View single post by Don
 Posted: Wed Dec 3rd, 2008 02:05 am
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Joined: Thu Nov 15th, 2007
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado USA
Posts: 111

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I agree with Ole.  Donelson and Henry started the dominoes falling.  Happened to be Grant as commander, but I don't think it would have mattered who did it.  Not that the two ddn't significantly help him, because they did.  I believe Winfield Scott actually gets credit for the overall concept, though, as part of his Anaconda Plan. 

As Izzy pointed out, the intial defensive lines didn't make sense.  There was simply no way to defend everything.  It's similar, but on a much larger scale, to the problems the other Johnston faced in Virginia during the winter/ spring of 1862.  Die-hards wanted to protect every foot of "sacred Virginia soil," but he didn't have the troops or terrain to do and realized it.  So he pulled back to the Rappahannock, which made a good defensive line for over a year and a half.

A.S. Johnston and his successors didn't have such a luxury, for several reasons.  First, rivers tend to flow more north-south in the western theater, so there aren't too many to make good defensive lines along.  Second, any major adjustment to the lines that might make them defensible was going to leave someone unprotected.  As in a major portion of one or more states, and this simply wasn't a politically viable option to the Confederacy or its generals. 

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