Discussion Stones River VS Gettysburg...Errily The Same.

Lost Cause

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
How about we keep this on an adult level? This is a conversation, not a high school term paper. Anybody who has spent more than an afternoon reading up on this subject knows the answer to your question. If they haven't, the list of thirty or forty historians that come to mind simply wouldn't mean anything.
I was quoting your own “adult” words. It is not an unreasonable request to ask you to simply name these historians (or at least one) you consistently refer to, especially when stating theories outside the normal discussion. Expecting a reader to comb through 65,000 google links for further readership is a tad arduous.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I was quoting your own “adult” words. It is not an unreasonable request to ask you to simply name these historians (or at least one) you consistently refer to, especially when stating theories outside the normal discussion. Expecting a reader to comb through 65,000 google links for further readership is a tad arduous.
Quote away all you like. Beats me how 65,000 citations are not enough. My knowledge base does not come from cherry picking a few Wiki searches to support my preconceptions. I have read entire books before coming to my conclusions, so I don't do the online quips thing. I actually did comb through quite a few of the 65,000 citations before I recommended them to you. I suggest you do what I did & take several hours to aquant yourself with the facts. So, the answer to your question is, "Yes, I do expect others to do what I do & take the time necessary to understand the topic under discussion well enough to contribute to the conversation." Otherwise all people do is endlessly repeat tropes about topics they don't understand.
 

Piedone

Corporal
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
Just out of curiosity, how do you account for the "... many of the western territories were already occupied..." I don't suppose that Grant's victories had anything to do with that? After Grant took command, how many invasions of the North did Lee attempt? Once Grant took command, Lee was forced ever backward until he was pinned down at Petersburg where Lee himself stated that he knew it was only a matter of time.

I can imagine if Lee had scored some kind of tactical victory at Gettysburg. In fact, I have posted a detailed analysis of just what Lee's position was, win or loose on CWT. 40 miles from nowhere PA without a supply line of any kind, with around 40% casualties & no ammunition, Lee would have had to fall back on his base. He could not replace his horses, there were no remounts among the plodding draft animals of PA to be had. July is not harvest time, corn was knee high, hay had yet to be cut, raked & stacked. There was nothing for his army to do a Napoleonic live off the land maneuver. Numerous professional military officers, including Eisenhower & Montgomery have been puzzled to understand just what Lee hoped to accomplish. I don't claim to, either. What is certain is that Lee simply did not have the means to stay in PA. As it was, it took almost every wagon he could lay his hands on just to evacuate part of his wounded. That left no transport for distributing supplies, even if he had any to hand out.
Looking at the situation from a cool military perspective you are most probably on solid ground.

But I am somewhat dubious about the papers of those days seeing matters from that perspective.

And it has to be admitted that the Union was in a disadvantage:
it sufficed that the populace no longer thought they really needed / wanted victory over the South -
which may well have been the case - especially when the price to pay for that skyrocketed once again....
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Looking at the situation from a cool military perspective you are most probably on solid ground.

But I am somewhat dubious about the papers of those days seeing matters from that perspective.

And it has to be admitted that the Union was in a disadvantage:
it sufficed that the populace no longer thought they really needed / wanted victory over the South -
which may well have been the case - especially when the price to pay for that skyrocketed once again....
I have read... in all candor I don’t know how many CW soldier letters & a much smaller number of letters from home. I recently read a paper on the Copperheads, not my usual line of inquiry. I have to say that I can’t agree that the degree of war weariness in Union states reached the level you describe.

Indeed, the long casualty lists were depressing civilian morale. However, in the states that prohibited mail in balloting, the furloughed soldiers had voted overwhelmingly for Lincoln. The Veteran Volunteer Corps filled up with men who had served three years & still wanted to be in the fight.

If anything, it was the CSA that quite rightly had suffered a collapse of civilian morale. Desertion among North Carolina troops in particular is the subject of several recent books. Lee had to dispatch a battalion of infantry to NC in a vain attempt to drag deserters back into the ranks.

I realize to the Virginia-centric among us that Lee’s army is the end all & be all of the war. Outside the few counties that the A of NV occupied, the war was all but over by late 1864. Everyone was sick to death with the war, but as Lincoln’s re-election shows, wanted the CSA crushed for good.
 

