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 Posted: Sun Aug 17th, 2008 01:45 pm
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Wrap10
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That does seem to be one of the major criticisms leveled at him, is that he seemed to lean so heavily on Beauregard. I think in their respective books, Mcdonough and Daniel pretty much nail him to the wall for this, among other things, Sword and Cunningham somewhat less so.

But as for the tactics employed at Shiloh, I don't really see how they were unique. Generally speaking, the Confederates launched a series of frontal assaults on the various Union positions on the 6th. Granted they did come close to winning the battle that day, but they also came close to making a bloody wreck of their own army in the process. And unfortunately for men on both sides in that war, the frontal assaults at Shiloh weren't unique.

Even the attack that Johnston himself helped lead, where he was mortally wounded, was a giant frontal assault on the Union army's left flank. It eventually became a flank attack, or a giant turning movement, and probably would have even if Johnston had lived and continued to direct it. But it began as a head-on assault that relied on numbers and sheer force, which was pretty much the pattern for the southern army all day.

I think Johnston did well at Shiloh in some respects, and much less so in others. I also think Stacy Allen is probably right about Johnston having a faulty idea of how the Union army was aligned relative to the river, and how far from the landing his own army was. Basically, Allen believes that, due to faulty maps, Johnston envisioned the Union army as facing west instead of southwest, and apparently believed he hit, and turned, Grant's left flank instead of the center when he clobbered Prentiss. And he also thought he was considerably closer to Pittsburg Landing at the start of the battle than was actually the case. I think perhaps by a mile or so, but I can't remember. So he spent most if not all of the battle with an incorrect image in his head of exactly what was taking place. Stacy Allen believes this was a major factor in the battle, and he's probably right.

Perry

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