Question of the Week: 1/28-2/3/18

Did you know that Tennessee ranks second on the state list for most Civil War battles? (Virginia was #1, in case you’re wondering.)

So…which battle or campaign in Tennessee do you think was most important? Why?

12 Responses to Question of the Week: 1/28-2/3/18

  1. Forts Henry & Donelson, February 1862 – opened 2 major rivers for the North and set up the path for the movements south

    1. Agree with Forts Henry and Donelson. Blew open the Confederacy’s heartland, exposing Nashville, Shiloh, and eventually Vicksburg and Chattanooga. The main Rebel defense line in the west collapsed, abandoning all of Kentucky and most of middle Tennessee along with crucial economic resources such as iron and pork. Also the start of Grant’s rise. At least one of the if not the deadliest strategic stroke of the war and one of the greatest supply disasters for the Confederacy.

  2. Shiloh, for a number of reasons. It resulted in the death of Albert Sidney Johnston, a figure the confederates needed as a counterweight to Lee back East. It cemented the militarily significant partnership of Grant and Sherman. A Confederate victory would have probably ended Grant’s career, or at least significantly altered it. It could have led to a reversal of the demoralizing effect of the Henry/Donelson fiascos. And the list goes on…

  3. Hood’s Tennessee campaign in 1864. After the battles of Franklin and Nashville, the Confederate Army of Tennessee was essentially removed from the equation.

    1. Brice’s Crossroads is a splendid example of how Forrest’s talents were wasted. There was nothing in West Tennessee that was worth fighting over at that stage of the war. The real war was in Georgia. If Sherman could have written Forrest’s orders, heould hardly have done better than relegate him to a backwater like Northern Mississippi & West Tennessee.

    2. Since we’re apparently using a very loose definition of “in Tennessee”, I’ll go with the Battle of Tupelo – not far from Brice’s and a battle in which Forrest’s mindless tactics rendered his force ultimately ineffective because of its devastating losses.

  4. The battle between Bragg and Longstreet. If they would have worked together they could have retaken Chattanooga, taken the entire Army of the Cumberland prisoners, and prevented the fall of Atlanta that had its base of Sherman’s operations from Chattanooga. Lincoln would have lost the election and McClellan would have sued for peace. That battle enabled the siege of Chattanooga to be lifted, Longstreet sent to his defeat at Knoxville which did lift the siege, and the ANV’s I Corps to be out of action for almost 6 months of no use to Lee or used effectively in the western theater. Bragg again showing that he was the most successful general for the Union Army.

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