The Chattanooga Campaign Discussion
This is a copy of a discussion of The Chattanooga Campaign. The discussion took place on August 24, 1997 in WebAmerica's Civil War Chatroom. The discussion was moderated by AoT, a fine historian whose specialty is the Army of the Tennessee. It began with an opening summary (which I have on a separate portion of the website. Just click on the link below) and continued from there.
AoT's Chattanooga Campaign Summary
AoT at [Aug 24 19:52:45]: The assault to the base and up Missionary Ridge was one of the truly romantic moments of the war... It was the subject of the largest cyclorama created of all the battles of the war. NOW it is time for the Discussion to begin!!!!
Buford at [Aug 24 19:56:27]: One of the things that I find interesting about Chattanooga is that it was probably Cump Sherman's WORST performance as an army commander. He did very poorly at Tunnel Hill. Conversely, the day was carried by an army that didn't win a major battle until that day. Interesting stuff.
AoT at [Aug 24 19:59:17]: Buford one of the reasons that the battle was sort of poo pooed by Grant and Sherman after the war. Also while Sherman was maybe not at his best it was also the the defense of Cleburne that had something to do with it. Interesting they had slugged it out at Shiloh too ...first round Sherman...second round Cleburne!
Saber at [Aug 24 19:59:52]: From some of the accounts of the battle I have read I am not sure that Missionary Ridge was the impregnable defensive position that it was said to be. I have never had the privilege of seeing it first hand but I am curious about the ground in question. Is it a series of hills rather than one continuous ridge?
Buford at [Aug 24 19:59:59]: I also find it interesting that the man who was first to reach the top of the hill was an 18 year-old colonel named Arthur MacArthur.Of course, MacArthur ended up being the highest ranking general in the army by the end of his career, and we all know what his son accomplished. I am intrigued by these direct links. If memory serves me correctly, I think Arthur MacArthur was awarded the MOH for his role at Missionary Ridge.
AoT at [Aug 24 20:01:53]: Buford ...Yes got the MOH and was the first man in his regiment to reach the top but not the first Union soldier.
Buford at [Aug 24 20:02:43]: AoT, I agree that Cleburne did a superb job defending that hill, but Sherman's intelligence gathering organization failed him miserably that day. He should have known that Tunnel Hill was a separate height before he pitched in. Given the fact that Sherman was fundamentally conservative and cautious, it is somewhat surprising that he would just pitch in without a current map and with no intelligence, but that's exactly what he did at Chattanooga.
Saber at [Aug 24 20:02:55]: I am under the understanding that it is not known which regiment got to the top first.
AoT at [Aug 24 20:04:33]: A.McArthur was 18 year old adjundant of 24th Wisc. the of Sherman's brigade. First break through occurred with Willich or Hazen brigades against the Miss. 'high pressure' Brigade.
ColStoughton at [Aug 24 20:05:19]: I think that the battle at Chattanooga was a perfect example of the fighting spirit that the rank and file possessed. The best example of this of course is the assault on Missionary Ridge, where the generals had nothing to do with the success. Truly, the Federals in the West proved for once and for all, that they were now the greatest army in the area, and while it would be a long and bloody road to the end, that road would lead to Federal victory.
Saber at [Aug 24 20:06:28]: I believe that Cleburne deserves a lot of credit. He choice of defensive positions was brilliant. He used the topography of the area to his maximum benefit. The size of his front limited the number of Union troops that could be used in any attack.
Xan at [Aug 24 20:07:02]: I am curious about the whole affair with the 11th and 12th Corps. Were they really needed so desperately in the West or were they more of an embarrassment to the AoP or what? *always sticking up for 11th Corps* ;)
Buford at [Aug 24 20:07:05]: Saber, I have walked some (most) of that ground, with Jim Ogden, the historian at the park there. It is an intimidating height, but it had no military crest, meaning that it had to be defended on the top of the ridge. If you drive off the defense, there is nowhere to go. That plagued the position. Also, it was steep enough that the artillery could not be depressed enough to be an effective defense weapon.
