Who Should Have Been Promoted But Wasn't?

JeffBrooks

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Here's a question I would be interested in hearing opinions on. . . which officers, Union and/or Confederate, do you think deserved promotion but didn't receive it? Why?

I, for one, think Jubal Early should have been promoted to command of the Second Corps after his performance in the Chancellorsville Campaign.
 
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James N.

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No fan here. Black Dave had 8,500 (over 50% increase and 11 regiments of infantry) to Jones 5,500 and 5 regiments of infantry. Most of Jones force was fighting as dismounted cavalry.
It's less Hunter's victory at Piedmont than the recovery after New Market that impresses me. No doubt that's why Lee dared to remove Breckinridge and most of the infantry the latter battle, and that turned out to be a BIG mistake. No other Federal commander in the Shenandoah until Sheridan had been able to recover and take the field again so quickly. I can't imagine Banks, Fremont, Shields, and certainly not Sigel managing such a feat!
 

Luke Freet

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No fan here. Black Dave had 8,500 (over 50% increase and 11 regiments of infantry) to Jones 5,500 and 5 regiments of infantry. Most of Jones force was fighting as dismounted cavalry.
Numbers are one thing, but time and again Union forces lost to confederate commanders with fewer troops. Same this happened at New Market, with the force disparity. Black Dave managed to get more of his forces organized than Sigel did, and managed the engagement better than his opponent. And that force disparity isn't so bad considering other battles in the war where the victors were outnumbered (similar ration at Pea Ridge, though larger numbers in play; and Lee managed to beat General Hooker when Hooker had 130K men at his disposal against Lee's 55K).
 
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Yeah, the possibilty that Early's forces might have captured Lincoln and other top Union leaders is very, very remote.

I would further argue, given the huge Union armies in the field, that a Confederate capture of Washington (including Mr. Lincoln) would not have changed the final outcome of the war at all. The Confederacy was effectively beaten in July 1864, and it is tribute to the tenacity and military skill of the Confederates that they were able to hang on for about another year. Their chances of turning it all around and actually winning the war were zero.
The thing is that Lincoln in actual fact did not find a place of safety where he could be speedily evacuated in necessary. As it happened, he went forward to one of the forts (Ft Stevens?) and personally observed the approach of Early's troops. At the time the reinforcements sent by Grant had not yet reached DC.

Assuming that Early had not sabatoged his own attack and reached DC a day earlier, is there any reason to assume that Lincoln would have not still lingered in the city making himself vulnerable to attack/capture.
 
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Early COULD NOT have waltzed into DC. Yes, there were mostly second rate troops guarding it when he arrived, but they were behind some of the most thoroughly built fortifications in North America at the time, and soon would have the remaining parts of 6th Corps arriving. Even off Early takes the forts, hell lose most of his men, only to be repulsed the next day by the arrived 6th Corps.
You are entirely correct, the fortification around DC were the most formidable in the world. NO ARMY ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD COULD HAVE SUCCESSFULLY PENETRATED THEM. Before covid we had a speaker at the Augusta CW Round table who had written a book about the defenses, and that was his opinion. IF THEY WERE FULLY MANNED.

As things occurred the massive fortifications were not manned. As things occurred, literally as they were approaching the defenses, they could literally see the reinforcements approaching from the opposite direction. Had the attack occurred a day earlier, this would not have been the case. A few simple reconnaissence patrols would have revealed this fact. Early's troops could have simply bypassed the fortifications, attacked them from the rear, easily breaching them from behind, capturing Lincoln and then proceeded into DC proper and bagging numerous Senators and Congressmen, Cabinet officers, etc.
 

Saphroneth

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You are entirely correct, the fortification around DC were the most formidable in the world. NO ARMY ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD COULD HAVE SUCCESSFULLY PENETRATED THEM.
I actually consider this to be incorrect, and the reason is that the defences were large but not deep. The size of the area covered by fortifications is actually the denominator in the calculation.

