Grant's heaviest loss

Grant's heaviest loss

  • Leonidas Polk

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • John C. Pemberton

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    30

Saruman

Sergeant
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
Well, considering his two main superior officers were Fremont and Halleck, I think he managed pretty well. Better than both of them. If he exceeded orders, it was to do more and fight more.

I think this Belmont debate has exhausted itself and some other posters are being triggered, so I'll make this my final post on the matter.

In summary, the action at Belmont failed to achieve Fremont's strategic objectives and was a tactical failure for Grant.

Strategic outcome:

1) Fremont ordered Grant to demonstrate against Belmont to prevent Confederate troop movements from Tennessee and Kentucky into Missouri. However, Polk never had any intention to reinforce Price's army so Fremont's order was misguided. Grant's action at Belmont had no effect on the Confederates' ability to move troops from Tennessee and Kentucky into Missouri if so desired. Access through southeastern Missouri was not restricted to them in any way.

2) Fremont ordered Grant to drive Thompson into Arkansas. The action at Belmont failed in all respects. Only a week later Thompson was successfully attacking Union shipping and Grant scrambled to assemble men to chase him down... and failed.

3) Fremont ordered Grant to demonstrate against Columbus but not attack. Grant disregarded this order and suffered a bloody repulse.

Tactical outcome:

1) Grant dispersed Pillow's poorly positioned troops and burnt Camp Johnston, but then his own forces were routed by Polk and Cheatham with heavy losses.

2) Grant lost most of his personal possessions in the rout and only the chivalry of Cheatham prevented him from being shot down.

Thanks for the debate and thanks for remaining civil in your responses.
 

DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
I think this Belmont debate has exhausted itself and some other posters are being triggered, so I'll make this my final post on the matter.

In summary, the action at Belmont failed to achieve Fremont's strategic objectives and was a tactical failure for Grant.

Strategic outcome:

1) Fremont ordered Grant to demonstrate against Belmont to prevent Confederate troop movements from Tennessee and Kentucky into Missouri. However, Polk never had any intention to reinforce Price's army so Fremont's order was misguided. Grant's action at Belmont had no effect on the Confederates' ability to move troops from Tennessee and Kentucky into Missouri if so desired. Access through southeastern Missouri was not restricted to them in any way.

2) Fremont ordered Grant to drive Thompson into Arkansas. The action at Belmont failed in all respects. Only a week later Thompson was successfully attacking Union shipping and Grant scrambled to assemble men to chase him down... and failed.

3) Fremont ordered Grant to demonstrate against Columbus but not attack. Grant disregarded this order and suffered a bloody repulse.

Tactical outcome:

1) Grant dispersed Pillow's poorly positioned troops and burnt Camp Johnston, but then his own forces were routed by Polk and Cheatham with heavy losses.

2) Grant lost most of his personal possessions in the rout and only the chivalry of Cheatham prevented him from being shot down.

Thanks for the debate and thanks for remaining civil in your responses.
Okay, now that I have some time, I'll let this be my final post on the subject:

In summary, Grant's expedition against Belmont succeeded in achieving Fremont's strategic objective of occupying the confederate troops on the Mississippi so that they wouldn't reinforce Price. There was no intention for the federals to affect the confederates ability to detach troops. Only to affect their willingness to detach troops from Columbus. And in fact, Fremont expected this objective to be successful by approaching no closer than 20 miles north of Columbus, around Charleston, MO and Blandville, KY. Grant decided on his own to get much closer, and "menace" Belmont.

Grants expedition also succeeded in achieving his own strategic objective of keeping Polk from detaching a force to fall on the rear of the separate expedition against Thompson.

Tactically, the battle was a slight victory for the Union. There was no intention by Grant of staying and holding Belmont, and the Confederates suffered more casualties than the Union soldiers. US casualties were 456, CS casualties were 641.

Finally, here is how Timothy Smith characterized the Battle of Belmont in his excellent book, Grant Invades Tennessee, The 1862 Battles for Forts Henry and Donelson:

"Still, the battle had larger ramifications; in a period when no one else was doing much of anything, Grant was not afraid to fight the enemy.​
People began to notice as news of this new commander Grant first became known. His first major attempt to do something other than watch the enemy, as so many of the other Union front-line commanders were doing, resulted in positive outcomes. Obviously, the strategic idea of keeping Confederate troops pinned down in Columbus succeeded, allowing other commanders flexibility to deal with other crises. Perhaps more importantly, Grant later noted that this initial fighting created for the troops a "confidence in themselves" that would last, for those units, the entire war. Perhaps too, while Belmont did not go strictly according to plan and could have easily resulted in a major loss, Grant's troops learned to have confidence in their commander. At the least, they learned that no matter how badly things went in battle, Grant was not going to give up.​
It was a good lesson for the future."​
 
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