Discussion Grant v Lee

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
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.
The point is that Grant conducted a good campaign, but to say he was outnumbered is not true; it may also be that other generals wouldn't be given the leeway to operate for several months like that.
And by the 13th May Grant had a larger force over the river than Pemberton's entire department.




You seem to be saying that Grant achieved decisive results -- but you refuse to call decisive results decisive because he had too many men.
Perhaps; I suppose it may be an overreaction to the idea that Vicksburg also achieved useful strategic results in cutting off the trans-Mississippi.
 

OpnCoronet

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
The point is that Grant conducted a good campaign, but to say he was outnumbered is not true; it may also be that other generals wouldn't be given the leeway to operate for several months like that.
And by the 13th May Grant had a larger force over the river than Pemberton's entire department.





.


All I can say is that Pemberton at the beginning of Grant's had more troops under his command than Grant. That those troops were not available, contributed mightily to Grant's plan of using speed and mobility to keep southern forces separated and isolated, until he could open a supply route above Vicksburg. As a result the confederate advantage of numbers wiithin their dept., were never able to match that of Grant's smaller force at any strategic point of Grant's campaign. The numbers were there, just not where they needed to be, for confederate success.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
What I remember about Fuller is that he criticized Civil War generals for not solving the tactical problem of combing an artillery bombardment with an infantry advance. Geometry offered solutions, but the generals became so involved in actual combat that they were unable to study the solutions.
There were other problems to solve. For Grant those included combined arms operations, and copying Forrest's mobile infantry tactics.
Lee was particularly slow to realize that his biggest successes occurred when he advanced with cover, or his defenders were stationary.
Grant moved away from tactics to the operational level, and then to the strategic level.
The tactical innovators were probably a lower level, with Forrest, Wilson and Emory Upton being those people that were changing things.
Civil War combat became much more dependent on terrain and cover than Fuller realized.
I think Sherman's Tennesse/Georgia campaign also had more impact than Fuller covered. Good book though. Not a scholarly masterpiece, but a different look than what had been done up until that time.
 
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Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
I took a random sample of 400 consecutive records from the surrender (at the start of the N section up to the Noonan surname).

I only considered it a double count when the surname matched, the regiment and battery/company matched, and the rest of the name matched aside from matters of an initial missing/present.
I included as dubious those cases which could easily be transcription errors in initials only and where everything else matched.
e.g. J L Newman and J W Newman are counted as different people despite having the same company in the same regiment.

Double counts:

A F Naff, captain of the 6th Mississippi infantry
H S Nealy, private of battery H of the 1st LA Artillery.
Charles Nichols, private of Coy A of the 3rd LA Infantry
John W Nichols, private of coy E of the 46th MS infantry - appears three times, twice as John W and once as J W
(dubious) I/J Noland, private of Battery E of the 1st MS artillery.
(dubious) J P/R Nelson, private of coy A of the 20th AL Inf.

Based on this, it looks like those 400 records are for no more than 395 real people. This does not seem statistically significant, though I did skip several potential double-counts.


As of the start of the campaign, campaign strength is:


PFD: 24,100
Present: 31,133
Present and Absent: 41,227

Definitely unrecoverable casualties:

Grand Gulf 3 KIA
Port Gibson: "several hundred" prisoners (assume 300?)
Raymond 100 KIA 415 Captured
Jackson casualty breakdown unknown
Champion Hill 381 KIA 2441 captured/missing
Big Black River Bridge 1700 captured, "many others" drowned trying to cross river

Lowest estimate of losses that could not possibly be in the hospital: 5430
(highest estimate: ca. 10,000)




June 30 1863 there were 29,376 aggregate present and absent in Vicksbug, though this could include people on furlough who wouldn't actually be with the army (and thus not in Vicksburg).

Claimed surrenders: 29,495.


It looks like the count of surrenders is roughly the count of aggregate present and absent, with an expected number of double counts at about 500.


Possible future analyses to follow up on this: check the June 30 1863 report for a single brigade AP and APA and then focus specifically on the entries from the regiments making up that brigade.




All I can say is that Pemberton at the beginning of Grant's had more troops under his command than Grant.
Well, yes, if you compare Pemberton's entire department to the force Grant crossed the river with on the first night (until he moved the next few disivions over), but the reason why Pemberton's entire department couldn't descent on Grant was because of Grant's entire department and also the Dept. of the Gulf which Grant was under orders to support.


The first soldier who stepped off the boat was outnumbered over 20,000 to one, until the second one stepped off...
 

