How could the CSA have won the Atlanta Campaign?

gary

Captain
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Messages
6,338
#41
The Confederates lost it with a fail to follow up a Chickamauga. Had Rosecrans' been crushed, the Union would still have won, but it would have taken longer. Civil War armies were rarely destroyed in their entirety. Fort Donelson & Vicksburg are about the only examples of an entire army being vanquished.
 

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Joined
May 27, 2011
Messages
15,945
Location
los angeles ca
#42
Hood only faced 2 1/2 Corps during his invasion. Sherman had 7-8, plus cavalry and garrison troops. Thats a much taller order for Johnston to face off against.
The second scenario, leaving 2 divsions plus militia in Atlanta and operate against Sherman's rear, that MIGHT have been feasible.
Do you know the raw numbers for PFD troops on both sides? The fundamental problem of using terms such has division's and Corps is the PFD vs arrogate present varies so widely. For example while the average ACW regiment had 1k men the PFD was often well bellow that figure.
Leftyhunter
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2017
Messages
567
Location
Georgia
#43
The Confederates lost it with a fail to follow up a Chickamauga. Had Rosecrans' been crushed, the Union would still have won, but it would have taken longer. Civil War armies were rarely destroyed in their entirety. Fort Donelson & Vicksburg are about the only examples of an entire army being vanquished.
I take it you're suggesting Bragg actually manages to lay siege to Chattanooga? If I remember rightly, Bragg's troops had pretty big supply issues, so I don't know practicable this would have been.

If Longstreet doesn't begin the Knoxville Campaign, the extra corps could really be of use to the AoT.
 

gary

Captain
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Messages
6,338
#44
Nope. Bragg's army was too few in numbers, its ability to surround and isolate Chattanooga nil. Rather, pursue and scatter ala Rommel after a fallen foe.
 

JeffBrooks

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 20, 2009
Messages
2,099
Location
Manor, TX
#45
The Confederates lost it with a fail to follow up a Chickamauga. Had Rosecrans' been crushed, the Union would still have won, but it would have taken longer.
It's the "taken longer" matter that could have led to a Confederate victory. If the Confederates are still presenting a long-term, strong resistance in the summer and autumn of 1864, rather than being knocked back on their heels at places like Atlanta and the Shenandoah Valley, the election of 1864 goes to the Democrats, which has the potential to change the outcome of the war.

Of course, this clearly applies to the Atlanta Campaign as well, which is the topic of the thread.
 
Joined
May 27, 2011
Messages
15,945
Location
los angeles ca
#46
I take it you're suggesting Bragg actually manages to lay siege to Chattanooga? If I remember rightly, Bragg's troops had pretty big supply issues, so I don't know practicable this would have been.

If Longstreet doesn't begin the Knoxville Campaign, the extra corps could really be of use to the AoT.
I have read a while back but don't have the source that Bragg had adequate food supplies but for some reason Bragg didn't give his front line troops adequate amounts of food who were besieging Chattanooga.
Maybe someone one could clarify that issue.
I never quite understood why Longstreet and Bragg could not work as a team to besiege Chattanooga . Yes they may of hated each other's guts but it's hard to understand why they couldn't but their differences aside and focus on the critical task of starving out the AoC. Also how did Bragg not know of General Hooker's 20k man relief force?
Leftyhunter
 

JeffBrooks

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 20, 2009
Messages
2,099
Location
Manor, TX
#47
As long as we're tossing out "what ifs"...why didn't Johnston take advantage of Shoup's fortified Chattahoochie line? He gave it up without a fight. I realize he was outflanked again, but he apparently didn't even try to utilize it. It was said it was designed to be held by 3,000 men against whatever Sherman might want to throw against it. Of course, I realize you can't just let the him go around it if it's going to be effective...
Perhaps Johnston wanted to lure Sherman onto the south bank of the Chattahoochee River. After all, launching a counter attack and inflicting a defeat on Sherman north of the Chattahoochee would not have been decisive. Such a victory on the south bank of the Chattahoochee, however, would present the opportunity to pin a large portion of Sherman's army against the river and possibly force its surrender - in other words, to achieve truly decisive results.

Of course, the obvious argument against this is that Johnston never really articulated that he considered such a course of action in his extensive memoirs after the war.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 2, 2017
Messages
567
Location
Georgia
#48
If Johnston had defended Snake Creek Gap, that could have been really helpful. Whether this would have offered Johnston the chance to make a counterattack against Sherman (JEJ's basic plan was "defend against enemy attack, then counterattack when the opportunity arises), I'm not sure.
 
