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- Battles of the 1862 Campaign
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Skip this list. Woodworth presents his case for the decisiveness of that theater. Overwhelming evidence now indicates that western campaigns cost the Confederacy vast territories, the manufacturing center of Nashville, the financial center of New Orleans, communications hubs such as Corinth, Chattanooga, and Atlanta, along with the agricultural produce of the breadbasket of the Confederacy.
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Author Bio Steven E. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of thirty-one books, including Six Armies in Tennessee and Chickamauga , both available in Bison Books editions, as well as Jefferson Davis and His Generals , winner of the Fletcher Pratt Award. Penned with a unique level of intimacy and a highly focused perspective based on years of tenacious, painstaking, and thorough research and analysis, the book weaves a captivating narrative and is a delightfully good read. Ballard, Journal of Southern History. Fortunately, there has been a rethinking of such one sided bias in the past few decades.
He compounded his political blunder by a military one: not pushing on to Paducah, at the point where the Tennessee River flows into the Ohio. Taking advantage of the situation, a newly-invested brigadier general, Ulysses S. Grant, quickly occupied Paducah, giving the Union control of the lower Tennessee River. There followed command shake-ups on both sides. Lincoln replaced Fremont with Maj. Meanwhile, Davis gave overall command of the Confederate West to Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston.
Battles of the 1862 Campaign
The only Confederate forces between Columbus and Bowling Green were small detachments that occupied Fort Henry on the Tennessee River and Fort Donaldson on the Cumberland, where the rivers ran close together. Johnston ordered Polk to improve the two forts but Polk, as was his wont, ignored him.
This dereliction of duty would soon prove costly to the Confederate cause. Most of the garrison escaped to Fort Donaldson, but now the Tennessee was open to Union naval power all the way to Florence, Alabama. He also sent reinforcements to shore up Fort Donaldson. A stronger position and a larger garrison made Donaldson a tougher nut to crack than Henry. The Confederates repulsed several attacks and then launched a surprise attack against the Federals that opened an escape route. But the Confederate leadership in the fort was abysmal and any opportunity for escape was lost as the victorious troops were ordered back to Donaldson.
Grant quickly counterattacked and invested the fort. Most of the garrison of 15, was lost, but some escaped, including Nathan Bedford Forrest, the most remarkable cavalry leader of the war, and his troopers.
This was to have a great impact on future Federal operations in the West, as Forrest was a constant thorn in the side of the Yankees. With the capture of Forts Henry and Donaldson, Halleck turned his attention to the seizure of Corinth. On the morning of April 6, Johnston attacked, achieving almost complete surprise. Johnston intended to cut Grant off from his base on the Tennessee and drive his army west into the swamps of Owl Creek. The difficulties accumulate and end by producing a kind of friction that is inconceivable unless one has experienced war.
This tremendous friction, which cannot, as in mechanics, be reduce to a few points, is everywhere in contact with chance, and brings about effects that cannot be measured, just because they are largely due to chance. At Shiloh, unnoticeably small causes were amplified until they produced unanticipated macro-effects.