Discussion Grant v Lee

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Actually, Sodergren lists a few primary sources that back up the story, from veterans writing mostly after the war. Sodergren doesn't claim that it was a "mythical" event, just that it may not have been as widespread as claimed after the war.

Yeah, he does in various talks etc., such as here at 24 mins in.

A careful reading shows that the cheering was a reaction to hearing that they were to move forward.

Which is odd, because they didn't then move forward. Forward was "west". Hours after the cheering the regiment moved east (i.e. to the rear) a few miles.
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
Yeah, he does in various talks etc., such as here at 24 mins in.



Which is odd, because they didn't then move forward. Forward was "west". Hours after the cheering the regiment moved east (i.e. to the rear) a few miles.
Even in your link, Sodergren claims that it may have happened but that the primary sources were written by veterans after the war. It's curious that Sodergren doesn't seem to be aware of Simon B Cummins diary. In his book, Sodergren writes that "few" soldiers mentioned the cheering at the time of the event. Then in the audio, he claims he did not see "any" claims of cheering written at the time of the event. So he is not consistent.

Cummins understood that the planned movement was not a retreat.
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
It depends how you define decisive. Vicksburg is a siege and Shiloh is simply surviving after being surprised in camp and nearly routed - I'm not sure you could really label either of those two as decisive.

I have to disagree with this.

Example: you state "Vicksburg is a siege". Here is an overview. The part I think you are talking about is in blue text.
  • Grant's effort to take Vicksburg starts on November 23, 1862 when Halleck indicates he prefers a campaign down the Mississippi. This leads to the twin-prong effort in December (it ends with Grant stopped by the Van Dorn-Forrest cavalry raids and Sherman defeated at Chickasaw Bayou)
  • Grant's next moves to take Vicksburg run from January-March of 1863 (Grant's Canal, Lake Providence, Yazoo Pass, Steele's Pass, Duckport Canal, etc.) There are seven separate attempts in there, none of which succeed.
  • Grant then prepares and launches the campaign that captures Vicksburg on March 29 It includes:
    • Grant leading his Army and Porter bringing his gunboats/transports down below Vicksburg to cross the Mississippi in a combined arms operation.
    • Grierson's Raid from April 17-May 2
    • the battle of Grand Gulf on April 29
    • the battle of Snyder's Bluff on April 29-May 1
    • the battle of Port Gibson on May 1
    • the battle of Raymond on May 12
    • the battle of Jackson on May 14
    • the battle of Champion Hill on May 16
    • the battle of Big Black River Bridge on May 17
    • The "siege of Vicksburg" is usually given as May 18 to the surrender on July 4. This breaks out as follows:
      • Grant's assault of May 19th (Union: 157 killed, 777 wounded, 8 missing; Confederate: 8 killed, 62 wounded)
      • Grant's assault of May 22nd (Union: 502 killed, 2,550 wounded, 147 missing; Confederate: about 500 total)
      • Grant's siege by regular approaches, bombardment and starvation of May 23rd to July 4th (the surrender)
    • the surrender of Vicksburg led directly to the surrender of Port Hudson with another 6,500 Confederate POWs.
    • the Mississippi River running "unvexed to the sea".
For the part you are looking at, Union casualties for the battle and siege of Vicksburg were 4,835. Confederate were 32,697 (29,495 surrendered). Pemberton surrendered 172 cannons and some 50,000 rifles to Grant along with his men.

For the full campaign (March 29-July 4) a total of 10,142 Union and 9,091 Confederate killed and wounded. This obviously does not include the very large number of Confederates surrendered at Vicksburg. It does include a great many things you do not seem to be considering.

In my opinion (and I would suspect that of every military analysis I have ever read), Grant's campaign clearly was decisive. It shattered the Confederate defense of the Mississippi Valley once and for all. It eliminated one of the three major Confederate armies from the war. It split the Confederate States into two distinct and separate parts. It opened up the interior of the Confederacy to invasion on many different vectors, by large Union forces that are now freed up by the result of Grant's campaign. Arguably, it might be the moment and place where "the South" lost the Civil War.

