MILITARY HISTORY ONLINE

User:  
Password:  
 
 (1861-1865) Civil War Battles (Western Theater)
Message
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 157
Joined: 2020
Longsteet abandons his siege of Knoxville TN (from this day history sectio
12/3/2021 5:21:28 PM
Longsteet abandons his siege of Knoxville TN
(from this day history section)

Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI
Today 12022021 5:27am
In 1863 Gen James Longstreet, abandons his seige of Knoxville, why did Ole Pete fail?
Comments anyone? C'mon Civil War posters, can you help us out? Lots of the war will be fought in Tennessee??

It turns out Longstreet was a commander of middling performance. Outside of a few early set piece tactical assignments in 1861-62 his record is decidedly mixed. Lee was able to get some decent tactical action from him before 1863. One of the major sources of JL’s poor performance was his resentment vs Lee because he was not given command of Johnston’s army after Seven Pines. At that time he expressed no confidence in Lee. He nursed his pique for the remainder of the war as shown at 2nd bull run and Gettysburg. This last he pushed the bounds of insubordination.

At Knoxville he showed the typical confederate petty bickering syndrome vs his subordinates even court-martialling McLaw’s a key subordinate. This reinforces the conclusion that away from Lee he was unable to make positive contribution to Confed military successes.

At Chickamauga he benefited by wild good luck in what was intended as the standard frontal assault vs the union line. Again in a basic tactical action he performed well. But then was again guilty of two cases of rank insubordination. First when ordered by Davis to put Law in command of Hood’s old division he complied only until Davis returned to Richmond when he then disobeyed Davis’ order and returned Jenkins to command. Then again he flagrantly disobeyed Bragg’s order to post adequate troops in position to defend Brown’s Ferry-Wauhatchie which made for an easy opening of the cracker line and doomed confederate control of Chattanooga. Ultimately his refusal to follow orders led to being sent to Knoxville at the decisive moment just before the Missionary Ridge debacle that he contributed materially to even though absent. His Knoxville campaign was a rank failure. Longstreet choose to attack the strongest position with no artillery support and no additional infantry support/coordination. Another example of failure of Longstreet as an independent commander.
Yours, Mike_C
mikecmaps
Michigan Dave
Muskegon MI USA
Posts: 7035
Joined: 2006
Longsteet abandons his siege of Knoxville TN (from this day history sectio
12/3/2021 9:07:46 PM
Hi Mike,

I never realized that Long street had issues with A fair amount of other Southern Officers, to the extent it hurt his generalship!?

Was this common with Confederate high officers, in general? Anyone?

Regards,
MD
----------------------------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Steve Clements
Toronto ON Canada
Posts: 861
Joined: 2004
Longsteet abandons his siege of Knoxville TN (from this day history sectio
12/7/2021 4:04:24 PM
Mike,

I (almost) completely agree with your assessment. I would give Longstreet the benefit of the doubt at Second Bull Run...the timing of his "delayed" flank attack was close to being perfect.

Longstreet's performance at both Chattanooga (as laid out by yourself) and later at Knoxville was disappointing to say the least. But his propensity to blame his division and brigade commanders for their supposed mistakes is (IMO) simply not forgivable.

And yes, he did appear to chafe at being under Lee's command. As a corps commander UNDER Lee, his performance was pretty good, but as an overly ambitious commander out west, ....well, the less said the better.

Quote:
This reinforces the conclusion that away from Lee he was unable to make positive contribution to Confed military successes.


Yup. This pretty much sums up his Confederate career, IMO.

s.c.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5628
Joined: 2004
Longsteet abandons his siege of Knoxville TN (from this day history sectio
12/7/2021 4:17:32 PM
Bob Krick would be delighted with Mike and Steve's assessments.

He failed badly at Knoxville, having been repulsed by Burnside. Irony !

How would you rate his performance in mounting that counter attack in the Wilderness 6 May 1864 ?

Then again, of course, he was operating under Lee.

I wonder if he was fortunate with the services of Moxley Sorrel and Porter Alexander : two of his subordinates who contributed to the prowess of his corps' fighting record in the AoNV.

Without those two - and some other notable talents who served him - would he have made the impact he did ?

Regards, Phil
----------------------------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 157
Joined: 2020
Longsteet abandons his siege of Knoxville TN (from this day history sectio
12/7/2021 5:57:57 PM
Md, Steve, Phil,

Was this common with Confederate high officers, in general? Anyone?