AoT at [Aug 24 20:07:16]: Certainly the fighting spirit of the men can never be seriously challenged . One thing that is often overlooked is the VERY high casualty rates sustained by the federal regiments that assaulted Missionary ridge.
Buford at [Aug 24 20:08:14]: Xan, they were needed. Chattanooga was besieged, and the manpower was needed to break the siege.
Saber at [Aug 24 20:09:33]: Thank you Buford. Is it also true that the ridge at places is no more than 70 yard wide?
AoT at [Aug 24 20:10:14]: Xan the two corps where in fact needed whether it would ahve been better to send supplies is debatable . The 11th corps fought well make no mistake. In fact the final chapter on the Missionary ridge assault was that if Grant had waited Hooker would have turned the position before night fall...Hooker in fact did this at about 5 p.m.
ColStoughton at [Aug 24 20:10:30]: Were the 11th and 12th corps' consolidated unit, (the 21st I believe,) at Chattanooga?
Buford at [Aug 24 20:10:36]: That's true, Saber. If it had military crests, it would have been the greatest defensive position of the war. Without them, it was largely untenable.
Buford at [Aug 24 20:11:28]: After Chattanooga, Stoughton. That's when they became the 20th Corps.
AoT at [Aug 24 20:12:21]: Saber is right...a continuous defensive line was impossible but a series of strong points would have made it impregnable Also the artillery could not fire straight ahead BUT their flanking fire was very destructive.
ColStoughton at [Aug 24 20:12:28]: Now Grant's idea in the assault was to only drive the rifle pits away, and demonstrate in front of the heights and await Hooker's assault, right? That's what I've got in my head so far. (*just trying to learn something*)
Xan at [Aug 24 20:12:49]: How big a structure IS Missionary Ridge? If it is 70 yards at the narrowest, what is it at the widest, and how high from the base? *approximations allowed! ;)*
Buford at [Aug 24 20:13:40]: That's correct, Stoughton.
ColStoughton at [Aug 24 20:13:44]: Thanks Burford, but were they present as their old corps, or what eastern units were present? BTW, LOVED your manuscript. :-)
Charlie at [Aug 24 20:14:28]: Thank you Saber for that valuable information.
Buford at [Aug 24 20:14:52]: Glad you enjoyed it, Stoughton. It's a fun piece. They were present as two separate corps. One was commanded by that coward Slocum (12th Corps) and the other by Howard (11th Corps).
AoT at [Aug 24 20:15:18]: Properly prepared the defensive postion of Missionary ridge was far superior to Marye's heights. Also keep in mind that at many locations the Union assault was defeated... the break through spread. Johnson's division was repulsed and Baird division and was also stopped at the bottom of the ridge.
Saber at [Aug 24 20:16:03]: AoT in a earlier post you had mentioned a meeting between Davis and Bragg. That meeting was attended by Buckner, Hill, Longstreet and Cheatham. Bragg really was a lame duck commander.
AoT at [Aug 24 20:16:47]: Actually Slocum was left in Middle Tenn... there where three divisions that served both divisions of the 11th corps and Geary's division of the 12th corps.
Buford at [Aug 24 20:17:47]: That's right, AoT. I forgot about that. Thanks for reminding me. Poor George Greene....what a horrific wound he suffered at Wauhatchie.
ColStoughton at [Aug 24 20:17:52]: Okay, so Grant's plans were to feint the main front lines, and avoid needless casualties while Hooker took the position from the flank. A good strategy, and time-tested. But his men made the assault without being ordered to, and suffered the extreme casualties that Grant had been trying to avoid. So while though it was a break-down in the command structure, the frontal assault was successful, but not necessary, and had actually tried to be avoided by Grant. So, if history had been different, and the assault had failed, this point would have surely been brought up by Grant supporters. Now I'm beginning to see why Grant never spoke of this battle much, because he could not with a clear conscience take credit for the victory.
