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Rosecrans/Grant Takes Vicksburg After Corinth?

Discussion in 'The South & Western Theaters' started by Joshism, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. Joshism

    Joshism First Sergeant

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    I just recently finished reading "Darkest Days of the War" by Peter Cozzens which covers the events in western Tennessee and northern Mississippi after Halleck captured Corinth. The main focus of the book are the battles of Iuka and Second Corinth.

    After Van Dorn's battered army retreated from Corinth, there was a failed attempt to trap it north of the Hatchie River, including the Battle of Davis Bridge. Van Dorn escaped via another route, but Rosecrans continued his tardy pursuit anyway until ordered by Grant to break it off. Rosecrans vehemently disagreed with this decision. "If Grant had not stopped us, we could have gone to Vicksburg." (See pages 301-304 in "DDotW" for more details.)

    What do you think? Could Rosecrans, with reinforcements from Grant, have pressed on to Vicksburg in October 1862? Would he have been forced to retreat for logistical reasons, much like he was in December? Did he have enough men for such a campaign? (Ever since Buell had moved east, Grant's army had been spread between the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers to block any Confederate attacks into western Tennessee.)
     

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  3. NedBaldwin

    NedBaldwin Captain

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    Rosecrans was delusional. That's what I think.
     
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  4. Mark F. Jenkins

    Mark F. Jenkins Lt. Colonel

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    If Grant hadn't stopped it, Halleck would have (or, more likely, "suggested" stopping it). The Western armies weren't prepared logistically for that sort of operation, nor was the Navy prepared to support it. And I'm sure Van Dorn (and Price) would have been able to cause trouble.

    Rosecrans' later performance, where he tended to prepare carefully before moving, doesn't seem to suggest that he really could have succeeded in "broken-field running." Probably just a sting at Grant out of bitterness from being removed from the Army of the Cumberland later on.
     
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  5. Eric Calistri

    Eric Calistri 2nd Lieutenant

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    It's about 250 miles from Holly Springs (which Rosecrans had not yet taken) to Vicksburg. Without a serious commitment to rebuilding and garrisoning the railroads ( which Halleck would not allow a heavily reinforced Grant to do the following December) it's a non starter.

    The other thing about Rosecrans pursuit of Van Dorn is that he had sent Grant a series of messages talking about how short on supplies he was, how worn out the men were, various other difficulties. Grant as a result called the thing off. Then Rosecrans started singing a different tune.
     
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  6. Mark F. Jenkins

    Mark F. Jenkins Lt. Colonel

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    Good old Rosy. :laugh:

    His birthplace is just a few miles north of me. Wish I liked him more...
     
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  7. Stephen Terry

    Stephen Terry Private

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    In a surprising role reversal, Halleck actually questioned Grant about why he wasn't following up the victory. It was enough to get Grant to at least let Rosecrans stay in place while he tried to round up reinforcements. Grant's initial evaluation was correct though, and there were not enough men to follow up and no time to get them from elsewhere.

    Major General H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief.
    JACKSON, TENN., October 8, 1862.
    Before telegraphing you this morning for re-enforcements to follow up our victories I ordered General Rosecrans to return. He shouted such reluctance that I consented to allow him to remain until you could be heard from it further re-enforcements could be had. On reflection I deem it idle to pursue farther without more preparation, and have for the third time ordered his return.
    U. S. GRANT,
    Major-General.

    Major-General HALLECK, Commanding-in-Chief.
    WAR DEPARTMENT,
    Washington, October 8, 1862.
    Why order a return of our troops? Why not re-enforce Rosecrans and pursue the enemy into Mississippi, supporting your army on the country?
    H. W. HALLECK,
    General-in-Chief.

    Major-General GRANT, Jackson, Tenn.
    JACKSON, TENN., October 8, 1862-7.30 p. m.
    An army cannot subsist itself on the country except in forage. They did not start out to follow for more than a few days, and are much worn out, and I have information not only that the enemy have reserves that are on their way to join their retreating columns, but they have fortifications to return to in case of need. The Mobile road is also open to the enemy to near Rienzi, and Corinth would be exposed by the advance. Although partial success might result from farther pursuit disaster would follow in the end. If you say so, however, it is not too late yet to go on, and I will join the moving column and go to the farthest extent possible. Rosecrans has been re-enforced with everything at hand, even at the risk of this road against raids.
    U. S. GRANT,
    Major-General.

    O.R., I, vol 17, part 1, p 156
     
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  8. rhp6033

    rhp6033 Sergeant Major

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    I'm trying to fix the time-line here. I seem to recall Grant being forced to retreat from Mississipi because Forest had severed his supply lines. He made the comment that's where he discovered that an army moving through territory which hadn't been foraged before could subsist quite well while on the march. Of course, stopping was another matter.

    Where does this fit in to these events?
     
  9. trice

    trice Lt. Colonel

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    That happens in December 1862, after these events.

    Tim
     
  10. 1stMS-Arty

    1stMS-Arty Corporal

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    It was actually Van Dorn at Holly Springs I believe.
     
  11. Joshism

    Joshism First Sergeant

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    I believe it was both Van Dorn and Forrest. Van Dorn went around Grant to burn Holly Springs (his main supply depot), but at about the same time Forrest cut the railroad farther north up in TN.
     
