Was Shiloh The Day The War Was Won?

uaskme

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If Grant had lost Shiloh, he may well have been sent West like Pope or shelved like McDowell. Grant won Shiloh and was demoted! What would happen if he lost?

Halleck dumped Grant but fortunately Lincoln was wise enough to bring him back. Who would have replaced him that could have organized and attack Vicksburg in his place? Would not have been Sherman as he would have been tarred and feathered like Grant.

So if Shiloh saved Grant’s career then it may lay claim to the title The Battle that Won the War
Regards
David
It took Grant a year to conquer Vicksburg. Federals had 125k troops at Corinth after Shiloh. They should of gone to Vicksburg then. John Sherman saved Crump. Washburn saved Grant.

Federals are pushed off of the Peninsula. Lost 1st and 2nd Manassas. Bragg goes to KY, Lee to Maryland. High water mark of the Confederacy was probably just before Antietam. So, several things could have happened during this period to secure Southern Independence.

People make the argument Sumpter turned the tide. Shiloh was important. A Confederate victory wouldn’t have secured a Confederate Independence. Most of these battles were a near stalemate. Yankees thought that Shiloh was the beginning of the end. They had suspended recruitment. Confederacy lasted a long time after losing the Mississippi River. Some argue that losing Vicksburg was a net gain for the Confederacy. It opened up trade. Cotton trading gave the Confederacy money and war material. All of that made the war last longer..

Who knows.
 

Stone in the wall

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I have often attempted to determine who Lincoln might have placed in Grant's place as commander of the Army of Tennessee.

Possible Candidates


4) John McClernand sounds like a fantasy pick but wait. He was a politician with a tremendous ego
I'd have liked to see that one, a double whammy, can Grant and replace him with McClernand. I don't think Grant despised anyone as much as McClernand.
 

Ole Miss

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Clark I agree with you that McClernand was a jewel! His ego coupled with his feisty nature made him a troublesome man to his superiors, E.g. Grant and Halleck.

John Hay wrote:
"vain irritable overbearing exacting man who is possessed of the monomania that it was a mere clerical error which placed Grant's name and not his in the Commission of the Lieutenant General."*

Regards
David
*http://www.mrlincolnandfriends.org/the-officers/john-mcclernand/
 

redbob

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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
You tell 'em Dad.
 

wausaubob

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Shiloh demonstrated the Yankees would fight. It also showed that the Confederates were seldom able to match the US in gunboats and transports.
But in April 1862 there were still many contingencies to be resolved. The US had the power, but no one knew if they would apply it.
What Confederacy survived after Vicksburg and Port Hudson fell was going to be a temporary thing. Neither northern party could suggest giving up control of the Mississippi River and survive in the US Midwest. The Confederacy was going to be a divided nation, with limited international support, until a truly militarized political party formed in the US. From European history, we can deduce that formation was just a matter of time.
In the real world, the US obtained near control of Arkansas and Tennessee not long after Vicksburg fell. 1. The US had full operational control of the inland rivers. 2. People located in four states that were not in the initial wave of succession began to see that US victory was the shortest path towards a return to normal life.
 

Ole Miss

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@wausaubob, in my opinion the Confederacy was a divided nation from day 1. Moving the capital from Mobile to Richmond showed how important Virginia was to the fledgling nation and the divide that would exist between the Eastern and Western Theaters of War. Virginia was the most industrialized state and protected the Northern flank of the Confederacy.

Virginia, Georgia, Carolina and South Carolina had ties to the American Revolution and created greater respect abroad as the new nation included members who had been of the original 13 colonies. There was the impression---real or not---that the Eastern states were more refined and genteel. The state universities in the West were younger and less endowed and attended yet refinement was there.

The South was a land in trouble with the loss of political power due to new states being free and also blind in the faith that Cotton was King. The lack of manufacturing, infrastructure, population, markets for their goods and the Union blockade all contributed to the death of the Confederacy.
Regards
David
 

wausaubob

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@wausaubob, in my opinion the Confederacy was a divided nation from day 1. Moving the capital from Mobile to Richmond showed how important Virginia was to the fledgling nation and the divide that would exist between the Eastern and Western Theaters of War. Virginia was the most industrialized state and protected the Northern flank of the Confederacy.

Virginia, Georgia, Carolina and South Carolina had ties to the American Revolution and created greater respect abroad as the new nation included members who had been of the original 13 colonies. There was the impression---real or not---that the Eastern states were more refined and genteel. The state universities in the West were younger and less endowed and attended yet refinement was there.

