Chickamauga: Impact Of Thomas' Aggressiveness on Sept 19?

Joshism

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#1
On the morning of September 19, Dan McCook reports to George Thomas that his cavalry has found an isolated Confederate brigade near Jay's Mill. Thomas responds aggressively, sending in Brannan who runs into Forrest. The fighting continues to drawn divisions from both sides in a confusing, see-saw battle in difficult terrain: Baird, Liddell, Palmer, Cheathem, etc.

Meanwhile, Bragg had been massing his forces east of Viniard Field to attack what he supposed was Rosecrans' flank as Rosecrans was trying to shift his army northward to link up with Thomas' advanced elements and secure the route to Chattanooga.

What if Thomas never sends Brannan and Baird forward? Either he acts more cautiously because of his extended position or McCook's report never reaches him for whatever reason. How does the battle likely play out instead? Does Bragg launch a a large midday assault into Viniard and Brotherton Farms area and cleave Rosecrans' army?
 

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dlofting

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#2
In my opinion Thomas was just fighting the battle as he saw it on his front. He judged that he needed reinforcements and kept asking Rosecrans for them. Rosecrans sent them which ultimately weakened his right and left it susceptible to Longstreet's assault. I don't think Thomas was being overly aggressive, just the way the battle played out given how the two armies were positioned (and stretched out)
 

Sbc

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#3
On the morning of September 19, Dan McCook reports to George Thomas that his cavalry has found an isolated Confederate brigade near Jay's Mill. Thomas responds aggressively, sending in Brannan who runs into Forrest. The fighting continues to drawn divisions from both sides in a confusing, see-saw battle in difficult terrain: Baird, Liddell, Palmer, Cheathem, etc.

Meanwhile, Bragg had been massing his forces east of Viniard Field to attack what he supposed was Rosecrans' flank as Rosecrans was trying to shift his army northward to link up with Thomas' advanced elements and secure the route to Chattanooga.

What if Thomas never sends Brannan and Baird forward? Either he acts more cautiously because of his extended position or McCook's report never reaches him for whatever reason. How does the battle likely play out instead? Does Bragg launch a a large midday assault into Viniard and Brotherton Farms area and cleave Rosecrans' army?
Seems to have made the Rebs more cautious and bought more time for Ole Rosey. Just finished up Powell's books last month lol
 

uaskme

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#4
Thomas's movement confirmed that Bragg's plan was blown apart. Bragg was trying to turn the Federals Flank by attacking Lee and Gordon's Mill. He now knew, couldn't deny, the Federals were further North.

Bragg did attack at the Viniard, Brock, Brotherton, Poe, Winfrey Fields on the 19th. Instead of turning the Flank, he was attacking the middle of the Union Line.
 

bdtex

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#5
The posts in this thread illustrate something I recall our guide,Jim Ogden,telling us during our Hood's Texas Brigade Associated Re-activated tour of Chickamauga in June 2016. I recall him saying that the terrain and movement of troops made it difficult for couriers and scouts to find who they were looking for. A result was that a lotta troop movement and escalated fighting was caused by commanders and troops simply going to the sound of the guns.
 
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#6
On the morning of September 19, Dan McCook reports to George Thomas that his cavalry has found an isolated Confederate brigade near Jay's Mill. Thomas responds aggressively, sending in Brannan who runs into Forrest. The fighting continues to drawn divisions from both sides in a confusing, see-saw battle in difficult terrain: Baird, Liddell, Palmer, Cheathem, etc.

Meanwhile, Bragg had been massing his forces east of Viniard Field to attack what he supposed was Rosecrans' flank as Rosecrans was trying to shift his army northward to link up with Thomas' advanced elements and secure the route to Chattanooga.

What if Thomas never sends Brannan and Baird forward? Either he acts more cautiously because of his extended position or McCook's report never reaches him for whatever reason. How does the battle likely play out instead? Does Bragg launch a a large midday assault into Viniard and Brotherton Farms area and cleave Rosecrans' army?
Conversely, were Thomas' incessant demands for reinforcements responsible for Rosecrans' error in shuffling his troops about and creating the gap? I read that theory somewhere, might have even been on this website...
 

Joshism

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#7
Conversely, were Thomas' incessant demands for reinforcements responsible for Rosecrans' error in shuffling his troops about and creating the gap? I read that theory somewhere, might have even been on this website...
Short answer: that's somewhat accurate.

Long answer: Thomas' need for reinforcements was quite real, especially for the left flank he was so concerned about. The events of Chickamauga created a giant mess in the chain of command for both armies and neither Rosecrans nor Bragg were very effective about sorting them out. In their defense of both generals, I'm not sure anyone would have been up to the task, especially given how almost everyone was exhausted by the last day of the battle.
 
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#8
Short answer: that's somewhat accurate. Long answer: Thomas' need for reinforcements was quite real, especially for the left flank he was so concerned about. The events of Chickamauga created a giant mess in the chain of command for both armies and neither Rosecrans nor Bragg were very effective about sorting them out. In their defense of both generals, I'm not sure anyone would have been up to the task, especially given how almost everyone was exhausted by the last day of the battle.
Yes, I agree. Cozzens relates the story of Colonel Aquila Wiley of the 41st Ohio:

"Out on the Federal left, General Thomas passed the hours after sunrise waiting for Negley. That he did nothing more is odd. As Colonel Aquila Wiley of the Forty-first Ohio later pointed out in a well-reasoned article in the National Tribune, Thomas actually had the means at hand to extend his threatened left flank across the La Fayette road. Units were so tightly packed in the Kelly field salient that Johnson was compelled to leave the brigades of Willich and Dodge in reserve and Palmer to do the same with the brigade of Grose; even Joseph Reynolds, on the right of the line, admitted that he retained nearly half his infantry in reserve.

When, in the early hours of the morning, Thomas first discovered that his left was in the air, he should promptly have called upon at least two of these brigades to strengthen it, argued Wiley. If he was unaware that these brigades were being held in reserve, continued Wiley, then Thomas must be censured for not having informed himself of the formations his division commanders had adopted. A persuasive argument. Given that the Federals enjoyed the advantage of interior lines, Thomas would have risked little by shifting these two brigades six hundred yards across the Kelly field."
 



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