Confederates take st. Louis

C.J.

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Oct 3, 2020
So I was reading "Confederate Kentucky-planing thread" by @OldReliable1862 something interesting caught my eye by @Philip Leigh and I figured it would make a good separate thread.

"If McCulloch and Price cooperated instead of going their separate ways after Wilson's Creek, it might have been possible. Instead McCulloch returned to Arkansas with his better-supplied Confederate troops while Price took the Missouri State Guard to another victory at Lexington on the Missouri River. As many as 15,000 additional recruits temporarily flocked to Price's 5,000-man army but ultimately left due to supply shortages.

Taking St. Louis would have required a showdown battle with Frémont. If Frémont were to wait behind entrenchments at St. Louis where he could be resupplied by boats it would have been harder, but he felt it necessary to go after Price following the Union defeat at Lexington."

So I wonder, what would happen next if the combined Confederate army beats Fremont and re-takes st. Luis in late 1861.
 
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mo
It buys the Confederacy time in the west.....and leads to another interesting what if...... what stage of completion are the four city class ironclads at Carondelet, and are they captured intact?.......because that potentially could have affected the naval balance on western rivers.

If the four were scuttled and lost, that alone sets things back months.....but if captured and put into CSA service...the impact could have been far larger

If one took St Louis the Missouri/ Mississippi rivers would have formed a natural defensive line short term, but eventually the Union would have massed troops east and north, and they would be compelled to retire southwards.........

But the riverboats potentially captured or forced to be destroyed, with the loss of the 4 city class could have had longer lasting implications
 
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C.J.

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Oct 3, 2020
It buys the Confederacy time in the west.....and leads to another interesting what if...... what stage of completion are the four city class ironclads at Carondelet, and are they captured intact?.......because that potentially could have affected the naval balance on western rivers.

If the four were scuttled and lost, that alone sets things back months.....but if captured and put into CSA service...the impact could have been far larger
I doubt very far, by the time st. Louis is taken its still pretty early in '61, and even if Frémont gives the city up i have a hard time seeing him gust forget about the iron clads consdering how expensive they are.
One thing it will do is lesson how many iron clads can use in general, 18 of the 31 iron clads built for the missippi for the Union where built in st. Louis, and a lot of the rest where built late after the war on the missippi was over. pluse the two Confederate iron clads half built at Nashville could now be completed. Still potentially swinging the river war in the Confederate favor.
 
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You said late in 61......the USS Cairo is completed in Jan 1862.....depending on time in 61 it was likely either capturable or would have to be destroyed.....either one and the loss of the yard is a setback to the union timeline
 

C.J.

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Oct 3, 2020
You said late in 61......the USS Cairo is completed in Jan 1862.....depending on time in 61 it was likely either capturable or would have to be destroyed.....either one and the loss of the yard is a setback to the union timeline
Yep, I hadn't realized how quickly they had been built, still don't see them being captured intact, but maby the Confederates could rebuild them in time, befor Union forces thro them out again.
 

rbasin

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I think it would have delayed offensive operations lower on the Mississippi for a bit, but I doubt the south could have held St Louis very long
 

DaveBrt

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If the ships had been launched, they could easily have been towed away, like the Arkansas was. If they had not been launched, they could have been easily burned. I don't see any reasonable way the Confederacy could have obtained and used them.
 
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If the ships had been launched, they could easily have been towed away, like the Arkansas was. If they had not been launched, they could have been easily burned. I don't see any reasonable way the Confederacy could have obtained and used them.
Not sure they could have been easily towed upriver against the Mississippi River current.....and not aware of major yards anywhere near upriver, Dubuque might have had theirs......but don't think they could have been towed past Keokuk rapids to get there.

They might have been sunk/scuttled or burned, but again it buys the confederacy time if they can not be saved and completed on schedule. And whatever is captured/salvaged from the Cardonelet yard could be shipped or towed downriver to be used in Confederate yards/boats
 

Luke Freet

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Nov 8, 2018
I doubt very far, by the time st. Louis is taken its still pretty early in '61, and even if Frémont gives the city up i have a hard time seeing him gust forget about the iron clads consdering how expensive they are.
One thing it will do is lesson how many iron clads can use in general, 18 of the 31 iron clads built for the missippi for the Union where built in st. Louis, and a lot of the rest where built late after the war on the missippi was over. pluse the two Confederate iron clads half built at Nashville could now be completed. Still potentially swinging the river war in the Confederate favor.
You remind me:
Even if the Carondelet Ironclads are scuttled, the Confederates, if they could manage the shipment by rail or by river, could salvage parts from the scuttled remnants for their own ironclads (probably not as many and not as high quality, but it would help).
However, there is one issue that I have with this scenario, more of a question: What is the infrastructure of Missouri south of the namesake river, read, potential Confederate-controlled Missouri? Because if they manage to take Missouri, how many troops would they be able to supply to ward off a potential Union counterthrust the following year? And would they be able to ship equipment captured from St. Louis (aside from Carondelet, St. Louis is home to much military supplies and equipment, that could easily be turned to Confederate use) to supply the other troops in the Confederacy?
 
