If Johnston and Jackson had lived

Discussion in '1800-1914' started by renrich, May 17, 2009.

  1. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Albert Sidney Johnston was considered by some as the finest soldier North or South at the beginning of the War Between the States. He was killed at the Battle of Pittsburg Landing(some call it Shiloh) in April, 1862, leading his troops. He was shot in the back of the knee, probably by friendly fire, and subsequently bled to death before the severity of the wound was discovered. Thomas(Stonewall) Jackson, after being instrumental in a number of CSA victories was hit by friendly fire after the first day at Chancellorsville, in April 1863, had his arm amputated and subsequently died, probably of pneumonia. How ironic that both of these, possibly indispensable to the CSA, men died from wounds received almost exactly one year apart and probably from friendly fire. No comparable soldiers on the Union side were lost to that side. What possibly could have happened if those two soldiers had lived to fight out the war?
     
  2. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    I think the Union lost gen McPherson outside of Atlanta in 1864. He was considered a rising star by officers and men alike.

    In the end, the Union would still have won.

    Grant had a knack in defeating the confederates in the west. And once he was in in the east being his usual aggressive self, Lee was going to on the defensive without respite.
     
  3. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    I don't think either general's survival would have affected the outcome of the war, talented as they were. The CSA was being starved by a blockade and losing the industrial war due to it's underdeveloped industries and small manpower base. The effective splitting of the CSA in two by the sucessful US riverine campaigns also meant that the CSA had to fight more or less with what they had on each side of the Missisppi, while the US could move troops easily between fronts on an advanced rail network. The defeat of the CSA, IMHO, was more industrial and logistical than it was military...

    See, I've been doing my reading :lol::lol::lol:
     
  4. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I think that had Jackson not been killed during the Chansellorville campaign, things would have been much different at Gettysberg.

    With Jackson's ability to control and command his loyal troops, the chaos that happened at the onset of Gettysberg would not have happened. Lee did not want to engage the Federals until his full army had reached the lines, that would have also allowed Stuart's cavalry to get on scene and prevent the flanking and envelopment of the Confederate's light artillery during the first day's chaotic engagements, The light artillery which would have been brutal on the Federal flanks if they had been able to deploy. A concerted assault would have most likely routed the Federals, who were on the verge of doing so anyway.

    Lee literally lost his right-hand man with Jackson's death.
     
  5. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Good point, but the Feds had control of the high ground and were desperate enough to hold it at all costs. The battle would have ended in a draw of sorts, with 'rebs having to retreat due to logistics issues.

    And still, General Grant would defeat the southern troops in the west just as soundly and perfectly as what unfolded historically wise.
     
  6. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    That is a possability, but also consider, at the onset of the battle, the Confederates engaged peicemeal against Lee's wishes. As Lee's two armies pressed the attack, it drove the Federals back through town, where Lee didn't want them to go.

    His intention was to envelope and drive them to the valley where they'd have to stand and fight in the open. But this didn't happen, like I mentioned, because of the loss of control of his lead elements. Jackson would have had the presence of mind and the control over his men to have kept that from happening.

    In the event that Lee was successful in the battle, the door was wide open to Washington. It's true that Grant offered the Union it's first victories in 1862, in Tennessee, but he was far from a force to be reckoned with, especially after the costly victory at Shiloh (6-7 April 1862) that created a massive public dissent regarding the war, and almost cost him is job.

    So in looking at the public's attitude regarding Shiloh, and a Union loss at Gettysberg (especially if it was anything like Shiloh), I'd be willing to bet that even if Lee didn't march on Washington, there could have existed a willingness for Lincoln to come to terms with Davis.
     
  7. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Well, IMO, Gettysburg is a perfect example of luck and the timing of it. We could argue to the end on whether Lee had better options to use as compared to Meade. IN the end, win or loose, the Union still had a large force to reckon with and Lee had logistics issues the moment he crossed over into Maryland.