OpnCoronet

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
What would have been the numbers at Champion's Hill, if Pemberton had broght his whole command from Vicksburg with him, as Johnston wanted him to do.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
What would have been the numbers at Champion's Hill, if Pemberton had broght his whole command from Vicksburg with him, as Johnston wanted him to do.

Let's see... fortunately 67th has looked at this for Champion Hill specifically.

So if we count the forces at Vicksburg itself in one big lump (including Loring) and add in the forces Johnston had around Jackson, the total force in the field against Grant was:


In the Vicksburg defences and covering field forces: 29,719
Johnston's Forces in vicinity of Jackson ca. 14th May: 7,580

Total in the field, including Gist ca. 14-16 May: 37,299

I'll tally up the Union forces in a bit.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
April 30 strengths for units actually at Champion Hill

13th Corps:
9th
10th
12th
14th
Whole thing - District of Arkansas, so total 1,007 officers and 16,680 men

15th Corps:

2nd Division
320 officers and 5,597 men


17th Corps:
3rd and 7th divisions
11,569 total

Grand total 35,173

Other troops over the river:
15th Corps, 1st and 3rd divisions (back towards Jackson)
8,123

I need to confirm whether the 6th division of 17th corps was over the river.

But without 6th of the 17th, as of the Battle of Champion Hill you have effectively:

Grant's forces that fought at Champion Hill 35,173
Largest possible force Pemberton could have opposed them with by emptying the city 29,719

Johnston's possible force around Jackson 7,580
Units from Grant's moving column not at Champion Hill 8,123

It means the issue is in doubt. So it would have been a superior move for Pemberton to make, though if Grant had also crossed 6th of the 17th by then his total force on the east bank would have been about 47,000 (as against total Confederate forces of 37,000).


This concords with the idea that Grant built up the forces he needed for an offensive superiority before launching; it's the prudent thing to do.
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
April 30 strengths for units actually at Champion Hill

13th Corps:
9th
10th
12th
14th
Whole thing - District of Arkansas, so total 1,007 officers and 16,680 men

15th Corps:

2nd Division
320 officers and 5,597 men


17th Corps:
3rd and 7th divisions
11,569 total

Grand total 35,173

Other troops over the river:
15th Corps, 1st and 3rd divisions (back towards Jackson)
8,123

I need to confirm whether the 6th division of 17th corps was over the river.

But without 6th of the 17th, as of the Battle of Champion Hill you have effectively:

Grant's forces that fought at Champion Hill 35,173
Largest possible force Pemberton could have opposed them with by emptying the city 29,719

Johnston's possible force around Jackson 7,580
Units from Grant's moving column not at Champion Hill 8,123

It means the issue is in doubt. So it would have been a superior move for Pemberton to make, though if Grant had also crossed 6th of the 17th by then his total force on the east bank would have been about 47,000 (as against total Confederate forces of 37,000).


This concords with the idea that Grant built up the forces he needed for an offensive superiority before launching; it's the prudent thing to do.
Timothy Smith and other historians who have studied Champion Hill put Grants numbers at 32,000. So it would have been closer to 32,000 federals vs 30,000 confederates if Pemberton had emptied Vicksburg for the battle.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Timothy Smith and other historians who have studied Champion Hill put Grants numbers at 32,000. So it would have been closer to 32,000 federals vs 30,000 confederates if Pemberton had emptied Vicksburg for the battle.
What's that based on? Does he give a source?
I mean, don't forget, I've avoided counting casualties. In both cases I'm going straight from the ORs; indeed I'm using older ORs for Pemberton which should have the effect of slightly inflating his forces.
Since it's possible the reduction is the result of casualties, though, I'll consider that.

Port Gibson doesn't change the relative force balance much (it's -861 Union -787 Confederate, going by wiki) and Raymond involves Gregg's brigade (so it reduces the force in Johnston's possible force by 820 and Grant's forces in 17th Corps by 446). I should also note at this point that I managed to confirm that 6th of the 17th was at Champion Hill because the individual regiments were there.

At Jackson the Army of the Tennessee suffers 286 casualties and the Jackson garrison suffers 850.

Net effect by the time of Champion Hill:
1,575 Union casualties compared to OR counts.
787 Confederate Vicksburg casualties compared to OR counts.
1,670 Confederate Jackson Force casualties compared to OR counts.

Recapitulation:


April 30 strengths for units actually at Champion Hill

13th Corps:
9th
10th
12th
14th
Whole thing - District of Arkansas, so total 1,007 officers and 16,680 men

15th Corps:
2nd Division
320 officers and 5,597 men


17th Corps:
Entire force (908 officers and 14,940 men)

Casualties suffered since crossing river
-1,575

Grant force at Champion Hill
39,452 -1,575 = 37,877
Confederate force opposing him
29,719 - 787 = 28,932
Approx. 4:3 odds


Other troops over the river:
15th Corps, 1st and 3rd divisions (back towards Jackson)
8,123
Force around Jackson that could oppose them
7,580 - 1,670 = 5,910
Approx. 4:3 odds again

This indicates good operational handling by Grant - he has a superiority over both possible opponents.


