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 Post subject: What if...?
PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 5:50 am 
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What if Pope had not come East in 1862, but Grant had and been given command of the Yankee army in North Virginia instead?
Would he have done any better than Pope?
Would Lincoln have been as "hands off" as he was in 1864?
Would he still have been around in his job so as to conduct the 1864 campaign?

What think you gents?

Maj. General P. Kenney
3rd Division
Cavalry Division
IV Corps
Army of the Mississippi, CSA


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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 10:38 am 
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Is Pope the John Bell Hood of the Union? [:P]

I think some of the key ingredients are maybe not so much the commanders themselves but who becomes the Corps & Division commanders. The ANV Command of '64 though good, is lacking some key people and I don't mean just Jackson.

Does Grant have to play political games and give commands to some of the political generals, by '64 though there are those that happen, it is not like that of '62.

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Lieutenant General Scott Ludwig
Commanding Officer III Corps - Army of Northern Virginia
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"Son only a Minie ball can dismiss me!"

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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 11:35 am 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Bill Peters</i>
<br />Its interesting to note that Grant would have had a higher degree of respect for Lee than Pope did and probably would have been a bit more cautious to take the field against him since Little Mac was at that time transferring his army from the Peninsula.

If I know Grant he would have had his army positioned to where he could block Lee but not bring him out to battle.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Grant didn't respect Lee until he was taught respect. Grant marched his army into the Wilderness without much care about how Lee would react. On the first day, Grant lost his temper with his subordinate commanders when they advised caution when contact was made. I don't think he really respected Lee until after Spotsylvania and more so after North Anna. IMHO.

BG Ken 'Muddy' Jones
5th Brig/3rd Cav Div/XVI Corps/Army of Tennessee
USA


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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 3:38 pm 
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John Pope was not the Hood of the Union. He did an excellent job in Mississippi.

From Wikipedia
"Halleck appointed Pope to command the Army of the Mississippi (and the District of the Mississippi, Department of the Missouri) on February 23, 1862.[2] Given 25,000 men, he was ordered to clear Confederate obstacles on the Mississippi River. He made a surprise march on New Madrid, Missouri, and captured it on March 14. He then orchestrated a campaign to capture Island No. 10, a strongly fortified post garrisoned by 12,000 men and 58 guns. Pope's engineers cut a channel that allowed him to bypass the island, then, assisted by the gunboats of Captain Andrew H. Foote, he landed his men on the opposite shore, which isolated the defenders. The island garrison surrendered on April 7, 1862, freeing Union navigation of the Mississippi as far south as Memphis.[1]

Pope's outstanding performance on the Mississippi earned him a promotion to major general, dated as of March 21, 1862"

He was a political general though and that was bad. He also could be timid and certainly was out performed by Lee. I could also argue that Lee outperformed Grant as well, but US Grant realized he could win by wearing down the Confederate manpower.

Poor Pope got sent off to Minnesota and got to fight the Dakota War of 1862.

More Wiki stuff

" Pope returned to the West and served with distinction in the Apache Wars. He made political enemies in Washington recommending that the reservation system would be better administered by the military than the corrupt Indian Bureau. He engendered controversy by calling for better and more humane treatment of Native Americans.[1] Others point to quotes from John Pope regarding killing and displacing specific Native American tribes (specifically the Sioux Indians) author Walter Donald Kennedy states the following (including a quote from John Pope himself): "Union general John Pope gave expression to how the 'Indian problem' was to be handled when he stated, 'It is my purpose to utterly exterminate the Sioux.' Pope planned to make a 'final settlement with all these Indians.' His plan was to shoot and hang as many as possible and then remove the rest from the land." [7]

Pope's reputation suffered a serious blow in 1879 when a Board of Inquiry led by Maj. Gen. John Schofield concluded that Fitz John Porter had been unfairly convicted and that it was Pope himself who bore most of the responsibility for the loss at the Second Battle of Bull Run. The report characterized Pope as being reckless and dangerously uninformed about the events on the battle, and credited Porter's perceived disobedience with saving the army from complete ruin.

He wasn't as bad or as brave as Hood, but he was pretty bad.

