Chickamauga Chattanooga Who was most responsible for opening the Cracker Line?

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
Have you read all of Dana’s reports for yourself? I have never read a word Dana wrote post-war, nor am I likely to. Unlike your characterization, in the immediate aftermath of the retreat to Chattanooga, Dana’s reports praise Rosecrans. His interviews with officers reflect their surprisingly high morale. Donelson, Shiloh & Stones River had begun with tactical setbacks, but they had beat ‘em in the ende every time.

When Grant arrived on Chattanooga, the telegraph line from Washington was burning up with concern about holding Knoxville. The loyal population of East Tennessee was a top priority. Grant was as involved with the defense of Cumberland Gap as he was in Bridgeport. Which is why he sent Dana to Knoxville to check on things for him. It is all there in Dana’s reports.

Given the chance, I will certainly listen to what David Powell has to say on the subject, but for now I am going to stick to the primary resources & form my own opinion.
So, when Dana‘s first report to Washington with his analysis that Chickamauga was worse than Bull Run was a compliment to Rosecrans? Then he latter followed up that compliment stating that Rosecrans was going to Abandon Chattanooga. The latter compliment was exactly the kind of information, and a condemning Lie that Dana’s master, Stanton needed to immediately Cashier Rosecrans. What a fine fellow and friend Dana was to old Roses?

Lincoln repeatedly told Grant to go to Knoxville. Lincoln had been focused on East Tennessee since 62 when Sherman had his mental breakdown and failed to support the Bridge Burners, who ended up being hung. Sherman’s failed movement on Tunnel Hill was designed to roll up Bragg’s right flank, so as to clear the way to Knoxville. Battle of Missionary Ridge’s purpose was to get to Knoxville. Grant’s order to Burnside was to hold, Longstreet in Knoxville at all cost. Even if Burnside had to give up his Army and Knoxville. Grant told Burnside he would be up there within a short period to relieve him. Grant knew he could get Knoxville back. He wanted Longstreet out of Chattanooga. So, if a student studied Chattanooga and Knoxville, he wouldn’t be surprised about a lot of telegraph chatter. The Burnside Rosecrans debate of who would support who had been going on since August of 63. Lincoln ordered Burnside to go to Chattanooga after the early reports of Chickamauga. So, Grant didn’t just decide all of this areas importance when he arrived in Chattanooga. Grant did hash out some problems that Halleck bungled. Grant deserves credit for “What He Did.” It just mystifies me why some have to rewrite the story and Give Grant credit for all these things he didn’t do. And Demean others in the process. Grant made a Career out of it. Again it is Quite Entertaining.

You are welcome to your Opinion. We all are here to learn. I just don’t think we should Distort Things. Carry on.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
So, when Dana‘s first report to Washington with his analysis that Chickamauga was worse than Bull Run was a compliment to Rosecrans? Then he latter followed up that compliment stating that Rosecrans was going to Abandon Chattanooga. The latter compliment was exactly the kind of information, and a condemning Lie that Dana’s master, Stanton needed to immediately Cashier Rosecrans. What a fine fellow and friend Dana was to old Roses?

Lincoln repeatedly told Grant to go to Knoxville. Lincoln had been focused on East Tennessee since 62 when Sherman had his mental breakdown and failed to support the Bridge Burners, who ended up being hung. Sherman’s failed movement on Tunnel Hill was designed to roll up Bragg’s right flank, so as to clear the way to Knoxville. Battle of Missionary Ridge’s purpose was to get to Knoxville. Grant’s order to Burnside was to hold, Longstreet in Knoxville at all cost. Even if Burnside had to give up his Army and Knoxville. Grant told Burnside he would be up there within a short period to relieve him. Grant knew he could get Knoxville back. He wanted Longstreet out of Chattanooga. So, if a student studied Chattanooga and Knoxville, he wouldn’t be surprised about a lot of telegraph chatter. The Burnside Rosecrans debate of who would support who had been going on since August of 63. Lincoln ordered Burnside to go to Chattanooga after the early reports of Chickamauga. So, Grant didn’t just decide all of this areas importance when he arrived in Chattanooga. Grant did hash out some problems that Halleck bungled. Grant deserves credit for “What He Did.” It just mystifies me why some have to rewrite the story and Give Grant credit for all these things he didn’t do. And Demean others in the process. Grant made a Career out of it. Again it is Quite Entertaining.

