Sherman Sherman's Wartime Record

Lubliner

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I think Sherman's motivation against the southland aristocracy was based upon the principle that they caused the war, and the war had brought death to every door up north, and because of it, the more suffering the better for them. His war record is clearly a phenomenon in my opinion. Troops that are given reign to straggle and reap, usually became demoralized. There is a certain awe to the management of the whole southern conquest with Sherman. It is not focused on the blood and guts of Grant's movement. Rather, it is focused on property destruction.
Lubliner.
 

DanSBHawk

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Here's Sherman selling his idea of the march to Grant:

sherman4.png
 

tony_gunter

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No. I am looking at the process that unfolded and what the actual people involved did and said. You are trying to conflate one thing into another here by imagining things that were not there.

Neither Halleck nor Grant trusted McClernand's abilities or wanted him leading an independent force within Grant's territory. At the same time, no one was demanding Sherman thrust those troops into a meatgrinder -- not Lincoln, not Halleck and not Grant. All three of them wanted Vicksburg taken, but the method of doing it was left to Sherman.
You literally posted messages from a single day (December 8th) in a conversation that began October 26th. :D
 

tony_gunter

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No. I am looking at the process that unfolded and what the actual people involved did and said. You are trying to conflate one thing into another here by imagining things that were not there.

Neither Halleck nor Grant trusted McClernand's abilities or wanted him leading an independent force within Grant's territory. At the same time, no one was demanding Sherman thrust those troops into a meatgrinder -- not Lincoln, not Halleck and not Grant. All three of them wanted Vicksburg taken, but the method of doing it was left to Sherman.
Halleck to Grant, Dec 3rd (?) - Your main object will be to hold the line from Memphis to Corinth with as small a force as possible, while the largest number possible is thrown upon Vicksburg with the Gunboats.

Sherman to Grant, December 16th - I will proceed on the basis of your plan as developed to Genl Halleck—Of course attacking Vicksburg at the first movement if deemed possible.

It's a long convoluted conversation that began on October 26th and ended December 18th, with Sherman understanding that Vicksburg was the strategic objective as determined by Lincoln, and Grant sitting idly awaiting the results of Sherman's assault before determining his next move.
 

trice

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You literally posted messages from a single day (December 8th) in a conversation that began October 26th. :D
Yes, I posted messages from December 8th because that was the day Sherman's orders were issued. I also posted a small section of a reply to a message Grant had sent, asking for Steele's opinion on where the best place for Sherman to land his troops might be (Hovey's response is from the 13th). If you are unaware of the rest and would like more, I can post all the messages in the OR between the involved parties for the period from November 1 to January 2 (when McClernand meets Sherman down near Vicksburg). That seems like overkill for an online discussion, but I have them here if you need to see them and are insistent.

The point is that you are trying to make this entire episode into something it was not. The outline is well-known and has been discussed and debated for nearly 150 years.
  • It is well known that McClernand (looking for personal glory) tried to get an independent command by political maneuvering back in Washington.
  • It is well known that McClernand sold Lincoln on letting him do it.
  • It is well known that Halleck was opposed to McClernand's plan/glory grab
  • It is well known that Grant wanted no part of McClernand running an independent operation inside Grant's command area.
  • It is well known that Halleck and Grant worked to grab McClernand's troops and put them to use before McClernand came down to command them (Grant and Halleck did this pretty much on a wink-and-a-nod basis; there is no blatant discussion of hood-winking McClernand -- he just wasn't sharp enough to notice them doing it.)
  • It is well known that McClernand does not really know what is going on until he gets down to the Memphis area. Sherman left Memphis by December 20; McClernand got married to Minerva (sister of his deceased first wife) on December 23rd up in Illinois. He brings his new wife with him to Memphis where he expects to find his troops. Surprise! The troops are gone.
Absolutely none of that shows that Lincoln was demanding that Vicksburg be stormed, or that Halleck was, or that Grant was. They all wanted Vicksburg to be captured so that control of the Mississippi would fall to the Union. None of them said anything about taking it by storm.
 

trice

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Halleck to Grant, Dec 3rd (?) - Your main object will be to hold the line from Memphis to Corinth with as small a force as possible, while the largest number possible is thrown upon Vicksburg with the Gunboats.

Sherman to Grant, December 16th - I will proceed on the basis of your plan as developed to Genl Halleck—Of course attacking Vicksburg at the first movement if deemed possible.

It's a long convoluted conversation that began on October 26th and ended December 18th, with Sherman understanding that Vicksburg was the strategic objective as determined by Lincoln, and Grant sitting idly awaiting the results of Sherman's assault before determining his next move.
Yes, there is a process involved and messages go back and forth. It just is not the limited view and conclusion you are coming up with.

