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Seeing The Elephant; The Long Arm of SHILOH

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  • Seeing The Elephant; The Long Arm of SHILOH

    What was the most influential single battle of the American Civil War?

    I say, without doubt, that it was the Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee, April 6-7, 1862. Here are my reasons.....

    LEADERSHIP

    The loss of General Albert Sidney Johnston, and the subsequent sacking of Beauregard after his retreat from Corinth bit back hard when Confederate commander in the East, Joseph E. Johnston was wounded at The Battle of Seven Pines.

    The South had no-one to replace Johnston in the East. Robert E. Lee had already failed in West Virginia and had a correspondingly poor reputation with the troops there; they called him "Granny Lee" or "The King of Spades"
    But Lee's credentials as a West Pointer and protégé of Gen. Winfield Scott won the argument.

    Beauregard was not to receive another field command of that type.
    Joe Johnston went on to become the type of general who always retreats, so his subsequent appointments to Army command were all failures.
    The appointment of Braxton Bragg, for want of anyone else top do the job in the crucial West, would bedevil the Western Theater with a commanding general who not only lacked initiative and had a penchant for frontal assaults, but was constantly at odds with his divisional commanders, particularly Hardee, Leonidas Polk, and John C. Breckinridge.

    So, for the Confederates, the influence on leadership from the outcome of Shiloh was profound.
    Lee went on to take the initiative and totally turn around the situation in the East after the Seven Days.
    But....Lee would also bedevil the Confederate war effort. Constant tactical victories were not followed up by any form of coherent grand strategy that could shut the conflict down altogether and leave the CSA as a surviving organism. In fact, Lee also turned public opinions and news away from the western theater by forever giving the impression that the war itself could be decided in the Eastern theater.

    And here we come to the Union.

    Shiloh saved the reputations of both Ulysses Simpson Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman.
    Beauregard's loss of Corinth had opened up the Mississipi Valley, and with the subsequent fall over both Memphis and New Orleans, it fell to Grant alone to shut down the Mississpi River, which he did, though only after four separate attempts, and a siege at Vicksburg that saw the city fall on the very day that Lee began his retreat from Gettysburg

    And Grant, by the way, took four attempts at Vicksburg principally as a result of the efforts of one Nathan Bedford Forrest, another Shiloh veteran officer, one that had converted his command from mearly supporting an Army to terrorizing the enemy with troublesome cavalry raids. Forrest was the terror of the Western Theater..

    The pair of Grant and Sherman were so important for the Union, and the corps commanders that they gathered around them.
    Here were two generals that had some kind of strategy in mind that would combine what was occurring in both East and West, and unify it into a single strategy that toppled thew Confwederay for ever.

    So, in conclusion, but for the events at Shiloh, the wounding of Joe Johnston at Seven Pines would most definitely have seen him replaced by Albert Sidney Johnston.
    But for Shiloh, we might not have even heard of Robert E. Lee, except as a sidebar in a textbook.
    What if Johnston was NOT wounded at Seven Pines?

    Simple....

    Maclellan would have crept close enough to Richmond to lay siege.
    No siege of a southern city or fort was successfully defended.in the war entire....
    Richmond would have been no exception.

    BUT, Albert Sidney Johnston was a "thruster", the sort of general that could have done almost exactly the same thing as Lee. He was to be served by some of the ablest subordinate commanders in the business after all. Longstreet, Jackson, Stuart, Magruder, Ewell, A.P. Hill.

    Could we jhave seen Sidney Johnston up thwere as the Confederate "God"? I'd love to hear your opinions of that one.....You've all read "Lee Lieutenants" after all, and know that Lee was not an island of genius all by himself. He needed the "team" to make him great.

    For Eisenhower, it was Patton and Bradley
    For Macarthur, it was George Kenny
    And for Albert Sidney Johnston....well you get the picture...

    But would the Confederate government have collapsed with a successful siege of Richmond?

    I think so....the Army of Northern Virginia would have ceased to exist.

    With the war over before the emancipation proclamation, would Lincoln have freed the slaves?

    Would states rights have reasserted themselves again, with Lincoln deciding that each state had to make up its own mind?

