Battle of Shiloh was a decisive Confederate victory.

Desert Kid

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Location
Arizona
Okay, so the first questions are whether any troops get transferred from the East as a result of Shiloh, and whether Halleck still goes after Corinth, and whether the Union reopens recruitment as a result of Shiloh, and whether John Pope is available to come east.

Care to pick an answer for those?

I'll take a third option!

Please answer all three! :bounce:
 

Saphroneth

Captain
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
I'll take a third option!

Please answer all three! :bounce:
Those were four yes or no questions. There's sixteen possibilities there.

I'll do my best to do a treatment, though, as some of them kind of collapse down the options.

For starters:

If the Union reopens recruitment as a result of Shiloh, then the lack of a troop crisis in the East means Richmond is taken in July 1862 (if not sooner).

Otherwise, if troops are transferred west, there isn't a big enough Department of Virginia for it to be considered a viable means to take the offensive. Thus either:
1) If troops are held back from McClellan to bulk out the forces that would become the Dept. of Virginia, but McClellan is still promised McDowell's corps, then the Seven Days either goes roughly as historical or sees the destruction of McClellan's army.
2) If troops are held back from McClellan but he's not promised McDowell's corps, then McClellan shifts left to the James River and works his way up it with gunboat support. Richmond may fall in 1862.
3) If troops are not held back from McClellan, then after a historical Seven Days Washington is safe but there's no scope to make Pope (or alt-Pope) the main offensive commander. Stalemate on the James until August-September, then the new troops (with recruitment starting in July) allow McClellan to resume the offensive and take Richmond or Petersburg.

If no troops are transferred west and there's no opening of recruitment, but Halleck does not go after Corinth, then he doesn't come east to become GiC and thus does not cancel the Peninsular campaign. Burnside goes up to join McClellan and the offensive can resume once Burnside is there, so McClellan resumes the offensive in a battle of posts.

Otherwise, if everything goes as per except Pope doesn't go east, I might need more thought on that one.
 

Saphroneth

Captain
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
There is something else that's worth considering, though, which is to look at Spotsylvania. What I'm going to do here is count the starting forces for the Overland campaign, minus Wilderness casualties, plus Federal reinforcements that arrived before the end of the battle itself.

This will give us the scale at which you would have to be better than Grant to destroy the enemy army.

In regulation PFD:

Starting forces of AotP: 121,964 (present for duty equipped plus those on special, extra, or daily duty - the same strength measure I am using for the Confederates)
9th Corps 20,780 PFD
Reinforcements: 33,255
Wilderness Casualties: (17,666)
Total PFD who were at Spotsylvania at some point 158,333

Starting forces of AoNV: 66,140
Wilderness Casualties: (11,033)
Total PFD who were at Spotsylvania at some point 55,107

So just shy of 3:1 odds.

Since Grant did not destroy the enemy in a single battle at this odds ratio, we could only conclude that a commander being unable to destroy an enemy in a single battle makes them "worse than Grant" if they had 3:1 odds or better. (This isn't the only metric we can use, we can also use Lanchester Square and CEV calculations or looking more closely at the circumstances of the battle, but based on the evidence there is basically no commander of the Civil War we can label as "worse than Grant" because they failed to destroy an army.)
 

CanadianCanuck

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
So, I don't think the battle as portrayed, is really feasible. For starters, unless you're changing the weather completely, the Confederate army would be bogged down in wet and soggy conditions by the rain which historically held up the armies march on the 4th which delayed things for 48 hours. That means that, rather than a swift and well coordinated assault, you probably end up with a literal slogging match through over muddy ground in driving rain. At best Johnston must delay the attack to the 5th of April.

Secondly, while attacking with Johnston's original plan would probably have been far more successful in driving the Union forces back like Johnston planned, the idea that they could be driven to destruction against Snake or Owl creeks is just unsustainable. This is largely because, like OTL, to keep extending his line into the attack to dig at the Union flanks, Breckinridge's men would need to be deployed. Johnston just didn't have enough men to spare to keep them in reserve. The problem is also that the Confederates will increasingly be driving the Union into better defensive positions as the attack goes on, whether at Shiloh Branch, Tillman Creek and Dill Branch, or the final OTL defensive position at the Hamburg-Savannah road and Pittsburgh Landing.

Thirdly, Nelson's division would be well in time to arrive to shore up the Union defenses by the 5th. That means that fresh reinforcements could well be fed into the Union line in time to spoil any renewed assault the morning of the 6th.

Finally, there's no way Grant can be killed by Forrest in this scenario. That was not a battlefield favorable to cavalry.