    As for Grant, Shiloh was a blood bath. But in the intervening year, New Orleans had been won and coming May, the only southern force on the Mississippi was holed up in Vicksburg. I would suffice to say, that the South didnt have the industrial or logistics power to fight in both theaters at the same time. And no matter how good a general you are, if your opponent is as good as you, then logistics and firepower will win.
     
  8. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I have to agree with your points, there is no way the south could have won after the loss at Gettysberg. That was the tipping point of the war.

    From that point, the only saving grace the south had, was to either drag the war on until the Union lost it's "belly" for the fight, or bring a powerful ally onboard.

    Even with the South's "wonder weapons", it would be a long, bloody holding action with only one outcome...
     
  9. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    A quote from "West Point Atlas of American Wars" This is regarding the Federal Army just prior to the Battle of Pittsburg Landing. "Sherman did not expect an attack from the south and Grant was even less suspecting." Another quote about Grant. " But he did not reach the field of battle until 8:30 AM, having left his breakfast table at Savannah about 6:30 AM upon hearing gunfire. Now he labored with all his energy to restore balance to a situation which his earlier carelessness and overconfidence had permitted to develop." Grant had been surprised by Johnston.
     
  10. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    If Jackson was still alive by Gettysburg, would Lee have changed his plans maybe with Jackson's urging? Would Jackson have allowed Lee to attack the strong Northern middle on that last day or continue with flanking movements?
     
  11. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    And Grant rallied his generals and eventually won. Mainly due to the confederate troops stopping to loot the federal camps.
     
  12. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    That doesn't mean that Grant was the better general. It just means that Confederate commanders at the platoon, company and battallion levels could not control thier men...
     
  13. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Luck is everything when things fall apart.

    The Union won Shiloh fair and square, in large oart due to Grant pulling his generals together and organizing defenses.

    BTW, no one should fault the rebel troops who stopped to plunder .... they were hungry and looking for food.
     
  14. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    Luck might be everything, but a lucky commander is not the same thing as a good commander. And you said yourself that Grant mainly won because the Confederates went out of control - not the fault of the hungry men, but certainly the fault of weak and ineffective junior officers.

    You then go on to say that Grant won in large part due to his organisation of his troops. Which do you think was more important? If it was Rebel disorganisation, then you have done nothing to prove that Grant was superior to Lee as a general...
     
  15. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Luck is often defined as being prepared for opportunity. And lucky generals seem to win time after time.

    Grant was not at the scene when the battle began and arrived just in time to rally his command. This is indicative of a great commander. And as events of the next 3 years proved, this was not a fluke. He had a knack at knowing how to win.

    As for the rebels, well they were hungry and did what any hungry soldier would do.The troops on both sides of the war at this time were all volunteers, and no ammount of forecefull leadership by the regulars could control them from time to time.
     
  16. Amsel

    Amsel Active Member

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    The Army of Northern Virginia was a well disciplined Army with high morale even though they were starving and most of them didn't even have shoes. Grant was a great general mostly because he was aggressive. He was not scared to take huge risks. The Confederacy at the start of the war seemed to be very rich in good leaders, some of them veterans of the Mexican campaign. Bobby Lee had it in his blood as well from his famous father, Light Horse Harry Lee.
     
  17. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    I posted those quotes from the West Point text book to show that Grant was not infallible in the West. Another quote," A survey of the overall situation as it existed at this time will reveal three significant facts: though the CSA had driven the Union forces back, they had nowhere achieved a decisive or overwhelming success; having committed all their forces to battle, the CSA had no reserve to use in exploitation of that success, if it came, or to counter a Union offensive effort; and large Union reinforcements were present within a few miles of the battlefield." These remarks refer to the situation late in the morning. Late that night Beauregard believed he had won a notable victory. another quote, "True, Grant's army had been badly mauled and driven back, but it had remained intact, and before the next morning it would be reinforced by three fresh divisions," Those 25000 fresh troops made the difference. The CSA troops now reduced to around 20000 men slowly retreated covered by Breckenridge. A Union pursuit on April 8 was roughly handled by Bedford Forrest's cavalry. The CSA's loss was 10700, the Union's 13700.
     