Yet somehow you say this can not be labeled as "decisive". What, exactly, is your definition of "decisive"?
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Simple "what if" for you. Give Lee the AoP in the spring of 1864 and give Grant the ANV and how do you see it playing out?

I think Lee was good enough to beat Grant and probably would have done so in that situation. Grant was obviously good enough to beat Lee in that situation.

Lee had excelled and beaten back one contender after another in 1862-63. He winnowed out the ones he could beat. Grant was a general of a different sort -- and Lee's success almost guaranteed that he would eventually meet an opponent capable of beating him.

IMHO, what Grant did best was what Lee knew he could not beat. Grant simply kept coming, using everything he had, never giving up, never turning back. At worst, he changed direction, looking for another way to get at his enemy. Knock him back and he would shake himself and come on again. "Butcher" is a mistaken word to use to describe Grant. "Relentless" would be a better one.

When Longstreet came back to the ANV in 1864, officers there asked him what Grant was like -- his response in usually cited as "that man will fight us every day until the war is over". I think that sort of general was always in Lee's mind, the type the Union would eventually send against him, the man who would withstand the pain and the shock of battle to use all the advantages the Union had. I think when Lee saw Grant come to Virginia he decided to hit him as hard as he could -- thus The Wilderness. When that didn't work out, I think he decided to bleed him -- thus Spotsylvania, thus Cold Harbor.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Yet somehow you say this can not be labeled as "decisive". What, exactly, is your definition of "decisive"?
To me a decisive victory has to inculcate some kind of phase change in the war or to otherwise have a major effect, and it has to be one which was in doubt beforehand based on the raw situation or balance of force. Decisive battles can happen on the small or the large level.

The reason why I'm not sure you can call Vicksburg decisive is that it basically amounts to a very large Union force operating against a much smaller Confederate one and - with the expenditure of a significant amount of time and after several failures - ultimately backing a Confederate force against a river and compelling them to surrender not with any assault or regular approaches but by starvation.
It's also the case, I think, that the value of the trans-Mississippi has been somewhat overinflated - the net flow of resources seems to have been west, not east.

So the reason why I'm not sure you can call Vicksburg decisive basically amounts to the fact that it involved ultimately more than two and a half times as many men as the Confederates had and several months and eventually produced a result.


An argument could also be made that freeing up so many resources did make it decisive, but that's arguing partly by the sheer scale of the resources it drew in in the first place.


For the part you are looking at, Union casualties for the battle and siege of Vicksburg were 4,835. Confederate were 32,697 (29,495 surrendered). Pemberton surrendered 172 cannons and some 50,000 rifles to Grant along with his men.
That surrendered number looks large to me. The inspection report of the Vicksburg garrison just after the siege began states that ca. 17,300 men PFD were in Vicksburg at the time the siege began, plus Colonel Higgins' command (which was the river batteries). I suppose it's possible that almost 12,000 men were sick in hospital, but that would be a very high sick rate (about 40%).

My suspicion (and it is only a suspicion) is that there's something funny going on with accidental double counting - men in the hospitals being counted twice, say, once as part of their regiment and once as the men in the hospitals.

ED:
Aha, looks like there was at least some double counting. NPS records:


KEITH M L 1SGT 39TH GA INF A WASH HOSP
KEITH MARTIN L 1SGT 39TH GA INF A WASH HOSP

So unless there's two M.L.Keiths who were 1st Sergeants of Company A of the 39th Georgia Infantry, then we have a case of double counting.
 
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DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
To me a decisive victory has to inculcate some kind of phase change in the war or to otherwise have a major effect, and it has to be one which was in doubt beforehand based on the raw situation or balance of force. Decisive battles can happen on the small or the large level.