What exactly is it you think these two snippets prove?
 

tony_gunter

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Yes, there is a process involved and messages go back and forth. It just is not the limited view and conclusion you are coming up with.

What exactly is it you think these two snippets prove?
I'm just book-ending the December 8th period with the relevant messages. The communications on December 8th were colored by the mistaken impression that Pemberton had abandoned Grenada and Grant had an open path south. In a reality that would be expressed to Sherman a few days later, Pemberton was still at Grenada with his entire force, rendering Grant's movements completely dependent on Sherman's success at Vicksburg.
  • It is well known that Grant wanted no part of McClernand running an independent operation inside Grant's command area.
  • It is well known that Halleck and Grant worked to grab McClernand's troops and put them to use before McClernand came down to command them
What Grant thought of it was irrelevant. Grant asked Halleck why men were showing up in his department with vague orders to report to McClernand. Halleck authorized Grant to use the men in his department in any way he saw fit. Grant used that discretion to push even farther south and order Sherman to join him from Memphis. Halleck later issued a direct order to go no farther south and instead send Sherman back to Memphis to command an expedition to take Vicksburg.

I think you're focusing on the OR instead of reading the entire conversation from the Papers of Ulysses S Grant, starting with Grant's letter to Halleck on October 26th. Halleck repeatedly hinted that Lincoln was calling the shots.
 
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rbasin

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I'm just book-ending the December 8th period with the relevant messages. The communications on December 8th were colored by the mistaken impression that Pemberton had abandoned Grenada and Grant had an open path south. In a reality that would be expressed to Sherman a few days later, Pemberton was still at Grenada with his entire force, rendering Grant's movements completely dependent on Sherman's success at Vicksburg.
  • It is well known that Grant wanted no part of McClernand running an independent operation inside Grant's command area.
  • It is well known that Halleck and Grant worked to grab McClernand's troops and put them to use before McClernand came down to command them
What Grant thought of it was irrelevant. Grant asked Halleck why men were showing up in his department with vague orders to report to McClernand. Halleck authorized Grant to use the men in his department in any way he saw fit. Grant used that discretion to push even farther south and order Sherman to join him from Memphis. Halleck later issued a direct order to go no farther south and instead send Sherman back to Memphis to command an expedition to take Vicksburg.

I think you're focusing on the OR instead of reading the entire conversation from the Papers of Ulysses S Grant, starting with Grant's letter to Halleck on October 26th. Halleck repeatedly hinted that Lincoln was calling the shots.
Lincoln always called the shots.
 

Stone in the wall

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I never said it was a big achievement sending a racist to put down a bunch of virulent racists. I said it was irony. Don't know what you're talking about?
It's not irony like you claim, the whole Yankee nation was racist, not just Sherman. This is why USCT had such a hard time enrolling and collecting a pension after the war.
 

NedBaldwin

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Sure, but not like this. In this instance, he designated the strategic target, the avenue of approach, the time frame, and the commander without consulting the heads of the departments or their commanders. 😃
He had consulted with Halleck and with Banks who was expected to be the department commander on the scene at the time the of the consultation (November)
Vicksburg wasn’t necessarily in Grants department prior to the campaign starting
 

trice

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I'm just book-ending the December 8th period with the relevant messages. The communications on December 8th were colored by the mistaken impression that Pemberton had abandoned Grenada and Grant had an open path south. In a reality that would be expressed to Sherman a few days later, Pemberton was still at Grenada with his entire force, rendering Grant's movements completely dependent on Sherman's success at Vicksburg.
Well that is pretty muddled. I asked what you were trying to prove and it appears you don't think you were proving anything at all.

On June 8th, Sherman receives his orders from Grant. Then Sherman leaves to carry out those orders. As soon as he can, Sherman heads off downriver and is soon out of communication with Grant and Halleck. Everything Sherman does from that point is done within the context of those specific orders.

It is absolutely normal in military operations to find that information about what is going on out of a commander's sight ends up being out of date, incomplete, inaccurate, distorted, or just plain wrong. That is why Grant's orders gave Sherman wide latitude and broad authority.

  • It is well known that Grant wanted no part of McClernand running an independent operation inside Grant's command area.
  • It is well known that Halleck and Grant worked to grab McClernand's troops and put them to use before McClernand came down to command them
What Grant thought of it was irrelevant. Grant asked Halleck why men were showing up in his department with vague orders to report to McClernand. Halleck authorized Grant to use the men in his department in any way he saw fit. Grant used that discretion to push even farther south and order Sherman to join him from Memphis. Halleck later issued a direct order to go no farther south and instead send Sherman back to Memphis to command an expedition to take Vicksburg.
Grant's opinion is very relevant. Halleck and Grant are deliberately working what used to be called "The Old Army Game" on McClernand. McClernand is a civilian politician with little actual military experience. He gets blind-sided because he is clueless.

