Was Shiloh The Day The War Was Won?

jackt62

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a loss at Shiloh would have tainted Halleck's reputation but I believe he was enough of a politician to slide away unscathed. Remember it took Halleck a full month to move from Pittsburg Landing and begin the siege of Corinth. I can not fathom him marching across Mississippi to encircle Vicksburg. Can you?
Halleck was certainly no field commander, which is one of the reasons why Lincoln kicked him upstairs to assume the General-in-Chief position, which was still beyond his capabilities. That might still have happened even with a loss at Shiloh, because of his ability to deflect responsibility away from himself.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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Interesting theory. However I believe the Confederacy was on the road to defeat from April 12,1861 when Fort Sumner was attacked. The original 7 states were soon followed by 4 others to form the Confederate States of America. Southern Honor and Steel soon fell to the Northern Honor, Steel, Manpower, Industry, Infrastructure and Logistics. This of course is merely my opinion.

If we are discussing however, which particular battle, event or political action signaled the death knell of the Confederacy then I honestly believe that would be the Union's victory at Shiloh in April of 1862.

Losing the Battle of Shiloh caused the South

1) To lose the city of Corinth where the Memphis-Charleston and Mobile-Ohio railroads crossed severing any rail connection between the Western and Eastern theaters.

2) An opportunity to have adversely impacted Grant's and possible Sherman's military career.

3) To lose control of the Mississippi River Valley and Northern Mississippi, opening the way for the loss of Memphis, New Orleans and Vicksburg and control of the Mississippi River along with its many tributaries.

4) Permitted Federal forces to attempt take control of the Black Belt/Prairie running along the Mississippi/Alabama area, a rich soil producing large and prosperous crops. General Nathan Bedford Forrest fought various Union commanders for the rest of the War who sought to remove this asset of the Confederates.

The ACW was the results of politics, with the new states being admitted all "Free States" which would lead to loss of political power to 11 of the "Slave States". Thus we go full circle as slavery being the cause of the political struggle. Which comes first? Chicken or the egg?
Regards
David
I've got a hard time seeing it as the day the war was won. By the logic of that theory, if applied to Fort Donelson then it would've been the day the war was lost as it cost Nashville, pretty much Memphis, and the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers down to Shiloh.

The theory also ignores so many other factors that almost would've turned the tables easily if they went another way. Like the 1864 Presidential Election, foreign intervention, the Vicksburg Campaign, the Sharpsburg and Gettysburg campaigns, even Gordon's proposed offensive at Fort Stedman in 1864.

I don't think the war was decided on the battlefield till maybe Sailor's Creek in 1865, and politically till well after 1900. Shiloh was a major defeat for the Confederacy, but not a crippling one. Three more years of hard fighting for both sides proves that!:D
 

David Moore

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@David Moore you are correct and I made an error as highlited below. I appreciate you pointing out mymistake. As to sources regarding various superiors who did not admire or cared for him are many since the 3 names that come to mind were Rosecran's superiors; Stanton, Grant and Halleck.

3) William Rosecrans had initial success in West Virginia and moved to the Western Theater in May and participated in battles at Iuka and Corinth. He provided uninspired leadership and was not admired or liked by his troops (superiors). I suspect that he would not have been able to perform as well as Grant in his Vicksburg campaign.

As to using the term "suspect" on this board what term would you prefer? I am not a historian and never have claimed such but I am a amatuer who is deeply interested in American History. I express my opinions and provide documentation and sources for statements that I make. However using "suspect" clearly shows I am not certain about a statement

Respectively submitted
Reagrds
David
Thanks for your thoughtful response.
I am a Rosecrans partisan but it is based 100% on my +40 years researching him. I had the usual low opinion of him until I actually and unexpectedly started doing original source research on him and his military career. I have no personal or ideological connection to him aside from believing the right side won the War. I am surprised that people post unsupported opinions about historical figures and events. I personally would be embarrassed to do that.
 

PBRegiment

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I have a LOT more to learn before I would dare to espouse my opinion on which battle truly signaled the ultimate victory by the Union Army of Northern Aggression.
That said, however, I believe where the CSA turned the corner towards defeat, with the likelihood of ever being able to regain their former glory or hopes for overall victory, was the day they lost at Gettysburg, coupled with the fall of Vicksburg the very next day on 04July62.
 

Ole Miss

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This is an amateur thread and as such the majority of posters do not have access to libraries except online or time to research each post. Many are neither scholars or writers and pursue the study of the Civil War as a hobby
Few if any posts are published so where else could one post thoughts as opinions?
I make many mistakes but still have my ideas that I post.

Respectfully submitted
Regards
David
 

David Moore

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This is an amateur thread and as such the majority of posters do not have access to libraries except online or time to research each post. Many are neither scholars or writers and pursue the study of the Civil War as a hobby
Few if any posts are published so where else could one post thoughts as opinions?
I make many mistakes but still have my ideas that I post.

Respectfully submitted
Regards
David
But many posters are very forceful in their opinions. I really think this is due to the nature of social media and affects political and sports discussions as well. I think if most of the posters on this site were in an actual room the tone would be civil and geared to actual learning.
 