I sure do like his quote though

Lt. Elkin
Chief Engineer AotT

“I have come to you from the West, where we have always seen the backs of our enemies. . . . Let us study the probable lines of retreat of our opponents, and leave our own to take care of themselves. Let us look before us, and not behindâ€


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 5:39 pm 
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I would not call John Bell Hood bad. I think he was a great Division Commander, not to bad as a Corps Commander, but he was just promoted beyond his abilities, so he did not have anyone to curb his excessive offensive spirit.[8D]

Major General Cam McOmish
Commander Western Theater
Confederate States of America
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 6:30 pm 
I wouldn't call Hood bad either for the most part. I think he just became outdated by 1864 and 1865. Hood seemed incapable of grasping the changing nature of warfare and still thought men could win battles by sheer willpower when confronted with lines of enemy trenches. Hood would have been great as s Russian general in the World Wars hurling his men into the machine guns of the enemy forces but by rational standards he was incapable of Army command. As a divisional leader of shock troops though... none better.

But back to Lee and Grant.

I think if Grant had come East in 1862 the War would, obviously, have gone much differently. Forget the 1864 campaign issues for right now. Hell, forget about Lee even. What happens in the West if you take Grant out of it! Does Vicksburg fall? Does Sherman rise to the levels he did? Does Halleck maintain overall command indefinately in the west?

It took Grant every bit of two years to build his system in the west. He found men he trusted and he saw they were promoted and placed into positions where they could do the most good. When Grant left in 1864 he left behind a well-trained, well-led group of armies under some fine generals.

The Union never really won anything in the East as far as I am concerned. They won the War in the West. Or the Rebels lost it in the West depending on your stance. But Grant was the key ingredient to that Union triumph.

The real question here should be...

"If Grant leaves the West in 1862 would the Union still have won the war?"

Col. Blake L. Strickler
Army of the Mississippi
Chief of Staff
6th Bd/4th Div/IV Corps

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 7:48 pm 
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But back to Lee and Grant.

I think if Grant had come East in 1862 the War would, obviously, have gone much differently. Forget the 1864 campaign issues for right now. Hell, forget about Lee even. What happens in the West if you take Grant out of it! Does Vicksburg fall? Does Sherman rise to the levels he did? Does Halleck maintain overall command indefinately in the west?

It took Grant every bit of two years to build his system in the west. He found men he trusted and he saw they were promoted and placed into positions where they could do the most good. When Grant left in 1864 he left behind a well-trained, well-led group of armies under some fine generals.

The Union never really won anything in the East as far as I am concerned. They won the War in the West. Or the Rebels lost it in the West depending on your stance. But Grant was the key ingredient to that Union triumph.

The real question here should be...

"If Grant leaves the West in 1862 would the Union still have won the war?"

Col. Blake L. Strickler
Army of the Mississippi
Chief of Staff
6th Bd/4th Div/IV Corps

Interesting discussion Gents!

Col. Strickler raises a significant point. If Grant is in Virginia in '62, does it follow that Vicksburg will fall in '63 along with Chattanooga later along.

Since Pope came East with high expectations due to his earlier successes, perhaps, had Grant been shifted East in 62 - we would be reading about Pope's attempts on Vicksburg in 1863. In this case and presuming that neither Grant nor Pope would achieve anything of success East or West. I don't believe we'd see an outright Southern military victory over the North, but might one of the consequences have been that Lincoln would not be elected in 64?

Maj. General P. Kenney
3rd Division
Cavalry Division
IV Corps
Army of the Mississippi, CSA


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 3:33 am 
Maj. Gen. Kenney hits the nail square on the head! Albert Castel's book "Decision in the West" is a great read and deals with the Atlanta Campaign of 1864. In his book he poinpoints that campaign as the deciding factor in the 1864 election. Without the fall of Atlanta does Lincoln get reelected when Grant's casualties in Virginia are beyond imagination? And Atlanta only falls as a result of the men Grant helped to train and the men he chose to command them.

If Grant leaves for Virginia in 1862 I just can't see anyone in the west stepping up to fill his void. Someone will think of Thomas but even by 1864 Thomas was not fully trusted by Grant or Sherman.

