Research Red River politics

NedBaldwin

Major
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
Not sure what Halleck was thinking about and who these western generals were. But after the fall of Vicksburg, the trans-Mississippi theater was no longer a critical military one in the fight to defeat the Confederacy. Grant himself had advocated a campaign against Mobile and reluctantly agreed to send a portion of A.J. Smith's Corps of the Army of the Tennessee to Banks, with a strict time proviso after which that force needed to go back to Sherman for operations to the east. Doesn't show much confidence that the RR campaign was all that important.
After the fall of Vicksburg, Halleck wrote Grant that " Before attempting Mobile I think it will be best to clean up a little. Johnston should be disposed of; also Price, Marmaduke, &c., so as to hold the line of the Arkansas River. This will enable us to withdraw troops from Missouri, Vicksburg, and Port Hudson, remodeled so as to be tenable by small garrisons; also assist General Banks in cleaning out Western Louisiana. When these things are accomplished there will be a large available force to operate either on Mobile or Texas. " and "what is to be done with the forces available for the field? This is an important question, which should be carefully considered. If Johnston should unite with Bragg, we may be obliged to send Rosecrans more troops than the NINTH Corps. Some re-enforcements will soon go to banks from the North, but he will probably require troops from you, even after the fall of Port Hudson, to drive Magruder and Taylor from Louisiana. Large forces are comparatively neutralized in Missouri by the forces of Price and Marmaduke threatening the southern frontier of that State. If Little Rock and the line of the Arkansas River were held by us, all of Arkansas north of that river would soon be cleared of the enemy, and all the troops in Missouri, except the militia, could join your army in its operations at the South. If driven from Northern Arkansas and Southern Louisiana, the enemy would probably operate on the Tensas, Washita, and Red Rivers; but, with the gunboats and forces you could send against him, I do not believe he could accomplish anything of importance. If the organized rebel forces could be driven from Arkansas and Louisiana, these States would immediately be restored to the Union. Texas would follow, almost of its own accord." So Halleck had the trans-Mississippi theater on the brain after Vicksburg.

As for Grant, after he replaced Halleck he sent his first order to Banks which said " I regard the success of your present move as of great importance in reducing the number of troops necessary for protecting the navigation of the Mississippi River. "

The defeat of the Trans-Mississippi confederates on the Red River was expected to allow for a more efficient defense of the Trans-Mississippi (In January 1864 Halleck had written to Steele in Arkansas: " It is hoped that measures may hereafter be concerted between yourself, General Sherman, and General Banks to drive the enemy entirely out of Arkansas and then occupy the line of Red River, which is shorter and probably easier of defense")
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
I provided a source.

Radicals Wanted to put the Southern States back into the territorial stage. A Do Over. Don’t think they were too worried about the Constitution. Texas had a lot of unsettled lands. As you noted, lands were confiscated during the War. Cotton was confiscated, it wasn’t all speculation. Yankees moved South during the War and after. Rented occupied lands during the war, from the Federal Government and grew Cotton. Yankees tried to grow Cotton above 36/30 and failed. They coveted Southern Lands. Thought the Negro was slothful, Slaveholders were laze. Though they could grow Cotton cheaper. Get rid of the Blacks if necessary. Use poor whites. Ending Slavery was about the benefit to Whites.

Why some look at the results of the War to determine reason for actions during the War, is beyond me.
But that's not what actually happened. Texas was not colonized by anyone. Once the war was over the previous landowners still had their land.
Please detail post war efforts by white Texans to ensure full racial equality.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Before the war there was talk of getting "Yanks" to move to Texas, purchase land and set up 'free-labor' farms. It was similar to what had happened in the "colonization" of Kansas -- look up the New England Emigrant Aid Company.
The war put this plan on hold.
However American citizens buying land in an American state would not equal colonization.
Leftyhunter
 

jackt62

Captain
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
I would not necessarily place undue emphasis on Halleck's grasp of military strategy and his strength in putting forth positions, something for which he was not known for, and for which Lincoln considered a major fault.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
That is what Halleck wrote, but it has nothing to do with French influence on Texas. Its not a very realistic appraisal of the difficulties of the US in operating in so. Arkansas, w. Louisiana, or e. Texas. Neither during the war, nor after the Civil War ended, was the US willing to bear the cost of operating in those areas.
 

NedBaldwin

Major
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
I would not necessarily place undue emphasis on Halleck's grasp of military strategy and his strength in putting forth positions, something for which he was not known for, and for which Lincoln considered a major fault.
Whatever his "grasp" of it was, he was the man in charge at the time giving strategic direction to Grant, Banks, Meade, Rosecrans etc. So yeah his "grasp" might have been faulty, but one must place substantial emphasis on what he was saying at the time simply because of his role.

