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Ozzy

Why stay at Crumps?

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In , Grant's Memoirs (page 330) he records: "When I reassumed command on the 17th of March I found the Army divided, with about half at Savannah; while one division was at Crump's Landing on the west bank of the Tennessee River, about four miles above Savannah; and the remainder at Pittsburg Landing, five miles above Crump's... I at once put all the troops at Savannah in motion for Pittsburg Landing [where General Sherman stated, 'there was ample space and drinking water for 100,000 men.']" 

In Papers of US Grant volume 4 (pages 379-380), in a letter from Sherman  to Captain John Rawlins dated March 17th, General Sherman wrote: " I am strongly impressed with the importance [of Pittsburg Landing], both for its land advantages and for its strategic position. The ground itself admits of easy defense by a small command, yet affords admirable camping ground for a hundred thousand men..."

Neither Grant nor Sherman offered similar "justification" for maintaining Federal troops at Crump's Landing. And with Lew Wallace having completed his assignment to cut the Mobile & Ohio Railroad [and the primary Confederate stronghold at the northern end of that line -- Fort Columbus -- already evacuated], here is the question:

What was the one reason Major General Lew Wallace was maintained in vicinity of Crump's Landing? 

(Provide justification for your answer.)

Ozzy

 

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Jim

Interesting... but if the Third Division was encamped someplace other than vicinity of Crump's Landing, would that particular road and those particular bridges (aside from Owl Creek Bridge) ever have to have been restored?

Regards

Ozzy

 

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Cheatham is at Bethel Station and could possibly interdict the Tennessee River.  Wallace is at Crump's to block him from doing so.  References available upon request.

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Transylvania

As you suggest, Cheatham was on a rail line, and therefore, mobile.

From Lew Wallace's Autobiography, page 447: "[After destroying the trestle of the M & O R.R. about March 13th] while I was yet at Crump's Landing, I received an order directing me to take post there."

On pages 448- 450 of the Autobiography, Lew Wallace admits to conducting a review of his situation, about March 15th: "The ground back of Crump's was high, open, easily drained and defensible." But, upon finding that key bridges over Snake Creek and Clear Creek had been destroyed, and Snake Creek flooded out of its banks, Wallace states (page 450): "Practically, this was isolation."

The potential for disruption of Federal forces in transit along the Tennessee River was addressed [Papers of US Grant vol.4 page 361: March 13th Communication Hillyer to CF Smith]: "Allow a gunboat to run frequently between your position and Fort Henry to keep the river clear of Batteries and to protect our boats conveying reenforcements."

Regards

Ozzy

 

References:   http://archive.org/stream/lewwallaceanaut02wallgoog#page/n467/mode/2up/search/orders  Wallace Autobiography pp. 443- 450.

http://digital.library.msstate.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/USG_volume/id/17403/rec/7  Papers Of US Grant vol. 4 page 361.

 

 

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Just to recap...

"Lew Wallace and his Third Division remained at Crump's (after U. S. Grant arrived at Savannah about March 17th) because:

  • he needed to engage in road-corduroying and bridge-rebuilding [WI16thJim]
  • Cheatham and any other Rebel desiring to occupy Crump's needed to be blocked [Transylvania]
  • the Union Supply Depot established at Crump's needed to be guarded [Mona]
  • the Third Division needed to act as observers of Rebel activity in vicinity of Purdy [Mona]
  • Crump's needed to be occupied in order to keep the Tennessee River open to Federal shipping [Mona]
  • by being based at Crump's, Major General Lew Wallace could march his division to Corinth (when those orders finally arrived) via a different road to those Federal forces based at Pittsburg Landing and Hamburg (and avoid conflict and potential traffic jam) [Mona].

Do you believe "the one reason Major General Lew Wallace was maintained in vicinity of Crump's Landing" is to be found in the list, above? 

Or was there another reason why Major General Grant kept him there?

Ozzy

 

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I was intending to use this discussion to introduce the concept of "Strategic Reserves" (as advocated by Jomini in The Art of War, pages 128 - 135) and poorly implemented by U. S. Grant at Shiloh. But Mona's suggestion got me thinking: what if General Grant kept Lew Wallace away for the same reason he held John McClernand in Savannah? Perhaps Grant saw Lew Wallace's assignment to the north, away from day-to-day conduct of operations at Pittsburg Landing (where Grant wanted Brigadier General Sherman to control those operations, in Grant's absence) as Providential (especially considering the contortions he was forced to execute in preventing the other Major General, McClernand, from assuming command at Pittsburg Landing in his absence?) The whole "shell game" of pretending Charles F. Smith was senior commander at Pittsburg, "just away -- temporarily -- due to illness," was orchestrated in conjunction with sending McClernand to Pittsburg Landing; and the charade of "Smith's Division" (under temporary management of WHL Wallace) was maintained right through the Battle of Shiloh... with near fatal consequences.

Well Done, Mona, for "thinking outside the square."

Ozzy

 

Referencehttp://archive.org/stream/artwar00mendgoog#page/n134/mode/2up  The Art of War by Jomini (pages 128 - 135).

http://digital.library.msstate.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/USG_volume/id/17403/rec/7  Papers of US Grant vol.4 (especially pages 428 and 429, showing Major General John McClernand was aware of "the game" being played to prevent his rightful (lawful) exercise of command by US Grant, making use of the "temporary absence" of General C.F. Smith (who, it turned out, was junior Major General to McClernand.)

 

 

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