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 Post subject: Most Underappreciated Battle of the War
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 3:56 pm 
Here is another general Civil War question for us all - which battle is the most underappreciated of the war in terms of its overall effect on the war effort?

My vote is for the Battle of Stones River. The battle occurred after the crushing Union defeat at Fredericksburg and was fought over January 1, 1863 when the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. If Bragg is victorious perhaps his entire psyche would have been more aggressive moving forward and his men would have had more confidence in the general. But, with a hard-fought victory on day one squandered away, and the disaster on day three, Bragg's Army retreats southeast for Tullahoma and abandons central Tennessee. Lincoln wrote Rosecrans afterwards: "You gave us a hard-earned victory, which had there been a defeat instead, the nation could scarcely have lived over."

Having lived next to (practically on) Stones River Battlefield for a number of years I can tell you that the battlefield pales compared to every other major battlefield. It is now surrounded by "civilization" on nearly every side (including an Adult Video store next to the cemetery!) and is being overran by more construction along the area defended by Sheridan on day one. It is a shame this battlefield was not better preserved (like the Big 5 were) in the 1890s as it is one of the more important, and least understood, battles of the war.


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 Post subject: Re: Most Underappreciated Battle of the War
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 9:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:48 am
Posts: 332
Location: Las Cruces, NM USA
General <salute>

I would perhaps have you consider Perrysville.

From the webpage http://www.battleofperryville.com/

"The Battle of Perryville, fought October 8, 1862, finalized Confederate General Braxton Bragg's famous "Kentucky Invasion" with a tactical victory for the Confederacy, but an eventual retreat that set the stage for the end-of-year Battle of Stones River outside Murfreesboro, Tennessee."

If Bragg can achieve a strategic victory and hold Kentucky, it would have changed the entire war in the West. Perhaps the two should be considered together?

I highly recommend all take the time (linked at the website) to read the article The Road to Perryville: The Kentucky Campaign of 1862 by Dr. Robert S. Cameron, Historian, U.S. Army Armor Center, Fort Knox

I fought the battle and it is a very difficult one for both side.


BG Elkin
Commander
3rd Div/ (2nd Cav)/ XVIth Corps AotT

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 Post subject: Re: Most Underappreciated Battle of the War
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 10:37 pm 
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I think Pea Ridge may be the most underappreciated battle of the war. It was one of the few battles where the Confederates had the advantage in numbers. At stake was the state of Missouri, which in 1860 had the largest white population of any slave state, including Virginia. If Curtis's army had
been defeated, I believe a lot of Southern sympathizers, disillusioned with Yankee occupation, would have swelled the ranks of the Confederate army.
The same might be said for Kentucky, but the white population there was smaller by a couple of hundred thousand.

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 Post subject: Re: Most Underappreciated Battle of the War
PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2011 4:52 pm 
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Stones River - I'd been there in the 80's - and boy, that is shocking to hear how things have gone; pretty sad really.

I'll put in a vote for the Battle of Westport (Missouri), the majority of the battle occured in what is now Kansas City proper. It was the largest battle west of the Mississippi (October 1864), actually the entire campaign took in a good part of the state, including a battle at a ford over the Little Blue River (east of Independence MO), and crossing (iirc) 24 Hwy, which a much neglected and overlooked plaque. Downtown Independence has all sorts of plaques regarding battle lines there -although the climax of the campaign was later at Westport where the Confederate forces sort of got pinched between oncoming Union reinforcements (sent from St Louis I think), and Union units from the west, including large portions of the Kansas State militia which agreed to cross the State lines to join the fight. Westport, itself is virtually on the State line (and is more of a neighborhood district nowadays).

And they got a Half Price Book store there that I miss pretty badly, not to mention the BBQ. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Most Underappreciated Battle of the War
PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2011 1:14 pm 
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I would have to go with Monocacy and Fort Stevens for sheer audacity. I don't know why we never learned in school about how close the rebs actually got to Washington... a full year after the defeat at Gettysburg.

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 Post subject: Re: Most Underappreciated Battle of the War
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2011 1:10 pm 
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I feel it must be 1st Bull Run / Manassas. The ACW saw a whole load of command blunders but Robert Patterons failure to keep a grip on Johnston in the valley has real implications for the North, perhaps it even amounts to the single biggest error of the war?

Patterson was an experienced soldier and whilst we know that the ACW landed a lot of officers with positions beyond their ability during it's 4 year course, I feel Patterson was painfully inept at that very crucial moment.

The North had the preponderance of force even at that early stage of the war and whilst the Confederates had inadequate resources to fully exploit their victory on the day ...the Union DID have those reserves but failed to utilise them sensibly. A big Union victory at Bull Run might have seen the war ended in 1861 just as had been hoped.

This isn't just the benefit of 150 year hindsight, the Union commanders and men even at that time recognised the mis-management of the affair.
We now view 1st Bull Run as just a curtain raiser to the subsequent 4 years, a rude awakening at the time for sure but the might-have-been consequences of a big Union victory seem rarely considered.

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 Post subject: Re: Most Underappreciated Battle of the War
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:17 am 
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Location: Pineville, LA
Target1221 wrote:
Here is another general Civil War question for us all - which battle is the most underappreciated of the war in terms of its overall effect on the war effort?

My vote is for the Battle of Stones River. The battle occurred after the crushing Union defeat at Fredericksburg and was fought over January 1, 1863 when the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. If Bragg is victorious perhaps his entire psyche would have been more aggressive moving forward and his men would have had more confidence in the general. But, with a hard-fought victory on day one squandered away, and the disaster on day three, Bragg's Army retreats southeast for Tullahoma and abandons central Tennessee. Lincoln wrote Rosecrans afterwards: "You gave us a hard-earned victory, which had there been a defeat instead, the nation could scarcely have lived over."

Having lived next to (practically on) Stones River Battlefield for a number of years I can tell you that the battlefield pales compared to every other major battlefield. It is now surrounded by "civilization" on nearly every side (including an Adult Video store next to the cemetery!) and is being overran by more construction along the area defended by Sheridan on day one. It is a shame this battlefield was not better preserved (like the Big 5 were) in the 1890s as it is one of the more important, and least understood, battles of the war.


Where my great-grandfather's regiment was in line when they launched the attack is now the Walmart parking lot.

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 Post subject: Re: Most Underappreciated Battle of the War
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 2:12 pm 
I used to work at that Target across the street from there! If you follow the Confederate flank attack now you pass KFC, McDonald's, Jason's Deli, Jimmy John's, Whitt's BBQ, Bonefish Grill, the Chop House, Waffle House, White Castle, Red Robin, Moe's Southwest Grill, and Arby's...

It might be a much more dangerous route today from a health standpoint!


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 Post subject: Re: Most Underappreciated Battle of the War
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:44 pm 
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Wow! No wonder we lost the battle. All our men were busy eating!

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