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  • #16
    Bo

    Pillow, Floyd, and Buckner were all a part of the largely inept Generals of the Confederate forces in the west. Time and again these West Point graduates with poor leadership qualities and, for lack of a better word, cowards made Union General U.S. Grant look like a genius.

    Of course, as I suspected you had no reply to my post challenging your opinion that General Nathan Bedford Forrest was a sub par general over at the thread titled Nathan B Forrest: genius or mere show.

    One of your criticizing remarks was his insubordination. If you read my rebuttal I explained why he often blasted his superiors like the Generals (cowards) at Fort Donelson. At Donelson they decided to surrender and their reason for doing so was ridiculous and NBF rightly saw it as such.

    Forrest escaped Fort Donelson because he did not believe the reports earlier that evening that a way out without surrendering was impossible. Forrest sent out his own reconnaissance men who reported back to him the way was clear. Forrest, already quite angry with the way the 3 other generals (cowards) had conducted the battle for the fort told them what his scouts told him and they still did not believe. They surrendered the fort. This paragraph is a rebuttal to your assessment/opinion that Forrest and his men were poor at cavalry recon.

    They (the generals, er.. cowards) gave Forrest "permission" to escape with his cavalry if he thought it was feasible and Forrest even told troops not under his command to join him if they wanted and many did. I am not sure of the exact number of men Forrest saved from being taken prisoner so they could fight another day but some reports say 3-4 thousand.

    IIRC, it was Hurst, in his book "Men Of Fire" that gave the number of men who escaped.
    Last edited by Kurt Knispel; 23 Nov 18, 05:16.
    Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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    • #17
      Kurt

      You now have forced me to do a little clean up behind you and now again have to defend a few Confederate leaders. All due to your implications. Where to begin? Let's start with this information which you had claimed Floyd, Pillow, and Buckner were all inept West Pointers. Actually, my understanding is that Buckner is the only professionally trained West Pointer and his performance at Fort Donelson and elsewhere since he prisoner exchange back into Confederate service is at an acceptable level but not inept. Commander Floyd is purely a political general and personal friend of Jefferson Davis and the old friend of slaveholders the former President Buchanan. He was militarily inept and relied upon the other two. Pillow was a political hack appointed a military commander of volunteers militia back in the Mexican War and again in the Civil War. He was one of the richest men in State of Tennessee from land dealings in support of Slavocracy. His military record is acceptable but his judgement was often inept.

      Another point of my contention is that you claimed the Confederate Command judged that there was no route of escape or as you said it was "impossible" after Pillow returned the troops to their intrenchments after the successful assault on day one. The truth is they fully understood that the River Road across Lick Creek had been left unoccupied by the Federal but the ford crossing had flood water that reached a horse's saddle. The weather was in the middle of a freezing snow/sleet storm the condition of the troops from having fought all day was very bad shape. The Federals had reoccupied the only dry road after Pillow had forced it open in battle only to withdraw from it to return the next day with plan to renew the assault.

      Pillow's assault on day one was successful but remember it was only part of an agreed on plan of escaping the encirclement. Pillow commit an act of insubordination by ordering the assault force to return inside the entrenchment instead of marching the leading column out of entrapment. Pillow even had the nerve to attempt to order Buckner division to enter into Pillow's assault when it was ongoing. Buckner stayed with his orders from Floyd and the agreed to plan which was to be the rear guard as the garrison force marched out of entrapment. Floyd did in a panic rush to Pillow and tried to reverse Pillow wrongful decision to return to the entrenchments. However in that conference and argument that happen in the late evening which now was turning to darkness make any reversal impossible. Buckner correctly refused to engage in Pillow's madness and stayed ready to act the role of rear guard.

      Everything was going well until Pillow's act of insubordination. Grant's recovery and restoration of his battle lines were excellent along with his late evening counterassaults.

