Slavery, Lost Cause and Gettysburg

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Dee

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Don't be discouraged. Lotta folks like me who are relatively new CW buffs come to the subject and this forum only having heard of slavery as the cause of the war and having heard only of the major battles in the Eastern Theater and maybe a little about Vicksburg, Atlanta and the Monitor and the Merrimack.

2.5 years ago,I couldn't have told you what states Shiloh and Chickamauga were in even though I had heard about them. I couldn't have told you anything about Sabine Pass or Mansfield even though both are within easy driving distance from my home. I coulda told ya about Franklin only because I read a book about it 12-15 years ago.

Of the stack of books I have now waiting to be read,about 1/2 are about topics I'd never heard of before joining this forum.
Same here. I'm recently new to the subject (I know it is kind of embarrassing that I know more about European history than my own). I need to learn more about the Western theater as well. Thanks for posting!
 

Yankeedave

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Tho the civil war is my first true love, thank god for other wars and histories. we can get myopic in here sometimes. so close to the forest we can't see other trees and such. let me i.m. bill and say you served, you get a point they will ever get. but anyway...
 

RochesterBill

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I really do not get the Gettysburg analogy. At. All...
I have wondered about that myself.

The closest I can come is that they're saying Westport was a high water mark for Confederate hopes in the west.

As many people have put it - Faulkner best of all of course - before that it was still possible to believe in ultimate victory. Afterwards there was no doubt that they were going to lose.

But Gettysburg us Gettysburg for a lot more reasons than just how close Armistead and his brigade got on Cemetery Ridge. "Home, home boys is just beyond those trees"

But Southern victory at Gettysburg, the Army of the Potomac in full fledged rout, and the war has a much different end.

Confederate victory at Westport would have only led to another battle.
 
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Joshism

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If there was a "Gettysburg of the West" it was probably Pea Ridge or maybe Prairie Grove. The CSA never seriously threatened MO after that.

Price in 1864 never came close to changing the war, and probably not even the theater. Westport was more of a backbreaker than anything. Price's campaign was already a failure: failed to take any meaningful points, failed to rally new recruits, and failed to relieve pressure on other theaters.
 

Borderruffian

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My minor rant was all about activity on threads related to Slavery, Lost Cause and Gettysburg. Slavery and Lost Cause threads are pure poop storms. Gettysburg threads seem to generate more activity than other threads about various battles, especially the Trans-Mississippi battles. My thread was 100% frustration.....

Bill
That you learn to live with , many many people seem to consider the Trans-Miss a side show to the war, I've even heard it called meaningless, it is what it is. The east and the west had the big battles, like G'Burg and Franklin and Hotlanta. They had the Stonewalls, Lee's, Longstreet's, Lil' Mac's,Meades and Grant's basically they had the sexy war, if a war can be determined to be sexy. My friend and I were discussing that very thing not long ago,in comparing the amount of books written about the Trans-Miss in General, and Missouri in particular and came to the conculsion that there are more books on G'Burg alone than on EITHER . (BTW, he,s since taken his 8 year old son to G'Burg and is now a G'Burg junkie, yep he turned coat.)

I think part of the problem is that this area takes to much study to winnow out who did what and what caused what at what time and what the fall out was. But to me this theater is vastly more interesting as far as the conduct of war, martial law, partisans, raids and leaders than the stalemate in the east or the fighting in the west.
 

Borderruffian

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I have wondered about that myself.

The closest I can come is that they're saying Westport was a high water mark for Confederate hopes in the west.

As many people have put it - Faulkner best of all of course - before that it was still possible to believe in ultimate victory. Afterwards there was no doubt that they were going to lose.

But Gettysburg us Gettysburg for a lot more reasons than just how close Armistead and his brigade got on Cemetery Ridge. "Home, home boys is just beyond those trees"

But Southern victory at Gettysburg, the Army of the Potomac in full fledged rout, and the war has a much different end.