You are welcome to your Opinion. We all are here to learn. I just don’t think we should Distort Things. Carry on.
You obviously have an agenda, thus the straw men & the ad homonym attack. I am content to let the primary text speak for itself. Any opinion I might have is neither here or there. I will now leave you to your opinions.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
The logistical problem may have become an emergency after Hooker's divisions made it to Bridgeport. When that happened the RR south of Nashville had to support Rosecrans' army, Hooker's divisions, and all the mules necessary to use the secondary roads and paths on the north side of the Tennessee. The RR could not do it and the mules and horses began to die first.
Longstreet and Bragg could anticipate that unless the US could clear the RR into Chattanooga, they would eventually have to give up the town.
The Cracker Line was not a real solution, because it was going to very hard to maintain temporary bridges on the Tennessee River, and the route was still going to require an abundance of livestock and a mountain of forage.
What were the solutions? The railroad south of Nashville had to be improved. It had to have better management and it needed to lease some engines from some northern railroads. This is what Montgomery Miegs and Daniel McCallum were working on. The Cracker line doesn't solve anything if the railroad cannot deliver enough hay and oats to Bridgeport.
The second part was the deployment of the small steamers. The steamers don't eat hay. They can run on wood loaded at Bridgeport.
With the steamers adding extra supplies not moved by mule power, the railroad between Bridgeport and Chattanooga is not vital. Hooker's divisions can operate in Lookout Valley before the railroad is cleared. Therefore the need to evacuate Chattanooga ends when the steamers can run on the river without getting shelled.
Which answers the question of who gets credit for establishing the Cracker line. Its Grant. He immediately knew that wagon trips had to be shortened and mules eliminated or else the mules eat up everything that the RR could deliver. Grant was the accelerator, just as Stanton intended. Miegs, Rosecrans, Thomas all get an assist.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
The other part that has to be kept in mind was that Stanton was beginning the long process of getting rid of Halleck. Halleck had no logistical sense. He had no awareness of what conditions were on the ground and he had no sense of time. Virtually everything Halleck said about the Chattanooga logistical situation was wrong. Both Grant and Thomas had to act outside Halleck's chain of command and Stanton was making that happen. When Grant arrives in Tennessee, Hooker is effectively transferred from Halleck to Grant. The fact that Rosecrans' lost his command in the process was a by product, for which people made excuses.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
The logistical problem may have become an emergency after Hooker's divisions made it to Bridgeport. When that happened the RR south of Nashville had to support Rosecrans' army, Hooker's divisions, and all the mules necessary to use the secondary roads and paths on the north side of the Tennessee. The RR could not do it and the mules and horses began to die first.
Longstreet and Bragg could anticipate that unless the US could clear the RR into Chattanooga, they would eventually have to give up the town.
The Cracker Line was not a real solution, because it was going to very hard to maintain temporary bridges on the Tennessee River, and the route was still going to require an abundance of livestock and a mountain of forage.
What were the solutions? The railroad south of Nashville had to be improved. It had to have better management and it needed to lease some engines from some northern railroads. This is what Montgomery Miegs and Daniel McCallum were working on. The Cracker line doesn't solve anything if the railroad cannot deliver enough hay and oats to Bridgeport.
The second part was the deployment of the small steamers. The steamers don't eat hay. They can run on wood loaded at Bridgeport.
With the steamers adding extra supplies not moved by mule power, the railroad between Bridgeport and Chattanooga is not vital. Hooker's divisions can operate in Lookout Valley before the railroad is cleared. Therefore the need to evacuate Chattanooga ends when the steamers can run on the river without getting shelled.
Which answers the question of who gets credit for establishing the Cracker line. Its Grant. He immediately knew that wagon trips had to be shortened and mules eliminated or else the mules eat up everything that the RR could deliver. Grant was the accelerator, just as Stanton intended. Miegs, Rosecrans, Thomas all get an assist.
Small Ohio River steam boats were constructed & then disassembled for transport to the Tennessee below Chattanooga. Those prefabricated steamers were a part of Rosecrans’ Chattanooga Campaign plan. The whirlpool below Chattanooga was a major hazard to navigation. Nothing about using Chattanooga as a major base was easy.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Small Ohio River steam boats were constructed & then disassembled for transport to the Tennessee below Chattanooga. Those prefabricated steamers were a part of Rosecrans’ Chattanooga Campaign plan. The whirlpool below Chattanooga was a major hazard to navigation. Nothing about using Chattanooga as a major base was easy.
That would be the logical way to do it. But the habit of building canoes and other double ended boats that could be portaged had receded into the past.
I wonder why pontoon material wasn't shipped to Bridgeport. But you suggest that pre fab boats were a higher priority. It would have been another systems engineer solution. If bridging equipment can be pre-fabricated, why not boats also?
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
That would be the logical way to do it. But the habit of building canoes and other double ended boats that could be portaged had receded into the past.
I wonder why pontoon material wasn't shipped to Bridgeport. But you suggest that pre fab boats were a higher priority. It would have been another systems engineer solution. If bridging equipment can be pre-fabricated, why not boats also?
I had to tefresh my memory on this one. The N&C RR bridge at Bridgeport AL had been partially destroyed during Bragg’s retreat. A pontoon bridge was used to cross the Tennessee & establish the bridgehead. For ongoing operations, a combination of the repaired RR trestle bridge & pontoons was utilized. The hastily repaired trestle section collapsed twice & pontoons were deployed to keep traffic flowing.