The reason why I'm not sure you can call Vicksburg decisive is that it basically amounts to a very large Union force operating against a much smaller Confederate one and - with the expenditure of a significant amount of time and after several failures - ultimately backing a Confederate force against a river and compelling them to surrender not with any assault or regular approaches but by starvation.
It's also the case, I think, that the value of the trans-Mississippi has been somewhat overinflated - the net flow of resources seems to have been west, not east.

So the reason why I'm not sure you can call Vicksburg decisive basically amounts to the fact that it involved ultimately more than two and a half times as many men as the Confederates had and several months and eventually produced a result.


An argument could also be made that freeing up so many resources did make it decisive, but that's arguing partly by the sheer scale of the resources it drew in in the first place.



That surrendered number looks large to me. The inspection report of the Vicksburg garrison just after the siege began states that ca. 17,300 men PFD were in Vicksburg at the time the siege began, plus Colonel Higgins' command (which was the river batteries). I suppose it's possible that almost 12,000 men were sick in hospital, but that would be a very high sick rate (about 40%).

My suspicion (and it is only a suspicion) is that there's something funny going on with accidental double counting - men in the hospitals being counted twice, say, once as part of their regiment and once as the men in the hospitals.

ED:
Aha, looks like there was at least some double counting. NPS records:


KEITH M L 1SGT 39TH GA INF A WASH HOSP
KEITH MARTIN L 1SGT 39TH GA INF A WASH HOSP

So unless there's two M.L.Keiths who were 1st Sergeants of Company A of the 39th Georgia Infantry, then we have a case of double counting.
I think you miss Trice's point. There was more to the campaign than the siege. There were diversions and landings and battles fought. And opposing numbers at point of contact were surely not always overwhelmingly to the federals advantage.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
I think you miss Trice's point. There was more to the campaign than the siege. There were diversions and landings and battles fought. And opposing numbers at point of contact were surely not always overwhelmingly to the federals advantage.

Not always overwhelmingly, maybe, but in aggregate the force opposed to Pemberton is simply staggering - it's actually greater odds against him than Lee faced.

And the siege is what actually concluded the campaign, so if anything's to take the label "decisive" it's that.


Using PFD as of Grant crossing the Mississippi (based on the March 31 numbers):

Port Gibson has 4,654 Confederates.
Port Hudson has 16,287 Confederates, minus Buford's brigade (so -2,735 PFD for a true PFD of about 13,500)

Loring has 7,227 PFD, plus Buford's brigade (so near enough 10,000 PFD)

Across the upper Mississippi there's 2,824 PFD.

And at Vicksburg (exc. Port Gibson) there's 17,407 PFD.

There's 431 PFD at Jackson as well.

Port Hudson is being pressured by Banks (whose Department of the Gulf has 35,670) so the force at the point of contact is facing a department nearly three times as strong as it is.


The force across the upper Mississippi is forming a cordon against the 16th Army Corps. Their immediate tribulation is a potential move by the District of Corinth which is about 10,800 PFD, and of course the forces at Jackson and Memphis which sum to about 12,500 more PFD; perhaps most of that's not available for offensive operations but it's still enough that a cordon of less than 3,000 is vulnerable to be outnumbered.

The force Grant has that moves across the river itself in a single lift (spread over two days) is ca. 30,800 PFD when it makes contact around Port Gibson on the 1st; that's about a 6:1 superiority in numbers against Bowen's force.

And the total force of Grant's field army in three corps under Sherman, McClernand and McPherson (listed as "operating against Vicksburg" in the April 30 return) is about 47,000 PFD; adding the units individually reveals that at least one division besides the District of Eastern Arkansas was missed out of the "operating against Vicksburg" count and looking at artillery counts it seems to be the 14th division of the 13th Army Corps*. This division certainly fought at Port Gibson so I'm not sure why it's excluded; this brings the total PFD that should be counted as operating against Vicksburg to 52,000 PFD.