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      • #18
        Kurt

        Knowing you worship at the Cult of Personality of the God Man Bedford Forrest I will now address Bedford performance to appease you. If Pillow engaged in an act of insubordination there may be grounds for deliberations of the issue: did Bedford preform his first act of insubordinate by having quit the garrison without official direction of the Commander in charge. You wrongly claimed all three top commander granted consent to Bedford fleeing the battlefield. I have never found any documentation to that effect; but only found whereupon Bedford in a panic asking Pillow, on the night of the first day of battle upon the decision to surrender the garrison, "What am I to do". Pillow replied, "Cut your way out!". The problem is that Pillow was not in Command to give Bedford that official clearance but instead it was Floyd/Buckner. It was said Command Buckner placed pickets upon the Lick Creek river road to prevent anyone from leaving without orders but Bedford had already fled the scene. Bedford seems to never have been told by any official officer to take other soldiers from other commands outside his own (you admitted this in above post) to cling to our horses saddles and escape across the icy Lick Creek river road. In theory and apparently application this would compose desertion of command and insubordination. Then there is the matter of your implication that Bedford escape saved thousand of Confederates to fight another day. Most reports I recall amount to being members of his regiment plus those others who could cling to the horses saddles which were under maybe one thousand or so. I freely admit no one serious attempted to charge Bedford for this behavior perhaps due to his popular status.

        Another point to correct a wrong impression is your claimed he "blasted" the Generals as "cowards" at Fort Donelson. The Truth is as I understand is that he maintained complete confidence and support of Pillow's actions including Pillow's own act of insubordination. He surely "blasted" Floyd and likely whitewashed Pillow's behavior which is wrongful. Note both men being very wealthy businessmen of the State of Tennessee strongly attached to Slavocracy. The proof is Bedford asking Pillow what should he (Bedford) do which means should I surrender or should I flee. Note also that Pillow choose the also flee without surrendering but Pillow had cleared that with Floyd/Buckner for only himself and his Staff. They took row boats across to the eastern shore in the night. Note also that Floyd had turned command over to Pillow but Pillow instantly turned command over to Buckner. It was Pillow first and only order of business which solely involved himself.

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        • #19
          I note that Van Dorn had indeed been ordered to cross the Mississippi River and to unite with the Army of the Mississippi.
          Don't leave good whiskey for the damn Yankees!" John Hunt Morgan, Eagleport, Ohio, July 23, 1863

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          • #20
            Hold up Kurt am not finished with me yet! There are only a few more issues!

            I am opposed to your stating that the Generals excuses to surrender the garrison are "ridiculous". It was the West Pointer Buckner to reported the dangerous conditions threating the garrison at the conference that night on day one of very hard fighting. I am not sure you fully understand those conditions as you have not elaborated upon them to any degree. Another issue is your saying Bedford was angry how the three Generals (Floyd, Buckner, Pillow) "conducted the battle". This is not correct as Forrest and Pillow were very pleased over the conduct of the first day of battle whereupon was the problem in the nut shell. Because due to their success they wanted to resume the battle in the next morning at sunlight and NOT evacuate the garrison as Commander Floyd and all had agreed was the Plan before the battle commenced. Note these gentlemen were from State of Tennessee and therefore I speculate they were unwilling to evacuate which means the capital Nashville would be abandoned. Here we have yet another example how State Rights ideology plays against Confederate nationalism if such existed.

            Finally there is oddity of your saying "this paragraph is a rebuttal to your assessment that NBF and men were poor at cavalry recon." Before your post appear (an your injection of your Idol Bedford) I fail to find any remark by me about Bedford or his men. You appear to have invented this or your mind wander off. I admit that Bedford and his merry small band of cavalry fought very well in their little area of combat plus they done well at recon. Their numbers hardly 500. In fact I will take time to uphold greatly the performance of CSA Bushrod Johnson (a West Pointer if not mistaken) who likely should have been granted the most responsibility of the success of the first day assault that rolled up Grant's right wing and not so such Pillow.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Bo Archer View Post
              Hold up Kurt am not finished with me yet! There are only a few more issues!