McClernand had played the sort of politics he was used to, using his personal relationship with Lincoln and political connections to get what he could not get through the military command structure (he'd tried to push himself to high command through McClellan early in 1862, McClellan had not gone for it). So he concocted his plan, sold it to Lincoln and Stanton, figured that was a done deal, and never noticed what was going on afterwards. Maybe he did not care that he had ticked off Halleck and would be trampling over Grant's authority. Maybe he did not even think about it, self-satisfied, assuming they would just lay down and let themselves be run over.

So McClernand heads off to round up all those troops he promised to recruit (he did a good job of it). Back in Washington, Halleck is the one who has to handle all the details and work involved in setting up this "Army of the Mississippi". Lincoln and Stanton are off to other things. McClernand is recruiting across Indiana and Illinois, getting ready to get married. Halleck, never a fan of political generals anyway, was insulted by this treatment; it outraged his sense of the proper military order, if nothing else. Having a subordinate like McClernand go outside channels, not only over Grant's head but also over Halleck's own head, would tick any commanding officer off.

A soldier who'd come up through the Old Army of the 1840s-1850s would have been on the lookout for payback from above. McClernand acted like he had no clue what he had done. Halleck looked for a loop-hole, some order or regulation he could use to rework the situation to what he wanted. He found one in Stanton's October 21, 1862 order authorizing McClernand to do all this. That order gave Halleck all the power and authorization he needed.

Careful reading of Stanton's order leads Halleck to this:
  • McClernand had authority to raise and organize troops and send them to Memphis
  • Sending those troops into Grant's area puts them under Grant's authority
  • McClernand could lead an expedition down the Mississippi "When a sufficient force not required by the operations of General Grant’s command shall be raised ..."
  • Halleck has authority over them as described: "The forces so organized will remain subject to the designation of the general-in-chief, and be employed according to such exigencies as the service in his judgment may require."
From there, everything is easy. Halleck needs Grant involved and Grant is not a Halleck-buddy -- but Grant doesn't like McClernand, who he doesn't see as competent, and McClernand is tromping all over Grant's authority doing this. Everything Grant and Halleck do is completely within the orders and regulations, they just never explicitly say they are yanking the rug out from under McClernand as they go about doing it.

I think you're focusing on the OR instead of reading the entire conversation from the Papers of Ulysses S Grant, starting with Grant's letter to Halleck on October 26th. Halleck repeatedly hinted that Lincoln was calling the shots.
Nope. I have been reading broadly on the Civil War for decades. I have read everything you have mentioned so far and many other things over the years. Stop talking about what you ***think*** I do not know. Post clear evidence of your own position instead.
 

tony_gunter

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He had consulted with Halleck and with Banks who was expected to be the department commander on the scene at the time the of the consultation (November)
Vicksburg wasn’t necessarily in Grants department prior to the campaign starting
Did he consult with Halleck prior to agreeing to McClernand’s proposal? What orders was Banks operating under in November 1862?

The men would necessarily be pulled from Curtis’ and Grant’s departments, and he definitely didn’t consult with them.
 

NedBaldwin

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Location
California
Did he consult with Halleck prior to agreeing to McClernand’s proposal? What orders was Banks operating under in November 1862?

The men would necessarily be pulled from Curtis’ and Grant’s departments, and he definitely didn’t consult with them.
Dont know about the McClernand part.

Halleck had consulted with Curtis and early in November told Grant that he hoped for an active campaign on the river.

Halleck's Nov 9 orders to Banks read "A military and naval expedition is organizing at Memphis and Cairo to move
down the Mississippi and co-operate with you against Vicksburg and any other points which the enemy may occupy on that river. As the ranking general in the Southwest, you are authorized to assume control of any military forces from the Upper Mississippi which may come within your command. The line of division between your department and that of Major-General Grant is therefore left undecided for the present, and you will exercise superior authority as far north as you may ascend the river. The President regards the opening of the Mississippi River as the first and most important of all our military and naval operations, and it is hoped that you will not lose a moment in accomplishing it." These were handed over after an in person meeting.
 

tony_gunter

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Dont know about the McClernand part.

Halleck had consulted with Curtis and early in November told Grant that he hoped for an active campaign on the river.