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You remind me:
Even if the Carondelet Ironclads are scuttled, the Confederates, if they could manage the shipment by rail or by river, could salvage parts from the scuttled remnants for their own ironclads (probably not as many and not as high quality, but it would help).
However, there is one issue that I have with this scenario, more of a question: What is the infrastructure of Missouri south of the namesake river, read, potential Confederate-controlled Missouri? Because if they manage to take Missouri, how many troops would they be able to supply to ward off a potential Union counterthrust the following year? And would they be able to ship equipment captured from St. Louis (aside from Carondelet, St. Louis is home to much military supplies and equipment, that could easily be turned to Confederate use) to supply the other troops in the Confederacy?
That's the biggest question and why Missouri was the key to the Trans-Mississippi.

North of Missouri. Iowa, Minnesota, Dakotas and Nebraska, and KS to west. 1,032.172 population
South of Missouri. Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana. Not counting slaves 1,085,149 population
Missouri alone not counting slaves.......1,086,244

Obviously Missouri gives whoever holds it a 2-1 manpower base in the theater.

I think they would eventually have been forced to retreat from Missouri.......but the Union forces to reclaim Missouri would necessitate a large diversion from the states to the east.....going west instead of south in 1862.......in the end buying time elsewhere.
 
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That Missouri balance is key to understanding the T-M

Once the Union secures Missouri and parts of Arkansas in 62, then whittles the Confederate base a little more with capture of N.0. and other river towns.......the theatre becomes largely a backwater strategically as it's essentially decided......the remaining parts of LA, AR, and Texas are rather powerless to contest for control of the theatre the remainder of the war.
 

C.J.

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Oct 3, 2020
That's the biggest question and why Missouri was the key to the Trans-Mississippi.

North of Missouri. Iowa, Minnesota, Dakotas and Nebraska, and KS to west. 1,032.172 population
South of Missouri. Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana. Not counting slaves 1,085,149 population
Missouri alone not counting slaves.......1,086,244

Obviously Missouri gives whoever holds it a 2-1 manpower base in the theater.

I think they would eventually have been forced to retreat from Missouri.......but the Union forces to reclaim Missouri would necessitate a large diversion from the states to the east.....going west instead of south in 1862.......in the end buying time elsewhere.
Yep thats why I thought it could make for a good thread. Combined it whith maby the Union instead of the Confederacy invading Kentucky and the initer western theater could be completely different come '62
 

Luke Freet

First Sergeant
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Nov 8, 2018
Thats also another posable POD. Gets us to the same point whith slightly less blood shed by the end of '61.
The Camp Jackson Affair, probably the best chance for the Confederates to take St. Louis. Maybe Lyon isn't posted to Missouri and a less aggressive leader is in charge of Union troops in the area, maybe Governor Jackson and his militia could take St. Louis from the Union with little resistance.
 

Biscoitos

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May 14, 2020
I doubt very far, by the time st. Louis is taken its still pretty early in '61, and even if Frémont gives the city up i have a hard time seeing him gust forget about the iron clads consdering how expensive they are.
One thing it will do is lesson how many iron clads can use in general, 18 of the 31 iron clads built for the missippi for the Union where built in st. Louis, and a lot of the rest where built late after the war on the missippi was over. pluse the two Confederate iron clads half built at Nashville could now be completed. Still potentially swinging the river war in the Confederate favor.
I think you mean the two Confederate ironclads being built at Memphis.
 
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mo
This is a really good listen.

Personally I always viewed it more a case of how the Confederacy screwed itself

While a bit of a what if, think many historians would concede their probably was sentiment to secede after Camp Jackson. However to get that full sentiment Missouri needed to be held, and also needed to be held for a period to have full session in its Congress to remove any legality question of a secession, and to gain use of most of its manpower base also requires holding most of it for a period......

Instead confederate forces did nothing, so hardly surprising after allowing the manpower pendulum swing against them, they get hammered.
 
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