Confederate victory at Westport would have only led to another battle.
The Plan was for Price's invasion to force the Union to send more men and material to Missouri to combat the Confederate troops there, if Price had not been drawn into the fight with Ewing at Ft Davidson, went around him and took St Louis, then they could have blocked the Mississippi River (for a time) blocked the Missouri (for a time) thus taking pressure off the ANV and AOT , perhaps giving them enough breathing room (for a time).

The plan was basicly trying to buy time for the vaunted eastern armies of the south, rather than what Price saw it as; a liberation of Missouri. Problem was they gave overall command to Price, who really wasn't qualified to command a Corporals Guard and they lost the bet in Spades,

Actually, the 64 Raid was a high water mark in Missouri's war it was the last large force to threaten Missouri, took a lot of wind out of Southern Sympathizers, curtailed the will of many of the Guerilla bands and ensured the state stayed loyal or at least stayed controlled by the Union'

No it wasn't like Marse Bobby's plan in Penn, it was never designed to be, that plan was designed as a war winner, this plan was more of war extender and niether one worked.
 
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Borderruffian

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If there was a "Gettysburg of the West" it was probably Pea Ridge or maybe Prairie Grove. The CSA never seriously threatened MO after that.

Price in 1864 never came close to changing the war, and probably not even the theater. Westport was more of a backbreaker than anything. Price's campaign was already a failure: failed to take any meaningful points, failed to rally new recruits, and failed to relieve pressure on other theaters.
Pea Ridge forced Price and the Then MSG out of Missouri, yes, but there were several raids into Missouri after that by guys lkie Marmaduke and Shelby as well as Partisan activity especially in West and Central Missouri up to the end of Prices 64 debacle....only then did it tamper off.
 

RochesterBill

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To me this entire action was a combination of well-worn Confederate errors in judgement bordering on fantasy.

The first was Jefferson Davis' determination to make somebody do something, even when the odds of it succeeding were very very slight.

The second was the illusion that the border states were teeming with men yearning to rally to the Stars and Bars if only a Confederate army would come around and show the flag. It wasn't true for Lee in Maryland, it wasn't true for Bragg in Kentucky (who brought along wagon loads full of muskets to use in arming all the expected volunteers who never showed up) and, by October of 1864 when anyone could see the South was going to lose, it sure as heck wasn't true in Missouri.

Nonetheless, Price, a former governor, was convinced that his personal popularity would serve to attract hordes of new volunteers in his home state which was bad enough without adding in the fact that (unlike Bragg) he didn't have wagons of muskets to pass out, which was OK because he too attracted precious few now recruits.

In fact, one of the biggest problems with Price's raid -which was all it ever was - was that of the 12,000 men he brought with him only about 9,000 were armed at all, and many of them with shotguns and antiques.

Outnumbered 3-1, facing a well-equipped and entrenched blue host, Old pap never stood a chance.

The Plan was for Price's invasion to force the Union to send more men and material to Missouri to combat the Confederate troops there, if Price had not been drawn into the fight with Ewing at Ft Davidson, went around him and took St Louis, then they could have blocked the Mississippi River (for a time) blocked the Missouri (for a time) thus taking pressure off the ANV and AOT , perhaps giving them enough breathing room (for a time).

The plan was basically trying to buy time for the vaunted eastern armies of the south, rather than what Price saw it as; a liberation of Missouri.
It might be more accurate to say that part of the point was to keep Union troops who were already there from being sent to reinforce either Grant or Sherman, lengthening the odds against the South in those theaters. There surely can have been little expectation that Sherman, deep in Georgia, or Grant, heavily engaged in Virginia, could dispatch significant forces all the way to Missouri to fight off a glorified cavalry raid in time to make any difference in the outcome.

Even if Grant was inclined to do so, which he clearly wasn't. He had bigger fish to fry than that nincompoop Price.

In one respect, however, this turned out to be one of the only "successes" of Price's campaign; unfortunately for Old Pap, it meant that both of A.J. Smith's divisions of veteran, hard-bitten killers and wreckers, the so-called "gorilla-guerillas", who had boarded riverboats after Banks' badly botched Red River campaign, were intercepted on the way to Georgia and diverted instead to St. Louis.

