Discussion Scouts and Army Of Tennessee

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Did the army of Tennessee use scouts to determine position and movements of opposing union forces?
Of course the use of scouts goes back at least as far as Moses before he entered what is now known as Israel.
And spies.
Lubliner.
True basically a spy doesn't wear a uniform and will chat up the locals but if caught will leave this veil of tears.
It wasn't unknown for scouts to wear the enemies uniform to elicit information but that was definitely taking a gamble if caught .
Leftyhunter
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
So why was the army of Tennessee blind so often? Tullahoma campaign is a good case where efficient use of cavalry scouts to monitor union forces would allow a competent commander to surmise where the main thrust was. I propose that a key failing of the Tennessee army was lack of good basic intel on union positions. movements.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Did the army of Tennessee use scouts to determine position and movements of opposing union forces?
Of course the use of scouts goes back at least as far as Moses before he entered what is now known as Israel.
And spies.
Lubliner.
True basically a spy doesn't wear a uniform and will chat up the locals but if caught will leave this veil of tears.
It wasn't unknown for scouts to wear the enemies uniform to elicit information but that was definitely taking a gamble if caught .
So why was the army of Tennessee blind so often? Tullahoma campaign is a good case where efficient use of cavalry scouts to monitor union forces would allow a competent commander to surmise where the main thrust was. I propose that a key failing of the Tennessee army was lack of good basic intel on union positions. movements.
Why didn't Grant and Sherman know why they were about to be attacked at Shiloh or Howard who ignored reports of Jackson about to attack XXI Corps? War isn't always so neat and clean stuff happens.
Leftyhunter
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
Of course the use of scouts goes back at least as far as Moses before he entered what is now known as Israel.

True basically a spy doesn't wear a uniform and will chat up the locals but if caught will leave this veil of tears.
It wasn't unknown for scouts to wear the enemies uniform to elicit information but that was definitely taking a gamble if caught .

Why didn't Grant and Sherman know why they were about to be attacked at Shiloh or Howard who ignored reports of Jackson about to attack XXI Corps? War isn't always so neat and clean stuff happens.
Leftyhunter
I don't suggest it is neat and clean. Grant, Sherman improved. Bragg a competent officer seemed to go in the other direction.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Did the army of Tennessee use scouts to determine position and movements of opposing union forces?
Of course the use of scouts goes back at least as far as Moses before he entered what is now known as Israel.
And spies.
Lubliner.
True basically a spy doesn't wear a uniform and will chat up the locals but if caught will leave this veil of tears.
It wasn't unknown for scouts to wear the enemies uniform to elicit information but that was definitely taking a gamble if caught .
So why was the army of Tennessee blind so often? Tullahoma campaign is a good case where efficient use of cavalry scouts to monitor union forces would allow a competent commander to surmise where the main thrust was. I propose that a key failing of the Tennessee army was lack of good basic intel on union positions. movements.
Why didn't Grant and Sherman know why they were about to be attacked at Shiloh or Howard who ignored reports of Jackson about to attack XXI Corps? War isn't always
I don't suggest it is neat and clean. Grant, Sherman improved. Bragg a competent officer seemed to go in the other direction.
Recconnosise is hard not easy. Grant went against a fortified position at Cold Harbor because his Scouts didn't quite get him the accurate assessment that Grant needed. Rosecrans didn't quite place his men at Chickamungua where they were needed to prevent the breakthrough.
Bragg didn't have enough troops to properly encircle Chattanooga and he didn't properly feed his troops.Sherman arguably made some key errors by not listening to General Thomas in Georgia. All generals are going to make mistakes based on faulty scouting.
Leftyhunter
 

CThrasher

Cadet
Joined
Jun 5, 2020
Location
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Did the army of Tennessee use scouts to determine position and movements of opposing union forces?
I am aware of two sources that might be worth reading if you want to know more about scouting in the Army of Tennessee.

S. B. Barron reported that Wade's Supernumary Scouts was a special unit set up for scouting.
S. B. Barron, “Wade’s Supernumary Scouts” Confederate Veteran 11 No. 3 (March 1902) 115.
https://archive.org/details/confederateveter11conf/page/114/mode/2up

Newton Cannon in the 11th Tennessee Cavalry reported that he served in a small scouting unit on the fall 1864 campaign into Tennessee. Cannon, Newton and Campbell H. Brown, The Reminiscences of Sergeant Newton Cannon,
From Holograph Material Provided by His Grandson, Samuel M. Fleming, Jr. (Franklin, Tenn: Carter House Association, 1963).
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
T
I am aware of two sources that might be worth reading if you want to know more about scouting in the Army of Tennessee.