    You be the judge of that one.....

    NOW, OVER TO YOU...My American experts....Im sure I will be shouted down for this post, but what the hell?

    A good debate is worth it!!!!


    Claudius Germanicus Drusus Nero Caesar...signing off
    Last edited by Drusus Nero; 21 May 20, 10:18.
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  • #2
    hey Urban Hermit and others? I invite you all to comment on this one. Maybe someone else has another battle in mind that had profound effectsa on the course of the war.

    I doubt it, but I'm not an expert like you Americans.

    Let the Forum now judge
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    • #3
      A lot of speculation. Who knows?
      "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

      "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

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      • #4
        Shiloh sent General Alfred Mouton and several Regiments back to Louisiana. These regiments totaled a little over 300 men! Louisiana sent 12,000 to the ANV and some thousands to the Army of Tennessee. At Appomatox Courthouse only about 400 of those 12,000 surrendered.

        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"

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        • #5
          The influence of Shiloh wasn't speculation...

          To reiterate...

          Shiloh caused the death of A.S. Johnston.....this caused Beauregard to be sacked, removing him from field command.
          Johnstons death and Beauregards sacking caused Bragg to be appointed...Bragg was incompetent.
          Braggs incompetence basically caused the end of any Confederat hope of turning the tide back in the Western theater, period.
          By the time Bragg was removed, it was too late for the South to regain the initiative, (particularly with Joe Johnston and then John Bell Hood in command.
          Johnstons death also caused the appointment of Robert E. Lee to command when Joe Johnston was wounded. A.S. Johnston outranked Leeand was a personal favourite over L:ee of Jeff Davis, so if Johnston was still alive, Lee would not have gotten the job.

          Shiloh made the reputations of both Grant and Sherman, the two men most responsible for both bringing the war in the west to some kind of conclusion, and defeating Lee outright.

          So, the battle of Shiloh influenced the outcome of the war in both theaters, directly.

          Its as simple as that.

          No other battle had the same influence.

          The rest is speculation.

          Simple to work out really, don't you agree?
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Drusus Nero View Post
            The influence of Shiloh wasn't speculation...

            To reiterate...

            Shiloh caused the death of A.S. Johnston.....this caused Beauregard to be sacked, removing him from field command.
            Johnstons death and Beauregards sacking caused Bragg to be appointed...Bragg was incompetent.
            Braggs incompetence basically caused the end of any Confederat hope of turning the tide back in the Western theater, period.
            By the time Bragg was removed, it was too late for the South to regain the initiative, (particularly with Joe Johnston and then John Bell Hood in command.
            Maybe. I've read that Beuaregard was fired because he went on sick leave for two weeks without telling Davis. There were probably multiple reasons involved here—Davis still may have been angry at Beauregard for blaming him for not pursuing the Union army after First Bull Run.


            Johnstons death also caused the appointment of Robert E. Lee to command when Joe Johnston was wounded. A.S. Johnston outranked Leeand was a personal favourite over L:ee of Jeff Davis, so if Johnston was still alive, Lee would not have gotten the job.
            Speculation

            Davis had already brought Lee back from Charleston and made him his personal military advisor. Lee was the one coordinating Johnston on the Penninsula and Jackson in the Valley. He also got along swimmingly with Davis. I don't see a reason to prefer A.S. Johnston over him.


            Shiloh made the reputations of both Grant and Sherman, the two men most responsible for both bringing the war in the west to some kind of conclusion, and defeating Lee outright.
            I think Forts Henry and Donelson made Grant's reputation. Shiloh may have helped, but the press might have credited Buell's arrival with saving the day.

            Sherman did well, and Grant knew it, but I don't know if he became some sort of war hero or something over this.

            So, the battle of Shiloh influenced the outcome of the war in both theaters, directly.

            Its as simple as that.

            No other battle had the same influence.

            The rest is speculation.

            Simple to work out really, don't you agree?
            Disagree

            "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

            "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

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            • #7
              OK...

              Why was Johnston appointed as the Commander of the Western theater?