*the missing division has six field guns, which Carr had; additionally Carr had six heavy guns and the Grand Total Operating Against Vicksburg lists no heavy guns. Checking officer counts confirms it.


Grant's force operating against Richmond (before he brings up anyone from 16th Corps) at 52,000 PFD is slightly stronger than Pemberton's entire department (at 49,000 PFD), and Pemberton is also being pressured from the south by a separate department of considerable size (which as of March 31 is drawing off almost exactly a third of his troops) and from the north by a smaller force; under these circumstances the coordination required to obtain superior force at the point of contact is worthy of note but is also "how things should be done". With that superiority of force and with Grant holding the initiative, he can (and should, and indeed did) only move when the force concentration is right.

Unfortunately I can't find a map offhand that indicates where Loring was at the point Grant crossed...
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
I think you miss Trice's point. There was more to the campaign than the siege. There were diversions and landings and battles fought. And opposing numbers at point of contact were surely not always overwhelmingly to the federals advantage.

Yes, it took Grant six months to cross the river. He had numerical advantage during this whole period.

Federal Dept of the Tennessee

Jan: 103,562
Feb: 99,181
Mar: 105,151
Apr: 97,344
May: 105,066
Jun: 109,204
Jul: 101,126

Pemberton's Dept, excluding Port Hudson (which was threatened by Banks' Army)

Jan: 28,525
Feb: 34,029
Mar: 32,542
Apr: no return
May 26 Inspection Report of Vicksburg: 17,356, excluding river batteries

Johnston's Army of Relief:
May: 10,385
June 25: 31,226
Jul: 26,323

Grant maintained a solid 3:1 advantage of his department over the part of Pemberton's department his forces were facing. However Grant left his largest corps (16th) to garrison occupied territories and moved on Vicksburg with the other three corps. In round figures Grant moved on Vicksburg with a bit over 50,000, and Pemberton had ca. 30,000 available to defend it. Of those, one division (Loring) didn't get trapped, leaving ca. 23-24,000 to become casualties by battle or capture.

Grant had, at Vicksburg and environs, consistently ca. 1.6x the enemy until he got across the Mississippi.
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Unfortunately I can't find a map offhand that indicates where Loring was at the point Grant crossed...

Loring's division was up near Grenada watching Grant's Yazoo Pass attempts out of Helena, along with Moore's bde. They built a fort there (Fort Pemberton). Essentially Loring had the northern outpost, and Bowen the southern outpost. Smith's division with Hebert's was posted at Snyder's Bluff and Vicksburg (i.e. against a threatened direct assault). Stevenson's division was the mobile force Pemberton had left over to reinforce threatened points.
 

BillO

Captain
Joined
Feb 2, 2010
Location
Quinton, VA.
I think Lee was good enough to beat Grant and probably would have done so in that situation. Grant was obviously good enough to beat Lee in that situation.

Lee had excelled and beaten back one contender after another in 1862-63. He winnowed out the ones he could beat. Grant was a general of a different sort -- and Lee's success almost guaranteed that he would eventually meet an opponent capable of beating him.

IMHO, what Grant did best was what Lee knew he could not beat. Grant simply kept coming, using everything he had, never giving up, never turning back. At worst, he changed direction, looking for another way to get at his enemy. Knock him back and he would shake himself and come on again. "Butcher" is a mistaken word to use to describe Grant. "Relentless" would be a better one.

When Longstreet came back to the ANV in 1864, officers there asked him what Grant was like -- his response in usually cited as "that man will fight us every day until the war is over". I think that sort of general was always in Lee's mind, the type the Union would eventually send against him, the man who would withstand the pain and the shock of battle to use all the advantages the Union had. I think when Lee saw Grant come to Virginia he decided to hit him as hard as he could -- thus The Wilderness. When that didn't work out, I think he decided to bleed him -- thus Spotsylvania, thus Cold Harbor.
The original question was which was the superior general. Most of what you stated is correct but Lee was the better man to run an army.
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
The original question was which was the superior general. Most of what you stated is correct but Lee was the better man to run an army.