That being said, while I do very much disagree with the narrative as described...it's actually set up a scenario which would prompt a Confederate victory for all intents and purposes. The Army of the Tennessee would lost probably double, if not triple, the manpower captured, killed and wounded. Sherman's command would arguably fall apart, Wallace's laborious arrival of OTL might, instead of finding the line instead blunder into the Confederate flank. The troops at the Hornets Nest would surrender as OTL, but probably with a lot more of their division. By the time more of Buell's men can form into line they are probably simply supporting Grant's withdrawal back across the river after having held their position against a harsh but ultimately futile, Confederate attack on the 6th.

However, that's still a huge blow. I'm willing to bed that the Confederate casualties are moderately higher, but not by much (maybe just shy of 12,000). Union casualties though will undoubtedly be higher, probably in terms of men captured or killed if Sherman's death causes his division to route. Probably putting the Union casualties at closer to 2,000 killed, 9,000 wounded and the better part of 4,000 captured (many of these wounded or surrendered), so that's still upwards of 17-18,000 casualties inflicted on the Union forces and it has probably compelled their withdrawal from the field.

With Sherman dead, Grant is also probably ultimately shunted aside by Halleck. This worrying turn of events though, would probably not allow Johnston to march north (he now has wounded and sick and his army is going to be out of rations, the rations that they ate pre-6th would have helped sustain an attack on the 6th) but it does probably cause Buell/Halleck to pause and reorganize. This is a godsend for the Confederates who would have time to breathe and possibly maneuver to the north.

My bet is Buell/Halleck would fall back behind Duck River, while Johnston, after his army has a breather moves to pursue after being joined by the Army of the West. How long that stalemate lasts is an open question, and is probably dependent on if Johnston can spoof Buell and Halleck. That being said, he's unlikely to be willing to engage the Union army which has probably seen some reinforcements from the East, will still be close to double his own size, and one which controls the riverine means of communication. Sending such a big shock all the way back to Washington, and buoying Confederate spirits in the West, will be a huge boon either way. Might even be more successful in holding more of Tennessee and pursuing a much more aggressive campaign in Kentucky.
 

C.J.

Private
Joined
Oct 3, 2020
So, I don't think the battle as portrayed, is really feasible. For starters, unless you're changing the weather completely, the Confederate army would be bogged down in wet and soggy conditions by the rain which historically held up the armies march on the 4th which delayed things for 48 hours. That means that, rather than a swift and well coordinated assault, you probably end up with a literal slogging match through over muddy ground in driving rain. At best Johnston must delay the attack to the 5th of April.

Secondly, while attacking with Johnston's original plan would probably have been far more successful in driving the Union forces back like Johnston planned, the idea that they could be driven to destruction against Snake or Owl creeks is just unsustainable. This is largely because, like OTL, to keep extending his line into the attack to dig at the Union flanks, Breckinridge's men would need to be deployed. Johnston just didn't have enough men to spare to keep them in reserve. The problem is also that the Confederates will increasingly be driving the Union into better defensive positions as the attack goes on, whether at Shiloh Branch, Tillman Creek and Dill Branch, or the final OTL defensive position at the Hamburg-Savannah road and Pittsburgh Landing.

Thirdly, Nelson's division would be well in time to arrive to shore up the Union defenses by the 5th. That means that fresh reinforcements could well be fed into the Union line in time to spoil any renewed assault the morning of the 6th.

Finally, there's no way Grant can be killed by Forrest in this scenario. That was not a battlefield favorable to cavalry.

That being said, while I do very much disagree with the narrative as described...it's actually set up a scenario which would prompt a Confederate victory for all intents and purposes. The Army of the Tennessee would lost probably double, if not triple, the manpower captured, killed and wounded. Sherman's command would arguably fall apart, Wallace's laborious arrival of OTL might, instead of finding the line instead blunder into the Confederate flank. The troops at the Hornets Nest would surrender as OTL, but probably with a lot more of their division. By the time more of Buell's men can form into line they are probably simply supporting Grant's withdrawal back across the river after having held their position against a harsh but ultimately futile, Confederate attack on the 6th.

However, that's still a huge blow. I'm willing to bed that the Confederate casualties are moderately higher, but not by much (maybe just shy of 12,000). Union casualties though will undoubtedly be higher, probably in terms of men captured or killed if Sherman's death causes his division to route. Probably putting the Union casualties at closer to 2,000 killed, 9,000 wounded and the better part of 4,000 captured (many of these wounded or surrendered), so that's still upwards of 17-18,000 casualties inflicted on the Union forces and it has probably compelled their withdrawal from the field.

With Sherman dead, Grant is also probably ultimately shunted aside by Halleck. This worrying turn of events though, would probably not allow Johnston to march north (he now has wounded and sick and his army is going to be out of rations, the rations that they ate pre-6th would have helped sustain an attack on the 6th) but it does probably cause Buell/Halleck to pause and reorganize. This is a godsend for the Confederates who would have time to breathe and possibly maneuver to the north.