              I am opposed to your stating that the Generals excuses to surrender the garrison are "ridiculous". It was the West Pointer Buckner to reported the dangerous conditions threating the garrison at the conference that night on day one of very hard fighting. I am not sure you fully understand those conditions as you have not elaborated upon them to any degree. Another issue is your saying Bedford was angry how the three Generals (Floyd, Buckner, Pillow) "conducted the battle". This is not correct as Forrest and Pillow were very pleased over the conduct of the first day of battle whereupon was the problem in the nut shell. Because due to their success they wanted to resume the battle in the next morning at sunlight and NOT evacuate the garrison as Commander Floyd and all had agreed was the Plan before the battle commenced. Note these gentlemen were from State of Tennessee and therefore I speculate they were unwilling to evacuate which means the capital Nashville would be abandoned. Here we have yet another example how State Rights ideology plays against Confederate nationalism if such existed.

              <SNIP>
              What is your source for the highlighted assertion? It is contrary to my understanding of the situation. The Confederates had been drven back to their original position at the end of the first day's fight, and Charles Ferguson Smith had occupied some of the Conferderate entrenchments opposite his position.
              Don't leave good whiskey for the damn Yankees!" John Hunt Morgan, Eagleport, Ohio, July 23, 1863

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              • #22
                I have had several sources over the years as I have studied the Battle for some time. I will give you the one single best source in my possession: FORT HENRY AND DONELSON: THE KEY TO THE CONFEDERATE HEARTLAND by BENJAMIN FRANKLIN COOLING. Years ago I once possessed a small paperback on the subject at hand and it eventually had its pages falling out from age and use. I had to throw it away but miss it badly. I have forgotten its title and author. It read like a novel but had no footnotes. Anyone remember my old friend! It is likely out of print.

                I admit this was a confusing event that you question. It is because Pillow order the retirement around 1:30 PM after the assault stalled under heavy Federal fire from a final stand of fresh troops and artillery blocking the way. After a lull, Grant appeared and ordered a forward counterassault which did reoccupy the original Federal position. However, most of the Confederate units had left the field but some had not. So there was resistance that had to be pushed aside and there was Confederate artillery fire from their entrenchments; somewhat ineffective as some rounds were defective. Jack Hurst's book on Forrest has Forrest admitting the above stating the time was 2:00 PM. So the confusing answer may be both to some degree as the Confederates were withdrawing under orders and some had to fight and be driven away. Some were there picking up weapons said to have been around 5,000 firearms recovered.

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                • #23
                  Bo
                  Nathan Bedford Forrest is not my "hero." He does not put food on my table or pay my bills

                  That being said I'll get on with it.

                  You and many others are very fast to brush aside Forrest as a mere "glorified thug" comparable to the Kansas/Missouri Bush Whackers. I have read 5 books on NBF including the fairly new The Battles and Campaigns of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. by John R. Scales - Brig. Gen. U.S. Army (ret.). This new book contains over 100 maps and uses many excellent source material from respected ACW historians. The book was printed by Savas Beatie which, as I am sure you know, has a reputation of publishing outstanding books by acclaimed ACW historians/academia's. They do not print second rate ACW books. I will continue to, and am very much prepared to re-buff anyone who claims NBF was a second rate "mere raider" or the aforementioned words above based on knowledge not "hero worship."

                  Nathan Bedford Forrest at Fort Donelson:

                  The 9th Tennessee Battalion (commander Lt. Col. George Gantt) had performed miserably in protecting the Confederate withdrawal from Fort Henry. Accordingly, on February 7, Confederate units at Hopkinsville were ordered to fall back 20 miles to Clarksville. Forrest's cavalry served as rear guard, following the Confederate infantry until they were safely in Clarksville. NBF was then ordered into a critical situation at Fort Donelson.

                  On the morning of 11 February, NBF's regiment were ferried across the Cumberland River. Once at Fort Donelson Forrest was given command of all the Confederate cavalry including Gantt's companies. He now had approximately 1400 men under his command. He made camp behind the entrenchments east of Dover.

