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What if Grant had been in Pemberton's place?

Discussion in '"What if..." Discussions' started by Forrest, May 19, 2017.

  1. Forrest

    Forrest Sergeant

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    We talk a lot about Pemberton's inadequacies. What if Grant had been a Southern general in charge of Vicksburg, facing a Grant-like opponent? What do you think the Southern Grant would have done?
     

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  3. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Who plays Grant?
     
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  4. Nytram01

    Nytram01 First Sergeant

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    What I fault Pemberton most with in the Vicksburg Campaign is abandonning his own judgement in being convinced to move from his prepared line at Edward's Station. Had he stood his ground and remained where he was he might still have lost but he would have met the Federals on his terms and in good order without his army having pointlessly marched South then North and lost cohesion. At the very least if Ulysses S. Grant had been in Pemberton's place he would not have been guilty of doing that.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2017
  5. Jimklag

    Jimklag Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

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    I vote for Braxton Bragg. If we're gonna indulge in what-ifs we might as well make it good.
     
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  6. Jimklag

    Jimklag Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

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    Better yet, Rosecrans or Buell.
     
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  7. wausaubob

    wausaubob 2nd Lieutenant

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    Grant was in Pemberton's place. He married a border state woman and lived in a slave state.
    He returned to his roots and rejected the siren song of the slave society. And his wife went with him to the little town of Galena, IL.
    As to would have happened if Grant had been a Confederate General defending Vicksburg, he would have linked up with Johnston and gone after the Union army before they could get to the heights above the Yazoo river.
     
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  8. Jimklag

    Jimklag Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

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    Put Buell or Old Rosy in command of the federals and give Pemberton's force to Grant and Johnston's to McPherson. Now you have a fun what-if scenario.
     
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  9. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    Well, Grant was besieged at Chattanooga by Bragg and look how that turned out!
     
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  10. wausaubob

    wausaubob 2nd Lieutenant

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    Grant tells Forrest, disregard Davis and Bragg, say you never got the orders.
    Grant, MacPherson and Forrest, whip the Union Army and remants are pinned against Port Hudson and are forced to surrender there.
     
  11. Forrest

    Forrest Sergeant

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    This is the sort of difference between the two that I think is key.
     
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  12. Irishtom29

    Irishtom29 Sergeant

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    I don't consider that a siege--the Federals had a line of retreat and the rebels never pushed the issue. I think it was more a case of two perplexed generals staring at each other, each wondering what to do, at least until Grant showed up.
     
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  13. Yankeedave

    Yankeedave 1st Lieutenant

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    Rip Torn does a decent job.
    469588646.jpg
     
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  14. Forrest

    Forrest Sergeant

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    Not to be argumentative, but out of the last three sieges mentioned in this forum (Yorktown, Chatanooga and Vicksburg), you disagreed with historians that the first two were sieges, and you disagreed with historians as to when Vicksburg became a siege. It's obvious that you have given sieges a lot of thought, so I'm just curious if there are other sieges that you dispute the opinions of historians. (I looked up Yorktown and did not get why you disagreed, but I understand your Vicksburg rationale).

    When you mentioned your disagreement with the start of the Vicksburg siege, I looked up the definition of 'siege' and couldn't find much to help - medieval sieges are easy to define, as they had rules as to how the beginning of the siege was announced by the invaders. I love watching siege movies, but that is the limit of my knowledge. As mentioned previously, I see your point regarding Vicksburg - the date chosen could just be a matter of convenience, and also because the people within the town were stuck there as of that day, so to them that was the day the siege began.
     
  15. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    That's exactly what it was! I wouldn't say Grant would never have become besieged at Vicksburg but I will say he was so completely different from Pemberton it would be unlikely.
     
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  16. Forrest

    Forrest Sergeant

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    or just switch Pemberton and Johnston. I believe Pemberton would have been a better Johnston, because he could have supported Davis' wishes by supporting Johnston. But not sure what Johnston would have done - he might have found a way to escape without asking for help.
     
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  17. Jimklag

    Jimklag Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

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    Yeah. Johnston may have just backed up across the river and then backed up all the way to Texas.
     
  18. Irishtom29

    Irishtom29 Sergeant

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    I think many historians don't know much about fortifications and siegecraft and use the term siege too loosely. I'm no historian but I've read extensively about fortifications for over 60 years with a special interest in "artillery" fortifications--those developed beginning in the late Middle Ages to defend against cannon. Until recently I had an extensive collection of books on the subject and still have quite a few.

    Anyway I make a distinction between an attack on a fortifications and a siege. A siege involved surrounding a place, cutting it off from supplies and reinforcements and then reducing it by either systematic attack or starvation. Thus I don't consider Yorktown a siege because it wasn't surrounded and cut off--what happened there was an attempted systematic artillery attack against a fortified line, not a siege. The same goes for Petersburg. At Chattanooga not only did the Rebels not surround the city they never even attempted to capture it.

    At Vicksburg Grant first decided to take the place by a direct storm, had that worked there would've been no siege and we'd be talking today about the attack on Vicksburg, not it's siege. It was after the storming failed that the decision was made to completely isolate the place and reduce it systematically and when that decision was made was when the siege began.

    Kind Regards
     
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  19. TinCan

    TinCan Captain Forum Host

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    Who knows. No matter how good a general you are, when you have an enemy navy controlling the river at your back, and an enemy army encircling you in your front, options for doing much at all would seem rather slim.
     
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  20. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    And there is your commander in chief, Jeff Davis.
     

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