AoT at [Aug 24 20:19:11]: Saber...Yes the most incredible personnel dept meeting I ever heard of... GET all the subordinates in one room make them tell why their boss should be fired with the boss there and then sustain the boss and tell them all to get along!!! This was Davis at the worst IMHO.
Buford at [Aug 24 20:19:30]: He did not order the attack, Stoughton, which means that h would have found a way to pass off the blame if it had failed. He basically told Thomas that his head would roll if it did fail. Of course, the benefit of command is that you get to claim credit for the good stuff, even if you had little to do with it.
Saber at [Aug 24 20:20:12]: Col, perhaps Grant also saw what would happen in that frontal assault failed.
Saber at [Aug 24 20:22:13]: Funny thing is AoT none of them wanted the command. The next day Davis offered it to Longstreet but he turned it down and suggested Johnston. That must have endeared him to Davis.
AoT at [Aug 24 20:22:29]: Col a little more complicated than that... Grant also had not really planned on Hooker to be where he was...Hooker was acting a little on his own and was really only in the fight because Thomas had keep pressing Grant to use him... Grant was in a tad of a personality clash with Thomas and Hooker.
ColStoughton at [Aug 24 20:23:11]: Right, like Burnside did with the AoP. He formed the "Grand Divisions" as a "buffer" between him and the corps of the army. Very little would commanders take credit for losses, but often they would have no choice, and even though they tried to blame anyone else, the press and the history books would lable them forever. (e.g. Berdan)
Charlie at [Aug 24 20:23:17]: Wasn't Chattanooga a railroad depot?
Xan at [Aug 24 20:24:33]: FAR superior to Marye's Heights, AoT?? Oh my! What would it have taken to defend (and hold) it, better trenches, stone walls, cutouts to allow artillery fire downhill?
AoT at [Aug 24 20:24:39]: Saber COULD NOT dis agree more! LONGSTREET wanted it badly I have never read where it was offered to Pete...in fact I believe that Pete got a tongue lashing for his not very veiled grab at command... Believe me LONGSTREET wanted it and came West hoping to get it.
ColStoughton at [Aug 24 20:25:09]: AoT, did Grant know of Hooker's actions? Or was he completely blind as to where Hooker was?
Buford at [Aug 24 20:25:38]: Xan, the major weakness of that position is that it had no military crest. IMHO, the critical factor was the lack of military crest....
Saber at [Aug 24 20:26:26]: By occupying Chattanooga Charlie the Union would go a long way to controlling Eastern Tenn. That was a pet project of Lincolns. It also was the gateway to the heart of the Confederacy. A very important position.
Charlie at [Aug 24 20:26:45]: About how many confederate soldiers were in Chattanooga at the time of the siege? and once the siege started did they have reinforcements try to attack form behind the enemy?
AoT at [Aug 24 20:28:05]: Xan what it would have taken was a couple of week's of engineering and artillery placement. They spent all of 18 hours getting in place and the assault almost failed... believe me folks IMHO as screwy as the AoT command structure was the assault almost failed. Two brigades in reserve to close holes that where punched in the line would have resulted in a repulse of the Federals.
Charlie at [Aug 24 20:28:21]: Didn't that mean if the Union had control of Chattanooga that meant they had control of every railroad in the south.
Xan at [Aug 24 20:30:30]: AoT, to back off the battle itself for a second, wasn't Eastern Tenn rather lukewarm in its Confederate sentiment? I know they voted against secession before the war.
AoT at [Aug 24 20:31:22]: Col, Grant knew that Hooker was off on the right and he had been ordered to advance if he could but Grant does not appear to have expected much. Charlie in rough numbers Bragg probably had 38 to 40 thousand he had sent Longstreet off with some 12000 and another 4000 in Johnson's division.