Sherman didn't really need them and Price, commanding mostly a motley collection of badly-armed bushwhackers, had no infantry that could stand up to them for ten minutes and he knew it.

As for fighting Ewing at Davidson, I agree that it was a fools errand but Price had another problem, namely the lack of muskets and field artillery. As mentioned, as much as a third of his force had little or nothing to shoot with. Price figured he could scoop up Fort Davidson and equip himself with both. All he accomplished was wasting 3 days and losing 1000 men.

Either way though, Smith's troops were already off the boats and marching hard for St Louis, along with Alfred Pleasonton at the head of a couple of veteran cavalry divisions. It would have been a close thing either way as to who would have gotten there first, even if he'd skipped Davidson, and if had gotten there first he wouldn't have been able to do much or stay very long.

In any case, by then Curtis had manned some serious fortifications around the city and, although much of his force was militia, it would not have been quick or easy or painless. particularly since all Price had to use against fully manned permanent fortifications bristling with guns would have been dismounted cavalry in front of maybe 10 or 12 field pieces, total.

As it was, Price didn't even bother trying to assault St Louis. One of his only smart moves, since Smith and Pleasonton wanted nothing more than to find him there, ripe for destruction. Even a numbskull like Price knew a death trap when he saw one.

Problem was they gave overall command to Price, who really wasn't qualified to command a Corporals Guard and they lost the bet in Spades,
No argument there.

Actually, the 64 Raid was a high water mark in Missouri's war it was the last large force to threaten Missouri, took a lot of wind out of Southern Sympathizers, curtailed the will of many of the Guerilla bands and ensured the state stayed loyal or at least stayed controlled by the Union'
Price had almost no actual infantry. His force consisted entirely of mounted men. And while the force included the marvelous Jo Shelby's outfit, who were as good as anybody north or south, the balance of the force, aside from Marmaduke's men, largely consisted of irregulars, guerillas and what amounted to militia.

When push came to shove, the latter began deserting and/or surrendering in droves.

In fact, the Battle of Westport was such a non-event that while there were 30,000 troops engaged overall, making it bigger even than Pea Ridge, both sides reported only about 1000 casualties apiece.

Yet despite that, Price limped back across the border at the head of less than 6000 half-starved men, roughly half of what he started out with. The only reason he got away with even that many was that Shelby served as the rear guard and Curtis didn't much want to fool with him.

No it wasn't like Marse Bobby's plan in Penn, it was never designed to be, that plan was designed as a war winner, this plan was more of war extender and neither one worked.
True enough, but I would add that, at it's base, the problem was that there was no real plan at all. "Raid St Louis, ride triumphantly into Jeffersonville waving to your adoring fellow Missourians, then load up on some supplies and skedaddle before Curtis could assemble enough troops to slaughter you" isn't a military campaign, it's a silly, pointless demonstration prompted by an increasingly desperate Jefferson Davis and a ego-besotted Sterling Price.

Bobby Lee wouldn't have had anything to dowith it.
 
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Borderruffian

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To me this entire action was a combination of well-worn Confederate errors in judgement bordering on fantasy.

The first was Jefferson Davis' determination to make somebody do something, even when the odds of it succeeding were very very slight.

The second was the illusion that the border states were teeming with men yearning to rally to the Stars and Bars if only a Confederate army would come around and show the flag. It wasn't true for Lee in Maryland, it wasn't true for Bragg in Kentucky (who brought along wagon loads full of muskets to use in arming all the expected volunteers who never showed up) and, by October of 1864 when anyone could see the South was going to lose, it sure as heck wasn't true in Missouri.

Nonetheless, Price, a former governor, was convinced that his personal popularity would serve to attract hordes of new volunteers in his home state which was bad enough without adding in the fact that (unlike Bragg) he didn't have wagons of muskets to pass out, which was OK because he too attracted precious few now recruits.

In fact, one of the biggest problems with Price's raid -which was all it ever was - was that of the 12,000 men he brought with him only about 9,000 were armed at all, and many of them with shotguns and antiques.

Outnumbered 3-1, facing a well-equipped and entrenched blue host, Old pap never stood a chance.