Lee certainly was a good man to run an army. So was Grant.

Lee had many admirable qualities for a commander. He certainly was able to handle all the tasks required -- military or political. He was far more polished than Grant, better read on all matters military, more experienced at engineering and high command (although Grant may have had more time in actual command of a unit before the war -- Lee had very little of that). I doubt anyone would have picked Grant as a top commander before the war started; we know Winfield Scott and Jeff Davis both did see Lee that way.

OTOH, Grant showed that he could handle an army, just about any army. He never had any trouble making troops do what he wanted. In 1861, his first command was a regiment that was wild and undisciplined -- he had them following orders before he had a proper uniform to wear. Time after time Grant was handed new troops, different troops, new commanders -- Grant ends up successful. Grant fights all three of the major Confederate armies -- and beats them all. Grant faces A. S. Johnston, Joe Johnston, Bragg, Lee -- Grant ends up still standing. Grant is clearly not as polished, not as well-read, not as formally prepared as Lee. Grant was very good at running an army.

This is all squabbling about minor differences. Lee and Grant are both superior generals.

To put it in perspective, I think if Lee and Grant would be fought under Napoleon they might both have become Marshals under the Emperor. There were 26 of those with a few who were really political choices. That group generally contains most of the best combat commanders of the Napoleonic era.
  • Davout was the best of the Marshals
  • Soult, Massena and Lannes (who died young) came next
  • I don't think either Lee or Grant cracks that group.
The next group are outstanding generals, men like Marmont, St-Cyr, Oudinot, Berthier, Grouchy and others. No one was braver than Ney or tougher than Mortier or more of both than Augereau. You also have a bunch of cavalry-specific Marshals, led by Murat (who was lacking in many ways but no one was better leading cavalry in battle).

I think Lee and Grant would both have been in the top half of that group. They are different in how they went about their work, but they were both very good at what they did.
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
That surrendered number looks large to me. The inspection report of the Vicksburg garrison just after the siege began states that ca. 17,300 men PFD were in Vicksburg at the time the siege began, plus Colonel Higgins' command (which was the river batteries). I suppose it's possible that almost 12,000 men were sick in hospital, but that would be a very high sick rate (about 40%).

My suspicion (and it is only a suspicion) is that there's something funny going on with accidental double counting - men in the hospitals being counted twice, say, once as part of their regiment and once as the men in the hospitals.

ED:
Aha, looks like there was at least some double counting. NPS records:


KEITH M L 1SGT 39TH GA INF A WASH HOSP
KEITH MARTIN L 1SGT 39TH GA INF A WASH HOSP

So unless there's two M.L.Keiths who were 1st Sergeants of Company A of the 39th Georgia Infantry, then we have a case of double counting.

Take a look at
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXIV/2 [S# 37]
MAY 19-JULY 4, 1863.--The Siege of Vicksburg, Miss.
No. 70.--Consolidated statement of prisoners of war captured and paroled, and of prisoners of war captured and sent North, by the Army of the Tennessee, during the month of July, 1863, by Maj. Gen. U.S. Grant, commanding.

I am sure, of course, that any compilation of totals might contain some duplication or other error might creep in. If you look at the numbers in that report, you'll see some variation: one part says the total prisoners captured at Vicksburg was 29,490; another part says 29,491. There are another 1,147 POWs noted from other July expeditions (Natchez, Yazoo City, Jackson) not included in the Vicksburg capture total.

Not to be facetious, but that variation accounts for the example you have just provided. Just how far off do you want to say the number 29,495 surrendered at Vicksburg is, and what is your proof for it? Are you trying to say the number is off by plus or minus 100? 1,000? 10,000?
 

Saruman

Sergeant
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
I have an ancient encyclopaedia which has a list of the principal battles and engagements of the civil war.