Halleck's Nov 9 orders to Banks read "A military and naval expedition is organizing at Memphis and Cairo to move
down the Mississippi and co-operate with you against Vicksburg and any other points which the enemy may occupy on that river. As the ranking general in the Southwest, you are authorized to assume control of any military forces from the Upper Mississippi which may come within your command. The line of division between your department and that of Major-General Grant is therefore left undecided for the present, and you will exercise superior authority as far north as you may ascend the river. The President regards the opening of the Mississippi River as the first and most important of all our military and naval operations, and it is hoped that you will not lose a moment in accomplishing it." These were handed over after an in person meeting.
That’s funny.

What it sounds like to me is that Lincoln foisted this dead baby onto Halleck. Halleck preferred to have Banks in charge of it rather than McClernand or Grant. When it became apparent Banks wasn’t going to make the progress Halleck hoped, he finally relented and gave Grant a direct order on December 3rd to co-opt McClernand’s attack.
 

NedBaldwin

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That’s funny.

What it sounds like to me is that Lincoln foisted this dead baby onto Halleck. Halleck preferred to have Banks in charge of it rather than McClernand or Grant. When it became apparent Banks wasn’t going to make the progress Halleck hoped, he finally relented and gave Grant a direct order on December 3rd to co-opt McClernand’s attack.
Hallleck had mentioned to others about a campaign along the river for a while, but he hadnt said anything to Grant until prodded by Grant in November. Butler had failed in the summer becuase of too few troops and lack of coordination from up river. Halleck liked coordinated multi-prong campaigns. Banks was being sent with more troops to replace Butler and try again. So Halleck wanted a complimentary move to come from above. Halleck had Steele (part of Curtis's command) waiting at Helena and he had sent reinforcements to Memphis from Kentucky (AJ Smith, GW Morgan), and McClernand was forwarding new recruits from the midwest. The president had talked about McClernand as commander but had not yet given any order, so Halleck saw a chance to put his BFF WT Sherman in command of the downriver move, getting it going at around the same time he expected (not knowing about Port Hudson) that Banks and Farragut would be coming up river. But McClernand got wind of this and pinged Lincoln and Stanton, reminding them to send him to the front....
 

tony_gunter

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Hallleck had mentioned to others about a campaign along the river for a while, but he hadnt said anything to Grant until prodded by Grant in November. Butler had failed in the summer becuase of too few troops and lack of coordination from up river. Halleck liked coordinated multi-prong campaigns. Banks was being sent with more troops to replace Butler and try again. So Halleck wanted a complimentary move to come from above. Halleck had Steele (part of Curtis's command) waiting at Helena and he had sent reinforcements to Memphis from Kentucky (AJ Smith, GW Morgan), and McClernand was forwarding new recruits from the midwest. The president had talked about McClernand as commander but had not yet given any order, so Halleck saw a chance to put his BFF WT Sherman in command of the downriver move, getting it going at around the same time he expected (not knowing about Port Hudson) that Banks and Farragut would be coming up river. But McClernand got wind of this and pinged Lincoln and Stanton, reminding them to send him to the front....
Oh wow. Lincoln didn’t even bother to inform Halleck of the plan. He had McClernand deliver Halleck the news in person October 9th. 😂

I bet Halleck LOVED that.
 
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rbasin

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Oh wow. Lincoln didn’t even bother to inform Halleck of the plan. He had McClernand deliver him the news in person October 9th. 😂

I bet Halleck LOVED that.
Even better, mcclernand ask to be allowed forward, but I think Stanton told him that no one was keeping him. Supposedly, he married his wealthy sister-in-law.
 

tony_gunter

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Hallleck had mentioned to others about a campaign along the river for a while, but he hadnt said anything to Grant until prodded by Grant in November. Butler had failed in the summer becuase of too few troops and lack of coordination from up river. Halleck liked coordinated multi-prong campaigns. Banks was being sent with more troops to replace Butler and try again. So Halleck wanted a complimentary move to come from above. Halleck had Steele (part of Curtis's command) waiting at Helena and he had sent reinforcements to Memphis from Kentucky (AJ Smith, GW Morgan), and McClernand was forwarding new recruits from the midwest. The president had talked about McClernand as commander but had not yet given any order, so Halleck saw a chance to put his BFF WT Sherman in command of the downriver move, getting it going at around the same time he expected (not knowing about Port Hudson) that Banks and Farragut would be coming up river. But McClernand got wind of this and pinged Lincoln and Stanton, reminding them to send him to the front....
It's interesting that Halleck never considered a campaign to take Vicksburg prior to October. He mentioned the possibility to Curtis in August, but dismissed the idea in his very next message.

Which is a shame, because Snyder's Bluff was the strategic key to taking Vicksburg, and Curtis' men landed there in mid-august, tore up some stuff, ventured up the Yazoo, and returned to Helena.
 
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