We could compare it to what Lincoln was saying about his own ideas for wanting the Red River campaign...
which was...
ummm...
well...
[crickets]
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Whatever his "grasp" of it was, he was the man in charge at the time giving strategic direction to Grant, Banks, Meade, Rosecrans etc. So yeah his "grasp" might have been faulty, but one must place substantial emphasis on what he was saying at the time simply because of his role.

We could compare it to what Lincoln was saying about his own ideas for wanting the Red River campaign...
which was...
ummm...
well...
[crickets]
However you have combined the post Vicksburg time frame, when Tennessee and Arkansas were important issues, with the January 1864 time frame, when Halleck's control was being challenged by the advocates of a promotion for Grant.
Grant seemed to have been preparing for a Georgia campaign and suggesting enlarging the North Carolina enclave. Also Grant had been in Louisiana and Texas, and was probably more aware of how undeveloped those areas were. So he may have been more concerned with the cost of campaigning there and the cost to the US of a presence in those states.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
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Location
Denver, CO
I think Halleck's thoughts are always a reflection of Lincoln's ideas. Halleck had very few ideas of his own and had little knowledge of the US other than California and New York.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Halleck is justifying the campaign based on the incorrect assumption that Louisiana would return to US allegiance and Texas would quickly follow. That never happened.
The military justification of the operation was strained. The operation was unsuccessful, and it was other operations at Mobile, in Georgia and North Carolina that set the stage for complete victory.
 
Joined
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Location
mo
But that's not what actually happened. Texas was not colonized by anyone. Once the war was over the previous landowners still had their land.
Please detail post war efforts by white Texans to ensure full racial equality.
Leftyhunter
Perhaps they were waiting on white Californians to set an example of ensuring full racial equality.........what a silly remark as I think the record shows no state ensured full racial equality, north/south/ or west.....so it makes little sense for you to expect states of just one region to have....
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Location
mo
The campaign as part of the overall strategy for the T-M seems rather far fetched to me.......which basically was to gain and hold Missouri which a northern-central Ark line accomplished, and to gain and hold the Mississippi. The RR campaign did or would add little to either.

It's seems a local and political impetus, as it comes rather suddenly out of left field to switch emphasis from Mobile to RR, then after the rather half hearted effort fails, it reverts back on Mobile, which was the more logical military target all along.

The argument that it needed to be done to support the forces in Arkansas wishing to push south is puzzling...........as those forces never seemed on that page of wanting to advance from an Arkansas river line to RR one........they seemed rather content to maintain the Arkansas river line. That's an element that strikes me as bizarre and shows the localization......

Steele's Army/District of Arkansas would be the relevant command for the area of operations and region strategically if one moves up RR towards NE Texas as your moving the front line in the T-M from the Arkansas River to the Red River..........yet everything was originating in the Army of the Gulf...........
 
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wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
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Location
Denver, CO
General Halleck, like General Grant, was careful not to disagree with the President in public statements. He did the best to provide a military rational for Lincoln's priorities. President Lincoln was under pressure from Banks' supporters in Massachusetts and Lincoln's own potential friends in w. Louisiana and e. Texas.
Therefore many things were said about Louisiana that were contradicted by actions. When it became time to win the war, or come as close as possible by October 20, 1864, the strategy concentrated on a limited number of objectives in Al, GA and VA.
 

jackt62

Captain
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Location
New York City
General Halleck, like General Grant, was careful not to disagree with the President in public statements. He did the best to provide a military rational for Lincoln's priorities

Agreed. Halleck was a consummate political player who would not make any important decision (or rather affirm and carry it out), if were not what Lincoln desired. As far as the RR campaign is concerned, Lincoln's strong wish to bring Louisiana back into the Union fold had more to do with undertaking that campaign then strictly military objectives.
 

NedBaldwin

Major
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
Agreed. Halleck was a consummate political player who would not make any important decision (or rather affirm and carry it out), if were not what Lincoln desired. As far as the RR campaign is concerned, Lincoln's strong wish to bring Louisiana back into the Union fold had more to do with undertaking that campaign then strictly military objectives.
Any evidence for this?
I have provided plenty of evidence of a contrary explanation. Would like it if people would back up their versions if they want to disagree with what is in the official records
 

NedBaldwin

Major
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
It did not come out of left field - Halleck had been talking about it for months

nor did it revert back to Mobile right away since Halleck pushed for Canby to continue the effort to the west. Canbys first instructions from Halleck when he took over were to figure out how to restart the campaign.