For Vicksburg, it has the siege dates of May 18 to July 4, with Grant's strength at 71,000 and Pemberton's at 20,000.

For losses, Grant has 4,970 and Pemberton has 30,000 (which includes "about 10,000 civilian employees and men wounded in previous engagements").

So maybe the differences in the various totals are accounted for by these civilian employees and wounded?
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Not to be facetious, but that variation accounts for the example you have just provided. Just how far off do you want to say the number 29,495 surrendered at Vicksburg is, and what is your proof for it? Are you trying to say the number is off by plus or minus 100? 1,000? 10,000?
I think the best way to estimate the number surrendered at Vicksburg is to:

Start with the Aggregate Present totals (March 31) of the forces that got shut up in Vicksburg, as best we can estimate them. (This should, as I understand the accounting method, include the sick.)
Deduct a large % of the casualties (killed, captured, but not wounded) of the fighting at e.g. Champion Hill, most of which fell on the troops that would be shut up in Vicksburg.

Deduct the casualties of the Vicksburg assaults (again, killed and captured).

This should give an upper bound for the number of troops that should have been captured.


Not to be facetious, but that variation accounts for the example you have just provided.
It's not like I combed the entire data set - I tried to load it into R for proper stats analysis or at least to key by regiment and company first but it's not formatted nicely for that. I found an unambiguous double-count after a couple of minutes.

Spotting all the double counts based on the parole records is much harder, because there's so much wiggle room - it's unambiguous that there was only one first sergeant of Company A of the 39th Georgia Infantry, but what about these entries?

TAYLOR JESSE E PVT 1ST AR INF F FIELD
TAYLOR JESSE PVT 1ST AR INF F FIELD



These ones certainly show something funny was going on:



THIBODEAUX EDWARD PVT 1ST LA ART I FIELD
THIBODEAUX EDWARD PVT 1ST LA ART I refused parole
THIBODEAUX G C 4SGT 26TH LA INF D FIELD
THIBODEAUX J B PVT 1ST LA ART I FIELD
THIBODEAUX J B PVT 1ST LA ART I refused parole



It doesn't take long looking to find some examples.
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
To me a decisive victory has to inculcate some kind of phase change in the war or to otherwise have a major effect, and it has to be one which was in doubt beforehand based on the raw situation or balance of force. Decisive battles can happen on the small or the large level.

The reason why I'm not sure you can call Vicksburg decisive is that it basically amounts to a very large Union force operating against a much smaller Confederate one and - with the expenditure of a significant amount of time and after several failures - ultimately backing a Confederate force against a river and compelling them to surrender not with any assault or regular approaches but by starvation.
It's also the case, I think, that the value of the trans-Mississippi has been somewhat overinflated - the net flow of resources seems to have been west, not east.

So the reason why I'm not sure you can call Vicksburg decisive basically amounts to the fact that it involved ultimately more than two and a half times as many men as the Confederates had and several months and eventually produced a result.

An argument could also be made that freeing up so many resources did make it decisive, but that's arguing partly by the sheer scale of the resources it drew in in the first place.

Looking at your definition here, it is clear that Grant's Vicksburg Campaign was decisive. There really was a "phase change" as a result, although that is an unusual way to describe it. Example: before Grant's campaign, the Confederates held a long stretch of the Mississippi River and effectively denied the use of it to the Union. After Vicksburg (and inevitably Port Hudson) fell, the Union had clear control of the river and was able to effectively interdict transit of forces and supplies across it to the Confederacy.

The balance of force part is (I beg your pardon here) nonsensical. An action was or was not decisive irrespective of the ratio of force involved. Such raw counting also ignores many other factors that would generally be called force multipliers, like the terrain and logistics involved. Grant's difficulty isn't numbers, it is finding a way to get his forces to a position where he can use those numbers. Pemberton does not succeed in December to March by numbers, he holds Grant off because of the great difficulty involved in approaching Vicksburg from the North.

