Question of the Week: 2/25-3/3/19

The Trans-Mississippi theater of the war encompasses the region and military actions west of the Mississippi River. Who is your favorite commander in that area? Why?

And if you need a reminder for some of the major campaigns and actions, here’s a map!

Trans-Mississippi map (public domain)

14 Responses to Question of the Week: 2/25-3/3/19

  1. John Chivington at Glorietta Pass NM. On the first day of the battle, he divided his force and successfully attacked the Reb flanks. Later, he destroyed the Rebs supply train, forcing the invaders to retreat. The Union victory at Glorietta Pass ensured Confederates would not gain access to the rich Colorado gold fields and much of the Southwest.

    Alas, poor Chivington is far better known for leading the infamous Indian massacre at Sand Creek 2 1/2 years later.

      1. See Geoffry F. Michno, Battle at Sand Creek (2004), when Chivington lead the Colorado U. S. Volunteer Cavalry against a peaceful village of Cheyenne and Arapahoe, as many as 500 casualties, mostly women and children.
        See also U. S. Senate report (1865).

      2. I knew my post on Chivington would lead to a heated conversation. That’s the main reason I wrote it. He has gone down in infamy – rightfully so – for leading the senseless and bloody massacre at Sand Creek.

        But few people know about his heroics at Glorietta Pass, 2 1/2 years earlier.

        By the way, at first Chivington was hailed as a hero for the Sand Creek massacre, too. But the accolades lasted only a short while. When the full horror of the bloodletting became known, most folks lambasted him. One of Chivington’s most outspoken critics was Kit Carson who himself had been criticized earlier for his harsh treatment of the Navajo.

  2. Protecting the Missouri railroads was a rite of passage for budding Union commanders (Western Theatre) early in the war: US Grant, Pope, Hurlbut, Sturgis… But the man who did it best, so well that he “worked himself out of a job,” was Benjamin Prentiss. After clearing Northern Missouri of organized Rebels, Halleck sent BGen Prentiss to join Grant in Tennessee.
    In July 1863, the Rebels attempted a feint at Helena, Arkansas (an effort to take pressure off Vicksburg). Prentiss beat them there, too.

  3. Samuel Curtis. He conducted a strategically important and extremely logistically difficult winter campaign over the Ozark Plateau in early 1862. Then, when expecting an attack at Pea Ridge from the south, he actually received one from the north when Van Dorn moved around him. While responding to this attack, he was able to turn his army almost completely around while still protecting his supply trains. Fine piece of generalship.

    Lyon is probably second for me, and I admit to having a soft spot for Sterling Price. At least, the Price of 1861/1862. Later in the war, not so much.

  4. I agree with John and Rosemary. 100 % nothing poor relating to Chivington wrong side again Bob
    i choose Richard Taylor.son of Z Taylor President . Battle of Mansfield with 9000 men whip the yanks with 20000 men .April 8 1864

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