I'm not at all sure where the 32,000 number can possibly have come from, unless Grant had some forces detached; after pre-Champion-Hill casualties his total force over the river is 46,000. (And yes, that's exact, though it wouldn't be a round number if I counted the tiny casualties from Grand Gulf.)
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
If what's going on is that Timothy Smith is discounting Grant's forces because of detached troops, or because he's reducing Grant down from PFD to effectives, that's perfectly fine; however, we should reduce Pemberton's forces down in the same way if it's due to effectives. The amount of troops that would need to be detached to reduce Grant's Champion Hill forces down to 32,000 would show up (it's roughly equivalent to one in six, on top of the two divisions back around Jackson).
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
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.

I have not gone and checked this, but I am pretty sure you are including Hurlbut's command up near Memphis in those totals for Grant's Department of the Tennessee. Sixteenth Corps and other troops are part of Grant's command, but they need to do many other things, normal duties that tie troops up guarding the LOC, protecting supplies, occupying territory and operating against Confederates other than the ones you are counting (Example: Hurlbut is sending Dodge out with 4,000 troops to co-operate with the Marine Brigade and an expedition from Rosecrans in April -- which would likely mean Bragg's command, which you are not counting.) This is just the normal requirement for an army on the offensive to detact a great many troops to protect its' LOC as it advances.

Hurlbut does indeed work for Grant -- but using today's Interstate highway system Memphis is 246 miles from Vicksburg. Claiming that troops in and around Memphis are "at Vicksburg and environs" is about the same as saying Union troops in and around Philadelphia are at Richmond and environs (roughly 250 miles away).
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
If what's going on is that Timothy Smith is discounting Grant's forces because of detached troops, or because he's reducing Grant down from PFD to effectives, that's perfectly fine; however, we should reduce Pemberton's forces down in the same way if it's due to effectives. The amount of troops that would need to be detached to reduce Grant's Champion Hill forces down to 32,000 would show up (it's roughly equivalent to one in six, on top of the two divisions back around Jackson).
Smith has federal forces at 32,000 and the confederate forces at 23,000.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Claiming that troops in and around Memphis are "at Vicksburg and environs" is about the same as saying Union troops in and around Philadelphia are at Richmond and environs (roughly 250 miles away).
But the post doesn't do that. It states that Grant had 1.6x what Pemberton did "at Vicksburg and environs", not 3x.
 

Saphroneth

Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Smith has federal forces at 32,000 and the confederate forces at 23,000.
Okay, so it looks like it's counting effectives. As that's reducing from PFD down to effectives by multiplying by about 0.85, that means that the theoretical maximum for Pemberton's forces at Champion Hill comes to 28,932 x 0.85, or about 24,500.

So in effectives it would be 32,000 vs. 24,500.
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
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.

Why are you unwilling to say what you mean here? You claim the number surrendered is wrong, but are somehow unable to say how much off you think it is? Why?

Why not simply say you think it is off by 100 or 500 or 1,000 or 10,000? What is the difficulty?
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
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.

The whole point of Grant's campaign is to move rapidly and attack the enemy at an advantage. He does it successfully six times in a few weeks. This is an astonishing accomplishment that you simply wish to hide from. If we change the name "Grant" to "McClellan" you'd be telling us how it was proof positive of the man's absolute brilliance.

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

You seem to be going out of your way to deny well-known history here. As Grant leaves the river and moves on Jackson, he casts loose from his LOC and has no supply line until after he reaches Vicksburg and re-establishes communication with the Navy on the Mississippi. He determined to load his wagons with all that he could before leaving and then scour the land to provide for his troops. Are you somehow claiming that this did not happen?