The South was a land in trouble with the loss of political power due to new states being free and also blind in the faith that Cotton was King. The lack of manufacturing, infrastructure, population, markets for their goods and the Union blockade all contributed to the death of the Confederacy.
Regards
David
The non cotton parts of the south had mixed opinions about the efficacy of secession. Most of the middle eight states, and New Orleans had significant economic ties to the US economy.
And cotton was a significant interest in the US at that time, generating about $260M in income annual. The cotton industry had some great years in the 1850's. A good deal of the rest of the southern economy was not as fortunate and experienced the 1857 downturn with rest of the US.
 

wausaubob

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@wausaubob, in my opinion the Confederacy was a divided nation from day 1. Moving the capital from Mobile to Richmond showed how important Virginia was to the fledgling nation and the divide that would exist between the Eastern and Western Theaters of War. Virginia was the most industrialized state and protected the Northern flank of the Confederacy.

Virginia, Georgia, Carolina and South Carolina had ties to the American Revolution and created greater respect abroad as the new nation included members who had been of the original 13 colonies. There was the impression---real or not---that the Eastern states were more refined and genteel. The state universities in the West were younger and less endowed and attended yet refinement was there.

The South was a land in trouble with the loss of political power due to new states being free and also blind in the faith that Cotton was King. The lack of manufacturing, infrastructure, population, markets for their goods and the Union blockade all contributed to the death of the Confederacy.
Regards
David
It seems from the literature that many of the ordinary men in the middle 8 states were willing to go along with secession until they could see how it was going. Starting with Shiloh, as you mention, but accelerating with Vicksburg and then Chattanooga, many of them saw with their own eyes, secession was messed up.
 
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Ole Miss

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By the end of 1863 most everyone was sick of war but especially Confederates. The loss of crops, slaves, inflation and lack of infratstructure caused the families of soldiers to suffer greatly. Many wives, sisters and mothers wrote to their men begging for assistance and to come home. The cries for help with the crops, care for children and protect their families were knives and daggers to the heart of Ole Johhny Reb!
Regards
David
 

16thAL

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I firmly believe that Johnston's death and the subsequent loss of Corinth was the day the war and the country was lost . He carried the country on his shoulders and it's fate rests in that fateful Hollar .
 

tony_gunter

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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
May 12, 1863 is the day the war was won. That’s the day Vicksburg and Port Hudson were doomed to fall, resulting in 30,000 Confederates captured, as many USCT added to the Federal army. The war was all downhill afterward.

In 1863, the Confederates were contending with Federal armies. In 1864, they were contending with Federal army *groups.*
 

Ole Miss

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@16thAL I agree Johnston's death was a devastating blow to the Confederacy and personally to Jefferson Davis. After his death Davis sent a message to the Confederate Congress announcing the death of General Johnston I have posted an excerpt below that shows his personal pain at the General's death:

"My long and close friendship with this departed chieftain and patriot forbid me to trust myself in giving vent to the feelings which this intelligence has evoked. Without doing injustice to the living, it may safely be said that our loss is irreparable. Among the shining hosts of the great and good who now cluster around the banner of our country, there exists no purer spirit, no more heroic soul, than that of the illustrious man whose death I join you in lamenting."*

After the War Davis wrote:
"When Sidney Johnston fell, it was the turning point of our fate; for we had no other hand to take up his work in the West."**

The above quotes certainly attest to affection David had for the deceased general but as to how this death of Johnston effected the Confederate cause I the West is not as certain. Johnston was a more experienced commander than the other generals available to Davis but was he irreplaceable or not I am not sure.

Corinth was a vital location for the South and its loss certainly crippled the ability to ship goods and products East to the Army of Northern Virginia!
Regards
David

*Source:The Life of General Albert Sidney Johnston: His Service in the Armies of the United States, the Republic of Texas, and the Confederate States by William Preston Johnston
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:2001.05.0003:chapter=41

**Albert Sidney Johnston : "The Turning Point of Our Fate"'
 

alan polk

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May 12, 1863 is the day the war was won. That’s the day Vicksburg and Port Hudson were doomed to fall, resulting in 30,000 Confederates captured, as many USCT added to the Federal army. The war was all downhill afterward.