Col. Blake L. Strickler
Army of the Mississippi
Chief of Staff
6th Bd/4th Div/IV Corps

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 4:04 am 
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A lot of interesting "What ifs":

First for Grant instead of Pope. Grant would have done much better at 2nd Manassas than Pope. Why Pope got into the state of mind he did is unexplainable but Grant wouldn't have duplicated it. The Union army even without reinforcements was plenty large enough to handle Lee's army if it wasn't wasted on hopeless attacks while ignoring the enemy concentrating on its left. I don't think Grant would have won the battle but he wouldn't have lost it either. Lee would have been checked but not mated. Antietam wouldn't have taken place.

But I agree with the observations made. With Grant in the East the West would have gone quite different. Without Grant's drive the pace would have slowed and the South given time to improve its armies there. In the East it would have reverted to stalemate. Virginia with its narrow range of approaches would have allowed Lee to stop Grant. With both the East and the West bogged down the South would have had excellent chances for a win. What Grant did in 64/65 was very much made possible by the troops freed up due to victories in the West.

Now an even bigger What If: What if Lee had been sent West and Joe Johnson placed in command in the East? Joe would have kept the ANV on the defensive and probably would have been a match for the quality Union generals in the East. Lee would have had the confidence of Jeff Davis and the agression needed in a theater wide open to maneuver.

General Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
2/3/IV AoM (CSA)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 6:54 am 
Lee heading West in 1864? Thats a big what-if since Lee always refused to even consider it. But lets go ahead and think about it.

If Lee heads West in 1864 he would have landed in the middle of an Army that had only known defeat and was facing the finest Union armies in the War. Sherman, much like Grant, may have been just the man to fight Lee around Atlanta. Regardless, I don't believe Lee would have been able to outflank Sherman, recapture Chattanooga, drive north to Nashville and turn the tide of the War.

The West was a lost cause by 1862 one could argue. After the fall of Donelson and Nashville there was little the South could do to stop the Union gunboats invading the heartland. Rivers were the highways of the 19th Century and without these under Confederate control the war was lost. Lee could fight in Virginia where he didn't have thousands of square miles to watch. But in the West with an area from Atlanta to the Mississippi and south to Mobile and Savannah I don't believe one man could make any difference by 1864. The issue was settled. The South's best hope was to hold on until November and hope the Democrats could oust Lincoln. This, having failed, their days were numbered.

Also, without Lee in the East the Army would have fallen to the command of Johnston. Longstreet, likely, would have been furious over being passed for command both in the West in 1863, and in the East then in 1864, and may not have stayed with the Army or given Johnston his loyalty. Also, Johnston was a great engineer and could maneuver an army well. But in the close quarters around Norhtern Virginia it is hard to think Grant would not have rolled over him at some point. The ANV morale loss after losing Lee would be another issue to consider.

Lots more What-ifs now...

Col. Blake L. Strickler
Army of the Mississippi
Chief of Staff
6th Bd/4th Div/IV Corps

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 7:31 am 
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I think one thing this debate is missing is the state of both theaters at the time of Pope's appointment. Assuming that Pope was retained in the west, and the commander of the Army of Virginia still came from that theater, the commander would not have been Grant. Grant is stuck in the middle of what he called "the darkest days of the war." Grant was just reinstated to command of the Army of the Tennessee after spending the Corinth Campaign as the supernumerary "2nd in Command," where Halleck tucked him to keep him out of the way. Grant's appointment would have been resisted in every department (save the Presidency) because he still hadn't recovered from the stain of Shiloh.

If its not Grant, then who? It wouldn't be Halleck, who was shortly summoned to Washington to take overall command. It also wouldn't have been Buell, whom Halleck and McClellan despised, and Lincoln had no love for, especially since he had yet to fight a battle on his own. It would not have been McClernand, whom Halleck also disliked and who was tucked away into the meaningless reserve. Sherman didn't have the rank.