Sevastopol's fortifications, which carried something like half as many guns (at least 500) on less than a sixth of the frontage (5 miles versus 37), were almost certainly more formidable. This is before getting into the specific issues with the Washington fortifications themselves, which were noted by contemporary engineers (one British engineer in late 1862 rode a horse up the sides of one fort to prove his point that they weren't impassable).

On top of that there's the siege gun issue. The Washington forts generally contained few to no weapons that could equal or exceed the range of even Union heavy siege rifles, and contemporary breech loading position or siege guns in some European armies would have been able to overwhelm any one fort. Since in most places the forts were not properly mutually supporting, the destruction of one or two forts would have rendered the defence scheme untenable.

The strongest section of the Washington forts is south of the Potomac, where they are better laid out for mutual support. Depending on the time period I believe there are actually spots you can march through the defences north of the river without being in view of any fort at battle range.
 

Bruce Vail

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I actually consider this to be incorrect, and the reason is that the defences were large but not deep. The size of the area covered by fortifications is actually the denominator in the calculation.

Sevastopol's fortifications, which carried something like half as many guns (at least 500) on less than a sixth of the frontage (5 miles versus 37), were almost certainly more formidable. This is before getting into the specific issues with the Washington fortifications themselves, which were noted by contemporary engineers (one British engineer in late 1862 rode a horse up the sides of one fort to prove his point that they weren't impassable).

On top of that there's the siege gun issue. The Washington forts generally contained few to no weapons that could equal or exceed the range of even Union heavy siege rifles, and contemporary breech loading position or siege guns in some European armies would have been able to overwhelm any one fort. Since in most places the forts were not properly mutually supporting, the destruction of one or two forts would have rendered the defence scheme untenable.

The strongest section of the Washington forts is south of the Potomac, where they are better laid out for mutual support. Depending on the time period I believe there are actually spots you can march through the defences north of the river without being in view of any fort at battle range.
Umm...No.

The city of Washington was impregnable in 1864.
 

Saphroneth

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Umm...No.

The city of Washington was impregnable in 1864.
It was perhaps impregnable against the actual Confederate army when fully manned, but the destructive effect of heavy siege rifles would have overcome the forts fairly quickly. The Tenallytown road route for example involves three forts - Fort Bayard, Fort Reno and Fort Gaines.

Fort Bayard mounted only 6 guns (2 howitzers and 4 20-pounder Parrotts) and was made of earthwork and timber.
Fort Gaines was also a 6-gun earthwork fort and contained five 32-pounder smoothbores and one 4" rifle (the only heavy rifle mentioned so far). In both cases these are the all-round armaments.
Fort Reno is the serious fort. The fort with its reinforced earthworks along the 39th Street side mounted three Parrott siege guns, nine 27-pounder barbette guns and had a contingent of up to 3,000 men. It was the largest fort of those surrounding Washington. (This is just one face, not the whole fort.)

Three Parrott siege guns sounds much more like it, but those large Parrott guns have a low accuracy at long range relative to European heavy siege rifles. The 110 pounder Armstrong would throw shells much more accurately over a distance of 3-4 miles.

A typical British infantry corps contained a 4-gun siege or position battery. Thus a 2-corps British army would be able to emplace batteries of heavy artillery at long range, and reduce the fort.
 

WScott

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I would have to go with General Winfield Scott Hancock. He took control of the Union Army on July 1 at the Battle of Gettysburg establishing the fish hook defense, led multiple attacks at Spotsylvania Court House and was one of the "KEY" Union Corps Commanders during the Overland Campaign. Besides, he is one of my favorite Union Generals of the Civil War.
 

Stone in the wall

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I would have to go with General Winfield Scott Hancock. He took control of the Union Army on July 1 at the Battle of Gettysburg establishing the fish hook defense, led multiple attacks at Spotsylvania Court House and was one of the "KEY" Union Corps Commanders during the Overland Campaign. Besides, he is one of my favorite Union Generals of the Civil War.
Good choice. "Hancock was superb today" Mcclellan after the Battle of Williamsburg.
 

Luke Freet

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It was perhaps impregnable against the actual Confederate army when fully manned, but the destructive effect of heavy siege rifles would have overcome the forts fairly quickly. The Tenallytown road route for example involves three forts - Fort Bayard, Fort Reno and Fort Gaines.

