Thoughts on General Pillow?

luinrina

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#21
Pillow placed the battle line in an open field within range of the woods where the yankees had cover, then separated the 13th Tennessee from the rest of the line. The ammunition was inadequate so he ordered a charge with the yankees still under cover in the woods. Failed to communicate that order to the 13th TN.
Ouch! I think Hill would've called that a stupid order. I don't know much about military tactics, but I'd have to agree with Hill here.

I hope your great-grandfather survived Pillow's leadership.
 

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Robtweb1

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#22
Ouch! I think Hill would've called that a stupid order. I don't know much about military tactics, but I'd have to agree with Hill here.

I hope your great-grandfather survived Pillow's leadership.
My great-father was a medical officer and did survive the war. I wrote a narrative on his service. The link is on all my posts.
 

major bill

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#23
It does appear to me that General Johnston did not anticipate the use of the gunboats to impact the campaign. To give Johnston a bit of slack, I am not sure many officers at the start of the Civil War could understand how much gunboats would impact the war in the Western Theater.
 
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#24
he should have known it was a bad idea to leave politicians in command over soldiers, he had shot by such a primo dana for Christ's Sake. Maybe he just underestimated the Union force marching on the Forts, but at the end of the day, he created probably the most dysfunctional quartet of officers in the Confederate Army ever at Fort Donelson , practically ensuring its fall.
To be fair to Johnston he wanted Beauregard in command at Fort Donelson but Beauregard said he was too ill. Johnston's next choice was the capable Alexander P. Stewart but Jefferson Davis rejected the application. Johnston was forced to rely on politicians and amateurs.

he screwed the pooch at Donelson. I suppose every General is entitled to some mistakes so they can grow, the War was still young, and perhaps he felt the troops sent there were top notch and would outweigh their officers, or that the Union troops would be just as encumbered, (now I really want to look into the why). but at the end of the day you gotta work with what you have, and he had Floyd, Pillow, Buckner, Bushrod, and Forrest.
Johnston said "I determined to fight for Nashville at Donelson, and gave the best part of my army to do it, retaining only 14,000 men to cover my front, and giving 16,000 to defend Donelson... Had I wholly uncovered my front to defend Donelson, Buell would have known it and marched directly on Nashville... I had made every disposition for the defense of the fort my means allowed; and the troops were among the best of my forces, and the generals, Floyd, Pillow, and Buckner, were high in the opinion of officers and men for skill and courage, and among the best officers of my command; they were popular with the volunteers, and all had seen much service. No reinforcements were asked."

Johnston had sent enough men to Fort Donelson to defeat Grant - the numbers of the Union forces and Confederate forces were roughly even at first. The Confederates should have struck Grant's forces while they were toiling on the muddy, narrow road between Henry and Donelson. This country was well suited for an ambush, because it was dotted with flooded creeks, ravines, and underbrush. Unfortunately Buckner was in command at this time because Pillow was away from the Fort trying to find Floyd. Buckner had no interest in starting a fight at Fort Donelson as he only wished to put his and Floyd's troops onto the first available steamboat and transfer them to Cumberland City. Thus Buckner allowed Grant to invest the Fort unmolested and any chance of a Confederate ambush evaporated. This crucial error belongs to Buckner alone, and he was supposedly the most proficient of the three generals.
 
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#26
To be fair to Johnston he wanted Beauregard in command at Fort Donelson but Beauregard said he was too ill. Johnston's next choice was the capable Alexander P. Stewart but Jefferson Davis rejected the application. Johnston was forced to rely on politicians and amateurs.



Johnston said "I determined to fight for Nashville at Donelson, and gave the best part of my army to do it, retaining only 14,000 men to cover my front, and giving 16,000 to defend Donelson... Had I wholly uncovered my front to defend Donelson, Buell would have known it and marched directly on Nashville... I had made every disposition for the defense of the fort my means allowed; and the troops were among the best of my forces, and the generals, Floyd, Pillow, and Buckner, were high in the opinion of officers and men for skill and courage, and among the best officers of my command; they were popular with the volunteers, and all had seen much service. No reinforcements were asked."

Johnston had sent enough men to Fort Donelson to defeat Grant - the numbers of the Union forces and Confederate forces were roughly even at first. The Confederates should have struck Grant's forces while they were toiling on the muddy, narrow road between Henry and Donelson. This country was well suited for an ambush, because it was dotted with flooded creeks, ravines, and underbrush. Unfortunately Buckner was in command at this time because Pillow was away from the Fort trying to find Floyd. Buckner had no interest in starting a fight at Fort Donelson as he only wished to put his and Floyd's troops onto the first available steamboat and transfer them to Cumberland City. Thus Buckner allowed Grant to invest the Fort unmolested and any chance of a Confederate ambush evaporated. This crucial error belongs to Buckner alone, and he was supposedly the most proficient of the three generals.
Oh I've always maintained that Fort Donelson could've changed the outcome of the War with Grant being away from his troops and his lines being driven back, it probably would have ended his career right there. I've not put a ton of research into Johnston's involvement, but Johnston probably should have left the politicians in Nashville and took command of Donelson himself. Buell might not have marched on Nashville, the place is pretty easily defended, especially to the North.

But at the end of the day, Johnston sent them there and bears responsibility. But like I said, you got to work with what you've got, and he had them. Perhaps the Confederate Government itself bears some blame as they left those imbeciles wear General's wreathed stars to begin with.
 
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#27
Oh I've always maintained that Fort Donelson could've changed the outcome of the War with Grant being away from his troops and his lines being driven back, it probably would have ended his career right there. I've not put a ton of research into Johnston's involvement, but Johnston probably should have left the politicians in Nashville and took command of Donelson himself. Buell might not have marched on Nashville, the place is pretty easily defended, especially to the North.

But at the end of the day, Johnston sent them there and bears responsibility. But like I said, you got to work with what you've got, and he had them. Perhaps the Confederate Government itself bears some blame as they left those imbeciles wear General's wreathed stars to begin with.
With the benefit of hindsight it does seem appropriate that Johnston should have gone to Donelson to command the forces there, but as he said in the letter to Davis quoted previously, he sent his best troops there, under the command of officers who were his most experienced and popular with the men and volunteers. The CSA had about 17,000 men at Donelson and Grant initially had that number also. Good odds for a Southern victory.

Of the 14,000 men left at Nashville with Johnston, 5,000 were medically unfit due to camp diseases. Buell had approximately 50,000 soldiers, so I think Johnston remained with the forces at Nashville because they were in the most peril. Plus if Johnston had gone to Donelson, Buell would have found out and advanced immediately. Remember what happened when the Union command discovered that Beauregard had been sent west - they assumed he had lots of reinforcements with him and it prompted their offensive on the Forts.
 



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