              Because the Western theater was seen to be the most important post. Jeff Davis said of ?Johnston, "If we don't have Johnston as a general, then we have no general".

              After Bull Run, the two senior Confederate "heroes" of the battle were Joe Johnston and Beauregard, and in the public mind as well..


              The Eastern theater was seen to be "stable" with troops there well served under Joe Johnston.
              So, Beauregard was packed off to the even more vital spot of Corinth to act as Johnstons "number two"

              Corinth was described as "A prize worth more than forty Richmonds" not only Don Carlos Buell, but by everyone that knew anything about it's railway connections.

              Beauregard was under fire for RETREATING FROM SHILOH, as Bragg complained to Davis, and backed up by practically every soldier who could still walk in the Army itself.
              Then, Beauregard, after a two month siege, lost Corinth as well, tried to take it back, and failed. The loss of Corinth was directly attributable to experience at Shiloh. There were almost as many sick cases at Corinth as there had been battle casualties at Shiloh.
              Already under a cloud for his double retreat, the last straw was him failing to inform Davis or anyone else when he went on sick leave for all of two weeks.
              So Beauregard lost his job from events associated with Shiloh as well.

              Now, if Lee was such a favouriote of Davis, what was he doing in the backwater of West Virginia, and then supervising defenses along the Atlantic Coast, (something that could have been done by any engineer) rather than in command at Shiloh?

              If Lee was favoured over Johnston, as you say, why wasn't he in the western theater to begin with, instead of the backwater conflict in West Virginia?

              So, when Johnston was killed, who did Davis send to Virginia?

              Not Beauregard, because he had been found wanting at both Shiloh AND Corinth...
              Not Bragg, he was "{needed" for the far more important "Departmentt of the West"

              And with no other choice, Lee got the job....

              So to Grant....

              He had been under fire and had actually lost his job, but was reinstated. After Shiloh, calls for his dismissal once and for all grew louder still with further accusations of drunkennesss and "soldiers being bayonetted in tents", for it was generally supposed that Grant had been caught by suirprise at Shiloh. Henry Halleck wanted Grant'sw head....and Halleck was his superior and referred to as "Old Brains"

              Lincoln had to intervene..."I cannot spare this man", he said, "He fights."

              So it was the Battle of Shiloh that saved U.S. Grant.

              Drusus
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Drusus Nero View Post
                OK...

                Why was Johnston appointed as the Commander of the Western theater?

                Because the Western theater was seen to be the most important post. Jeff Davis said of ?Johnston, "If we don't have Johnston as a general, then we have no general".

                After Bull Run, the two senior Confederate "heroes" of the battle were Joe Johnston and Beauregard, and in the public mind as well..


                The Eastern theater was seen to be "stable" with troops there well served under Joe Johnston.
                So, Beauregard was packed off to the even more vital spot of Corinth to act as Johnstons "number two"

                Corinth was described as "A prize worth more than forty Richmonds" not only Don Carlos Buell, but by everyone that knew anything about it's railway connections.

                Beauregard was under fire for RETREATING FROM SHILOH, as Bragg complained to Davis, and backed up by practically every soldier who could still walk in the Army itself.
                Then, Beauregard, after a two month siege, lost Corinth as well, tried to take it back, and failed. The loss of Corinth was directly attributable to experience at Shiloh. There were almost as many sick cases at Corinth as there had been battle casualties at Shiloh.
                Already under a cloud for his double retreat, the last straw was him failing to inform Davis or anyone else when he went on sick leave for all of two weeks.
                So Beauregard lost his job from events associated with Shiloh as well.

                Now, if Lee was such a favouriote of Davis, what was he doing in the backwater of West Virginia, and then supervising defenses along the Atlantic Coast, (something that could have been done by any engineer) rather than in command at Shiloh?

                If Lee was favoured over Johnston, as you say, why wasn't he in the western theater to begin with, instead of the backwater conflict in West Virginia?

                So, when Johnston was killed, who did Davis send to Virginia?

                Not Beauregard, because he had been found wanting at both Shiloh AND Corinth...
                Not Bragg, he was "{needed" for the far more important "Departmentt of the West"

                And with no other choice, Lee got the job....