My bet is Buell/Halleck would fall back behind Duck River, while Johnston, after his army has a breather moves to pursue after being joined by the Army of the West. How long that stalemate lasts is an open question, and is probably dependent on if Johnston can spoof Buell and Halleck. That being said, he's unlikely to be willing to engage the Union army which has probably seen some reinforcements from the East, will still be close to double his own size, and one which controls the riverine means of communication. Sending such a big shock all the way back to Washington, and buoying Confederate spirits in the West, will be a huge boon either way. Might even be more successful in holding more of Tennessee and pursuing a much more aggressive campaign in Kentucky.
Well one thank you, I was hoping someone would criticize my TL here. But I don't think you read it right. The battle happens on April 4 not the 5th it happens on in OTL, whithout BTG ****ing up the movement orders the attack begins before the rains start, also owl and Snake Creeks became impassable thanks to those same rains which only started at 4:00pm.
Also I agree on the calvery stuff, reading more into it i would replace that whith the canon ball that almost got him in OTL.
 

C.J.

Private
Joined
Oct 3, 2020
Hold on, we need to rewind a bit here. There are all sorts of possible knock-ons in 1862 before we need to start looking at 1863 or 1864.

Firstly, does the Union high command feel it needs more troops or not? Given when recruiting closed they might just reopen it again almost straight off.

Secondly, so long as troops aren't moved from the east to the west then there's nothing in principle that would change the course of the Peninsula campaign until July.

Thirdly, if Halleck doesn't take Corinth (and he might well not) then he doesn't come east and post-Seven-Days the Peninsular campaign might be sustained with reinforcement (from Burnside's future 9th Corps, as was planned but ultimately cancelled) instead of recalled. So there's scope for this to actually make things worse for the Confederates.
Well I doubt he would take Corinth even if he tries, whithout the army of the Tennessee he has only 70,000 men versus 60,000 well dug in troops.
Wat I think is more likely is that he pulls back to Nashville, either stays in comand in the west or moved east depending on how much he can blame Grant for this shilo. (Probably moves east he was able to blame Grant for a lot even whith a victory at shilo) then Johnson earther invests Nashville or (more likely) invades kuntuky, in which case beulls army of Ohio splits from (popes or requantons) army of the Mississippi and trys to defend kuntuky, that probably dosnt go well and now the only army is the army of the missippi in Nashville. By this point the Union now needs to send troops west, although not before hand sense taking Richmond was always more important then anything that happened in the west.
Restarting requtment isn't something I had thought of before, why did it stop in OTL, something to do whith the lack of rifles I seem to remember? And if thats the case can the Union restart it imitiatly?
 

CanadianCanuck

Sergeant
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Well one thank you, I was hoping someone would criticize my TL here. But I don't think you read it right. The battle happens on April 4 not the 5th it happens on in OTL, whithout BTG ****ing up the movement orders the attack begins before the rains start, also owl and Snake Creeks became impassable thanks to those same rains which only started at 4:00pm.
Also I agree on the calvery stuff, reading more into it i would replace that whith the canon ball that almost got him in OTL.

IIRC the rain started the 4th, which was what kept Johnston from reaching the battlefield until the 6th as the roads were a quagmire on the 6th. That was why I postulated the attack would be delayed to the 5th. I'm just not sure the weather cooperated enough to allow for the attack to proceed at all until the 5th.

Yeah, Grant could be killed by a cannonball, even a stray musket shot wounding him and forcing his retirement from the field till he bleeds out or something.

Either way, you've definitely set up a scenario where an arguably better command remains alive to coordinate the Confederate movements in the West, and with Johnston's historic willingness to keep going, even on the odds the attack was discovered, I don't think he would have blinked post-Perryville if there was a similar outcome.
 

C.J.

Private
Joined
Oct 3, 2020
IIRC the rain started the 4th, which was what kept Johnston from reaching the battlefield until the 6th as the roads were a quagmire on the 6th. That was why I postulated the attack would be delayed to the 5th. I'm just not sure the weather cooperated enough to allow for the attack to proceed at all until the 5th.

Yeah, Grant could be killed by a cannonball, even a stray musket shot wounding him and forcing his retirement from the field till he bleeds out or something.

Either way, you've definitely set up a scenario where an arguably better command remains alive to coordinate the Confederate movements in the West, and with Johnston's historic willingness to keep going, even on the odds the attack was discovered, I don't think he would have blinked post-Perryville if there was a similar outcome.
Now that is Weird because my sorses all say that the rain started at 4:00pm on the 4th and that it was far more b.t.g then the weather that caused the delay on the attack. Manly because the roads where already so bad in that area that wasing them out wouldn't have caused much of a delay anyway.
 
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