Pontoons were either French type wooden boats or Russian type canvas boats. The new collapsible pontoon jointed with hinges was called a Cumberland pontoon. Originated under Rosecrans’ command, those pontoons could be carried by a single army wagon. Sherman used Cumberland pontoons extensively during the Atlanta Campaign.
 

David Moore

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Location
Washington, DC
Dana was sent to Grant’s HQ by Stanton to check up on Grant. He was given a cover story to investigate paymasters. Nobody was fooled by the cover story. Grant’s officers openly planned to obstruct his investigation. When Grant got word of that, he ordered that Dana had full access to anything & anybody he wanted to look into. It was, of course exactly the right to do.
If you read Dana’s reports, it was no wonder that his growing admiration & respect for Grant made such an impression on Stanton & Lincoln. Dana’s telegraphic messages were sent in a private cipher. That way he side stepped the Hallecks of the world.
At Chattanooga, it is obvious that his function as Stanton/Lincoln’s eyes & ears was fully understood. He received real-time action reports & openly interviewed officers & men. There is an almost play by play quality to them. Grant made use of him as well.
The Dana as spy fallacy is one of those things that people who haven’t read Dana’s original reports front to back say.

Could Grant have pulled off both the Tullahoma Campaign & the Vicksburg Campaign at the same time? It would have taken a super hero able to shift from Mississippi to Murfreesboro instantly... which strikes me as unlikely
Dana also wrote to Elihu Washburne about Grant. Without Washburne not only isn’t there a General Grant but it’s unlikely that he survives in a position of command after Iuka and Corinth. It is in a letter to Washburne that Dana wrote that Grant didn’t drink but in 1887 in his NY Sun he wrote an article entitled “General Grant’s Occasional Intoxication”
At the very least Dana was a man who held different versions about the same topic depending on circumstance.
What was a motivation? Perhaps an answer lies in a letter Dana wrote in the summer of 1863 to which refers to Grant’s “very great chances” of becoming president and noted that the “elements of popularity of [Grant’s] case are much like those of old Zack [Taylor] 16 years ago, and Grant is more of a man than that ancient hero.”
Once again the role of presidential politics surfaces. If Grant had a good chance of being president then telling Washburne what he wanted to hear - and could tell others - and later changing his opinions about Rosecrans paving the way for his removal were sufficient motivations for Dana to lie.

in regard to Grant in Tennessee I was positing if Grant had been sent there in late 1862 instead of Rosecrans would he have been as successful. Is there any evidence of his being able to fight in the mountains? Did he have engineering skills to overcome the natural obstacles? Was the Grant of 1862 seen as an inspirational leader? Is there evidence of technical experimentation and innovation by Grant?

i know that you have a high opinion of Rosecrans in Tennessee but at some point one must address the fact that Grant rose as Rosecrans fell. To say that Chattanooga was opened because of the magic words “Dio it” is the stuff of movies. The question is could Grant on his own have even done it?
 