                So to Grant....

                He had been under fire and had actually lost his job, but was reinstated. After Shiloh, calls for his dismissal once and for all grew louder still with further accusations of drunkennesss and "soldiers being bayonetted in tents", for it was generally supposed that Grant had been caught by suirprise at Shiloh. Henry Halleck wanted Grant'sw head....and Halleck was his superior and referred to as "Old Brains"

                Lincoln had to intervene..."I cannot spare this man", he said, "He fights."

                So it was the Battle of Shiloh that saved U.S. Grant.

                Drusus
                Your whole point is that Davis considered the Western Theater to be more important, so he appointed A.S. Johnston to command there, because that's who he believed was the best general.

                If that is what you truley believe, then why do you write that Davis would have called A.S. Johnston off this post to serve in Richmond? Why would he take "his best" general from "the most important post" and assign him to some backwater district like Virginia?

                I don't think you're thinking this through.

                And I never said Davis preferred Lee. If anything, my point is that Lee belonged in Virginia. He made the initial disposition of troops in that state, and he served as Davis' personal advisor in the capitol.

                It was Lee who organized the West Virginia Campaign under R.S. Garnett, and who went there in person after leaving his post as Davis' advisor.

                It was Lee who, after being recalled from Charleston, coordinated operations between Johnston and Jackson against McClellan's and the other Union forces in the state. Lee was recalled to Richmond on March 2, and A.S. Johnston was not killed til April 6.

                Why didn't Davis summon A.S. Johnston to Richmond, if he was so eager to have the best general there? Why would he summon A.S. to replace J.E. Johnston if he wanted "his best" general in charge of "the most important theater?" That is the knot in your argument. It makes zero sense.

                In short, if A.S. Johnston survived Shiloh, win or lose, why would Davis place him in command at Richmond?

                Lee, by all standards except maybe some prewar judgements, was best qualified to assume command in Virginia after J.E. Johnston was wounded. He was the one supervising operations there as Davis' chief advisor, and he had the president's trust. It was Lee's job or whatever you want to call it.

                You can figure out your agument and get back to me on that.

                As for Beuregard, I never read primary sources on why he was removed from command in the West. I read that he abandoned the army command for two weeks without telling Davis, and I know he blamed the president for failing to pursue after First Bull Run, even though all witnesses except Davis agree that the decision was mutual. Davis maintained that he did, in fact, order the pursuit.
                It would make sense If Beauregard's failures at Shiloh and Corinth also played a role in his dismissal, or transfer, or whatever happened to him.

                As for Grant, Shiloh may have helped his reputation with Lincoln. It depended on the president's interpretation of reports. He read official communications frequently. It may also be true that Grant's operations against Forts Henry and Donelson sustained him in Lincoln's favor.

                Shiloh, all in all, was a failed Confederate offensive. A.S. Johnston lost his life, and he may have turned the war around if he survived. Grant may have earned more of Lincoln's trust. Sherman undoubtedly earned more of Grant's trust. Sherman saw that Grant was a man who could turn battles around. Beuaregard did not help his reputation.

                It was the first major bloody battle of the Civil War, to be sure, but I disagree that it was "The Elephant" or whatever you want to call it. It was more like "The Fox."

                "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

                "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

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                • #9
                  Gary Gallagher, Professor of History at the University of Virginia states..."There is no guarantee that Lee was always going to be in command in Virginia."
                  Gallagher further goes on to state that the situation in Virginia, in the public mind, was definitely secondary to the people of the South, and to the press...

                  That is until Lee took all the headlines away from the bad news coming out of the Western theater.

                  A.S Johnston was much more favoured by Jeff Davis over Lee, this is why Lee was in West Virginia. He had no proven battle record, as Joe Johnston and Beauregard SEEMED to possess. But Joe Johnston turned into a commander definitely lacking in initiative, as his conduct in the Peninsula campaign, and in Mississipi and Georgia proved again and again.

                  When he was wounded at Seven Pines, he fully expected to be given command back once his wound was healed.

                  But Lee had already grabbed the headlines back and restored Virginia to stabil;ity after the most important campaign of the war for the South, The Seven Days.