It might be more accurate to say that part of the point was to keep Union troops who were already there from being sent to reinforce either Grant or Sherman, lengthening the odds against the South in those theaters. There surely can have been little expectation that Sherman, deep in Georgia, or Grant, heavily engaged in Virginia, could dispatch significant forces all the way to Missouri to fight off a glorified cavalry raid in time to make any difference in the outcome.

Even if Grant was inclined to do so, which he clearly wasn't. He had bigger fish to fry than that nincompoop Price.

In one respect, however, this turned out to be one of the only "successes" of Price's campaign; unfortunately for Old Pap, it meant that both of A.J. Smith's divisions of veteran, hard-bitten killers and wreckers, the so-called "gorilla-guerillas", who had boarded riverboats after Banks' badly botched Red River campaign, were intercepted on the way to Georgia and diverted instead to St. Louis.

Sherman didn't really need them and Price, commanding mostly a motley collection of badly-armed bushwhackers, had no infantry that could stand up to them for ten minutes and he knew it.

As for fighting Ewing at Davidson, I agree that it was a fools errand but Price had another problem, namely the lack of muskets and field artillery. As mentioned, as much as a third of his force had little or nothing to shoot with. Price figured he could scoop up Fort Davidson and equip himself with both. All he accomplished was wasting 3 days and losing 1000 men.

Either way though, Smith's troops were already off the boats and marching hard for St Louis, along with Alfred Pleasonton at the head of a couple of veteran cavalry divisions. It would have been a close thing either way as to who would have gotten there first, even if he'd skipped Davidson, and if had gotten there first he wouldn't have been able to do much or stay very long.

In any case, by then Curtis had manned some serious fortifications around the city and, although much of his force was militia, it would not have been quick or easy or painless. particularly since all Price had to use against fully manned permanent fortifications bristling with guns would have been dismounted cavalry in front of maybe 10 or 12 field pieces, total.

As it was, Price didn't even bother trying to assault St Louis. One of his only smart moves, since Smith and Pleasonton wanted nothing more than to find him there, ripe for destruction. Even a numbskull like Price knew a death trap when he saw one.



No argument there.



Price had almost no actual infantry. His force consisted entirely of mounted men. And while the force included the marvelous Jo Shelby's outfit, who were as good as anybody north or south, the balance of the force, aside from Marmaduke's men, largely consisted of irregulars, guerillas and what amounted to militia.

When push came to shove, the latter began deserting and/or surrendering in droves.

In fact, the Battle of Westport was such a non-event that while there were 30,000 troops engaged overall, making it bigger even than Pea Ridge, both sides reported only about 1000 casualties apiece.

Yet despite that, Price limped back across the border at the head of less than 6000 half-starved men, roughly half of what he started out with. The only reason he got away with even that many was that Shelby served as the rear guard and Curtis didn't much want to fool with him.



True enough, but I would add that, at it's base, the problem was that there was no real plan at all. "Raid St Louis, ride triumphantly into Jeffersonville waving to your adoring fellow Missourians, then load up on some supplies and skedaddle before Curtis could assemble enough troops to slaughter you" isn't a military campaign, it's a silly, pointless demonstration prompted by an increasingly desperate Jefferson Davis and a ego-besotted Sterling Price.

Bobby Lee wouldn't have had anything to dowith it.
Price was thought of by many in the Trans-Miss department as the figure to which Missourians would rally, Price thought of himself in those terms and he also thought he was a much better field and tactical commander than he was. That the plan, which was devised at Department HQ (and only approved in Richmond) was flawed in action , support and command is not arguable, but by 64 it was all that could be done in the trans-miss.The lack of real material support given to the department in General and Missouri in particular throughout the war by Richmond and in particular the lazi-fair attitude of Jeff Davis toward the entire Trans-Miss Department was all so telling from 1861 on. If an Army is written off by the Chief Executive setting 1000 miles away, not given the proper support in material and only looked at as defending a supply point (Texas) to keep the ANV and AOT supplied that Army will eventually become under supplied, under armed, demoralized and tactically unsound itself, which is exactly what happened in the Trans-Miss.