Finally, starting March 29, Grant launches his final campaign against Vicksburg. This is a daring concept that Napoleon would have smiled at. Grant casts off his supply lines as he maneuvers to fight and defeat the Rebels facing him. Grant does not prosper here because of numbers: the Rebels in the general area are more than a match for his moving force. Grant catches them in detail, fighting and beating them time after time. Pemberton ends up besieged at Vicksburg because of Grant's fast-moving, aggressive campaign -- not because of numbers.

You seem to be saying that Grant achieved decisive results -- but you refuse to call them decisive results decisive because he had too many men.
 
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trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
I think the best way to estimate the number surrendered at Vicksburg is to:

Start with the Aggregate Present totals (March 31) of the forces that got shut up in Vicksburg, as best we can estimate them. (This should, as I understand the accounting method, include the sick.)
Deduct a large % of the casualties (killed, captured, but not wounded) of the fighting at e.g. Champion Hill, most of which fell on the troops that would be shut up in Vicksburg.

Deduct the casualties of the Vicksburg assaults (again, killed and captured).

This should give an upper bound for the number of troops that should have been captured.



It's not like I combed the entire data set - I tried to load it into R for proper stats analysis or at least to key by regiment and company first but it's not formatted nicely for that. I found an unambiguous double-count after a couple of minutes.

Spotting all the double counts based on the parole records is much harder, because there's so much wiggle room - it's unambiguous that there was only one first sergeant of Company A of the 39th Georgia Infantry, but what about these entries?

TAYLOR JESSE E PVT 1ST AR INF F FIELD
TAYLOR JESSE PVT 1ST AR INF F FIELD



These ones certainly show something funny was going on:



THIBODEAUX EDWARD PVT 1ST LA ART I FIELD
THIBODEAUX EDWARD PVT 1ST LA ART I refused parole
THIBODEAUX G C 4SGT 26TH LA INF D FIELD
THIBODEAUX J B PVT 1ST LA ART I FIELD
THIBODEAUX J B PVT 1ST LA ART I refused parole



It doesn't take long looking to find some examples.

Please: simply tell us how far off the number in the Official Reports you claim the number to be and why. You are simply pointing out ones and twos while claiming the number is wrong. Tell us what you actually think the number is before going into details to confuse the issue.
 

OpnCoronet

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
So when are you counting?

You seem to be comparing Grant's forces just after he crosses part of his army with Pemberton's entire department - when that department's about three hundred miles wide and it'd take three weeks to march across following a good road.
Grant crosses 30,768 men in a single body during one crossing, and the entire force in Vicksburg at the time is 29,719.
So. How are you counting?



I am not sure of your point. That Pemberton let himself be outmaneuvered and isolated, within his Dept., would seem to be a sign of good generalship on Grant's part and/or Bad on Pemberton's.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Finally, starting March 29, Grant launches his final campaign against Vicksburg. This is a daring concept that Napoleon would have smiled at. Grant casts off his supply lines as he maneuvers to fight and defeat the Rebels facing him. Grant does not prosper here because of numbers: the Rebels in the general area are more than a match for his moving force. Grant catches them in detail, fighting and beating them time after time.
Eh?
Grant crosses nearly 31,000 men before the first battle (Port Gibson) where he knocks away a ca. 5,000 man force; when he moves from his landing zone and his force is actually moving it's with about 42,000 PFD (as most of Sherman has arrived). There's not enough Rebels in the general area to equal him in numbers.


I'm also fairly sure he has a supply line, if only because his troops can eat.


Please: simply tell us how far off the number in the Official Reports you claim the number to be and why. You are simply pointing out ones and twos while claiming the number is wrong. Tell us what you actually think the number is before going into details to confuse the issue.


The point that I'm making is that we can verify that there is something wrong with the numbers. However, to identify all the cases of double counting in tens of thousands of entries would probably be a term's project for a historian.
 
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