                  But Davis also favoured Braxton bragg, right over the top of Lees head. And his absolute favourite general, A.S. Johnston was dead, so Lee got the job, of a secondary theater, above the head of Joe Johnston, and above the head of Beauregard.

                  Its true that Johnston wasn't in Virginia because the Confederate commander, Samuel Cooper, felt strongly that the most important post of the war was in the Western Theater. That's why Bragg got the job.

                  So on the advice of Cooper, and with no other candidate available, Lee got the job by default.

                  But that turned out to be a mixed blessing...

                  The war itself was never going to be won in Virginia. It wqas going to be won by bringing the North to the confwerence table, and where was that possible? Certainly not in Virginia. Only by stopping the Northern tide that was Grant from gobbling up vital territory and factory space, such as mit existed, only in the West was it possible for the South to remain in the contest.

                  I have thought this through, and come to the same conclusion as Gary Gallagher, that Virginian victories changed absolutely nothing for the South.

                  Lee in Mississippi....now theres a great "what if"

                  Were Hardee, Polk and Breckinridge the equal or better of Jackson, Longstreet, Magruder, AP Hill, Ewell and Hood?

                  You be the judge on that one
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                  • #10
                    This is why I say that the Battle of Shiloh was the most influential single engagement in the course of the entire war. No single battle in Virginia, even Bull Run, caused so many other ramificsations to the Southern cause, and for the North as well.

                    The Influence of Shiloh did not end there either....

                    Shiloh woke the top generals up, and the nation itself, that this war was not going to be a short war after all, and that much blood had to be spilt. In the words of Grant, from his memoirs..."After Shiloh, I gave up all idea of subdueing the South except by complete conquest.
                    Shiloh taught Grant several lessons, mistakes that he never made again. Foremost of those was that the spade and field entrenchments werew absolutely critical to operations, and the common soldier agreed with this as well. Shiloh also taught Grant that to be successful, he would have to gather around him a bevy of LOYAL lieutenants with no political connections, something his army was riddled with. Sherman was the first of these, followed by people such as Reynolds and Thomas.
                    Shiloh also taught the nations press and media that they could not cover the war from far away, and would have to accompany the armies themselves on campaign to keep up with the action as it happened, rather than relying on rumours.
                    Shiloh taught the veterans of both sides in the
                    Western theater that their spade was their best friend, and as Shelby Foote so nicely says, "Foir the rest of the war, veterans used to say, "I wasn't as scared as I was at Shiloh"
                    My Articles, ALMOST LIVE, exclusive to The Armchair!

                    Soviet Submarines in WW2....The Mythology of Shiloh....(Edited) Both Sides of the Warsaw Ghetto
                    GULAG Glossary....Who Really Killed The Red Baron?....Pearl Harbor At 75
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Drusus Nero View Post
                      Gary Gallagher, Professor of History at the University of Virginia states..."There is no guarantee that Lee was always going to be in command in Virginia."
                      Gallagher further goes on to state that the situation in Virginia, in the public mind, was definitely secondary to the people of the South, and to the press...

                      That is until Lee took all the headlines away from the bad news coming out of the Western theater.

                      A.S Johnston was much more favoured by Jeff Davis over Lee, this is why Lee was in West Virginia. He had no proven battle record, as Joe Johnston and Beauregard SEEMED to possess. But Joe Johnston turned into a commander definitely lacking in initiative, as his conduct in the Peninsula campaign, and in Mississipi and Georgia proved again and again.

                      When he was wounded at Seven Pines, he fully expected to be given command back once his wound was healed.

                      But Lee had already grabbed the headlines back and restored Virginia to stabil;ity after the most important campaign of the war for the South, The Seven Days.

                      But Davis also favoured Braxton bragg, right over the top of Lees head. And his absolute favourite general, A.S. Johnston was dead, so Lee got the job, of a secondary theater, above the head of Joe Johnston, and above the head of Beauregard.

                      Its true that Johnston wasn't in Virginia because the Confederate commander, Samuel Cooper, felt strongly that the most important post of the war was in the Western Theater. That's why Bragg got the job.