Saber at [Aug 24 20:31:41]: AoT I have accounts that have Davis asking Longstreet the day following the meeting if he would take command of the AoT. He refused believing the whole game was shot.
ColStoughton at [Aug 24 20:32:25]: Not every railroad Charlie. But for an example, Longstreet's transfer of his two divisions West. They had to go a very round-about way, and this caused an extra 2 weeks, probably more, to be added onto their travel time. This was all due to the capture of Chattanooga.
Charlie at [Aug 24 20:32:27]: What kind of cannons did the confederates have during the Siege
AoT at [Aug 24 20:32:42]: Xan luke warm...hell they were down right Federal through and through! Probably stronger Union sentiment than many areas of Southern Indiana and Illinois.
Charlie at [Aug 24 20:34:24]: Aot if the Union surrounded the city did 6the confederates have reinforcements come in behind the Union?
AoT at [Aug 24 20:34:36]: Saber I would very much like to see those accounts are they first hand? Clearly Longstreet makes no reference to such an offer in his book nor does Davis in any of his writings.
Xan at [Aug 24 20:36:12]: That's what I was trying to find out, AoT. Parts of quite a few states were anti-secession before the war but 'rallied 'round the flag' once the fighting started.
ColStoughton at [Aug 24 20:36:34]: AoT, do you have any idea why Grant didn't expect much? Granted, Hooker had been totally wiped out at Chancellorsville, and his reputation was very lack-luster, but he had superbly led troops on division and corps level before, that's why he was promoted. Or was the reason more about the ground, or the seemingly impregnability of Missionary Ridge and the surrounding positions? BTW, Where was Lookout Mountain in all of this, (who attacked it, what was the success's effect.)
AoT at [Aug 24 20:36:37]: Col another huge factor is that the North had for all practical purposes taken over the rail system and placed it under military authority the CS never did this... When the AoT wanted a Train they had to contract for it with the railroad!
AoT at [Aug 24 20:38:50]: Col I discuss lookout below Hooker was an Easterner and well I think that Grant and others did not feel that they where in the same league...this is just a guess on my part...Sherman would go on to pass Hooker over in the Atlanta campaign.
Saber at [Aug 24 20:38:51]: I will be more than glad to provide you with those accounts AoT. I find this very interesting. I agree with you that Longstreet wanted his own command very badly. I can also see how he would not accept this one in the condition it was in.
Buford at [Aug 24 20:39:50]: Too, there was the ego thing, too, Stoughton. It is a major step down from command of the nation's largest army to corps command. I think Hooker's rather large ego got in the way.
ColStoughton at [Aug 24 20:40:27]: . Yes AoT, I've heard much about the hardships in the transfer of troops. Longstreet and his men had to ride about 7-10 different rail lines to get to the West. This is another good example of how the Northern Government was better suited for this war due to it's more united philosiphy.
AoT at [Aug 24 20:41:49]: Charlie not sure I understand question...what the Aot had going for it was a HUGE LOGISTIC AND SUPPLY black hole north of Chattanooga no way any force could sustain itself up and over Waldren's Ridge... it was a good 50 miles to any real water or forage... The AoC was stuck they could not really retreat.
Xan at [Aug 24 20:42:46]: Didn't the 11th and 12th Corps go west by railroad too? I would think they would have even more trouble than Longstreet--rude ticket agents, etc...;)
MAP at [Aug 24 20:42:57]: Speaking of Longstreet, why did Bragg send him off to Knoxville with his 2 divisions instead of keeping him with the AoT for the impending battle? (ever the ANV supporter)
ColStoughton at [Aug 24 20:44:05]: Yes, Hooker had an enormous ego, that's a fact. But he was also a very good General on Division and Corps level, and that's a fact. But the two styles, Western and Eastern, were very different, based on the areas. The East was fields interrupted by forests, and the West was forest interrupted by fields. Now of course there are exceptions to this rule, (Wilderness, Franklin, etc.) But command is command, and I still give Joe Hooker alot of credit for being a good General.