S. B. Barron reported that Wade's Supernumary Scouts was a special unit set up for scouting.
S. B. Barron, “Wade’s Supernumary Scouts” Confederate Veteran 11 No. 3 (March 1902) 115.
https://archive.org/details/confederateveter11conf/page/114/mode/2up

Newton Cannon in the 11th Tennessee Cavalry reported that he served in a small scouting unit on the fall 1864 campaign into Tennessee. Cannon, Newton and Campbell H. Brown, The Reminiscences of Sergeant Newton Cannon,
From Holograph Material Provided by His Grandson, Samuel M. Fleming, Jr. (Franklin, Tenn: Carter House Association, 1963).
Thanks will check it out.
 

TerryB

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Location
Nashville TN
Col. Reuben R. Ross is listed as paying scouts who were living in and around Thompson's Station in the summer of 1863. Ross served under both Wheeler and Forrest, and at the time I mention, his records say he paid these scouts under the authority of the Confederate Secret Service. I can imagine they did a fair bit of spying, as did Coleman's Scouts, with whom Sam Davis worked.
 

Lubliner

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
I frequently read of 'scouts' being men from the local area of a troop movement, that are asked to help lead a patrol. Having direct knowledge of an area and willing to comply with the requesting authority, these men were similar to 'pilots' on a river boat; hired for a duty.
Lubliner.
 

Luke Freet

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 8, 2018
So why was the army of Tennessee blind so often? Tullahoma campaign is a good case where efficient use of cavalry scouts to monitor union forces would allow a competent commander to surmise where the main thrust was. I propose that a key failing of the Tennessee army was lack of good basic intel on union positions. movements.
The problem is poor leadership on the Confederate's part. Despite the largest concentration of Confederate cavarly of the entire war, with two whole corps of cavalry, Bragg, Forest and Wheeler weren't up to snuff when it came to information gathering. In comparison, JEB Stuart was able to give Lee vital intellegence of the enemy army often with just a single brigade on hand, see the Chancellorsville Campaign where he discovers the weak position of 11th Corps and reports it to Lee. Forrest and Wheeler don't have the same willingness to undertake the sort of scouting operations usually required by the cavalry, focusing much more on the combat aspects.
 

Luke Freet

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Nov 8, 2018
Bragg in fall of 62 performed just as well as Lee.
Yeah, he did, but that was before his poor temperment really settled in amongst the rest of the army. Bragg had some tactical ability, but his personal disposition caused so many problems amongst his subordinates as to turn the Army of Tennessee into a dysfunctional mess that will not recover truly for the rest of the war.
I need to read more on Tullahoma, but given what I've read on the stuff Wheeler and Forrest were doing before and during the battle, I can't imagine they were doing much better before.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
This is the time of year that the Tullahoma Campaign kicked off. For about 48 hours, Braxton Bragg was unaware that the Army of the Cumberland was advancing on a front over 50 miles wide. His entire right flank collapsed & he was in danger of being cut off & surrounded in his fortifications surrounding Tullahoma TN. How could such an intelligence failure on a colossal scale happen?

The short answer is Gen Fighting Joe Wheeler, commander of the Army of TN cavalry was incompetent. The broader answer was that the CSA doctrine of using cavalry raids to disrupt the A of the C’s supply line was a failure.

A major factor on Rosecrans’ decision to order the advance toward Murfreesboro Christmas night 1862 was certain knowledge that both Forrest & Morgan were safely on their way on a raid. Instead of doing the boring regular cavalry thing during the Battle of Stones River, Wheeler effectively rode away from the fighting on a fruitless raid around Rosecrans’ rear.

As we all know, when the Tullahoma Campaign began on June 23, 1863, everybody knew that Rosecrans was going to advance. What they did not know was when. In command of Bragg’s right flank cavalry screen, Morgan got bored & rode 2,000 invaluable men & horses off the board. This left a very small cavalry force to both screen Bragg’s right & scout the enemy’s intentions.

Instead of doing the boring routine army stuff that was an army cavalry commander’s duty, in the spring of 1863, Wheeler had concentrated his force in the rear of the 70 mile wide frontline in preparation for another raid. As a result, the scattered cavalry vedettes on the right flank was brushed away. By the time Bragg realized what was happening, it was only a 500 year precipitation event that saved him from envelopment.

It was the focus on the failed doctrine of cavalry raid interdiction & Wheeler’s incompetence that accounts for the surprise suffered by the Army of TN. Where was Forrest in all that, you might ask?

Ironically, Forrest had all but destroyed his horseflesh in his famous pursuit & defeat of Straight’s Raid into Northern Georgia. Forrest’s men & horses played no significant part in the Tullahoma Campaign.

Union General Dodge’s scouting operations in the spring & summer of 1863, on the other hand were brilliant. Grant’s successful campaigns benefited greatly from Dodge’s timely & accurate scout/spy operations.
 
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