  18. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    #18 syscom3, May 19, 2009
    Last edited: May 19, 2009
    It seems the gods of war dictated that the rebel east was commanded by the very best, and the Union east was by the worst.

    Vice versa for the west.



    Renrich, but still Grant rallied the troops and prevented the morning's defeats from becoming a debacle. And in the end, the Union won the battle. Thats what mattered.
     
  19. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    To me it is inarguable that the North won the battle at Pittsburg Landing. The primary purpose for bringing up the battle was to show where Albert Sidney Johnston, the highest ranking officer killed in the war was killed, very early in the war and probably killed by friendly fire, just as another Confederate irreplaceable general, Stonewall Jackson was killed almost one year later. Another tangential result of discussing this battle showed that Grant was taken by surprise by the attack by Johnston. A side issue also shows that Grant, just as he did in the East in 1864-65, won the battle by crushing his enemy with overwhelming force. When 25000 fresh Union troops appeared on the battlefield on the second day, the 20000 weary Confederates had little chance. As it is inarguable that the Union won this battle, since Beauregard withdrew, I think it is almost inarguable that the South could have won the war by invading and conquering the North. They simply never had the men and materiel or navy to do so. Their only hope was to make the war so expensive in blood that public opinion in the North would either force the Lincoln administration to leave the South alone or force a change in the administration. That was the hoped for result of the invasion by the South which culminated in the Battle of Gettysburg. Since the leadership of the CSA armies in the West, after April 1862, was uneven at best, it seems that a Johnston, if he had lived could have had an effect on the battles that took place in the West. There is no question in my mind that Jackson, if he had lived, would have had a great deal of influence on the battles subsequent to Chancellorsville and most especially at Gettysburg. After Jackson died, Lee changed the makeup of his army, from two wings with Longstreet in command of one wing and Jackson in command of the other, to three corps, with Powell Hill, Dick Ewell and Old Pete commanding each corps. Hill and Ewell never came close to equalling the ability of Jackson, with Hill often being sick at critical moments and Ewell having little decisiveness along with only one leg. So the first effect if Jackson had lived would have been that Jackson's wing on the first day at Gettysburg would have hit Buford's cavalry and the oncoming Union corps under Reynolds in a concentrated manner rather than piecemeal like happened with Hill's corps and then Ewell's. Not to say that Jackson's wing would have hit at once, fully deployed, because they would have been strung out, but Old Jack would have surely had them engaged long before Ewell and Hill got all their boys in action.
     
  20. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    Normally, I would not say that the lack of loss of two generals to the South would alter the outcome of the war. However, Jackson was an unusally talented and effective general, probably comparable to Rommel and others as the greatest of war time generals. And, teamed with Lee, the two were imaginative in battle and probably made the best one-two punch as ever existed. As such, I think Gettysburg would have developed completely different and there would have been a much higher probability of Southern victory. As a side light, Lee would not have been burdened by the loss of Jackson and would have had a better attitute. Also, I do think Jackson could have convinced Lee not to make the "charge", if it came to that.

    If the Civil War was a chess board, then the Nothern king would be Washington and the Southern king would have been Richmond. Grant was busy attacking the Southern castle on the left, but Lee, if he had won Gettysburg, would have been directly threating the Northern king. This would have certainly changed the direction of the war with Lincoln desparately recalling forces, probably including western forces, maybe Grant himself. Also, a major victory in Northern lands would have been traumatic to the Union population, undermining support for the war. At a minimum, this would have extended this terrible war increasing the bloodletting, and, at the maximum, causing Lincoln to accept the succession.

    My opinion is that the loss of Jackson certainly affected the outcome of the war, be it just lengthing it, highly likely, or, causing a succession of the South, rather unlikely, but possible.
     
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