with many fine sketches of the personalities he met.

On page 220 Alexander lays out what he feels is the greatest what-if of the war, one put forth by Longstreet in the years after the war ended, but buried beneath the opprobrium that Longstreet engendered in the minds of Southerners in those hard years after the defeat. Alexander puts that aside and lays out Longstreet's grand what-if as follows:

"Our forces & resources were far inferior to those of the enemy upon the whole, but the one single advantage which we possessed was that of the interior lines. We could reasonably hope to transfer a large force from our Army of Northern Virginia to our Army of Tennessee, or vice-versa, much sooner than the enemy could discover & transfer an equivalent force to meet us. Such a manouvre, by the axioms of the game, was our best hold. And it was this manouvre which Gen. Longstreet states that he urged upon President Davis, as soon as he, Longstreet, then in Petersburg, with two divisions of his Corps, knew that Gen. Lee with his reduced force had inflicted a demoralizing defeat upon Hooker’s whole army at Chancellorsville. He states that he pointed out the fact that these divisions were not now needed with Lee, and were already well started on a trip to the West. And he goes into some detail as to other troops which could have joined him and as to the opportunity of taking the enemy by surprise & striking him terrible blows in the West." (p. 220)

I think he was right and a more in-depth scenario focused upon this pivotal moment in time would be a superb one to develop. :winner:

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:50 am

They did follow this strategy later on (Longstreet went west and helped the AOT), but it wasn't enough at that time.
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Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:47 pm

Jim-NC wrote:They did follow this strategy later on (Longstreet went west and helped the AOT), but it wasn't enough at that time.


Yes of course, and Alexander is well aware of that fact in writing this up years after the war (he was part of that transfer in late '63 and fought at Chickamauga after all). What he is discussing here is Longstreet's push, at the time, to forgo the Gettysburg invasion and aim at a series of heavy blows in the West that summer using a really large transfer of forces immediately following Hooker's defeat.

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:11 pm

..which may have pushed Rosecrans back out of Chattanooga but not likely out of Tennessee, with the Union falling back on their supply line and much more defensible positions, such as the Tennessee River itself.

With Meade taking command and thus having time to actually get into command of the AoP, how long could a skeletal ANV hold against far superior odds and at which point? Would Longstreet and what ever other forces had been lent to the AoT be immediately returned to the ANV? In what condition would they be (what if Bragg put them into an attack like Lee did with Hood at Gettysburg and left them decimated) to return to the ANV? would they be in any condition to help Lee against an advancing Meade?

Getting to the battlefield with the most the quickest, YES, but there is another saying here in Germany which translates to -you can't dance at more than one wedding at a time-.

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:24 pm

Well, I think Alexander was writing about transferring troops from Lee to the West after Chancellorsville, instead of returning Longstreet's corps to the AoNV. After all, Lee had beaten Hooker with only two corps, so why not send Longstreet west instead of invading Pennsylvania?

At that time, Rosecrans wasn't in Chattanooga; he and Bragg were cooling their heels in Middle Tennessee. And, Lee had no trouble fending off Meade with only two corps late in 1863 (Mine Run campaign) while Longstreet was away trying to recapture Knoxville. So, Longstreet could have been sent, not to Bragg, but to Johnston (or, Heaven forbid, Pemberton) to defend Vickburg. Could the rickety rail network have gotten him there in time? Imagine how things might have gone differently without the horrendous loss of veteran troops at Gettysburg and the surrender of Vickburg. I love these "what if's", and have always thought Longstreet was right.

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:30 pm

Captain_Orso wrote:..which may have pushed Rosecrans back out of Chattanooga but not likely out of Tennessee, with the Union falling back on their supply line and much more defensible positions, such as the Tennessee River itself.

With Meade taking command and thus having time to actually get into command of the AoP, how long could a skeletal ANV hold against far superior odds and at which point? Would Longstreet and what ever other forces had been lent to the AoT be immediately returned to the ANV? In what condition would they be (what if Bragg put them into an attack like Lee did with Hood at Gettysburg and left them decimated) to return to the ANV? would they be in any condition to help Lee against an advancing Meade?

Getting to the battlefield with the most the quickest, YES, but there is another saying here in Germany which translates to -you can't dance at more than one wedding at a time-.


