The question is did he ever retreat?
The question was did Grant ever retreatBecause Grant had a good reason to retreat. When Grant had the numbers he did not retreat.
Such as the Yazoo Pass Expedition, which Grant ordered. The Confederates were at every moment outnumbered, But Grant ordered his forces to retreat back to the Mississippi River. He later "spun" the retreat and stated that his forces were "recalled."Other than the first attempt, the unsuccessful attempts at Vicksburg might be considered failures, but not really retreats.
Grant was not "removed from command" for those 6 months. Iuka and Corinth were both before Perryville. Grant was a department or district commander by then, and Perryville was not in his jurisdiction, so no credit or blame went to Grant for that.
Grant's troop strength, at every step, was greater than the Confederates.
He later "spun" the retreat and stated that his forces were "recalled."
Retreating isn't good or bad what counts is getting the other side to surrender. On that score Grant scores high.The question was did Grant ever retreat
not did he ever retreat without a good reason.
Without specifically referring to Grant, but including every military leader ever in history, if you excuse retreating with a good reason,
what does retreating mean?
Does every former "retreat" simply become a "tactical repositioning?"
You failed to address the question as asked.
If Grant is short of supplies due to Van Doren's raid then oh well he has to retreat. Sometimes armies have to retreat. What counts in the end is who surrender's to whom. Grant never surrendered his army vs Lee not so much.
I was asking about his numbers during his Central Mississippi RR campaign. You said:“When Grant had the numbers he did not retreat.” Not sure how you answered my question, but thanks for your reply.If Grant is short of supplies due to Can Doren's raid then oh well he has to retreat. Sometimes armies have to retreat. What counts in the end is who surrender's to whom. Grant never surrendered his army vs Lee not so much.
I think the point is that it was not about numbers as much as it was about having a means to supply the army. It was not only Van Dorns raid at Holly Springs, but also railroad destruction by Forrest, that wrecked his supply line.I was asking about his numbers during his Central Mississippi RR campaign. You said:“When Grant had the numbers he did not retreat.” Not sure how you answered my question, but thanks for your reply.
The Battle (probably more accurately the Skirmish) at Belmont, Missouri. Initially a Federal success, Grant's Confederate opponents quickly regrouped and counterattacked. Grant retreated to his riverboats and took his men to Paducah, Kentucky. While of little significance, it got more attention than it deserved as there was very little other activity in November of 1861. Celebrated in the South as a great victory and lamented in the North as a humiliating defeat, it was neither.This quest hit me while watching the new Grant biography on the History Channel. During one scene in episode 2, Lee tells one of his adjutants, “Grant is not a retreating man.” I immediately started thinking about all the major engagements Grant was in.... Forts Henry & Donnelson, Shiloh, Vicksburg, Chattanooga etc... no retreats. My question- is this an already well known fact that has simply escaped my notice? Do our history teachers not make note of this remarkable fact? Or, am I missing an example of where he did retreat?
What about his pull-backs in Spain? Some of those involved withdrawing hundreds of miles.I've seen the the example of the Duke of Wellington. This is a fantastic example of a tactical withdrawal/redeployment rather than a full retreat. Bonaparte's entire campaign hinged on his concept of the Central Position where his smaller army would take on multiple opposing forces in turn. He was able to accomplish the first part of his plan at the Battle of Ligny on his right but with Wellington pulling back to a more tenable position on Napoleon's left, he was unable to complete what potentially could have been one of the most magnificent tactical masterpieces in military history at Waterloo. Of course it's more complicated than that but still, a great example.
That means a definition of a retreat where it only "counts" if it's after a lost battle and involves abandoning the campaign. Would you say that that's a correct summary of your definition?A retreat to me would be a force rapidly retreating after a rout like Union troops at the small Battle of Corydon in July of 1863 or Lee's retreat back to the south after Gettysburg that same month. Did we ever see Grant do something like either of these examples? Maybe on a small scale early in the war. Most of his movements I would classify as redeployments like those during the operations around Petersburg and Richmond where if one thing didn't work, he would try something else.
In my opinion, retreating is automatically associated with defeat. By my definition, I personally think of a retreat like that of Washington during the British campaign against New York early in the Revolution, the Japanese fleet (or what was left of it) after the Battle of Midway or Darius after Gaugamela. I mention these because of the clear military disadvantages they were at following pitched battles in which they were defeated, much like Lee after Gettysburg.What about his pull-backs in Spain? Some of those involved withdrawing hundreds of miles.
In any case, I think there's no point distinguishing between "tactical withdrawal", "redeployment" and "retreat" as if they were different things - they overlap too much for that.
That means a definition of a retreat where it only "counts" if it's after a lost battle and involves abandoning the campaign. Would you say that that's a correct summary of your definition?
I ask because I think it starts to get overly narrow, and by that I mean it starts defining categories to try and avoid the label of "retreat" as if it were a negative thing.
I think then that that's the problem; it defines it so narrowly that there are many things I would label as retreats which don't count. In particular there are several occasions on which soldiers - including great generals - describe movements as retreats which are not associated with defeat, such as in Wellington's dispatches where his report of casualties describes his movement from Quatre Bras to Waterloo as "retreat".In my opinion, retreating is automatically associated with defeat.
I'd love for you to give an example of when Wellington was defeated (and thus had to retreat to "save the remainder of his force") in 1811! I can't think of a single battle he was in for the whole year which qualifies, though he was certainly put in situations in which he had to retreat to avoid a defeat, and in 2nd Badajoz he didn't capture the fort but what compelled him to retreat was the approach of a relieving force; that would have been the same if he hadn't attacked in the first place.I'd say Wellington did retreat some during that conflict, most notably in 1811 during a number of actions in which he was defeated and needed to save the remainder of his force.