Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Confederates in the West

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Confederates in the West

    Don't know if a topic exists as the search isn't cooperating with me.

    It seems to me that whereas the Union was bungling one offensive operation after another in The East, the Confederacy was bungling one defensive operation after another in the West. In Th East the Union slowly gained ground, and in the West the Confederacy slowly gave up ground.

    But what could they have done in the West? How could the confederates advance up the Mississippi, and what options they had to deal with Kentucky and Missouri? And had they been successful
    in these areas would there have been any chances advancing into the norther states themselves?


    Wisdom is personal

  • #2
    There was a lot of Southerners in the Mining Areas of the Far West in 1860. Many Miners were from Georgia and the Carolinas where there was mining for Gold. Texans made an attempt to gather in Arizona (then southern Arizona and New Mexico), New Mexico and Colorado. California was also on the list if they had success in the above territories.

    Texas raised several Brigades of Cavalry that made the attempt. They suffered crossing West Texas only to find no supplies and fodder in Fort Bliss (near El Paso), so they kept moving forward. A factor was the general in command, Sibley, was a drunk. That being said, these troops were able to take over the Rio Grande Valley. As they entered Colorado they were met and defeated by mostly Colorado Militia. The retreat was terrible as the Texans had already consumed the forage and supplies. They then plundered the locals, including Texans that had moved to South New Mexico. The Apaches merrily killed any stragglers they found.

    The Trans-Missippi had issues as well. There was a real lack of firearms in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Missouri. Union Troops were armed poorly, but armed is armed. Most of the best troops were sent East to the Army of Tennessee or the Army of North Virginia. These troops were well armed compared to the others.

    Louisiana sent over 15,000 troops to both armies. Only 300 odd troops returned to Louisiana. The Louisiana Brigade at Appomatox Court House was only 300 strong.

    Pruitt
    Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

    Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

    by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

    Comment


    • #3
      I don't know a lot about the Army of Tennessee and the "western" theatre, much less the far west as referenced by Pruitt. But my limited understanding is that the AOT did miss some offensive opportunities.

      The one that comes most readily to mind was the aftermath of Chickamauga. I believe Bedford Forrest wanted to pursue the routed Union force toward Chattanooga (Lick the enemy when you got him a-runnin'!; Put the skeer on him!; Keep up the skeer!). But Bragg was having none of it. So the Union made it to Chattanooga to regroup and in the later battles for Chattanooga the Union was victorious.

      So Chickamauga might be considered a "phrrhic victory." The Confederates won but in the end it didn't matter because an opportunity was missed to destroy the retreating Union Army before it could consolidate in Chattanooga.

      Forrest supposedly said to Bragg, "Every moment lost is worth the life of a thousand men!" But Bragg wouldn't turn Forrest loose to pursue.
      "Shoot for the epaulets, boys! Shoot for the epaulets!" - Daniel Morgan

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
        There was a lot of Southerners in the Mining Areas of the Far West in 1860. Many Miners were from Georgia and the Carolinas where there was mining for Gold. Texans made an attempt to gather in Arizona (then southern Arizona and New Mexico), New Mexico and Colorado. California was also on the list if they had success in the above territories.

        Texas raised several Brigades of Cavalry that made the attempt. They suffered crossing West Texas only to find no supplies and fodder in Fort Bliss (near El Paso), so they kept moving forward. A factor was the general in command, Sibley, was a drunk. That being said, these troops were able to take over the Rio Grande Valley. As they entered Colorado they were met and defeated by mostly Colorado Militia. The retreat was terrible as the Texans had already consumed the forage and supplies. They then plundered the locals, including Texans that had moved to South New Mexico. The Apaches merrily killed any stragglers they found.

        The Trans-Missippi had issues as well. There was a real lack of firearms in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Missouri. Union Troops were armed poorly, but armed is armed. Most of the best troops were sent East to the Army of Tennessee or the Army of North Virginia. These troops were well armed compared to the others.

        Louisiana sent over 15,000 troops to both armies. Only 300 odd troops returned to Louisiana. The Louisiana Brigade at Appomatox Court House was only 300 strong.

        Pruitt
        I don't think there was ever any realistic chance of even turning New Mexico/Colorado into a battlefield, there just wasn't any kind of logistics possibilities there. I remember reading that by the end of the war Texas was basically a self-sufficient arms producer, though like Lousiana seems to have mostly been treated as source of manpower.

        Was there ever a chance of confederates advancing up the Mississippi?
        Wisdom is personal

        Comment


        • #5
          Texas shared a border with Mexico, so they had access to arms. Kirby Smith set up a lot of industries in the Shreveport area that helped the war effort. KS also sent Cotton through Texas which was traded for munitions, medications, some consumer goods (buttons and such, shoes). The State of Texas also set up a cloth making industry at Huntsville State Prison, which made a lot of Cotton uniforms. The main problem was getting finished parts to assemble into weapons and gunpowder. Niter was scarce and Sulfur had to be imported.

          There was a small chance that Richard Taylor could have led his army across the Mississippi and retaken New Orleans. The problem was whether he could hold it. Also was the problem of getting back to the West side of the river. Once he got to the East side higher command would have insisted they join up with the Army of Tennessee. Also the Texans would have started to desert in droves. It was hard enough to keep them in their units in Louisiana. When they wanted leave they would just go home.