I think that if Pope wasn't sent East, it would have been Thomas. Thomas already was given a great deal of support by Halleck, who gave him 5 divisions during the Corinth snail-campaign (two more than his former chief Buell had). Thomas was also made the second-in-command of the Army of the Ohio during the upcoming Perryville campaign, and would be given command of the Army of the Ohio for a short while (until he turned it down to Buell prior to Perryville). Thomas also had a victory to his name (Mill Springs). The only thing going against him was the fact that he was Virginian, and that he probably would have tried refusing the command.

The only other person I think could've gotten it would be C. F. Smith, but he was soon dead of blood poisoning. That leads me to more what-ifs: What if officers that demonstrated considerable talent (Smith, Bernard Bee, W.H.L. Wallace) had lived?

Maj. Dylan McCartney
IV Brigade/ I Division
XIV Corps
Army of the Cumberland
Union Army


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 6:15 pm 
I don't think Joe Johnston would have fought much more than Little Mac had Lee gone west in 62....He'd have retreated the East and Richmond away with minimal fight....Jackson would have been a better choice....

The South had several chances for majot victories in the West that could have prevented the North from making enough progress for Lincoln to have been re-elected....It was a close call as things went....Mobile and Atlanta turned the tide of the election....Grant almost lost it with his Overland casualties.....One major campaign reverse (Chickamaugua being followed up by Confederate pressure forcing Rosecrans to surrender was the last real chance most likely)for the Yanks could have done it for the Confederacy.....

BG Hank Smith
Army of Georgia
Smith's Corp Commanding


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 6:38 am 
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Lee going West in 64 would have been pointless. Hood just sped up what was going to happen anyway.

But Lee in command in early 62 would have been a game changer but not likely event since Albert was there. After his death would have been the critical time that Lee could have been sent West and had an affect. Buell's advance on Corinth after Shiloh would have been the kind of situation that Lee could have turned around in the South's favour just like he did in the Seven Days. The story in the West was always one of almost victories by the soldiers thrown away by their leaders. Lee would not have let this happen. When you look at how close the Western Armies came to victory in spite of poor leaders you do wonder what an inspirational leader like Lee could have done.

The East would be different problem. If Lee went west after 2nd Manassas this theater might have been stable enough for Joe Johnson to handle. Joe was an odd general though. At times he could rise to the occasion but others he gave up to much. Against McClellan, Burnside, Hooker and Meade he might have been able to keep them away from Richmond. But if any of them got agressive he might be in trouble. He would have two major pluses with Jackson and Longstreet as his Corps commanders though.

Whether Jackson could have eventually commanded the ANV is an interesting question but probably wasn't possible given the way the South handled army assignments early in the war. Seniority counted to much.

General Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
2/3/IV AoM (CSA)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 9:04 am 
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I think way too much emphasis is placed on individuals when reading about the ACW. Rightly described as the "first modern war" ...I think we tend to romanticise the accounts left to us and place overmuch importance on the leaders involved.
Let's be clear: The North wins the ACW whatever happens. Any ideas of the south prevailing is a forlorn hope and quite ridiculous. Maybe not at the time, but with the clarity of hindsight the writing is clearly on the wall. Does anyone here suggest a scenario whereby the south actually emerges victorious?
I think the North could field an endless succession of Pope's and still ultimately win.

I disagree strongly with Kennons verdict on Lee's bearing on events. The attrition suffered by the Rebel Armies under Lee is massive and equals anyting seen in the west under less "able" commanders.

I think the South turned up ready to fight an 18th Century war ...the North turned up with the potential for a 20th Century version ...just nobody thought to inform the participants?

Brigadier-General Jim Wilkes.
2nd Brigade, Cavalry Division, XX Corps.
AoC. U.S.A.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 10:47 am 
Lots of different issues being discussed now. I will address two main points. 1) The importance of leaders in the Civil War, 2) the state of the Confederacy in 1864.

First,
I would have to disagree with BG Jim Wilkes's view of the importance of leaders in the Civil War and their impact. In the 20th and 21st Century the idea of modern warfare is akin to "push-button warfare." In the film <i>Patton</i> the General laments about the coming age of warfare. He declares it war without leaders, war without heroes, war with only death. One may make a case that is what modern warfare really is... death. Your enemy is faceless and the weapons activated by computers half a world away.

