It may be better that he is a ranger and gives a movement bonus in rough terrain.
lycortas wrote:Everyone hates Van Dorn. hmm. Lee took bazillions of casualties in his first offensive battle as well, but i do not see us rating him 6-1-0.
I think Van Dorn was not brilliant, but was fairly smart and understood the idea of war better than most officers.
Pea Ridge was lost partially by Van Dorn overestimating what his troops could do but that is hardly something he was unique in attempting.
McCulloch's death caused his wing to disintegrate without even trying to fight which cannot be blamed on Van Dorn. The attack was audacious and if it had succeded, which it may have if McCulloch had not died, we would all be calling him a genius.
His cavalry raids were every bit as good as Forrest and almost as good as Morgan's.
Van Dorn 5-3-2
Van Dorn2 4-2-1
What I will say about Van Dorn is that he was a very active commander.
You may not know it but Van Dorn took command of the Army of the West from a bed in an ambulance wagon, and from there is where he fought the battle.
Now that is an active commander! He should be at the very least a 5 if not a 6.
But that is where the good part ends.
He was not a planer. He did most everything on impulse. To him he had begun a campaign to take St. Louis.
He had no plan for Pea Ridge. The battle was supposed to be in Bentonville. McCulloch’s scouts said that would block the two wings of the Union forces and keep them from joining up. So that turned out to be his plan, that and to leave his supplies to catch up later. They stared the march an hour after he arrived. Then came the Arkansas Ice Storm. But that didn’t stop him.
His impulsiveness is what cost the Confederates the victory at Pea Ridge. It was fought in cold, sleet, and ice. The troops and animals were not fed for the last 2 and a half days before the battle and had little ammunition because Van Dorn thought the supply wagons would slow him down.
The supply wagons were less than 5 miles from where he was, they just didn’t know where to find him and he didn’t bother to tell them or stay in contact.
The conditions on the three and a half day march devastated the men and yet at the end they made a night forced march to be in position by daylight.
This surprised the Union who were facing the wrong direction, but then he gave them an hour and a half before he attacked, which allowed them to shift 180° and through up new breastworks.
His men were dead on their feet but obeyed the order to attack. They pretty much fought until their ammo was gone, and then the army melted away. They went in search of food and ammunition. Many never returned. Cohesion was lost when McCulloch died and the leadership of his division were all killed or wounded. Price’s division never had much cohesion to start with and were the reason for the delay.
So! Yes the 6-1-0 was pretty right from the start.