                      So on the advice of Cooper, and with no other candidate available, Lee got the job by default.

                      But that turned out to be a mixed blessing...

                      The war itself was never going to be won in Virginia. It wqas going to be won by bringing the North to the confwerence table, and where was that possible? Certainly not in Virginia. Only by stopping the Northern tide that was Grant from gobbling up vital territory and factory space, such as mit existed, only in the West was it possible for the South to remain in the contest.

                      I have thought this through, and come to the same conclusion as Gary Gallagher, that Virginian victories changed absolutely nothing for the South.

                      Lee in Mississippi....now theres a great "what if"

                      Were Hardee, Polk and Breckinridge the equal or better of Jackson, Longstreet, Magruder, AP Hill, Ewell and Hood?

                      You be the judge on that one
                      "There is no guarantee that Gary Gallagher' arguments will hold up" -Me

                      I don't believe that the "Public mind," as some unanimous blob, belived Virginia was "secondary." If so, it might have been because the South did best there, while they were losing states left and right in the "Western Theater."

                      I don't know about Davis' comparisons of A.S. Johnston to Lee. Beauregard and Johnston received Confederate commands in Virginia because they accepted commissions in the C.S.A. army. Lee, as commander of Virginia's state troops, made the initial dispositions and appointed commanders to the fronts before Davis and the Confederates arrived. Davis kept Lee close by as an advisor, and he appointed Confederate Generals Beauregard and Johnston to the northern front. Lee, after being commissioned a brigadier general with the C.S.A, continued to serve as Davis' advisor. That is why he went to West Virginia—to coordinate commanders there, not conduct operations.

                      And Davis appointed Lee as commander of the army on the field of Seven Pines. Cooper was...I don't know where.

                      After Lee took command of the army outside Richmond, J.E. Johnston said, "The shot that struck me down is the very best that has been fired for Southern cause yet. For I possess in no degree the confidence of our government, and now they have in my place one who does possess it, and who can accomplish what I never could have done—the concentration of our armies for the defence of the capital of the Confederacy."

                      You can compare this to Grant's opinion that J.E. Johnston was the best general in the Confederacy, and to Grant's quote about A.S. Johnston,

                      "after studying the orders and dispatches of Johnston I am compelled to materially modify my views of that officer's qualifications as a soldier. My judgement now is that he was vacillating and and undecided in his actions...I do not question the personal courage of General Johnston, or his ability. But he did not win the distinction predicted for him by many of his friends. He did prove that as a general he was overestimated."

                      Also,

                      "All the disasters in Kentucky and Tennessee were so discouraging to the au- thorities in Richmond that Jefferson Davis wrote an unofficial letter to Johnston expressing his own anxiety and that of the public, and saying that he had made such defence as was dictated by long friendship, but that in the absence of a re- port he needed facts."

                      So Davis' opinion of A.S. Johnston evidently changed after he fell back from Kentucky to Mississippi after Grant's 10 day campaign against Forts Henry and Donelson. It must have shook Davis and Johnston's friends to see their pride and joy shot to hell in one of the worst performances in the war. You could put a civilian in Johnston's position and he could hardly have done worse. Davis' friendship and ties of personal loyalty could only go so far before he questioned you.

                      I don't know much about Bragg, other than that Davis was his friend and they fought a heroic action together at Buena Vista, at least as far as their relationship was concerned.

                      And the war was won in Virginia. Gallagher must have missed that while he was getting his pole smoked by third-rate historians.

                      Lee in Mississippi...Or A.S. Johnston in Virginia...all what-if's. Very little little history involved, but I'm enjoying the brushing up.



                      "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

                      "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

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                      • #12
                        By the way, "Seeing the Elephant" is not my own phrase.

                        Its a piece of genuine soldiers slang from the period, of what happened to you after you had acquired combat experience in your first big engagement, the first engagement that scared you witless.

                        It was a phrase that veterans applied to Shiloh in particular.
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                        Lincoln-Douglas Debates

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Drusus Nero View Post
                          This is why I say that the Battle of Shiloh was the most influential single engagement in the course of the entire war. No single battle in Virginia, even Bull Run, caused so many other ramificsations to the Southern cause, and for the North as well.