Buford at [Aug 24 20:45:24]: I don't disagree with a word of what you have said, Stoughton. My point is that Hooker evidently still believed he was on the same command level with Grant and Sherman, when he wasn't. I think that got in the way of command relationships at Chattanooga.
Saber at [Aug 24 20:45:40]: I think the movement of the Union forces from Va. to Tenn. was proof of Union cooperation among their railroads. I believe they had to change trains four times but at no time did any of the railroads give less than top priority to this move. Stanton put it all together and deserves a lot of credit for it. He had called some heads of the railroads that were to be used to Washington before Lincoln gave him the final okay for the transfer.
AoT at [Aug 24 20:46:55]: Xan yes they did go west by rail they were rude and difficult the Union administration got them there in less than aweek... MAP EXCELLENT question...Bragg wanted to be rid of Longstreet...Longstreet had botched the whole cracker line thing and Bragg was trying to develop some initiative and Bragg also always thought Sherman was really bound for Knoxville and not Chattanooga..
Xan at [Aug 24 20:48:26]: Buford, thank you for bringing up a good point. By the book, wouldn't Hooker have been on the same level with Sherman? Sherman's advantage of course being that he was well known to Grant personally.
ColStoughton at [Aug 24 20:48:50]: That is a very valid point Buford, (thanx for "dumbing" it down a bit.) :-)
Buford at [Aug 24 20:49:15]: Actually, he wasn't, Xan. Sherman was an army commander. Hooker was a corps commander. Cump ranked Hooker.
AoT at [Aug 24 20:49:55]: Col I think that it is clear that Grant did not like Hooker on a personal level and also that he could not be trusted. Grant felt that Hookers defenses at Brown's ferry were poorly laid...Grant did not like Hooker's failure of attention to detail.
Xan at [Aug 24 20:50:49]: Ah, thanks Buford. Sorry. Xan
AoT at [Aug 24 20:51:25]: Yes Sherman was C.O. of the Army of the Tenn.
TreeFrog at [Aug 24 20:51:48]: I'm sorry. I'm not a great student of the Western Theater. What is this Cracker Line, I hear so much about?
Buford at [Aug 24 20:52:53]: It also means that Thomas ranked Hooker, too, Xan. Of course, Grant ranked all of them, as theater commander. It is possible that one or more of the Federal corps commanders might have ranked him, too. I sust that Phil Sheridan might have ranked Hooker, for instance.
AoT at [Aug 24 20:53:20]: Frog buddy the cracker line is the supply line that Grant was able to open up between Chattanooga and Bridgeport Ala. the rail head from Nashville...combination rail wagon and river boat line.
AoT at [Aug 24 20:56:03]: Technically, Hooker was under Thomas' command, he had been assigned to the AoC as such I think Hooker was Thomas' senior Corps C ommander his other two were Granger and John Palmer.... Sherman would also get cross ways with Palmer in the Atlanta campaign.
ColStoughton at [Aug 24 20:56:34]: I think that even though Hooker had a problem with his ego, and with the way he handled his troops, (in the opinion of other generals that is,) he was still a man who could get things done. He reminds me of A.P. Hill in the ANV. Anyone else subscribe to this opinion?
AoT at [Aug 24 20:57:28]: Also Interesting note...Palmer would become Gov. of Ill. and run for President on the Gold Demo ticket in 1892 I think...his running mate would be Simon Buckner!
Buford at [Aug 24 20:57:55]: Hooker was, IMHO, probably the best of the Union's subordinate commanders after perhaps Reynolds, but he did not shine in independent command. I will say this, though...as an organizer and administrator, he was excellent.
Xan at [Aug 24 20:58:48]: I feel a severe need for a chart with everybody's command level spelled out....and I wonder if such a chart wouldn't have done a great deal of good at the time, too. For both sides.
