View single post by HankC
 Posted: Wed Aug 8th, 2007 08:49 pm
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Joined: Tue Sep 6th, 2005
Posts: 517

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As you say, 'The only true hope the CSA had left was a defeat for Lincoln in the elections of 1864'.


With that in mind, the action at Brown's Ferry is the most significant of the war. Let me explain by working backwards chronologically.


Just before the election of 1864, the two main armies of the USA are not accomplishing much.


Grant is mired at Petersburg after losing almost 60,000 men in the Overland campaign (many of these men, their wives and parents are voters) and Sherman is slogging his way through Georgia. Home front morale is probably as low as it has ever been. Even Lincoln predicts his defeat and knows it will give the South independence.


Then, Eureka!, Sherman takes Atlanta. Lincoln's election is assured and northern victory is secured.


Recall that Sherman starts his drive from Chattanooga. The previous fall, Grant, et al, had wrested the initiative from Braxton Bragg in November at Lookout Mountain, Orchard Knob and Missionary Ridge and driven the Army of Tennessee into north Georgia with severe loss of men, material and morale.


Only a month earlier the Union Army of the Cumberland had been on quarter rations, virtually surrounded, on the eve of total destruction and losing the advanced position at Chattanooga. For all intents and purposes, the major US western forces would have been thrown back to Nashville.


However, on October 27, 1863, union forces won the battle of Brown’s Ferry and opened a secure supply line to the beleaguered city. The rest, as is said, is history.


Now, if the supply line is *not* opened, the Union Army of the Cumberland is forced to surrender and Sherman has to start his 1864 offensive from Nashville to take Atlanta by the election. That’s double the territory to march through (much of it already ‘won’ twice before) . He’d have to do it *without* the captured Army of the Cumberland and against a far larger Army of Tennessee than in history. Lincoln loses the election and the North the war.


This and $3.48 will get you a coffee at Starbucks ;)





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