In 1863, the Confederates were contending with Federal armies. In 1864, they were contending with Federal army *groups.*

I wholeheartedly agree. I’m glad there is at least an historical marker located at Dillon’s plantation now, and so thankful that Natchez Trace Parkway owns that property. There is certainly a pleasure driving past that indiscreet place (empty rolling hills and small patches of forests) knowing full well that, not only was the war won and lost there, but that the entire course of American history changed by the decision Grant made on that site on May 12, 1863. And not a single drop of blood was spilled!
 

jackt62

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I firmly believe that Johnston's death and the subsequent loss of Corinth was the day the war and the country was lost . He carried the country on his shoulders and it's fate rests in that fateful Hollar .
That puts a very large burden on Johnston's shoulders that I do not necessarily agree with. Johnston's early death in battle meant that we can never really know what kind of commander he would have become and whether he would have made a significant difference to the course of the war. Johnston, as did Lee, started the war with an oversized reputation and in both cases, their actions in early command were disappointing. Lee, of course, went on to become an effective commander; whether Johnston would have followed a similar course is impossible to know.
 

Ole Miss

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Johnston’s actions in leading from the front are not those of a commanding general. His leadership style was reminiscent of George Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn where he abdicated his role of regimental commander to become a battalion commander of 5 companies instead of 12.

Both men were brave combat commanders just not overall commanders who had to be back far enough to see the big picture

Johnston you the time of Shiloh had just lost control of Kentucky and Middle Tennessee and lost confidence in himself. He offered to serve under Beauregard who was too sick to accept command.

Johnston died too early to truly know his worth but like @16thAL wrote he was irreplaceable as evidenced by those who followed him. Davis liked and respected him and his troops believed in him. Who knows🤷‍♂️
Regards
David
 

16thAL

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Johnston’s actions in leading from the front are not those of a commanding general. His leadership style was reminiscent of George Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn where he abdicated his role of regimental commander to become a battalion commander of 5 companies instead of 12.

Both men were brave combat commanders just not overall commanders who had to be back far enough to see the big picture

Johnston you the time of Shiloh had just lost control of Kentucky and Middle Tennessee and lost confidence in himself. He offered to serve under Beauregard who was too sick to accept command.

Johnston died too early to truly know his worth but like @16thAL wrote he was irreplaceable as evidenced by those who followed him. Davis liked and respected him and his troops believed in him. Who knows🤷‍♂️
Regards
David
I believe he knew the desperation of the situation and was having trouble getting his subordinates like Beauregard to see it . He knew how important it was to hold Corinth and after the council of war at 4am he felt like he had to put the burden on his shoulders to personally remove the invader .
 

Saruman

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Johnston’s actions in leading from the front are not those of a commanding general. His leadership style was reminiscent of George Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn where he abdicated his role of regimental commander to become a battalion commander of 5 companies instead of 12.

I disagree with that common criticism of Johnston. Early in the war commanders had to be at the front because the men and officers were so inexperienced. In addition, men did not follow generals who didn't expose themselves to risk, especially the Confederate troops.

Grant was also at the front at Shiloh. Grant "continuously rode along the line of battle, through the hottest of their fire, for the whole distance of about five miles," wrote one of his escorts. Grant was covered in the blood and brains of his aide-de-camp, Captain Carson, after his head was taken off by a cannon ball. A canister shot also hit Grant on his sword scabbard and bent it. An inch or two in either direction could have killed or mortally wounded him. Johnston was no less reckless than Grant.
 

Ole Miss

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Not to be argumentative, but did Grant take command of his regiments and lead an attack on the enemies line as did Johnston? Regimental and Brigade commanders were expected to lead from the front but not Division or Corps commanders, let alone the Army commander.

Grant, Sherman, Gladden, Bragg and other commanders were seen along the line by their soldiers but I do not know of any time that they led a charge at the front of their troops. I am always open to learning more and certainly admit my mistakes.
Regards
David
 

wausaubob

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Not to be argumentative, but did Grant take command of his regiments and lead an attack on the enemies line as did Johnston? Regimental and Brigade commanders were expected to lead from the front but not Division or Corps commanders, let alone the Army commander.

Grant, Sherman, Gladden, Bragg and other commanders were seen along the line by their soldiers but I do not know of any time that they led a charge at the front of their troops. I am always open to learning more and certainly admit my mistakes.
Regards
David
Leading from the front was the ancient Germanic tradition. The person creating the war orders was supposed to face the risk he was imposing on others. He also supposed to have the best armor and equipment and be surrounded the toughest guys in the force.
Even Sheridan, who wanted to be as near the front as possible, did not take the kind of risks assumed by A.S. Johnston.
 
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