Piedone

Corporal
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
I have read... in all candor I don’t know how many CW soldier letters & a much smaller number of letters from home. I recently read a paper on the Copperheads, not my usual line of inquiry. I have to say that I can’t agree that the degree of war weariness in Union states reached the level you describe.

Indeed, the long casualty lists were depressing civilian morale. However, in the states that prohibited mail in balloting, the furloughed soldiers had voted overwhelmingly for Lincoln. The Veteran Volunteer Corps filled up with men who had served three years & still wanted to be in the fight.

If anything, it was the CSA that quite rightly had suffered a collapse of civilian morale. Desertion among North Carolina troops in particular is the subject of several recent books. Lee had to dispatch a battalion of infantry to NC in a vain attempt to drag deserters back into the ranks.

I realize to the Virginia-centric among us that Lee’s army is the end all & be all of the war. Outside the few counties that the A of NV occupied, the war was all but over by late 1864. Everyone was sick to death with the war, but as Lincoln’s re-election shows, wanted the CSA crushed for good.
Well...I’ll have a look at them - but it might be that those books are telling me some other things than they are telling you...
 

jackt62

Captain
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
If anything, it was the CSA that quite rightly had suffered a collapse of civilian morale.
I tend to agree with that assessment despite often mentioned sources such as G. Gallagher which assert that southern morale and belief in the cause never wavered significantly even to the end. Collective resistance to "Yankee invaders" from the 1862 occupations of New Orleans and Memphis, and a certain esprit de corps among veteran troops are belied by the steady but sure erosion of civilian morale that was hammered by Confederate impressment, forced and inequitable conscription, inflation, bread riots, government takeover of railroads and industry, and internal resistance by loyalist residents of east Tennessee, north Alabama, and western North Carolina. The war should have been over for sure by the time of Lincoln's re-election (if not sooner), but was not, because of Lee and Davis' stubborn refusal to acknowledge reality.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Well...I’ll have a look at them - but it might be that those books are telling me some other things than they are telling you...
I have no idea exactly what you are referring to. However, an inductive search will always find exactly the same preconceived evidence. A deductive search follows the evidence & draws conclusions accordingly. I spent decades unlearning the Lost Cause counter factual narrative I was taught as a child, so deductive learning is what I am all about. When the facts change, my conclusions change.
 

Piedone

Corporal
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
I have no idea exactly what you are referring to. However, an inductive search will always find exactly the same preconceived evidence. A deductive search follows the evidence & draws conclusions accordingly. I spent decades unlearning the Lost Cause counter factual narrative I was taught as a child, so deductive learning is what I am all about. When the facts change, my conclusions change.
I beg to disagree that always the same conclusions are drawn - and do remind you on our disagreement about how to correctly interprete Hacker´s study regarding the losses in the Civil War.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I beg to disagree that always the same conclusions are drawn - and do remind you on our disagreement about how to correctly interprete Hacker´s study regarding the losses in the Civil War.
Disagree with me all you want... let the documentation lead the way. In all candor, I can’t imagine why anybody cares what I think.
 

Piedone

Corporal
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
I tend to agree with that assessment despite often mentioned sources such as G. Gallagher which assert that southern morale and belief in the cause never wavered significantly even to the end. Collective resistance to "Yankee invaders" from the 1862 occupations of New Orleans and Memphis, and a certain esprit de corps among veteran troops are belied by the steady but sure erosion of civilian morale that was hammered by Confederate impressment, forced and inequitable conscription, inflation, bread riots, government takeover of railroads and industry, and internal resistance by loyalist residents of east Tennessee, north Alabama, and western North Carolina. The war should have been over for sure by the time of Lincoln's re-election (if not sooner), but was not, because of Lee and Davis' stubborn refusal to acknowledge reality.
Well maybe you are right - maybe you aren’t.

If we don’t use our hindsight then we would have to admit that Grant could have lost his track in the Wilderness (as nobody is safe in war and love) - this could have even led to a major disaster for the Union.