David Moore

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Location
Washington, DC
Thomas gave Smith the credit, so that good enough for me.
OR Vol 30 Pt IV pg 485

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wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
And that's probably when the crisis began. Would Hooker actually obey Thomas, who was the Department Commander? Or did Grant have to arrive there and implicity threaten Hooker with dismissal? Hooker probably thought he would leave Thomas holding the bag in Chattanooga and pick up the remnants of the Cumberland Army when it tried to evacuate the town. The trick of arriving just a little late, with good excuses, was worn out by 1863. Stanton wasn't having it, and Grant was hurried to Chattanooga to prevent it. When Thomas knew Grant was coming in person, the possibility of evacuation became very unlikely. You claimed Palmer's orders were reversed, and Thomas is already copying Sheridan in on this demand.
 
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Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
And that's probably when the crisis began. Would Hooker actually obey Thomas, who was the Department Commander? Or did Grant have to arrive there and implicity threaten Hooker with dismissal? Hooker probably thought he would leave Thomas holding the bag in Chattanooga and pick up the remnants of the Cumberland Army when it tried to evacuate the town. The trick of arriving just a little late, with good excuses, was worn out by 1863. Stanton wasn't having it, and Grant was hurried to Chattanooga to prevent it. When Thomas knew Grant was coming in person, the possibility of evacuation became very unlikely. You claimed Palmer's orders were reversed, and Thomas is already copying Sheridan in on this demand.
I have seen no evidence of Hooker having any problem with reviewing orders issued through Thomas’ HQ. That was how Hooker & Grant communicated. That would happen in any case because visual sigs went via the A of the C’s signal net. Keep in mind that Grant had command of the entire Western Theater & was in direct contact with Washington & points all over the theater.

The form was General Grant orders General Thomas to order General Hooker to do thus & so. The curious thing about the Chattanooga battle is that Grant acted as an army group commander, in effect. Thomas, Sherman & Hooker were engaged in very distinct & physically separated operations. Thomas was within fortress Chattanooga, Sherman in his beachhead & Hooker across the mountain. Add Burnside in Knoxville to the mix & things get really complicated. This multifaceted situation that Grant was able to manipulate & achieve victory via hand written messages is an example of his singular genius. No other officer on the war managed anything even a fraction of its complexity as adroitly as Grant did.
 
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wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Good discussion. But both belligerents found out in October 1863 why the Tennessee and Cumberland armies were not larger than had been created, and why operations in Kentucky and Tennessee were sporadic. Away from the eastern railroad systems, both sides had trouble maintaining an army larger than 40,000 men. Both sides sent reinforcements to Tennessee and then had to figure out how to maintain them. Davis' solution was to start Longstreet's divisions back towards Virginia. The US solution was to unleash a military/railroad industry complex. After Vicksburg/Port Hudson, most railroad people could see the US was going to win. They wanted to participate in the effort, and reap some of the rewards. Operations had tended to be seasonal, as in the pre Napoleonic era. The belligerent that solved these logistical problems first was going to dominate the theater. The US had the labor supply, the managers and the vendors to improve the railroads. And they could build steam driven water vessels nearly anywhere. Apparently it was hard for the Confederates to think about the fuel efficiency of a few small steamboats, because that capacity had been taken away from them in the first half of 1862.
 
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Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Because of the dramatic Missionary Ridge attack, we focus on that to the exclusion of all else. Grant did not have our crystal ball. Once the A of the TN was safely out of sight, he had to decide what to do with it. The A of the C was no longer in any danger. Knoxville & the Cumberland Gap, on the other hand were in peril.
Grant was in constant contact with Burnside.

The question of whether Burnside’s force could be supplied was not known for certain. ideally, Burnside would take Knoxville & advance down the valley to both cut Bragg off & to threaten him from the east. A cogent argument was made that sending the A of the TN would both support Burnside & flank Bragg.

As we know, the A of the TN’s attack fixed Bragg’s right & the A of the C’s success revolutionized the situation at Chattanooga. Grant then had another decision to make. Should the A of the TN pursue Bragg or should it secure the valley & Knoxville? We know the answer to that.

