Say What Saturday: General Orders No. 159

Ole Miss

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This little known or discussed General Order, in my opinion, sounded the death knell of the Confederacy.
Regards
David

Official Records of the Rebellion
Series 1, Volume XVII, Part 2
Page 278
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077730236&view=1up&seq=282&q1=general orders
 

Ole Miss

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By virtue of this order General Grant was elevated from army commander to department commander a significant promotion and certain sign of approval of his past actions by official Washington and President Lincoln in particular. I honestly believe that Grant, for the first time, knew he was supported and free to make his plans for the capture of Vicksburg which he had anticipated since before Shiloh.

Now having control of all the forces and assets located within this new geographical area, enhanced his ability to strain and wear down the Confederate abilities to protect Vicksburg and Mississippi. Grant was able to command the rivers and railroads as well as to conduct Cavalry operations from his bases in Tennessee while increasing his lines of supplies.

With General Halleck’s promotion to General-in-Chief in July of 1862, Grant was finally able to exercise control of his troops in the Western sphere without the meddling of “Ole Brains” who was not a field commander.
Regards
David
 

uaskme

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https://www.nps.gov/chch/index.htm
Battle for Chattanooga is known as the Death Knell of the Confederacy. Guess we can have Two.

I really enjoyed studying Shiloh. Great Battle and the History of it helps me understand Chickamauga.

Look forward to peeling the onion on Vicksburg. Ninety-Eight Days is out of print. One listed on the Bay for $499. Bearss looks like it is going to be reprinted. I have another option, but looks like it might be awhile before I get the Study I want. Sorry I missed last years Muster.
 

Lubliner

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@Ole Miss I can agree upon that. Once I thought about the October dilemma the Union went through; Perryville brought down Buell. Before that he was a favorite of Halleck, and McClellan, and September had brought on the cashiering of the latter. So, other than the political ramifications dealing with McClernand as a 'favored' General in his command at the time, his leadership went unchallenged.
Lubliner.
 

jackt62

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In fact, the order formalized and acknowledged the situation that existed ever since Grant took Fts. Henry and Donelson in February 1862. By October 1862, Grant had steadily been attaining victories in the west that did spell the "death knell of the Confederacy." He was poised to begin his next major campaign, the capture of Vicksburg, that was successfully concluded in July 1863.
 

TomP

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This can all be so confusing.

At the battle of Shiloh, the Army of the Tennessee did not officially exist. By the time many of the reports of the battle were finally consolidated the name "Army of the Tennessee" appears numerous times. The name of two armies are liberally strewn about in the section of the OR (vol. 10) dealing with the battle so take your pick.

At the time of the battle Grant commanded the District and the Army of West Tennessee. The district was abolished on October 16 with the release of General Order No. 159 and the Department of the Tennessee was resurrected. The Army of the Tennessee as we all now it was officially organized on this date but it would go through two more reorganizations before the year was out.

Prior to the reorganization, the Union Army of West Tennessee was facing off against the Confederate Army of West Tennessee. Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn had changed the name of his command when he merged his troops with the Sterling Price's Army of the West just a week before the battle of Corinth. And what day did this change become effective? You got it, October 16.

Just ten days after the Department of the Tennessee was established came the death knoll of the Union Army of the Mississippi. With the departure of Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans to the Dept. of the Ohio (which was promptly changed to Dept. of the Cumberland) the remnants of his Army of the Mississippi was absorbed into the new Dept. of the TN. This had been confusing enough since there had been two Army of the Mississippi's during the siege of Corinth; Pope's as well as the one under Beauregard and Bragg. And then Bragg got around to changing the name of his army to the Army of Tennessee with the sole intent of confusing novice historians who would bang their heads against the wall figuring it out.

And by the way, the Union District of West Tennessee did not disappear. When Grant organized his new department he created a number of districts including the Dist. of W. Tenn. I think he did this because there was so much Dist. of W. Tenn. stationary still available, so why waste it?
 
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Ole Miss

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@uaskme though Chickamauga and Shiloh were both crucial fights with significant outcomes, the loss of Vicksburg rendered the South in twain. When Grant was able to secure his supply line with the capture of Corinth the Confederacy was doomed. His innate ability to see the so called "big picture" enabled Grant to select the lieutenants he needed to complete the victory.
A feature of Grant that is often overlooked was his experience as a quarter-master during the Mexican-American War which installed in him the importance of supplies. Grant paid careful attention to his logistics and the need to provide safe lines of supply. I have the site for a thesis called Union Logistics in the Vicksburg Campaign which covers this important part of Grant's triumph. I highly recommend this paper for everyone to learn the importance of logisitics.
Remember the old Union Logistics in the Vicksburg Campaignage "Amatuers study tactics but Professionals study logistics" which is true to this day.
Regards
David

Union Logistics in the Vicksburg Campaign
Mark S. Hurley, Major, USA
https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a258389.pdf
 
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