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 Posted: Thu Feb 7th, 2008 09:17 pm
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HankC
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Good points Joanie.

He got as far as McClellan on the peninsula in 1862 and then kept going. Three months after Malvern Hill the armies were at Antietam.

Grant got as far as Hooker did at Chancellorsville in 1863 and then kept going. Two months after Chancellorsville the armies were at Gettysburg.

9 months after Cold Harbor the armies were at Appomattox.


HankC



 Posted: Thu Feb 7th, 2008 09:18 pm
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HankC
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Good points Joanie.

He got as far as McClellan on the peninsula in 1862 and then kept going. Three months after Malvern Hill the armies were at Antietam.

Grant got as far as Hooker did at Chancellorsville in 1863 and then kept going. Two months after Chancellorsville the armies were at Gettysburg.

9 months after Cold Harbor the armies were at Appomattox.


HankC



 Posted: Thu Feb 7th, 2008 09:36 pm
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JoanieReb
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Thanks - yeah, that was a real  goof on my part, saying second trip - the wildness was not unchartered territory to the AoP - even tho it felt like it every time, I'm sure....



 Posted: Thu Feb 7th, 2008 09:52 pm
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JoanieReb
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Moment of levity - just re-read my 4-am-ish post - it sounded like Grant refused to care for his wounded bears - like he kept pet circus animals or something.  I'm surprised you didn't take off on that one, Pvt. Clewell - catching things like that is usually your forte.



 Posted: Thu Feb 7th, 2008 09:59 pm
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ashbel
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Actually the battleground at Cold Harbor was familiar to the A of P as well.  It was the same as the Battle of Gaines's Mill in June of 1862.

I have always thought this was one of the great ironies of the War.  Gaines's Mill featured a successful frontal assault and somewhat set the precedent for many more frontal assaults on both sides.  Cold Harbor showed the futility and useless loss of life of such an approach.  They both took place on the same ground. 

 



 Posted: Thu Feb 7th, 2008 10:05 pm
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JoanieReb
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Bravo, ashbel!



 Posted: Thu Feb 7th, 2008 10:38 pm
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JoanieReb
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"Grant may have lost the battle of Cold Harbor in the sense that he did not break Lee's line. But he did not lose the field.

"We might have to get a definition of what 'lost the field' means for this argument to gain real focus"

Well, it seems that for Grant, one definition was:  if you cover the field with (your own) dead and dying men, it is yours, like say "dibs".

Last edited on Thu Feb 7th, 2008 11:14 pm by JoanieReb



 Posted: Thu Feb 7th, 2008 11:39 pm
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Don
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JoanieReb wrote: I didn't think it was based on one day; thought it was based on one month.  In the month leading up to and through Cold Harbor, "Grant has lost no less than half as many men as it had lost in the previous three yearsunder McDowell, McClellan, Pope, Burnside, Hooker, and Meade on his own."

I've been re-reading Shelby Foote's account of The Wilderness in preparation for diving into Rhea and couple more specialized accounts.

Volume III, page 295 gives a good acoount of the losses and cumulative strain that it had on the officers and men.


Joanie,

You seem to be one who prefers to hear things from the horse's mouth (me too!).  Might I recommend Volume 4 of battles & leaders of the Civil War?  There are a couple of good accounts of the battle (and the campaign) in there.

 

Don

 



 Posted: Thu Feb 7th, 2008 11:42 pm
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Don
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Michael,

Good point.  And the New York Times is fully searchable online now for the Civil War period.

Don



 Posted: Thu Feb 7th, 2008 11:45 pm
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JoanieReb
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Thank You Don! I shall pick it up this weekend!



 Posted: Thu Feb 7th, 2008 11:51 pm
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Don
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Rats, forgot to hit the quote button. The comment two above was in reference to Michael expressing curiosity as to what the newspapers at the time made of the casualties. My apologies.



 Posted: Thu Feb 7th, 2008 11:53 pm
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PvtClewell
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I'm pretty sure Little Mac got' em somewhere! To within 6-10 miles of Richmond, I think?

That is a nice point, Joanie. And Mac did it with far less casualties than Grant. And you can bet Grant's men were aware of that fact, too.

The difference, of course, is that Mac wasn't Grant. At Seven Days, Mac was no longer going against Johnston. Why do you suppose Mac got as close to Richmond as he did? When Lee enters the picture it changes everything in the equation. The cautious Mac, filled with excuses, isn't up to the task of actually having to fight real battles against a real general. He sees twice as many Confederates as there really are, pulls back when on the cusp of victory. Maybe he's afraid of taking casualties, who knows? And so the war continues. Mac was a turd. Talk about neurotic.