We tend to view events throug a book on Vicksburg, a book on Chickamauga, a book on Chattanooga & a book on Knoxville. In Grant’s mind, all these books have the pages torn out & interleaved. When he decided to endure the ride along the supply line to Chattanooga, he had no way of knowing how that would turn out. We do, of course.

Because of the telegraph & visual sigs, was able to sit at a table reading & dending telegrams to achieve a situational awareness unlike any general had ever done before. Train loads of fodder leaving Murfreesboro, a brilliant stand at Cumberland Gap, contrabands (signal intercepts,) Unionist support in Knoxville, interviews with deserters, what he saw with his own eyes & yes, Dana’s reports formed the basis for his decision making. So, when Grant said that the Browns Ferry operation was a go, he was the one responsible because he was the only one who knew how all the other bits & pieces involved fit together.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Grant gets the credit because that was what Stanton and Seward intended. If there was going to be a massive effort to rescue the Cumberland Army, someone's celebrity status was going to sky rocket. Thomas a Virginian, with no political value. Rosecrans was a Chase ally. They did not trust Hooker. And Sherman was dealing with a family tragedy. As the logistical situation became worse, because Hooker's divisions were there and the US used secondary roads never meant to carry heavy traffic, Grant was the easiest solution to the command problem.
 

David Moore

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Location
Washington, DC
Because of the dramatic Missionary Ridge attack, we focus on that to the exclusion of all else. Grant did not have our crystal ball. Once the A of the TN was safely out of sight, he had to decide what to do with it. The A of the C was no longer in any danger. Knoxville & the Cumberland Gap, on the other hand were in peril.
Grant was in constant contact with Burnside.

The question of whether Burnside’s force could be supplied was not known for certain. ideally, Burnside would take Knoxville & advance down the valley to both cut Bragg off & to threaten him from the east. A cogent argument was made that sending the A of the TN would both support Burnside & flank Bragg.

As we know, the A of the TN’s attack fixed Bragg’s right & the A of the C’s success revolutionized the situation at Chattanooga. Grant then had another decision to make. Should the A of the TN pursue Bragg or should it secure the valley & Knoxville? We know the answer to that.

We tend to view events throug a book on Vicksburg, a book on Chickamauga, a book on Chattanooga & a book on Knoxville. In Grant’s mind, all these books have the pages torn out & interleaved. When he decided to endure the ride along the supply line to Chattanooga, he had no way of knowing how that would turn out. We do, of course.

Because of the telegraph & visual sigs, was able to sit at a table reading & dending telegrams to achieve a situational awareness unlike any general had ever done before. Train loads of fodder leaving Murfreesboro, a brilliant stand at Cumberland Gap, contrabands (signal intercepts,) Unionist support in Knoxville, interviews with deserters, what he saw with his own eyes & yes, Dana’s reports formed the basis for his decision making. So, when Grant said that the Browns Ferry operation was a go, he was the one responsible because he was the only one who knew how all the other bits & pieces involved fit together.
Not a single piece of documentation. All opinion. Disappointing.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Not a single piece of documentation. All opinion. Disappointing.
You haven't a clue what you are saying. The telegraphic record of the communication between Grant, Burnside & Washington is there for anybody to read. You really need to dig into the original texts before making more uninformed comments like this. Powell's recent book on Grant at Chattanooga is a good secondary source on this subject.
 

David Moore

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Location
Washington, DC
You haven't a clue what you are saying. The telegraphic record of the communication between Grant, Burnside & Washington is there for anybody to read. You really need to dig into the original texts before making more uninformed comments like this. Powell's recent book on Grant at Chattanooga is a good secondary source on this subject.
So why not cite the relevant parts? Facilitate it for people who need/want to learn. My point of contention is the idea that the plan Rosecrans had been working on since right after Chickamauga wouldn’t have been carried out without Grant. I’m willing to be shown where I’m in error but I need to see more than mere opinion.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
So why not cite the relevant parts? Facilitate it for people who need/want to learn. My point of contention is the idea that the plan Rosecrans had been working on since right after Chickamauga wouldn’t have been carried out without Grant. I’m willing to be shown where I’m in error but I need to see more than mere opinion.
I am not teaching a course on this subject. The old show me your sources routine has grown rather old on this site.
 
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