The plan , on paper was sound enough to provide the breathing room needed in the East and West if it had been commanded by someone who had the ability and if that person had, had the proper number of troops, properly armed, properly provisioned and properly disciplined.But it had none of these, was put under Prices Command and fell apart fairly early, and yes it turned into a raid ( and not a very good one) but it was not planned as a raid.

A good many of the Federal troops in Missouri were Missouri State Milita (MSM) and those not subject to being sent east of the River, and Washington had no problem transferring quality Federal Units out of the Trans-Miss. especially to the Western theater.

By the time Curtis got involved (he was commanding the district of the Frontier in Kansas or as I like to call it Sodom on the Plains) Price was being pursued in his rear by a force of Union Cavalry under Pleasanton, and forces of Infantry , not to mention the MSM, and Home Guards, the only thing Curtis was, was a blocking force, who reversed the hammer and anvil concept to his own benefit.
 
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OpnCoronet

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* Anniversary of the Battle of Westport, Missouri.
The Battle of Westport, sometimes referred to as the "Gettysburg of the West," was fought on October 23, 1864, in modern Kansas City, Missouri, during the American Civil War. Federal forces under Major General Samuel R. Curtis decisively defeated an outnumbered Confederate force under Major General Sterling Price. This engagement was the turning point of Price's Missouri Expedition, forcing his army to retreat. The battle ended the last major Confederate offensive west of the Mississippi River, and for the remainder of the war the United States Army maintained solid control over most of Missouri. This battle was one of the largest to be fought west of the Mississippi River, with over 30,000 men engaged.

* Wikipedia







Very interesting. To me it highlights the story of the csa's war effort in the West(and maybe for the East too) of too little, too late.

View attachment 113418
 
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RochesterBill

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Price was thought of by many in the Trans-Miss department as the figure to which Missourians would rally, Price thought of himself in those terms and he also thought he was a much better field and tactical commander than he was. That the plan, which was devised at Department HQ (and only approved in Richmond) was flawed in action , support and command is not arguable, but by 64 it was all that could be done in the trans-miss.The lack of real material support given to the department in General and Missouri in particular throughout the war by Richmond and in particular the lazi-fair attitude of Jeff Davis toward the entire Trans-Miss Department was all so telling from 1861 on. If an Army is written off by the Chief Executive setting 1000 miles away, not given the proper support in material and only looked at as defending a supply point (Texas) to keep the ANV and AOT supplied that Army will eventually become under supplied, under armed, demoralized and tactically unsound itself, which is exactly what happened in the Trans-Miss.

The plan , on paper was sound enough to provide the breathing room needed in the East and West if it had been commanded by someone who had the ability and if that person had, had the proper number of troops, properly armed, properly provisioned and properly disciplined.But it had none of these, was put under Prices Command and fell apart fairly early, and yes it turned into a raid ( and not a very good one) but it was not planned as a raid.

A good many of the Federal troops in Missouri were Missouri State Milita (MSM) and those not subject to being sent east of the River, and Washington had no problem transferring quality Federal Units out of the Trans-Miss. especially to the Western theater.

By the time Curtis got involved (he was commanding the district of the Frontier in Kansas or as I like to call it Sodom on the Plains) Price was being pursued in his rear by a force of Union Cavalry under Pleasanton, and forces of Infantry , not to mention the MSM, and Home Guards, the only thing Curtis was, was a blocking force, who reversed the hammer and anvil concept to his own benefit.
Wasn't it Curtis who was in command of what they called "The Army of the Border"? (Although I don't know if that was an official designation; I tend to think not). And he's the one credited with Westport, although maybe that's not fair since, as you say, Price faced a combination of forces and surely the least intimidating was Curtis' militia.

In truth, if I'm not mistaken, the putative commander in that theater was actually William Rosecrans. Maybe he should get the credit.

An underrated commander who had his good days and his bad days, for sure, although undoubtedly his worst day was the one when he royally ****** off US Grant.

The kiss of death for an army career.
 
