Both Lincoln & Grant were correct. The Emancipation Proclamation came into effect on January 1st 1863. For political purposes, a military victory had to accompany the Proclamation. As my coach used to say, it’s a win, not this kind or that kind, it’s a win.A fun study to study Grant and see why he came to that conclusion.
Lincoln didn’t agree with him.
To your point, my favorite passage in Grant's Memoirs has always been this one regarding his attack on an enemy encampment in 1861:Both Lincoln & Grant were correct. The Emancipation Proclamation came into effect on January 1st 1863. For political purposes, a military victory had to accompany the Proclamation. As my coach used to say, it’s a win, not this kind or that kind, it’s a win.
What Grant understood is that your opponent is just as tired & scared as you are. There is nothing more vulnerable than a defeated force in retreat. As Forrest said, once you get a skeer on ‘em... All the men & land that Rosecrans did not take when he could had to be fought & fought at great cost later.
Lincoln & Grant understood the other’s point of view & acted accordingly.
Rosecrans had very accurate intel. The man who ran the A of TN telegraphic office was a spy. He not only developed Bragg’s codes, he gave them to Rosecrans. The false CSA’s doctrine of cavalry raiding was also a great boon. The illusionary belief in cavalry’s ability to deprive the 14th Army Corps of vital supplies & force Rosecrans to retreat stripped Bragg of 2/3rds of his cavalry. Wheeler then compounded the error by riding his cavalry out of the battle on a foolish raid.I have always thought it was revealing that Burnside caved to the pressure from Washington to attack at Fredericksburg; Rosecrans resisted until he was satisfied with his logistics supplies.
Some great information here. In Rosey's defense, I would offer this:View attachment 395882The weekend of March 26-27 2021 was punctuated by violent thunderstorms & tornados marching across Middle Tennessee. On both General Bragg & General Rosecrans' maps 3/4th of the Army of Tennessee was deployed on the northern bank of Stones River. There are only a small number of places where the river could be forded or was bridged. Most any day of the year, you can wade across McFadden's Ford. Middle Tennessee is a karst area, i.e., the entire region is one vast slab of limestone with a thin layer of dirt sprinkled over it. Hard rains run right off & creeks that are normally ankle deep to small wading children turn into raging torrents.
McFadden's Ford March 28, 2021, Stones River NB
Bragg knew this when he deployed his army on the night of December 30, 1862. Whatever the tactical outcome, he risked isolating the bulk of his army on the wrong bank of Stones River where it would face Rosecrans' army unsupported. His army would, at the best of times, be forced to withdraw across the few bridges. After the defeat of Breckenridge's attack, which took place beneath the water in this photo, Bragg was in real danger of having his army trapped by rising water & forces Rosecrans had sent across McFadden's Ford. Bragg's position was untenable.
Rosecrans' position on the high ground that dominated the road nexus at Murfreesboro was both unassailable & threatening. The map doesn't lie. It was only Rosecrans' inaction on the 3rd of January that allowed Bragg to make a reasonably orderly withdrawal. Victory, for Bragg, was narrowed to successfully withdrawing what remained of his army. The retreat was almost unimaginably awful. Men marched through icy muck reaching mid thigh. They arrived at their assigned camps without any camp equipment of any kind. It was only Rosecrans' typical pause to regroup & reorganize before beginning a tentative advance that saved Bragg's army from a crushing defeat.
The point is that if Bragg’s dispirited veterans could make it to Shelbyville, the fresh troops from Lebanon & the Nashville garrison could have as well. Because Bragg had ordered no rally point, the bulk of the army retreated south of Shelbyville. The Elk River was raising as well. Elements of the A of TN could have been overcome in detail, pinned against the Elk. Shelbyville, the key to southern Middle TN was there for the taking. It was only after it became clear that Rosecrsns had stopped short, ten miles away, that Bragg ordered his army to about face & reoccupy Shelbyville.Some great information here. In Rosey's defense, I would offer this:
"Men marched through icy muck reaching mid thigh. They arrived at their assigned camps without any camp equipment of any kind. It was only Rosecrans' typical pause to regroup & reorganize before beginning a tentative advance that saved Bragg's army from a crushing defeat."
Those roads were equally bad for Rosecrans' army - especially his field artillery. I also think that people tend to underestimate the effects of a "victory" on the winner in Civil War combat. The Federals had suffered nearly 13,000 casualties - including two division commanders wounded and several brigade commanders KIA/MW. That alone significantly hampers an immediate and effective pursuit. And Civil War armies were notoriously difficult to destroy. Of course, it takes two and it sounds as if Bragg's army may have been unable to put up much in response.
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