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David Moore

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I have a LOT more to learn before I would dare to espouse my opinion on which battle truly signaled the ultimate victory by the Union Army of Northern Aggression.
That said, however, I believe where the CSA turned the corner towards defeat, with the likelihood of ever being able to regain their former glory or hopes for overall victory, was the day they lost at Gettysburg, coupled with the fall of Vicksburg the very next day on 04July62.
I of course have to mention Tullahoma - the subject of a number of recent books.
 

jackt62

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Possible Candidates
1) Don Carlos Buell had experience commanding the Army of the Ohio; however he was more a quartermaster than army commander as evidenced by his removal from command in October of 1862.
Buell was one of those West Point trained regular army officers whose pre-Civil War career followed the predictable path of others in his situation that included Mexican War, Indian, and frontier service with brevet promotions but otherwise slow advancement. He was particularly noted as a strong disciplinarian and was well suited to understanding how to command formations of troops. The point here being that Buell was just as ready as many of his fellow officers to assume important roles once the CW began. But Buell also followed in the footsteps of officers like McClellan and Rosecrans, who were deemed too cautious or "slow" by Lincoln in carrying out the wishes of the administration. Buell was also a proponent of "soft" war, who believed in protecting the "property rights" of southern slave owners, another mark against him. But if speculating about a replacement for Grant, had Shiloh gone the other way, I would say that Buell would have been a prime candidate at that point in time, before his alleged tardiness led to his removal.
 

David Moore

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What or where, perhaps, is Tullahoma?
Rather than link the Wikipedia article I’ll direct you to the summary in this link to one of the most recent books on the Campaign. Btw I commend you for asking the question you did. I’d never heard of Tullahoma 40 years ago. Or Iuka or Corinth for that matter. Sometimes it’s good to study a subject with zero preconceived notions.
 

Ole Miss

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Buell’s March from Nashville to Savannha was used to hammer him for being slow but as I pointed out in a thread I posted last year he was not given a time or date to make his march to the Tennessee River.
Regards
David

This is an excerpt from Colonel Jacob Ammen's diary dated April 5th:
"You cannot march through the swamps; make the troops comfortable; I will send boats for you Monday or Tuesday, or some time early in the week. There will be no fight at Pitfcsburg Landing; we will have to go to Corinth, where the rebels are fortified. If they come to attack us, we can whip them, as I have more than twice as many troops as I had at Fort Donelson. Be sure and call at the brick house on the river tomorrow evening, as I have ah engagement for this evening."*

*Official Records of the Rebellion
Series 1, Volume X, Part 1
Pages 330-331
 

PBRegiment

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Rather than link the Wikipedia article I’ll direct you to the summary in this link to one of the most recent books on the Campaign. Btw I commend you for asking the question you did. I’d never heard of Tullahoma 40 years ago. Or Iuka or Corinth for that matter. Sometimes it’s good to study a subject with zero preconceived notions.
I agree! So much of popular Civil War history is confined to the Eastern theater, that I've seldom heard of the rest of it. For example, the Confederate shipping that occurred on the West Coast. My good friend @Stone in the wall recently turned me onto that, which I never knew existed, and loaned me a book on the subject.
The War may have only lasted 5 years, but I'll spend the rest of my life just trying to learn about it all!
Thank you for the link, by the way!
 

David Moore

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I agree! So much of popular Civil War history is confined to the Eastern theater, that I've seldom heard of the rest of it. For example, the Confederate shipping that occurred on the West Coast. My good friend @Stone in the wall recently turned me onto that, which I never knew existed, and loaned me a book on the subject.
The War may have only lasted 5 years, but I'll spend the rest of my life just trying to learn about it all!
Thank you for the link, by the way!
I see you live near Antietam. That battle actually had a big effect on Iuka as Grant called off his attack while he waited for a response to his suggestion that the Confederate general Price surrender. Rosecrans was also the commander for most of the western Virginia campaign of 1861. One might argue that when Virginia couldn’t hold on to much of ts own territory that was the end of the war. The ACW is a really big subject and the more one knows about it the fewer the number of people one can deeply discuss it with.
 

DanSBHawk

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There might be some argument about that. While the federal army was indeed dealt a heavy blow with a surprise Confederate assault on April 6, by the end of the day the situation was not as dire for the Union as it might have seemed. By nightfall on day 1, Wallace's "lost" division and Nelson's division of Buell's army were at or close to beefing up the Union line, which Grant was in the process of stabilizing by the river. Beauregard, meanwhile, believing that the federal army was finished, let the southern attack fizzle out, a perhaps understandable position given the exhaustion of his troops, and the steadfast Union defense at the Hornet's Nest, which not only delayed the southern onslaught, but probably waylaid southern plans for a decisive movement against the Union left flank.
Agreed. Even if Nelson had not shown up, and the rest of Buell's forces had not shown up, Grant had a strong defensive position at the end of the first day, which was made stronger with the arrival of his tardy division. And the confederates were dead tired and hurt.

Grant could have simply defended his position on the second day without any help at all. Buell's force enabled him to advance, instead of defend.
 

Ole Miss

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At the end of Sunday, April 6, 1862, the Confederates were exhausted, short of ammo and occupying a mile long or so line. Beauregard sent a telegram to Jefferson Davis announcing a great victory. No one was in charge of resupplying combat units or surveying the enemy's position. The only Confederate officer who was reconning the Union position was a lowly Colonel of cavalry named Forrest. He attempted to report to Beauregard but was unable to find him during the night. Monday morning was disturbed by the Union advance against an unprepared Confederate army.

I believe Grant could have defeated a Confederate attack without Buell's force but don't know enough to say he could have driven the Rebels from the field.
Regards
David
 
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