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1SGDan

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To me Champion Hill is the Gettysburg of the west. Price's campaign was a failure almost from the time it started. They failed in gaining any of their preoperational objectives and changed to even wilder goals.
Champion Hill, like Gettysburg, was a defeat that condemned an army to the unsustainable defense against an enemy with greater resources. Both armies ended up surrendering under these circumstance,although the ANV with more room to maneuver lasted considerably longer under better leadership.
For my look at Price's campaign search Price's 1864 Missouri Campaign under my user name.
 
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My minor rant was all about activity on threads related to Slavery, Lost Cause and Gettysburg. Slavery and Lost Cause threads are pure poop storms. Gettysburg threads seem to generate more activity than other threads about various battles, especially the Trans-Mississippi battles. My thread was 100% frustration.....

Bill
I couldn't agree more Bill...this is precisely why I don't come around here much anymore.
 
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RochesterBill

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To me Champion Hill is the Gettysburg of the west. Price's campaign was a failure almost from the time it started. They failed in gaining any of their preoperational objectives and changed to even wilder goals.
Champion Hill, like Gettysburg, was a defeat that condemned an army to the unsustainable defense against an enemy with greater resources. Both armies ended up surrendering under these circumstance,although the ANV with more room to maneuver lasted considerably longer under better leadership.
For my look at Price's campaign search Price's 1864 Missouri Campaign under my user name.
I searched but couldn't come up with anything much. Could you possibly post a link?

Certainly the game was mostly up when, despite McClernands incompetence, Pemberton got whipped at Champion Hill.

However, I think it's fair to say that he still didn't have to get himself bottled up in Vicksburg. Even at that late hour he still could have taken his not-inconsiderable force north, effected a Union with Johnston and at least made an attempt at mobile operations.

Of course Pemberton was trying to follow Jefferson Davis orders not to abandon Vicksburg, but Vicksburg was already as good as gone. Better to save the army and lose Vicksburg than lose both the army AND Vicksburg.

Lee recognized the obvious fact that his army could never withstand a siege, but got.forced into one anyway.

Pemberton, for whatever reason, more or less chose to bottle himself up when he really didn't have to.
 

KeyserSoze

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I really do not get the Gettysburg analogy. At. All...
Westport, like Gettysburg was for Lee, was the high point of Sterling Price's last campaign in Missouri. Following this he retreated south back to Arkansas. His army never represented a threat to Union control in the west again. Hence the Gettysburg analogy.
 
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Borderruffian

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Wasn't it Curtis who was in command of what they called "The Army of the Border"? (Although I don't know if that was an official designation; I tend to think not). And he's the one credited with Westport, although maybe that's not fair since, as you say, Price faced a combination of forces and surely the least intimidating was Curtis' militia.

In truth, if I'm not mistaken, the putative commander in that theater was actually William Rosecrans. Maybe he should get the credit.

An underrated commander who had his good days and his bad days, for sure, although undoubtedly his worst day was the one when he royally ****** off US Grant.

The kiss of death for an army career.
My mistake, Curtis was commander of the renamed District of the Birder, which had been the District of the Frontier , until the post Lawrance reconfigureation and the sacking of Ewing ( who did beat Price at Ft. Davidson during the 64 debacle.)

Ol' Rosey getting credit? That is an interesting thought altough , he played a very minimal role in field command during the time as he was commander of the Department of Missouri and marginally of Curtis.
 

Borderruffian

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To me Champion Hill is the Gettysburg of the west. Price's campaign was a failure almost from the time it started. They failed in gaining any of their preoperational objectives and changed to even wilder goals.
Champion Hill, like Gettysburg, was a defeat that condemned an army to the unsustainable defense against an enemy with greater resources. Both armies ended up surrendering under these circumstance,although the ANV with more room to maneuver lasted considerably longer under better leadership.
For my look at Price's campaign search Price's 1864 Missouri Campaign under my user name.
If your looking for a comparison im the Western theater, Stones River would be a better choice IMO, or even Ft's Henery and Donelson, the south lost the West when Grant took those Forts, they just didn't know it.
 
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