Discussion Biggest Blunders

KianGaf

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What do people think was the biggest mistake of the war in terms of bad tactics and loss of men. The ones that come to mind are Grant @ Cold Harbour, Sherman @ Kennesaw Mountain, John B Hood @ Franklin , Lee @ Gettysburg Pickett's Charge. For me they are all bad but Franklin was the worst.
 

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KianGaf

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Burnside at Antietam ranks pretty high, as he ordered his troops across that narrow bridge over the river which was less than three feet deep !
Lincoln said of him: “Only he could wring spectacular defeat out of the jaws of Victory “ !
That caused terrible losses against a small force of confederates , I also forgot about Burnside at Fredericksburg that was pretty calamitous tactical display.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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I think it was in a different book, but a marine's comment on the plan at Sabine Pass was 'like Daddy Farragut: We rush in.' The problem was that Farragut never just "rushed in." He made careful plans in conjunction with his captains, revised them as conditions and information changed, issued specific orders on how to prepare the vessels, and inspected them all to make sure they were ready. The "rushing in" part got all the attention, though.
 

Hoseman

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Malvern Hill, Cold Harbor, Fredericksburg, Franklin come to mind the quickest to me. There were huge mistakes made by both sides that ended up causing thousands of casualties. When the AOP gave Lee the slip after Cold Harbor they could have walked into Petersburg and brushed the small number of defenders aside easily. Their hesitation, which resulted in a 9 month siege and tens of thousands of casualties, was another huge mistake. The union army could have taken Petersburg and, most likely, ended the war in the east some time in 1864.
 

KianGaf

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"Id recommend Ed Cotham's Sabine Pass: The Confederacy's Thermopylae:"

So Texas was never controlled by the Union during the war because of this battle ?
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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"Id recommend Ed Cotham's Sabine Pass: The Confederacy's Thermopylae:"

So Texas was never controlled by the Union during the war because of this battle ?
A little more complex than that, but that was certainly a significant event.

The Union never quite settled on a consensus on how important it was to control Texas, so there was some back-and-forth and not a lot in the way of clear strategic direction.
 

Krieger

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It's easy to go straight for, basically, "all of the frontal assaults that failed with heavy losses", so I prefer looking at the blunders that had the worst strategic consequences. Similar to what Andy just said, I would add the extremely poor placement of Fort Henry, the easy loss of which already guaranteed a massive Confederate retreat coupled with the failure to withdraw from Fort Donelson which could have had decisive consequences at Shiloh. Then of course you have McClellan's retreat from the Virginia Peninsula despite having badly bloodied Lee and his failure to either defeat Lee at Antietam or to pursue and inflict a more decisive defeat, and Hoseman already snatched up my big one, the failure to take Petersburg quickly, which would have more than made up for Cold Harbor as it likely would have meant defeat for Lee in June or July 1864. Kind of makes you wonder what would have happened at Atlanta and elsewhere if that had been the case.
 


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