That is the risk the South takes in going for a major strategic win, east or west, in '63. Your argument applies as well to Lee's roll of the dice invading Maryland and Pennsylania. It could have been far different, and I think most would agree the risks were well worth the gains that could be had. It could have won the war for the South as it is won for them with NM gains (recognition and peace treaty), not total destruction and occupation of the North.

Longstreet's 'what-if' in the West is aimed at finally getting a major win for the South there and changing the entire complexion of the war in the West. Keep in mind, that the only thing Lincoln had to hang his hat on in terms of victories to sell to the public politically early on, were wins in the West. What Bragg almost achieved later that year--the total destruction of Rosecran's army wrong-footed in the mountains over the Tennessee River, followed up by a strong advance into Kentucky and siege of Nashville would have had a huge impact politically in erasing Lincoln's credit even there, avoiding the defeat at Gettysburg, and no fall of Vicksburg on the 4th of July of that year either: even if the siege of Nashville is not successful it would have certainly derailed Grant's Vicksburg campaign.

So what you would have in this scenario is:
--no CSA loss at Gettysburg
--total destruction of Rosecran's Army near Chattanouga after he advanced and pushed Bragg back in the Tullahoma campaign. Thomas for all his defensive talents, surrounded killed or captured as well.
--Invasion of Kentucky and threat to Cincinnati
--Nashville besieged and Grant forced to call off Vicksburg campaign to contain the confederate advances to his rear.

One can argue the odds of success on this, as with Gettysburg, but I think Longstreet was clearly correct in his appraisal of things: Hooker was totally whipped in the east and the cautious Meade was in command, another new general. A huge Confederate surge to the West, similar in substance to the German transfer of troops from their east front for all-out assaults to end the war in France in 1918, had good odds for a huge strategic victory. Even the "small solution" used later that year with Longstreet sent to the West, almost pulled off a main part of it in thrashing, but not totally destroying, the Army of the Cumberland.

No other battle in the ACW so starkly depicted an army facing total annihilation in a non-siege situation as Chickamauga.

Here's another German quote you have likely come across, from Heinz Guderian: Nicht Kleckern sondern Klotzen! translated as "Boot'em, don't spatter'em!" and essentially means "don't do things by half." ;)

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:55 pm

khbynum wrote:Well, I think Alexander was writing about transferring troops from Lee to the West after Chancellorsville, instead of returning Longstreet's corps to the AoNV. After all, Lee had beaten Hooker with only two corps, so why not send Longstreet west instead of invading Pennsylvania?

At that time, Rosecrans wasn't in Chattanooga; he and Bragg were cooling their heels in Middle Tennessee. And, Lee had no trouble fending off Meade with only two corps late in 1863 (Mine Run campaign) while Longstreet was away trying to recapture Knoxville. So, Longstreet could have been sent, not to Bragg, but to Johnston (or, Heaven forbid, Pemberton) to defend Vickburg. Could the rickety rail network have gotten him there in time? Imagine how things might have gone differently without the horrendous loss of veteran troops at Gettysburg and the surrender of Vickburg. I love these "what if's", and have always thought Longstreet was right.


Yes I think he was too, and not just about this, but about an entire shift to a southern defensive doctrine following some major wins in '63.

The sense I get from Alexander's remarks (I've not read Longstreet's exact wording on this) is that the shift to the West is purely aimed at moving to the Knoxville-Chattanouga area, which involved the shortest and simplest route straight SW from Virginia. Someone should compare the actual distances for both sides on this as it has to be close to ideal, with the US having to move some 4 or 5 times further than the South to reinforce this particular front.

To get troops from Virginia anywhere near Grant would have been self-defeating as the time involved in shunting around across the South and having to cross the Alabama River at Montgomery or Mobile would have taken far too long. Besides, attacking straight west from Knoxville-Chattanouga also has the splendid effect of freeing up a main RR link to the Mississippi anyway.

In this context the Tullahoma campaign would have been a deliberate retreat by the South to lure Rosy forward to Chattanouga where surprise counter-strokes from the south and east would have been more effective.

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 6:23 pm

Yes, you're likely right. If Longstreet had started in mid-May, then one week to Chattanooga via Knoxville, two weeks to as far into Mississippi as he could get, maybe Jackson (Bragg moved 30,000 infantry from Tupelo, Mississippi to Chattanooga in two weeks in July of 1862). By that time, Vicksburg would have been already invested and his corps added to the scratch force Johnston had assembled probably would not have been enough to raise the siege. Still, it's fun to speculate and this great game gives us the opportunity to explore those "what if's".

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