Here is Sherman in his Memoirs, talking about marching without a supply line:
This is the letter which some critics have styled a "protest." We never had a council of war at any time during the Vicksburg campaign. We often met casually, regardless of rank or power, and talked and gossiped of things in general, as officers do and should. But my letter speaks for itself—it shows my opinions clearly at that stage of the game, and was meant partially to induce General Grant to call on General McClernand for a similar expression of opinion, but, so far as I know, he did not. He went on quietly to work out his own designs; and he has told me, since the war, that had we possessed in December, 1862, the experience of marching and maintaining armies without a regular base, which we afterward acquired, he would have gone on from Oxford as first contemplated, and would not have turned back because of the destruction of his depot at Holly Springs by Van Dorn. The distance from Oxford to the rear of Vicksburg is little greater than by the circuitous route we afterward followed, from Bruinsburg to Jackson and Vicksburg, during which we had neither depot nor train of supplies. I have never criticised General Grant's strategy on this or any other occasion, but I thought then that he had lost an opportunity, which cost him and us six months' extra-hard work, for we might have captured Vicksburg from the direction of Oxford in January, quite as easily as was afterward done in July, 1863.
Also, here is Sherman's delivered opinion on the Grant's campaign:
Port Hudson had surrendered to General Banks on the 8th of July (a necessary consequence of the fall of Vicksburg), and thus terminated probably the most important enterprise of the civil war—the recovery of the complete control of the Mississippi River, from its source to its mouth—or, in the language of Mr. Lincoln, the Mississippi went "unvexed to the sea."
That appears to be a strong vote for "decisive".
 
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Specster

Sergeant Major
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
Location
Mass.
I think Grant had more significant victories in his career than Lee did. examples would be Shiloh, Vicksburg, maybe Chattanooga. While Lee had some nice victories, were any of them decisive? I can't think of one.
Shiloh could be described as a near disaster of his own making (although I would just say that it was an impressive victory), Chattanooga was amazing, but Vicksburg was a master piece which has been studied in military colleges around the world to this day. Many people would like to focus on Grant with overwhelming assets in the East. What he did in the West was nothing short of amazing - especially given what he had been thru in the prior decade and Halleck sniping him behind his back
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Shiloh could be described as a near disaster of his own making (although I would just say that it was an impressive victory), Chattanooga was amazing, but Vicksburg was a master piece which has been studied in military colleges around the world to this day. Many people would like to focus on Grant with overwhelming assets in the East. What he did in the West was nothing short of amazing - especially given what he had been thru in the prior decade and Halleck sniping him behind his back

On Shiloh:
Grant certainly deserves a lot of criticism for Shiloh as do others (Sherman was actually in charge of setting up the camps, IIRR, and many lower commanders seem astonishingly lax). Few seem to have had a sense of danger approaching. Way too many soldiers are showing their inexperience here. It is hard to imagine something like this happening a year later.​

On Chattanooga:
As far as actual battle plans go, Grant's fell apart early at Chattanooga. Sherman was supposed to be the decisive blow; Hooker was supposed to be a diversion and Thomas was supposed to wait until Sherman was winning before doing anything. Sherman flopped, Hooker succeeded, and when Thomas was ordered to make a diversionary attack to help Sherman his men kept going and took the ridge against orders. Grant then made lemonade with the lemons of his plan, showing the good side of his leadership.​

On Vicksburg:
An amazing piece of insight and generalship that shows development over the last 12 months of his career (from Henry & Donelson onward). Notably, this is the 2nd time Grant has pinned a large Confederate force against a river and destroyed it, but Vicksburg is better than Donelson.​
 

rbasin

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Location
Tampa, Fl
Shiloh could be described as a near disaster of his own making (although I would just say that it was an impressive victory), Chattanooga was amazing, but Vicksburg was a master piece which has been studied in military colleges around the world to this day. Many people would like to focus on Grant with overwhelming assets in the East. What he did in the West was nothing short of amazing - especially given what he had been thru in the prior decade and Halleck sniping him behind his back

Agreed with everything you wrote, except one. when did Halleck snipe at him?
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Lee was part of the nobility. He had married upwards in the Virginian nobility. He believed in the American version of the landed nobility presiding over a class of unfree laborers. He is comparable to Tolstoy's fictional Andrei Bolkonsky. The system was already obsolete even in Russia by 1814, though it struggled on in Russia until Alexander II, and in the USA based on a cruel racial classification.
The tragedy of Lee was committing to a system which had no place in the modern world. Tolstoy allowed his fictional Bolkonsky to die, but Lee lived to see the old Virginia system wither away as the rest of the US bypassed the south. Grant was from Ohio. Though he did get standard nationalizing training at West Point, relative the east coast patricians, he was a barbarian. And they never let him forget it. Tolstoy's Vasily Denisov is the comparable character. Grant spent time in Missouri, Texas, and Mexico. He traversed Panama twice and spent time in California and Oregon with the other young officers.
Grant was disposable up until Vicksburg. The difference between the US Civil War and Tolstoy's fictional account of the Napoloenic war is that Winfield Scott, the Civil War figure most comparable to Tolstoy's fictional representation of Kutuzov never let Grant's outsider status conceal his ability to manage an operation.
 
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