Fort Bayard mounted only 6 guns (2 howitzers and 4 20-pounder Parrotts) and was made of earthwork and timber.
Fort Gaines was also a 6-gun earthwork fort and contained five 32-pounder smoothbores and one 4" rifle (the only heavy rifle mentioned so far). In both cases these are the all-round armaments.
Fort Reno is the serious fort. The fort with its reinforced earthworks along the 39th Street side mounted three Parrott siege guns, nine 27-pounder barbette guns and had a contingent of up to 3,000 men. It was the largest fort of those surrounding Washington. (This is just one face, not the whole fort.)

Three Parrott siege guns sounds much more like it, but those large Parrott guns have a low accuracy at long range relative to European heavy siege rifles. The 110 pounder Armstrong would throw shells much more accurately over a distance of 3-4 miles.

A typical British infantry corps contained a 4-gun siege or position battery. Thus a 2-corps British army would be able to emplace batteries of heavy artillery at long range, and reduce the fort.
Well, that just begs the question: did Early have the siege cannons available? From all I can tell he only had field.guns
 

67th Tigers

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The number of guns captured by the allies at Sebastapol was 3,839. Of these 2,087 guns were mounted in the defences:

8-inch: 61 (i.e. 64 pdrs)
7-7.5": 87 (i.e. 48-56 pdrs)
6-6.5": 981 (32 pdrs)
5-5.5": 395 (24 pdrs)
smaller guns: 491
13" mortars: 18
10" mortars: 8
Brass Cohorn mortars (6-6.5"): 21
Brass field guns: 16
Wall pieces: 9

Another 112 brass field guns were captured, and the 1,640 guns were largely on the ships.

In April 1865 there were positions to mount 1,120 guns and mortars in the Washington defences, and 807 guns and 98 mortars were actually mounted (905 pieces). In December '62 643 guns and 75 mortars were mounted on a 37 mile front.

Washington in 1865 (the most armed the defences ever were) had 905 pieces on a 37 mile front, or 24.5 pieces per mile.

Sebastapol had 2,087 pieces on a frontage of ca. 4 miles, or ca. 522 guns per mile. That a firepower density more than 20 times Washington.


Umm...No.

The city of Washington was impregnable in 1864.

Absolutely not. Had Early attacked a day earlier he would to waltzed straight through the defences and captured Washington. Due to the long length of the defences, there were relatively large distances between the forts, and they were not mutually supporting. You simply had to overwhelm a single fort and you'd penetrated the defences. Due to a "crust" defence being adopted north of the river, there were no further points of resistance.

In June '64, Grant had stripped the defences. North of the Potomac were only 3 infantry regiments, 2 Veteran Reserve regiments and about 2 regts worth of artillerymen. On the 10th June, had Early known how weak the defences were he could have walked straight through them. Only the timely arrival of elements of the 6th and 19th Corps saved Washington, and it's a good thing Halleck overruled Grant and pulled them in.
 

Saphroneth

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Well, that just begs the question: did Early have the siege cannons available? From all I can tell he only had field.guns
He did not.

Assuming that the fortifications are fully manned, and that the enemy does not have siege rifles, then the Washington Defences are very hard to overcome (it would take a serious "human wave" assault on at least one fort). This is still possible though and would probably take troops with better drill than most ACW troops.

If the fortifications are not fully manned then they are much weaker and easier to overcome without siege guns.
If the enemy has siege rifles then the forts can be easily neutralized.
 

Luke Freet

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He did not.

Assuming that the fortifications are fully manned, and that the enemy does not have siege rifles, then the Washington Defences are very hard to overcome (it would take a serious "human wave" assault on at least one fort). This is still possible though and would probably take troops with better drill than most ACW troops.

If the fortifications are not fully manned then they are much weaker and easier to overcome without siege guns.
If the enemy has siege rifles then the forts can be easily neutralized.
yeah, I'd say the only times I hear of troops in the war taking a well fortified position by storm, its very very late in the war (1865), and by Union troops (Fort Fisher; Final Battle of Petersburg).
 
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