Imagine if the aggressive Grant is running the Peninsula campaign, especially if he's facing Johnston. Slam dunk, game over. And, gosh, just think of all the lives that would have saved. The war might have been shortened so dramatically that there wouldn't have been enough battles to even consider Grant to be a butcher.

Moment of levity - just re-read my 4-am-ish post - it sounded like Grant refused to care for his wounded bears - like he kept pet circus animals or something.

Actually, it made sense to me when I was reading it at 5 a.m.-ish



 Posted: Fri Feb 8th, 2008 12:13 am
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Michael C. Hardy
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No - I don’t get mad. I love a good debate. And thinking and talking and writing about the war (and at times local history) is all that I do. I do confess that I am a little rusty on eastern theater. My current project is western theater.

I do think that truces were more common than we think, but only when the lines are opposing each other. When one side controls the field at the end of the day, then that side is responsible for the care of the wounded and burial of the dead. I seem to recall truces at Spotsylvania and the Petersburg campaign. But alas, I do not have the time to read Matter, Rhea, and Green. I disagree with portions of Rhea’s book on Spotsylvania anyway. I think he is wrong in regards to Lane and Weisiger’s assault on May 12. I wrote an article about this and it has been accepted at Civil War Times, but has yet to appear in print.

 I don't know of any evidence that Grant aspired to a political career before or during the war.  True - I’m not even sure he wanted one after the war. Maybe others pressured him into it. I will confess that I am woefully ignorant on the life of Grant before and after the war. I own one biography on Grant, which I have never set down and read cover to cover. On the other hand, I own 48 on Lee, almost all of which I have read. However, a good general is part soldier, part politician. Washington fit this mold, as did Lee to a large extent. For Grant’s success, he most also have been mindful of the politicians.

Would that be the same kind of negligence as when Lee pulled his artillery from Spotsylvania? I thought Lee pulled his artillery because he though Grant was again moving to the southeast? That maybe a faulty memory on my part. Does not Spotsylvania, North Anna, and Cold Harbor show that Lee did have some understanding of Grant? I believe any General can have moments of lapses of judgement. How about Jackson at Fredericksburg? Or Bragg on Missionary Ridge? Or Sherman at Tunnel Hill?

Nobody goes running around screaming 'That butcher Meade.' Very true. But, Meade disappears from the pages of history after Grant comes east, figuratively speaking.

As [John C.] Ropes said, Grant had arrived from the West “ignorant, grossly ignorant” of his own army’s history, “thinking that it only needs to be fought thoroughly to destroy its formidable antagonist.”

Well, isn't that what ultimately happened?

But the army that Grant commands is not the AofP that McClellan created. The three year men that Grant inherited are going home, or have already left. Add to this the losses by McClellan, Pope, Hooker, and Meade, and you have little left. Hence, Grant calls on the reinforcements defending Washington, D.C.



 Posted: Fri Feb 8th, 2008 12:16 am
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Michael C. Hardy
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Imagine if the aggressive Grant is running the Peninsula campaign, especially if he's facing Johnston. Slam dunk, game over. And, gosh, just think of all the lives that would have saved.

But is the Grant of 1862 the same Grant of 1864? Yes, I know, and old argument.



 Posted: Fri Feb 8th, 2008 12:37 am
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JoanieReb
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Sorry to interupt the flow of things here, but am still working my way through all the posts (it'll take a bit to take it all in) and caught this:

"I disagree with portions of Rhea’s book on Spotsylvania anyway. I think he is wrong in regards to Lane and Weisiger’s assault on May 12. I wrote an article about this and it has been accepted at Civil War Times, but has yet to appear"

Michael, please keep us apprised of this!  I am obsessed with Spotsylvania.  I read everything about it that I can get my grubby little hands on, twice!  I am very much looking forward to you article.

Thanks,

JoanieReb



 Posted: Fri Feb 8th, 2008 12:56 am
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PvtClewell
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Whew. Thanks, Michael. I feel better about debates with you now. You just never know.

I like most of your rebuttals. Let me rebut (huh?) one or two:

But the army that Grant commands is not the AofP that McClellan created. The three year men that Grant inherited are going home, or have already left. Add to this the losses by McClellan, Pope, Hooker, and Meade, and you have little left. Hence, Grant calls on the reinforcements defending Washington, D.C.