Oh! Lordy! Where to begin. Yes a number of tactical operations were failures substantially due to petty bickering. Polk said that Bragg was a greater danger than Rosecrans. While usually pretty hesitant to face Union troops the typical Confederate Generals were always eager to oppose superiors and fellows to the point that several actual physical confrontations were narrowly avoided.

Second Bull Run...the timing of his "delayed" flank attack was close to being perfect.
In most tactical situations delay is rarely and advantage. Had JL struck sooner when Union troops were heavily engaged more damage would have been likely and the follow-up confed attempt at Chantilly possibly more successful. (he who hesitates) And the apparent reason was simply to oppose lees wish?

How would you rate his performance in mounting that counter attack in the Wilderness 6 May 1864?
No question that as a tactical commander he did fight well.

Thanks, Mike_C.
mikecmaps
Steve Clements
Toronto ON Canada
Posts: 861
Joined: 2004
Longsteet abandons his siege of Knoxville TN (from this day history sectio
12/8/2021 9:39:15 AM
Mike,

Don't agree with your negative assessment regarding the timing of Longstreet's Second Bull Run flank attack. Plus...

1) That Longstreet advised against Lee's original timing suggestion does not remove responsibility of Lee to 'order' Longstreet to do so, if Lee still believed that Longstreet was 'wrong".
2) Not sure how this impacts fighting at Ox Hill...which, as a side note, took two very talented Union generals out of the war.

s,c,
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 157
Joined: 2020
Longsteet abandons his siege of Knoxville TN (from this day history sectio
12/8/2021 10:31:04 AM


Steve,
I don’t entirely disagree with number 1) but will again say delay is rarely positive. But yes there is always the criticism of Lee that he allowed too much discretion when prompt action was needed. But really kinda cuts both ways don’t it. Confederates were always ready to second guess the commander and rarely worked to the good - why not follow orders or in lee’s cases suggestion - just go ahead! Another example of petty questioning. IIUC commanders are entitled to expect subordinates to follow. I agree it may be questionable if sooner woulda been better but as general matter delay was often the undoing of many Confed plans.

2) just suggesting that keeping the pressure on had the attack been sooner and follow up also before Union could catch a breath would have been positive. Can we find example of case where an attack failed because it was too soon. Maybe ?

But yes this is mainly suggestive.

Thanks, Mike_C.
mikecmaps
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 5628
Joined: 2004
Longsteet abandons his siege of Knoxville TN (from this day history sectio
12/8/2021 11:43:34 AM
Quote:



No question that as a tactical commander he did fight well.




And that's something which counts for a lot.

Would more alacrity have yielded better results for the Confederacy ?

Who could answer that with certainty ?

He was notoriously slow. He wanted to get his ducks lined up. When he did hit, he managed to inflict appalling damage. That's incontestable.

I've heard that he was prone to persisting with fruitless attacks once the initial advantage had been spent. Chinn Ridge at Second Manassas and Snodgrass Hill at Chickamauga come to mind.

At Second Manassas, his command reported more casualties than Jackson's, although the latter was engaged for a longer time. There was a great intensity to the fighting that Longstreet unleashed, as these casualties attest.

Incidentally, it strikes me that Longstreet's methodical deployment and commitment is apparent in the way his casualties were recorded : at Gettysburg, for example, his casualties were only five per cent under reported, compared with AP Hill's twenty eight per cent and Ewell's nine per cent . This might reflect the fact that Longstreet was spared the encounter battle of the First Day, and was better able to fight in a more set piece way, but the disparity is revealing, I think, of better staff work and a disciplined approach. I would also venture an opinion, albeit with diffidence, that the figures furnished by Longstreet's command tend to suggest a better accounting for the wounded, and a more assiduous attendance to quick evacuation and admission to care. The impact on morale was bound to be favourable, and this impinged on fighting prowess.

I would be circumspect in endorsing some of the criticisms of Longstreet's performance.

Regards, Phil


----------------------------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Steve Clements
Toronto ON Canada
Posts: 861
Joined: 2004
Longsteet abandons his siege of Knoxville TN (from this day history sectio
12/8/2021 2:20:25 PM
Quote:
I don’t entirely disagree with number 1) but will again say delay is rarely positive.


Mike,

One could argue that the "delay" in the attack of Longstreet's eight brigades on Day Two was actually advantageous, in that it gave "time" for Sickles to move his corps up to a position that they could not sustain.

In retrospect, Longstreet's two divisions crushed the Union left...the failure of Day Two was that certain brigades - in both Ewell's and Hill's corps, failed to advance at all.

s.c.

© 2022 - MilitaryHistoryOnline.com LLC