In the 19th Century though this was not yet the case. Leaders had the ability to inspire men to heights they were not aware they could achieve. Without Washington the Colonial Army never would have held on throughout the early days of the Revolution. Without Travis, Bowie, and Crockett the Alamo may never have occurred and the US Map might look radically different today. Without Grant, Sherman, and Lincoln the war could have gone vastly different for the North. And without Lee, Jackson and Forrest the Confederacy may have toppled much sooner.

Does one-man really make a difference - I believe so. Without Jackson do the Virginians hold at Manassas? Does McClellan capture Richmond in 1862 if Lee has a desk job? If one man cannot make a difference then it would be foolish for Sherman to tell Stanton that "Forrest is the very devil, If we must sacrifice 10,000 lives and bankrupt the Federal Treasury, it will be worth it. There will never be peace in Tennessee till Forrest is dead." One-man could make a difference.

But could one-man turn the tide of the war. Yes. We are simply looking at it from the wrong side. One man, in fact three, changed the entire course of the war in 1864 - Grant, Lincoln and Sherman. Lincoln finally brought Grant east to conduct the sort of bloody campaign that had long been needed in order to crush Lee. Grant set the armies in motion from the Atlantic to Texas to pressure the Confederacy at all points. He drove south against Lee's Army with an unrelenting pressure that Lee could not withstand. Sherman led the drive on Atlanta and gave the Northern Cause a brilliant victory right before the election of 1864. Without Grant, Sherman and Lincoln as the main Union leaders in 1864 the war would have been lost for the Union.

Second,
could Lee have made a difference?
This topic is bugging me. What year are we talking about here? 1862 or 1864? Let's narrow it down to 1864 since that was the time that Lee was most seriously considered as a potential western theater commander.

I don't feel that any one Confederate could have regained what was lost in the west by 1864. The odds were too great. Lee would have been only one man and the Confederates too few.

But why would you send Lee west in 1864? To achieve a brilliant war-changing victory? That was impossible in the West by 1864. Lee would have had to have gone west and reorganized the ill-fated and conspiracy-filled Army of Tennessee. Then he would have faced an enemy army of veteran soldiers who had known only victory. He would have had to have driven them all the way from northern Georgia, capture Chattanooga, cross the Tennessee River, cross the Duck River, drive north to Murfreesboro and assault the massive entrenchments of Fort Rosecrans. Then continue north to Nashville and the even stronger Federal fortifications there! And, oh, by the way, the Union would still have complete control over every single waterway.

If all that sounds impossible - it was. Hood destroyed the Army attempting such a thing and he was only facing the men Sherman left behind for garrison duty. Sherman was so confident it was impossible that he ALLOWED Hood to attempt it knowing it would fail. He even offered to feed Hood's Army if they were so foolish as to attempt it!

But let's backtrack. So why is it BETTER to keep Lee in the East in 1864?

The GOAL of the Confederates in 1864, lets be VERY clear, was NOT a MILITARY victory... it was to extend the war for just one more year and hope Lincoln lost the election. No fool in 1864 believed the South could defeat the Union armies in battle and force the North to its knees militarily (again excluding Hood).

Wilkes's belief that no matter how many defeats the North suffered they could still win the war is incorrect I would argue. How long would the Northern public stand for such disasters? The war in 1864 for the Confederates was a waiting game. They sought to increase Northern dissatisfaction with the War and with Lincoln. And where was the entire spotlight on the war focused? Lee's Army. If Lee could hold on throughout 1864 and defeat Grant at some point it might destroy the Union war spirit. Most people knew the Confederacy was doomed to defeat in the West - but in the East there was still some hope.

Leaving Lee in the East was always the best thing to do. No doubt.

And there were great leaders who effected the entire outcome of the war. Their names were not Lee or Jackson though - they were Grant and Sherman.

I apologize for my long-windedness - I should run for Congress talking that much!


Col. Blake L. Strickler
Army of the Mississippi
Chief of Staff
6th Bd/4th Div/IV Corps

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