True, but even with the newer crop of troops, he still takes them to Petersburg and subsequently to Appomattox. I suggest commander and grunt knew each other well enough to get the job done. What does the previous history of the AofP have to do with it anyway?

I thought Lee pulled his artillery because he though Grant was again moving to the southeast? That maybe a faulty memory on my part. Does not Spotsylvania, North Anna, and Cold Harbor show that Lee did have some understanding of Grant? I believe any General can have moments of lapses of judgement

I believe you are correct about Lee's artillery at Spotsylvania and I used that as an illustration to counter the lack of Grant's artillery at Cold Harbor comment. But doesn't that really show Lee doesn't quite have a grasp on this man Grant? Lee's not used to an AofP commander who continues to move forward. Lee removing all his artillery was a blunder whether viewed in foresight, hindsight, nearsight or farsight. And if it's true that any general can have lapses of judgment (with which I agree) then can we consider the Cold Harbor episode a lapse in Grant's judgment? Does he also have to be a butcher, too? Trouble is, these lapses in judgment do cost lives, no matter who the commander.

But is the Grant of 1862 the same Grant of 1864? Yes, I know, and old argument.

If Grant is going up against Johnston, it probably doesn't matter which Grant shows up. But that's also why I qualified the post with 'aggressive' Grant.

Michael, while I've got you here, let me ask you something off topic. I recently saw a DVD called 'The Prince of Dark Corners' about Major Lewis Redmond. I've been in NC more than 30 years and never heard a word about him until now. Absolutely fascinating. Just wondered, since you're in western NC, if there's much lore about him your way. We can start a new thread on this or you can PM me, since I really don't want to detract from the thread we've got going. Thanks.

Besides, I sense Joanie is stalking us.

Last edited on Sat Feb 9th, 2008 11:33 am by PvtClewell



 Posted: Fri Feb 8th, 2008 01:04 am
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I believe McClellan got about as far as Grant did in the wilderness during the time-frame (up to Cold Harbor) we are discussing.  That was the AoP's second excursion into the wilderness.
Going off the top of my head here, Joanie, but someone will come along shortly who knows the territory:

The Wilderness runs roughly from Chancellorsville south. It is so named because it is recent, second-growth forest -- the first growth having been cut down to feed a fledgling iron industry in the area. That is, cut down the big trees and you get a thick growth of brush and saplings that you wouldn't find as an understory in an old forest.

McClellan's area of operation wasn't a walk in the park but, as I understand it, more closely resembled a swamp. I suspect that if you took out a map, you will find that Mac got closer to Richmond than did Grant, In the end, it was Grant that took it.

ole



 Posted: Fri Feb 8th, 2008 01:09 am
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JoanieReb
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"Besides, I sense Joanie is stalking us."

Aw, come on Private Clewell, you KNOW I love nothing more than a good hi-jack.  Hey, wasn't it me who corrupted YOU by having you hijack a thread with me when you were a newbie here?  Remember Mr. Joe's "No Highjack" sign?  Hee-hee, that was fun!

However, appreciate the consideration about the new thread.

I'm not stalking - we're having our third snow-day in and row, and Young Miss and I are having a blast!  Computers on, movie's on, music's on; we are snowed in and loving it!  Unlike poor Mr. Joe, whom is cleaning up from a tornado.  That's no fun at all!

There, see I high-jacked the thread for you!



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 Posted: Fri Feb 8th, 2008 01:27 am
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ole
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Good golly! I take the time to compose a post and you guys get way ahead of me.

Couple things caught my eye. The roads and paths in the wilderness and points south were not designed for infantry, let alone artillery. Horses and carriages and limbers and caissons and such slowed down troop movements.

But the army that Grant commands is not the AofP that McClellan created. The three year men that Grant inherited are going home, or have already left. Add to this the losses by McClellan, Pope, Hooker, and Meade, and you have little left. Hence, Grant calls on the reinforcements defending Washington, D.C.


Forgot who posted this. Grant was not the same man, his army was not the same army. Some of the men Grant inherited are going home. Some were not. And the army had learned to fill regiments rather than create new ones. And a good many of the veterans on line had developed (shall we say surly?) attitudes. Meanwhile, I suspect that Lee's army was not the same either. They were all tired of getting kicked around, not to mention being hungry and ill-equipped while all that was going on. Somehow Grant took a dispirited army against an army they were more or less afraid of. And they followed him. At that point the AotP began to see the end.

ole



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