  12. Stephen Terry

    Stephen Terry Private

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    That's correct. Here are Grant's reports:

    HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
    Oxford, Miss., December 19, 1862.
    Major General J. B. McPherson,
    Commanding Right Wing, &c.:

    There will be no farther advance of our forces until further directions.

    The enemy under Forrest have crossed the Tennessee below Clifton and are now near to Jackson. Communication it cut off, so that I cannot hear from there.

    Sullivan reports the strength of the enemy at from 5,000 to 10,000 and still crossing. Dodge, however, had a scout among them before they commenced crossing, who estimates their force at about 5,000.
    Ingersoll's cavalry watched their movements for the last 25 miles, and yesterday had an engagement with them at Lexington, resulting in a defeat for us, Colonel Ingersoll and two pieces of artillery falling into the hands of the enemy. Last night Sullivan brought them to a halt about 6 miles from Jackson.

    I have re-enforced Sullivan to the full extent of the capacity of the road to carry troops, partly from Columbus, partly from Corinth, one brigade from here, and by concentrating of the forces of the District of Jackson. Lowe is also moving from Heiman. I think the enemy must be annihilated, but it may trouble and possibly lead to the necessity of sending further forces from here.

    A dispatch from General Halleck, received late last night, directs me to divide my forces into army corps, one of which is to be commanded by Major-General McClernand, he to have the chief command of the Vicksburg expedition, but under my direction. I was in hopes the expedition would be off by this time, and it may be that they are about starting.
    We must be ready for any move. I think, however, it will not be a retrograde one.

    U. S. GRANT,
    Major-General.

    OXFORD, MISS., December 21, 1862-8 p.m.
    (Received December 26, 8.45 p.m.)

    The rebel cavalry commanded by Van Dorn made dash into Holly Springs yesterday at daylight, capturing the troops, stores, &c. Their movement from the Yalabusha was very rapid. I heard of their crossing and ordered force to Pontotoc to intercept them, but they traveled as fast as the scouts who brought the news. Next their departure from Pontotoc, going north, was reported. All my available cavalry was ordered in pursuit and are still out. As the rebels outnumber them three to one I do not expect much. When communication was broken with the north I had troops concentrate to resist an attack on Jackson. Do not know the result. If enemy are falling back north of the Tallahatchie I may find it necessary to send forces to Corinth. I would like to send two divisions more to Memphis and join the river expedition with them. This would make it necessary to fall back to Bolivar. The enemy are falling back from Grenada.

    U. S. GRANT.
    Major-General Commanding.
     
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  13. David Moore

    David Moore First Sergeant

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    Attached are pages from Albert Castel's last book Victors in Blue that discuss the question as to whether or not Vicksburg could have been taken after the battle of Corinth. His conclusion is that it probably could have been taken. There will be people on this site who will disagree with his conclusions however Castel spent almost all of his adult life studying, teaching and writing about the Civil War. His opinions should be given great weight. At the time of his death he may have known more about the war, surely the Western Theater, than anyone. To fair and open minded students of the war the answer to the question posed by this thread should lean towards the affirmative. The implications of this conclusion also should better explain the animosity between Grant and Rosecrans that began in Mississippi in 1862. Castel book 1.jpg Castel 2.jpg Castel 3.jpg Castel 4.jpg
     
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  14. Bee

    Bee 1st Lieutenant Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017

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    @David Moore thanks for putting this reference up in this manner. It saved a lot of time in chasing down page numbers!
     
  15. Eric Calistri

    Eric Calistri 2nd Lieutenant

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    Wow, so Castel simply repeats Rosecrans lie about Sherman having two Divisions in Memphis?
     
  16. Eric Calistri

    Eric Calistri 2nd Lieutenant

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    Also where does Castel get the idea that Rosecrans proposed going to Vicksburg in October 1862. Do we have here another author who simply regurgitates the lies Rosecrans spread after Grant died?
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  17. Eric Calistri

    Eric Calistri 2nd Lieutenant

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    I can't help but notice Castel had the good sense to simply ignore Rosecrans fatuous post war claim of "six days" march to Vicksburg from Ripley. Certainly the others in service as advocates of Rosecrans would be better served to follow this example.
     
  18. Bee

    Bee 1st Lieutenant Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017

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    He qoutes the "six days March to Vicksburg", by ignoring the claim, are you referring to the fact that Castel does not expand or remark on this claim (one that I have never understood the possibility of fulfilling)
     
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  19. Eric Calistri

    Eric Calistri 2nd Lieutenant

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    Obviously, attempting to defend such a whopper would defeat Castels purpose here, burnishing Rosecrans at the expense of other generals.

    Thanks for your response here,Bee, your observation is quite correct, I was referring to Castels obvious avoidance of the accuracy of this patently ridiculous claim by the soldier is advocating for.

    http://civilwartalk.com/threads/if-...d-have-gone-to-vicksburg.116351/#post-1173413
     
  20. David Moore

    David Moore First Sergeant

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    Mr Calistri I think it would be informative if you would address the various points made by Castel in regard to taking Corinth in the pages I've posted instead of just one or two points.
    Mr Calistri I think it would be informative if you would address the various points made by Castel in regard to taking Corinth in the pages I've posted instead of just one or two points. Perhaps a specific statement by Castel and your documentation that refutes it.
    . Documentation that proves the points you are making is not just important but essential.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  21. David Moore

    David Moore First Sergeant

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    Not quite sure what you mean here. Could you elaborate?
     

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