As well if we do not use our hindsight then it wasn’t all that clear that the confederate political leadership would act that unreasonably and intransigent as they did at the Hampton Roads Conference - and after a decisive defeat of Grant the talks would have been somewhat different I assume.

And if we regard the relatively short reconstruction period and it’s outcoming then we may assume that the liberation of the enslaved was of course popular (and rightly it was), but it is also at least conceivable that the northern populace was not willed to pay almost any price for it.
@wausabob demonstrated just how insignificant the South had become regarding the great expansion of the US - the readmittance of the South was maybe not a matter of life and death to the US.

I also do hardly understand that idea of Lee or Davis acting criminally if not surrendering early - especially not if @Rhea Cole is right with his concept of plumbing morale and mass desertions in the southern army. If it was that easy to leave the forces (as it seemingly had been - with exceptions) then one could to a certain degree (there weren’t any mass executions) decide if he was willed to continue the fight or not.

And if you point with your finger at all the destruction in the backwash of the retreating western Confederates and the advancing troops of Sherman and all that hunger because of the blockade....well maybe it is not necessary to continue with that point.

So my thesis is:
- that a Virginia-centric perspective isn’t maybe that foolish
- that Lee acted (at least until the beginning of the siege) neither criminally nor irresponsible

But I am of course not suggesting:
- that Davis and the political leadership of the Confederates acted reasonable - they obviously were incredibly stubborn and prone to magical thinking in the end.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Don't hold your breath. That poster has more unnamed sources that the Washington Post and New York Times .

You all should subscribe to the Emerging Civil War forum. Today’s post is the start of a multi part Overland Campaign series. Grant’s coupe d’ olea, as Jomini called it, allowed him to take the initiative & within 48 hours permanently deprive Lee of the initiative. There is a bibliography & eight footnotes. That is the kind of thing I read every day. If it is citations you crave, ECW is where you need to be. Fair warning, the discussions on that forum do not include footnotes, either.
 
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Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
You all should subscribe to the Emerging Civil War forum. Today’s post is the start of a multi part Overland Campaign series. Grant’s coupe d’ olea, as Jomini called it, allowed him to take the initiative & within 48 hours permanently deprive Lee of the initiative. There is a bibliography & eight footnotes. That is the kind of thing I read every day. If it is citations you crave, ECW is where you need to be.
 
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Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Well maybe you are right - maybe you aren’t.

If we don’t use our hindsight then we would have to admit that Grant could have lost his track in the Wilderness (as nobody is safe in war and love) - this could have even led to a major disaster for the Union.

As well if we do not use our hindsight then it wasn’t all that clear that the confederate political leadership would act that unreasonably and intransigent as they did at the Hampton Roads Conference - and after a decisive defeat of Grant the talks would have been somewhat different I assume.

And if we regard the relatively short reconstruction period and it’s outcoming then we may assume that the liberation of the enslaved was of course popular (and rightly it was), but it is also at least conceivable that the northern populace was not willed to pay almost any price for it.
@wausabob demonstrated just how insignificant the South had become regarding the great expansion of the US - the readmittance of the South was maybe not a matter of life and death to the US.

I also do hardly understand that idea of Lee or Davis acting criminally if not surrendering early - especially not if @Rhea Cole is right with his concept of plumbing morale and mass desertions in the southern army. If it was that easy to leave the forces (as it seemingly had been - with exceptions) then one could to a certain degree (there weren’t any mass executions) decide if he was willed to continue the fight or not.

And if you point with your finger at all the destruction in the backwash of the retreating western Confederates and the advancing troops of Sherman and all that hunger because of the blockade....well maybe it is not necessary to continue with that point.

So my thesis is:
- that a Virginia-centric perspective isn’t maybe that foolish
- that Lee acted (at least until the beginning of the siege) neither criminally nor irresponsible

But I am of course not suggesting:
- that Davis and the political leadership of the Confederates acted reasonable - they obviously were incredibly stubborn and prone to magical thinking in the end.
I am curious, have you read Davis’ book? In it he details the reasons for his decisions. Being a Western War man, I have only read the parts involved with events surrounding Stones River & Chattanooga. Anyways, Davis’ own words might ad nuance to your opinions.
 
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