Joined
Nov 8, 2018
Messages
332
#49
If Johnston had defended Snake Creek Gap, that could have been really helpful. Whether this would have offered Johnston the chance to make a counterattack against Sherman (JEJ's basic plan was "defend against enemy attack, then counterattack when the opportunity arises), I'm not sure.
I mean, if he held Sherman at Rocky Face Ridge, he wins by default, because Sherman does nothing while Grant suffers in Virginia, losing the election for Lincoln.
If Sherman took a route through Alabama or tried to pull a Hannibal through the Carolinas, where supplies are limited, he would suffer severely, even before he meets JEJ again.
If Sherman decides to attack RFR head on, he will make Kennesaw look like a skirmish in terms of casualties.
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2017
Messages
567
Location
Georgia
#50
I mean, if he held Sherman at Rocky Face Ridge, he wins by default, because Sherman does nothing while Grant suffers in Virginia, losing the election for Lincoln.
If Sherman took a route through Alabama or tried to pull a Hannibal through the Carolinas, where supplies are limited, he would suffer severely, even before he meets JEJ again.
If Sherman decides to attack RFR head on, he will make Kennesaw look like a skirmish in terms of casualties.
I don't know much at all about the gaps and passes of north Georgia, along with the road network, so I'm not if Sherman couldn't just flank the AoT somewhere else. I'm reading Decision in the West at the moment, and it seems Sherman knew bulling through RFR would be a disaster (unless the Army of the Cumberland could be issued jetpacks). I suppose he could leave Thomas in front of Johnston while McPherson and Schofield go on a wide flanking move via Alabama, but then we run into supply issues (as you said in your post).
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 8, 2018
Messages
332
#51
I don't know much at all about the gaps and passes of north Georgia, along with the road network, so I'm not if Sherman couldn't just flank the AoT somewhere else. I'm reading Decision in the West at the moment, and it seems Sherman knew bulling through RFR would be a disaster (unless the Army of the Cumberland could be issued jetpacks). I suppose he could leave Thomas in front of Johnston while McPherson and Schofield go on a wide flanking move via Alabama, but then we run into supply issues (as you said in your post).
Great book btw, Decision in the West.
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2017
Messages
567
Location
Georgia
#52
Great book btw, Decision in the West.
I just finished the section on RFR. I found JEJ shuffling his units around quite funny, as he tried to figure out what was the feint and what was the real attack. Cleburne must have groaned at being told to be ready to move his division back to Dug Gap, having just brought his two brigades back!
 
Joined
Nov 8, 2018
Messages
332
#53
I just finished the section on RFR. I found JEJ shuffling his units around quite funny, as he tried to figure out what was the feint and what was the real attack. Cleburne must have groaned at being told to be ready to move his division back to Dug Gap, having just brought his two brigades back!
Have a good read.
Honestly, I got up to the end of the Stoneman fiasco before i had to return my copy. Hopefully will get a permenant copy for my collection soon.
 

Joshism

Sergeant Major
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Messages
1,972
Location
Jupiter, FL
#55
I think Johnston had the right strategy, but bad execution.

Sherman probably had too many men to stop unless his supply lines could be sufficiently damaged (which was hard to do in 1864), he eventually takes Atlanta. However, with better execution like not missing a gap at the start of the campaign and effectively defending the Chattahoochee line, Sherman's progress is slowed considerably.

Once the campaign gets to Atlanta, the Confederates again had the right strategy: make use of the fortifications and sortie to stop Sherman from cutting the rail lines. But Hood's offensives were all overly ambitious and poorly coordinated. If they are better executed or if the Confederates can be on the "offensive-defensive" by maneuvering to block Sherman and make him do the attacking success is possible.

However, a best case scenario for the Confederates is probably 1864 ends with a partial siege of Atlanta, ala Petersburg.
 
Joined
Jun 24, 2015
Messages
621
Location
Talladega, Alabama
#57
Johnston had the chance to "slow down" Sherman a lot better than he did in the north Georgia mountains. Sherman wasn't all to sure of himself putting McPherson out on a island, which McPherson felt the same way and held back from getting in behind Johnston's line at Rocky Face.
Johnston had to hold the line at least until the November elections. This is my opinion was the South's only hope to come out not a winner but an end of war for the time being. ( If the South would have succeeded in their plans to succeed, another war would properly have had happened later on. The governments would have clashed heads often.)
As mention before the book, Decision in the West is being read. This book pretty much put Sherman at a loss to really do what his plans were. Okay, Sherman in this book really didn't have any concrete plan of attack, just keep moving south as Johnston allowed him to do. Thus.....if Johnston would have held ground, maybe, Sherman would have done the same but Johnston kind of made it easier for Sherman by just falling back and conceding the northern part of Georgia.
 
Joined
Nov 8, 2018
Messages
332
#59
With Jeff Davis runnin things...they could never have won!

Kevin Dally
With Braxton Bragg in a position of influence, they could never have one.
In Chastel's book, when Bragg was sent down to figure out who to replace Johnston, he chose Hood, more so because he despised Hardee for slights against him back when Bragg was in command. Hardee by and far had the better track record, even in that campaign, and had nearly 2 years of seniority over Hood. I doubt he would have single handedly wipe out Sherman's Mega-army and invade Tennessee, but I do not doubt he would hold Atlanta to the last drop if ordered.
 



(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Top