Buford at [Aug 24 21:00:06]: Xan, the best parallel I can draw for you is that at Chattanooga, Hooker was much like Burnside was at Antietam. He thought he commanded more than he really did. In fact, he was something of a supernumerary.
ColStoughton at [Aug 24 21:04:07]: Boy, ask a little question about Hooker's attack, and start a whole debate! :-) Anyhow, my point is that Hooker could have taken the position without as many casualties as the frontal assault.
AoT at [Aug 24 21:05:05]: Also although not discussed below following the rout from Missionary ridge in the ensuing pursuit...Hooker got on of his divisions shot to hell by Cleburne at Ring gold Gap... thus the AoT supply train was saved and Hooker's reputation was tainted somewhat.
Saber at [Aug 24 21:05:14]: AoT, Smiths plan to open the Cracker Line was brilliant. Had that plan been hatched while Rosecrans was in command? Grant said something to the effect after meeting with Rosecrans, that Rosecrans had good plans but could not understand why he did not implement them.
Xan at [Aug 24 21:05:28]: Col. S., thank you too...because without these "little questions" to focus on I would be totally lost on this! ;)
AoT at [Aug 24 21:06:41]: Col no question Hooker's advance could have saved many casualties Grant was wrong in ordering the attack it was not needed.
ColStoughton at [Aug 24 21:07:37]: I've read a bit about the battle at Ring gold Gap, and I have to say that Cleburne really made himself a masterpiece there. The position that Cleburne held could not have been taken by the entire army after the fighting that they had done at Chattanooga.
MAP at [Aug 24 21:08:27]: Hi, Xan and everyone else. I'm learning so much tonight! AoT, could you give some background on what occurred for the Cracker Line to actually be opened?
Buford at [Aug 24 21:08:36]: One of our local regiments, the 76th Ohio, got shredded at Ringgold.
ColStoughton at [Aug 24 21:09:16]: But another of my points was that Grant only ordered a demonstration in front of the heights, the advance went on without anything more than his consent. He did not order it, but he permitted it. As if he could have even stopped it if he wanted to! :-)
AoT at [Aug 24 21:09:23]: Yes Smith's plans had been hatched and was being developed before Rosecrans dumped it was a brilliant amphibious operation and one which Rosecrans was scouting the day he was canned. Smith was another AoP officer sent west to redeem himself had got all cross wise in AoP politics.
AoT at [Aug 24 21:14:59]: Map it was in essence a pincer movement. First the AoC needed to make a lodgment south. of the Tenn river at Browns Ferry... this was done the night and dawn of Ocober 28 with Hazen's brigade in pontoons... Then Hooker had to advance to clear the road to Kelly's ford ... then two river steamers ran supplies from Bridgeport to Kelly's ford wagons took supplies from Kelly's to Chattanooga...across the road from Kelly's to Brown's Ferry across mocassin bend and into Chattanooga.
Saber at [Aug 24 21:15:31]: Col. the order to stop it was issued and I believe tow regiments stopped but the rest just kept going.
AoT at [Aug 24 21:16:32]: In essence it replaced the 60 mile trip by wagon over Waldren's Ridge with a 8 mile wagon trip from Kelley's to Chattanooga.
TreeFrog at [Aug 24 21:18:40]: I'm not a big fan of John Clem, a.k.a. Johnny Shiloh, does anyone know the accuracy of his accusations of participating in this battle. I believe he concocted a story of capturing a Confederate Captain. From what I've read he couldn't have been and wasn't there.
Saber at [Aug 24 21:19:32]: I, like Grant, like Smith's idea of floating troops down the river right under the Confederates noses. Still the Reb picketts must have been asleep. With a man shouting for his life someone should have heard it.