I agreee that Steele in Arkansas was not enthusiastic about advancing to the Red, but it was what Halleck wanted of him and had been pushing for since late 1863

it is not true that everything was originating in the Gulf. I even provided a quote from Halleck to Steel in an earlier post

I seem to be the only one actually citing the historic record while everyone else speculates

The campaign as part of the overall strategy for the T-M seems rather far fetched to me.......which basically was to gain and hold Missouri which a northern-central Ark line accomplished, and to gain and hold the Mississippi. The RR campaign did or would add little to either.

It's seems a local and political impetus, as it comes rather suddenly out of left field to switch emphasis from Mobile to RR, then after the rather half hearted effort fails, it reverts back on Mobile, which was the more logical military target all along.

The argument that it needed to be done to support the forces in Arkansas wishing to push south is puzzling...........as those forces never seemed on that page of wanting to advance from an Arkansas river line to RR one........they seemed rather content to maintain the Arkansas river line. That's an element that strikes me as bizarre and shows the localization......

Steele's Army/District of Arkansas would be the relevant command for the area of operations and region strategically if one moves up RR towards NE Texas as your moving the front line in the T-M from the Arkansas River to the Red River..........yet everything was originating in the Army of the Gulf...........
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Halleck's military justification is so thin its transparent. There are no blockade runners' ports in w. Louisiana, and no railroads either. Its too far from Atlanta and Richmond to be of any significance.
In contrast, trying to establish a loyalist government in Louisiana was a high priority. An attempt was made to do the same thing in Florida.
By August 1863, cotton was very valuable. There was a considerable legal and illegal traffic in cotton flowing towards Memphis and New Orleans. Most accounts record that US military personnel were engaged in the cotton traffic. That would be a motivation the US was unlikely to publicly admit to.
Lastly, there may have been issues about the number of black men involuntarily moved to w. Louisiana and e. Texas. There may have been an attempt to liberate a source of military manpower, and an attempt to strike another blow at slavery.
My opinion is the records you cite from the OR are the records that Halleck and Stanton preserved. A significant amount of other material was discarded or destroyed.
The effort on the Red River was given up fairly quickly and the US won the Civil War without renewing the effort until the major forces in the eastern theaters had surrendered.
 
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wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
As for General Halleck, I am not aware of him taking the field in a contested battle. During the US/Mexican war he may have seen some action, but its hard to say. He also seems to have omitted to actually have won an election, for anything. No one had less credibility when it came to military objectives.
 
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jackt62

Captain
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
Any evidence for this?
I have provided plenty of evidence of a contrary explanation. Would like it if people would back up their versions if they want to disagree with what is in the official records

Don't have to go much further than this forum; here is a post by @Polloco regarding Henry Halleck:
Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles once said of Halleck .."originates nothing,anticipates nothing. . . .takes no responsibility, plans nothing, suggests nothing, is good for nothing".
 

NedBaldwin

Major
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
The loyalist government of Louisiana was established prior to the campaign so doesn’t make any sense to be a driver of the campaign. So totally thin argument

Shreveport was the command center for Confederate forces west of the Mississippi so after Richmond and Atlanta, it was a high value target

Halleck wrote a book on strategy and was the ranking general in January 1864. I get that your strategic genius is far greater, but seems absurd to dismiss him completely.

but I see that your believe that there are some missing records that support your supposition instead of the actual records. Porter must have winking when he claimed credit for the idea of the campaign


Halleck's military justification is so thin its transparent. There are no blockade runners' ports in w. Louisiana, and railroads. Its too far from Atlanta and Richmond to be of any significance.
In contrast, trying to establish a loyalist government in Louisiana was a high priority. An attempt was made to do the same thing in Florida.
By August 1863, cotton was very valuable. There was a considerable legal and illegal traffic in cotton flowing towards Memphis and New Orleans. Most accounts record that US military personnel were engaged in the cotton traffic. That would be a motivation the US was unlikely to publicly admit to.
Lastly, there may have been issues about the number of black men involuntarily moved to w. Louisiana and e. Texas. There may have been an attempt to liberate a source of military manpower, and an attempt to strike another blow at slavery.
My opinion is the records you cite from the OR are the records that Halleck and Stanton preserved. A significant amount of other material was discarded or destroyed.
The effort on the Red River was given up fairly quickly and the US won the Civil War without renewing the effort until the major forces in the eastern theaters had surrendered.
 
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