                          The Influence of Shiloh did not end there either....

                          Shiloh woke the top generals up, and the nation itself, that this war was not going to be a short war after all, and that much blood had to be spilt. In the words of Grant, from his memoirs..."After Shiloh, I gave up all idea of subdueing the South except by complete conquest.
                          Shiloh taught Grant several lessons, mistakes that he never made again. Foremost of those was that the spade and field entrenchments werew absolutely critical to operations, and the common soldier agreed with this as well. Shiloh also taught Grant that to be successful, he would have to gather around him a bevy of LOYAL lieutenants with no political connections, something his army was riddled with. Sherman was the first of these, followed by people such as Reynolds and Thomas.
                          Shiloh also taught the nations press and media that they could not cover the war from far away, and would have to accompany the armies themselves on campaign to keep up with the action as it happened, rather than relying on rumours.
                          Shiloh taught the veterans of both sides in the
                          Western theater that their spade was their best friend, and as Shelby Foote so nicely says, "Foir the rest of the war, veterans used to say, "I wasn't as scared as I was at Shiloh"
                          Is this from Foote or Gallagher?

                          Grant encountered fortifications at Fort Donelson, to say nothing of the fact that he graduated West Point and undoubtedly learned of earthworks.

                          Shiloh was the first major, bloody battle of the Civil War. "The Fox." It saved the South from another A.S. Johnston debacle, and it strenghtened Grant's and Sherman's working relationship. It had no strategic impact on the war. It is, in a way, cool to read about in a narrative of the war.
                          "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

                          "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Drusus Nero View Post
                            By the way, "Seeing the Elephant" is not my own phrase.

                            Its a piece of genuine soldiers slang from the period, of what happened to you after you had acquired combat experience in your first big engagement, the first engagement that scared you witless.

                            It was a phrase that veterans applied to Shiloh in particular.
                            Yes, it was the first major, bloody battle of the war. Looking back, it seems "The Fox" is the better term for it. But they didn't know what we know now.
                            "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

                            "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

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                            • #15
                              And another thing....Gary Gallagher's comments in references to Robert E. Lee were made in a 45 minute lecture he delivered to his alma mater, the Virginia Military Institute with reference to his assertion that Lees "Seven days" Campaign was, by far, the most im[portant of the war.

                              Gallagher was and is no "Third rate historian"

                              And further, A.S. Johnston was given a thousand miles of front and too few troops to defend it with. The loss of forts Donelson and Henry could have happened to any commander, and it was not even Johnston's fault that Simon Bolivar Buckner surrendered to Grant. Both forts were hardly the best examples of Southern engineering, and not all present agreed that Buckner should even have surrenderd to begin with, as Nathan Bedford Forrest so famously proclaimed..."I did not arrive here...for the express purpose of surrendering my command"

                              Forrest broke out and lived to fight again, to become the terror of the
                              Western theater, and to be described by
                              Shelby Foote as "Only one of two authentic genius's produced by both sides."

                              The opther, in his view was Abraham Lincoln, to which Forrests granddaughter replied.."Well you know, we never did think much of Mr. Lincoln in these parts..."

                              The idea that the Battle of Shiloh was the most influential single engagement of the
                              American Civil War IS my idea, and not Gary Gallagher.

                              ...and yes, I am rather enjoying this debate as well, for I do acknowledge that people like you, American87, know more about the
                              Civil War than I dol. Natural I suppose, for you Americans have the privelage of access to the battlesites, access to the resources, you can walk the ground, talk to the great grandchildren of the participants...

                              But I, American my friend, have something that Americans don't...A view of the conflict as an impartial OUTSIDER.

                              Kind regards my posting friend.

                              Gaius Claudius Germanicus Drusus Nero
                              My Articles, ALMOST LIVE, exclusive to The Armchair!

                              Soviet Submarines in WW2....The Mythology of Shiloh....(Edited) Both Sides of the Warsaw Ghetto
                              GULAG Glossary....Who Really Killed The Red Baron?....Pearl Harbor At 75
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