ColStoughton at [Aug 24 21:20:02]: So Grant attempted to stop the assault, and go along with his initial plan. I had always credited Grant and Sherman, (and a few others) with the ability to exploit their opportunities. And this opinion was based on this particular attack, and perhaps I may need to change my opinions on them.
AoT at [Aug 24 21:20:40]: Here is why this one was critical IMHO.... The strategic initiative was at stake... If Bragg had grab the initiative and run with the ball the war in the west clearly could have been transfered to Middle Tenn. And maybe even Ky. Instead Grant got to Chattanogga and built the army back up took the initiative back. The South lost its last real possibility to dictate where and how the war was to be fought.
Xan at [Aug 24 21:22:37]: AoT, this afternoon you were talking about Forrest being replaced as overall Cavalry commander. What DID he wind up doing during all this if he wouldn't take orders from Wheeler?
ks at [Aug 24 21:23:55]: Did I miss something here, Saber? ---> "With a man shouting for his life someone should have heard it. " What are you referring to?
Saber at [Aug 24 21:25:18]: KS, the orders where that if anyone should fall out of the boats they would not stop for them. Well one man did and they didn't stop.
AoT at [Aug 24 21:25:18]: AS far as the assault goes Grant had no input once he ordered the demonstration... it seems that Granger made some efforts to call some units back once they started up . The problem was that to stay at the foot of ridge was murder... combine this with soldiers fleeing from you ( many under orders) the natural thing to do was to follow... Also many regimental commanders said they understood from the beginning they were to take the crest. It was mass confusion!
MAP at [Aug 24 21:25:22]: Say, Aot,... speaking of the cavalry, where were they in all of this?
AoT at [Aug 24 21:27:52]: Xan Forrest was not replaced as overall commander... Wheeler was named overall cavalry commander...Forrest was ordered to turn his brigade over to Wheeler and Forrest was sent to No. Miss. ...Forrest was nowhere near Chattanooga after the first week of October.
AoT at [Aug 24 21:29:28]: No US cavalry...MAP because they had no food for the horses they where sent out of Chattanooga or they starved to death.... this absence of horses made Grant's pursuit very ineffective.
Xan at [Aug 24 21:29:48]: Okay, AoT I am out of sequence then. Sorry.
Saber at [Aug 24 21:31:25]: AoT, you are right about that. It was safer for them to charge up the ridge than stay where they were. Also these men had been living with the humiliation of Chickamauga and saw their chance for redemption. Hard to stop men with that on their minds.
ColStoughton at [Aug 24 21:32:24]: AoT, I believe that this battle would be down in every histroy book if the assault had failed. The Generals would have been blamed, and history would have been very different. I believe that history has not given this battle enough credit at all, because it was only by the grace of god that the army was not destroyed on that day. (To quote The KIller Angels.) :-)
MAP at [Aug 24 21:32:51]: Perhaps it's because I'm kind of chilly this evening, but the boys on both sides had a lot of energy to do what they did,...what was the weather like for the Lookout Mountain battle?
AoT at [Aug 24 21:34:04]: The plan to have those defenders at the bottom retreat before an assault was very questionable...I guess it was somebody's attempt at an OLD INJUN trick only works if you let everyone in on it and the retreat does not encourage the assaulting forces too much!
AoT at [Aug 24 21:35:04]: It was very cold for that time of year and also very wet... probably near 32 at night.
AoT at [Aug 24 21:36:24]: Ok folks my bro is due in tonite so I got to head for the barn...Frank can not work the door to let them in....Hope it was worth the effort folks.
Saber at [Aug 24 21:37:05]: I know the weather was cold Map but I do not know what the temperature was. The men who charged up that ridge were carrying a nine pound rifle about eighty rounds of ammo and because of the weather a heavy winter overcoat.
Saber at [Aug 24 21:38:41]: Thank you very much for your effort AoT. We all you a debt of thanks. I know I learned much tonight.