          Pruitt
          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

          Comment


          • #6
            We need to look at the earlier war in the west, not the far west. Polk violated Kentucky's neutrality, and the high command botched Ft. Donaldson, both building it and defending it. Jeff Davis erred by keeping the trans-Mississippi a separate department rather than having one commander who could move troops across the river. Result at Shiloh, CS forces about equal to Grant's, and Buell is coming in for the Yankees. If the Donaldson forces and or Van Dorn are at Shiloh, then the Confederacy has a real chance of winners and then getting into and staying in Kentucky.

            Comment


            • #7
              It was a heavy blow to loss New Orleans early in the War. It was necessary to have a Trans-Mississippi Department due to this great loss and the defeat of Confederate Naval forces on the Mississippi River. Additionally, the only troops willing to go East from TMD had already volunteered and moved early to the East. What was left were small numbers of late volunteers and larger number of draftees. These proved unwilling to cross the Mississippi River as they knew that those who went before did not come back. An additional problem was no north/south railroad from Gulf to said St. Louis in TMD. Another problem was large numbers of armed Jayhawkers resisting the Confederacy across a vast region. The Richmond High Command sent little assistance.

              Comment


              • #8
                It's strange that the rebs made no real attempts at retaking New Orleans; it was probably the most important city for them. Though perhaps that is because they lacked river/naval fleets?
                Wisdom is personal

                Comment


                • #9
                  New Orleans was a large city virtually surrounded by impassable swamps, river, and lake. The only way to march upon it on dry ground was the narrow strip on the east bank of the Mississippi River to the west of the City. Here the Federals constructed massive earthworks loaded with artillery and heavily garrisoned with freed negro slaves now enrolled in the Federal Army. Additionally, with control of the River and Federal Navy heavy guns could cover significant part of the land frontage. Large numbers of negroes and white men enrolled in the Federal Army thusly manpower posed little problem. It was suicidal to assault the City. CSA Prince Dick Taylor at time bragged he could have carried the City but this was just stupid hyperbolic hot air.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Here's yet another reason for the creation of a Trans-Mississippi Department: it was isolated. There were not only a powerful Union blockades in the Atlantic and Gulf waters but an additional little cited one upon the waters of the Mississippi River which greatly isolated the TMD. The greatest enforcers of this blockade were the great fleet of numerous tinclad gunboats plus fewer mainline warships of greater reputation and fame. It seemed so many that they were in signaling distance of one another the entire length of the river in the combat zone. There were many firefights with Confederates in which occasionally a gunboat would be destroyed but the blockade was upheld in the long run.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The river blockade was so tight that when Jeff Davis ordered Taylor to take his troops across in 1864, it was deemed impossible.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        What you posted is correct but there exist an even more dangerous issue which you failed to imply or disclose. Upon Dick Taylor disclosing his small Louisiana Army would be attempting the hazardous crossing of the Mississippi River, some of his troops began to desert in disturbing numbers and others threatening to desert. The plan had to be terminated or what was left of the badly damaged Taylor army (what was left of it after the Red River Campaign) would simply disappear.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I seems to me that Van Dorn army has to stay in Arkansas until it is defeated as it is the only CSA force to protect the State of Arkansas. He was only forced out of Arkansas upon his defeat and the Shiloh defeat caused an emergency move to State of Mississippi.

                          The Fort Donelson garrison was told to abandon the Fort and return to Johnson main Army. They could have left on the first day of successful combat with Grant's Army but I believe we may blame General Pillow for this disaster. Others may disagree and it is very strange that issue (the blame) receives little attention by historians.

                          You are correct that these reinforcements could have been very valuable at the Battle of Shiloh if possible they could have arrived in time.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I should explain why I believe the blame for the Fort Donelson garrison failed to participate in the Battle of Shiloh should rest with General Pillow. The Garrison was under the command of General Floyd with his division commanders being Pillow and Buckner. Upon the Army Commander A.S. Johnston ordering them to cut their way out of Grant's encirclement, the Confederates had an excellent plan of battle to carry out this order. It's is important to remember the original order is to abandon the Fort, as its original purpose was to defend Nashville; which now that purpose changed to act as a rear guard; as Nashville is being abandoned by Johnston. Upon the first day of combat, the Confederates rolled up the Federal right wing but then stalled. The opening was there to escape. Pillow declared victory and ordered all to return to their trenches. Thus back into the encirclement to resume the victorious battle in the morning. Meanwhile, Buckner had, as planned, pulled his force out of their trenches to form a rear guard to follow the evacuation. However, a Federal Division under Smith had assaulted Buckner and took his entrenchments with Buckner's counterattack failed to take it back. A night conference was held with the Confederates voting to surrender for the following reasons: the Federals reoccupied their positions on the right wing that was left open by Pillow withdraw; that Buckner's position was untenable as his men was exposed; that to attempt a withdraw and another assault to cut way out a second time would lead to destruction of a large part of the garrison; and there had been heavy Federal reinforcement over the night time.

                            Comment

                            Latest Topics

                            Collapse

                            Working...
                            X