                  Brig. Gen. Gideon Pillow, the ranking officer present, ordered Forrest to reconnoiter towards Fort Henry to determine where the Union forces were and what they were up to. Taking about 300 men, Forrest rode northwest and, within 3 miles ran into a force of Union cavalry, performing a similar mission. Forrest attacked and the Union Cavalry retreated with Forrest pursuing them for a few miles. Forrest reported taking a prisoner. The following day Forrest took all of his cavalry and reconnoitered west of Fort Donelson where he ran into union troops advancing towards the fort. Forrest deployed 3 dismounted companies with Maynard rifles into line against the union forces of the 4th U.S. and 2nd Illinois Cavalry. Forrest moved another portion of his force left to extend the line and threaten the advancing Union right flank.

                  Union commander McClernand ordered his brigade to bypass Forrest's positions and take an alternate route along a parallel road. Forrest cut him off there and attacked. The Union advance stalled until more Union infantry were brought up. Forrest then ordered a mounted cavalry charge to the right to give the previous dismounted units time to disengage. Forrest's units, numbering about 1200 men, stalled the advance of nearly 4000 union cavalry and infantry. The fighting lasted 5 hours. Brig. Gen. Simon B. Buchner ordered Forrest's troops to withdraw to the fort that evening.

                  The next morning, 13 February, the Union forces had completely invested Fort Donelson. The weather, which had been unseasonably pleasant, turned bitter cold that day affecting soldiers on both sides. Forrest was ordered to clear out Union sharpshooters who were sniping the Confederate artillery men. On the night of 13 February, Forrest was ordered to a meeting with his superiors to discuss battleplans for the following day.

                  The next mornings attack, on 14 February, was to focus on the Union forces blocking the roads of retreat to Nashville. This was accomplished and General Pillow, confident that they could hold the fort after their successes that day
                  had to plead his intentions to the other 2 Generals (cowards). Pillow's plan to hold was not agreed to by the other cowards and so it was decided to give up the fort and to not even try to withdraw to Nashville to fight another day. At this decision Forrest could hardly contain himself while asking permission to escape the fort with his cavalry.

                  It is clear to me that General's Floyd and Buchner were already decided that the Unions forces had already taken back the ground that their forces, with many sacrifices of dead, had won. This was because of rumors of even more Union reinforcements. Forrest's recon scouts had, on the night of 14/15 February, assured him this was not true. I already stated in my last post of Forrest's successful withdrawal. Did I mention it was estimated that some 3-4,000 soldiers were taken prisoner at Fort Donelson?

                  In conclusion, Bo, I admit I was wrong about Floyd but the other 2 officers, under his command acted as cowards.

                  Main source for above is the book I mentioned and the author draws extensively on Forrest's actions at Fort Donelson from the book Where the South Lost the War: an analysis of the Fort Henry - Fort Donelson campaign February 1862.




                  Last edited by Kurt Knispel; 24 Nov 18, 17:55.
                  Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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                  • #24
                    [QUOTE=Bo Archer;n5079273Finally there is oddity of your saying "this paragraph is a rebuttal to your assessment that NBF and men were poor at cavalry recon.[/QUOTE]"

                    I was referring to this: https://forums.armchairgeneral.com/f...98#post5075598

                    Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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                    • #25
                      Sorry guthrieba I failed to cite another major source in my haste this evening. The other source in my possession is: THE LIFE AND WARS OF GIDEON J. PILLOW by NATHANIEL CHEAIRS HUGHES, JR and ROY P. STONESIFER, JR.

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                      • #26
                        My apologies Sir Kurt for my playful teasing about a Bedford Cult. I am known to do a little clowning at times. I do appreciate your lengthy postings and the time applied. Your post above about Bedford is very nice! My focus has been on the loss of the garrison and the blame which lead to the garrison having no role at Shiloh. To me Bedford is a side show but nice. Thanks!

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Bo Archer View Post
                          My apologies Sir Kurt for my playful teasing about a Bedford Cult. I am known to do a little clowning at times. I do appreciate your lengthy postings and the time applied. Your post above about Bedford is very nice! My focus has been on the loss of the garrison and the blame which lead to the garrison having no role at Shiloh. To me Bedford is a side show but nice. Thanks!
                          Thanks Bo for your compliment on my post. An apology for calling me a NBF hero worshiper was not necessary but I will accept it

                          As you know, from reading Hurst's book on Forrest, he was an extraordinary man throughout his personal life and his military years. The mere fact that he killed 31 men up close and personal, and had 30 horses shot out from under him, places him in company with Stonewall Jackson as far as bravery is concerned. IMHO, Jackson, although he died after Chancellorsville, and Forrest were 2 of the bravest and intelligent leaders in the history of war.