Xan at [Aug 24 21:39:01]: Good grief, AoT, and you are always bragging on ol' Frank and he can't even open doors? ;) Thank you VERY MUCH for a terrific discussion.
AoT at [Aug 24 21:40:59]: You are most welcome Saber it is nice of you to say... thanks Col.
MAP at [Aug 24 21:41:48]: Weather seems to affect the soldiers in a lot of battles. I was just curious. Thanks for a most enjoyable evening, AoT!! You truly gave of your talents and knowledge today. I've never seen anyone devote as much time to preparing us for a discussion as you did! It is all greatly appreciated! Enjoy your brother's visit,... and pleasant dreams! (-:
AoT at [Aug 24 21:45:19]: I believe that Chattanooga more than any other Battle shows why the North won the war. First Lincoln was a far more astute politician and judge of people than Davis and he demonstrated it here. Davis retains Bragg and destroys the entire command structure of the Army all while the CS forces should be racing to Nashville and beyond. Lincoln knows he has one problem solver...Grant but he does not jump the gun and he waited for the Ohio election returns...then gives the problem to Grant and lets him solve it.
Saber at [Aug 24 21:46:50]: One funny story within that charge up Missionary Ridge. Seems Sheridan was offered a flask when he was at the bottom of the ridge. He saw some Confederate officers looking down at him so he did the gentlemanly thing a raised the flask to them as a toast. A Confederate artillery shell landed close to Sheridan and covered him with dirt. He brushed himself off and yelled to the Reb officers he would take those damn guns. When he reached the top of the ridge he was on foot, his horse had been shot from under him, he got to the cannon, mounted one and began to celebrate. Col Charles G. Harker, a brigade command under Sheridan, followed in his chiefs footsteps and leapt upon a cannon. His ensuing scream was not from the heart but from the seat of his pants. The hot metal of the gun almost took his hide away.
ColStoughton at [Aug 24 21:47:08]: The battle of Chattanooga, and the entire campaign was, in my opinion, the perfect example of how the fighting spirit of the foot soldiers is always strong, no matter what the adversity. The things that the men did in the Federal army were quite extrodinary, and the men should be commanded. However, the generals should not. They had no control over the field, and the army could have been put into the greatest disaster the war would see. And truely, it was God's hands that guided those men up the hills. For if He had not been with them, they would have been surely destroyed.
AoT at [Aug 24 21:48:01]: Finally...Grant here shows his one real key to victory...ALWAYS grab the initiative and never let it go. Make the other guy react to you! Bragg never understood this fundamental fact. For one whole month the initiative laid at Bragg's feet...everyone wearing gray understood this...everyone but one...Jeff Davis!
Xan at [Aug 24 21:48:31]: I bow in gratitude to you, KS, Saber, Buford, MAP, Col. S, all other participants, and most of all to AoT for increasing my miniscule knowledge several thousand percent.
AoT at [Aug 24 21:50:02]: Good bye and good night!
ColStoughton at [Aug 24 21:51:08]: Yes, I came in here with very little knowledge, and now I feel that with a little time, I may be able to give a good debate over this. :-) Which is always my goal in these things! :-)
shotgun at [Aug 24 21:52:06]: And a good night to you AoT. Thank you very very much for a most informative evening. Hope you can do it again sometime. This was a dandy!!
ks at [Aug 24 21:52:06]: Nice job AoT. Many thanks.
Anna at [Aug 24 21:52:15]: I enjoyed this evening's discussion - sure learned alot! It was a pleasure "meeting" you. Thank you
Saber at [Aug 24 21:55:37]: Col. I would not give up on Grant's strategy. He put his faith in Sherman. Perhaps there was some prejudice in that Sherman's troops were western and Hooker's were eastern. The AoC had suffered a major defeat. Sherman had a very bad day which Cleburne was responsible for. The plan was good and probably would have worked had not Hooker gotten held up for four hours by the burning of the bridge across Chickamauga Creek.
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