                          As I continue to read more books and further my ACW knowledge I will look forward to our conversations here. I just received author Edward G. Longacre's book The cavalry at Gettysburg: A Tactical Study of Mounted Operations during the Civil Wars Pivotal Campaign 9 June - 14 July 1863.

                          I hope to read it next month as I just finished up 4 books on the Second World War China - Burma - India theater and am about to read Col. David Glantz' (for the second time!) To the Gates of Stalingrad: Soviet - German combat operations April - August 1942

                          Reading a Glantz book is quite taxing and sometimes you need a second read to absorb everything.

                          Theo mir ist die munition ausgegangen ich werde diesen ramman auf wiedersehen uns in walhalla

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Bo Archer View Post
                            Sorry guthrieba I failed to cite another major source in my haste this evening. The other source in my possession is: THE LIFE AND WARS OF GIDEON J. PILLOW by NATHANIEL CHEAIRS HUGHES, JR and ROY P. STONESIFER, JR.
                            Thanks. Reading Tim Smith's recent Grant Invades Tennessee - The 1862 Battles of Forts Henry and Donelson, it seems that General Pillow was of several opinions regarding the success of the first day's attack. I had not previously appreciated that Pillow, who ordered the withdrawal back into the original positions, also considered the day to be a success.
                            Don't leave good whiskey for the damn Yankees!" John Hunt Morgan, Eagleport, Ohio, July 23, 1863

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                            • #29
                              Yes thank you back Sir guthrieba I will check out Tim Smith's book on the internet to see what people are saying. Pillow's actions and plans are even more disturbing than what is on your above post. Pillow stupidly believed he could withdraw without orders, rest the troops, return to combat in the next morning at the same position he left, with the Federals too beaten to counterattack and recover their (Federal) original position that so much Confederate blood had loss to gain. This was at 2;00 PM with several hours of daylight left and a dangerous Federal battleline just stalemated Pillow's initial victorious assault. Equally stupid he had the arrogance that he was so intelligent that he could force the Commander Floyd (oh well he was right about Floyd) to abort the original order to evacuate/withdraw the garrison on the in middle of a hot engagement. He may have planned this all along secretly if his assault was a success. He is believed to be a militant secessionist State Rights man and giving up the State Capitol was just too much. He appears to have committed treason against the treasonous and illegal Confederate Nation if such existed (now my head is spinning and getting confused). I suspect that his good friend and follower Bedford Forrest was in full compliance with him as their actual behavior somewhat match in that event.

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                              • #30
                                I feel compelled to lift a finger in an effort to restore and rehab the reputation of CSA Buckner's actions at Fort Donelson. He was West Point trained and he was placed under the overall command of a political General Floyd. He was clearly oppressed by having to be in association with another political General Pillow as an equal. First day Buckner faithfully followed army plan agreed on the previous night conference: withdraw from trenches and form up a rear guard force to evacuate the Fort. In course of first day, Pillow wrongly orders Buckner to commit to Pillow's assault which Buckner refuses somewhat. While Pillow has stalled everything to seek Glory, Buckner suffers a Federal assault that captured his trenches being held by a small rear guard force. Buckner discovers belatedly that the evacuation is dead issue; therefore Buckner tried and failed to recovered his trenches. At the second night conference, it is correctly determined the Confederate army in enveloped in a powerful Federal pincher movement; ready to renew it's assault a daybreak. Buckner's Division is standing exposed out of its trenches facing a forming Federal assault; and Pillow Division now facing a larger Federal assault with Pillow's exhausted Division; suffering from snow/sleet storm that lasted for many hours. All commanders agreed to surrender; but only professional Buckner agreed to stay in place and formally surrender the Army. It would have been a Confederate bloodbath if the garrison had not surrendered.

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