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"Most Brilliant ACW Campaign?" Topic

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Action Log

05 Dec 2018 5:30 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Poll Suggestions board

Areas of Interest

American Civil War

1,216 hits since 8 May 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian09 May 2018 10:57 a.m. PST

Which Civil War military operation would you consider to be the most brilliant?

raylev309 May 2018 11:05 a.m. PST

Vicksburg….bypassing the city by river, unloading and totally outmaneuvering the Confederates in a quick campaign locking them up in the city.

Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2018 11:05 a.m. PST

Jacksons Valley Campaign

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian09 May 2018 11:13 a.m. PST


Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2018 11:22 a.m. PST


Ferd4523109 May 2018 11:28 a.m. PST

2nd Tullahoma. H

lloydthegamer Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2018 11:43 a.m. PST


Frederick Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2018 12:15 p.m. PST


Cutting loose of supply, moving rapidly cross-country; Jackson's Valley Campaign would be a close second

Personal logo Panzerfaust Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2018 12:35 p.m. PST

Another vote for Jackson's valley campaign.

tigrifsgt09 May 2018 12:40 p.m. PST

Stonewall in the valley (3)

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2018 12:55 p.m. PST

Another vote for Vicksburg.

Personal logo T Callahan Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2018 1:06 p.m. PST


Major Mike09 May 2018 1:34 p.m. PST

Not just Tullahoma but the whole campaign from Murfreesboro to Chattanooga. Second place to Sterling Prices attempt to take St. Louis in 1864 which turned into a series of running battles all over the state of Missouri.

Axebreaker09 May 2018 1:42 p.m. PST

Yeah I would say Jackson's valley campaign, but Vicksburg was a nifty bit of work.


Condottiere09 May 2018 1:46 p.m. PST


cavcrazy09 May 2018 1:46 p.m. PST

Sherman's march to the sea.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2018 1:54 p.m. PST

Jackson's Valley Campaign.

Grant's Vicksburg Campaign.

Joe Johnston's Atlanta Campaign

Lee's Seven Days Campaign

Grant's Overland Campaign

Generalstoner49 Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2018 1:56 p.m. PST

Vicksburg Campaign.

Legion 409 May 2018 1:56 p.m. PST

Tough choice … ? Leaning towards Vicksburg …

donlowry09 May 2018 1:58 p.m. PST

Yep, Vicksburg.

John Switzer09 May 2018 2:11 p.m. PST


Scott MacPhee09 May 2018 2:30 p.m. PST


Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2018 2:31 p.m. PST


Wizard Whateley09 May 2018 3:14 p.m. PST

Jackson's Valley Campaign

Extrabio1947 Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2018 3:58 p.m. PST

Jackson's Valley Campaign, followed by the Tullahoma Campaign.

Stephen Miller09 May 2018 4:06 p.m. PST

Vicksburg. Strategic importance toward the War's outcome is the tie-breaker for me.

DOUGKL09 May 2018 4:12 p.m. PST

Vicksburg. Cutting loose your supply lines for a force that size, took imagination and a lot of confidence.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian09 May 2018 4:40 p.m. PST

Vicksburg and Selma

Cleburne1863 Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2018 5:12 p.m. PST

Vicksburg. Grant risked his supply lines, bottled up the Confederates, and forced an entire army to surrender. Tullahoma while brilliant, did not result in an army surrendering. Just losing territory with minimal casualties (which isn't a bad feat either).

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2018 5:52 p.m. PST

+1 Stephen Miller

Dn Jackson09 May 2018 9:00 p.m. PST

Jackson's Valley Campaign. Although heavily outnumbered Jackson concentrated his forces in order to gain local parity or superiority.

I consider Chancelorsville a close second. Lee was seriously outnumbered with Longstreet away besieging Suffolk. He split his army into three separate forces and defeated his enemy in detail.

While Vicksburg was well fought I believe the superiority in men, equipment, naval forces, and supply made the victory inevitable. Additionally despite these advantages it still took, depending on how you count, between four and 18 months to take the city.

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP09 May 2018 9:14 p.m. PST

Valley campaign

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2018 1:52 a.m. PST

Sherman's march to the sea. Make Georgia howl.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP10 May 2018 3:09 a.m. PST


Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2018 4:30 a.m. PST

While the Valley campaign was well fought. I believe the inferiority in Union Leadership had more to do with Jackson Victory.

Is it a Brilliant Victory when the Superbowl champs crush a Collage Football team?

Chancelorsville is the classic example of why Some Union General were in way over there heads. Hooker's plan and early operation were brilliant.Then he lost his nerve and the Army of the Potomac paid the price. If Hooker had attack during the flanking march the Battle would have gone to the Union.

The Southern Leadership had for over a year stopped everyone of Grant's Attacks on Vicksburg. His later campaign was both Bold and brilliant.

The Union superiority in men, equipment, naval forces, and supply made the victory inevitable, hold for most ACW Battles/Campaigns. It doesn't lead to Union Victory either strategically or Tactical most times.

Legion 410 May 2018 5:57 a.m. PST

And as we know, it took Lincoln some time to find a Union General with "the right stuff" … i.e. Grant …

Normal Guy10 May 2018 7:08 a.m. PST

i typically avoid entering these types of discussions, but on this one, I can't resist. For me, the most brilliant campaign was Vicksburg. While the Valley 1862 was amazing for the reasons stated above, the result of what Jackson accomplished was of a limited value in the long term. It impacted the maneuvers in 1862, probably contributed toward lengthening the war, and was the center of much discussion. Ultimately, however, the war in the East moved along to the next series of battles. Vicksburg, on the other hand, cut the Confederacy in half, opened the Mississippi River all the way to the Gulf, and provided Grant with the chops to ultimately command all the Union armies. And he did this while being outnumbered by Confederate forces who couldn't bring those superior numbers to bear on the battlefields because he strategically his enemy. Things were never the same after he got done with the campaign.

Red Jacket Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2018 7:14 a.m. PST

Thomas' Nashville campaign. He's always overlooked.

Bill N10 May 2018 7:42 a.m. PST

I do not understand the Vicksburg choice. Given the disparity of army and naval forces and the strategic situation along the Mississippi it was likely the U.S. would be able to capture the city in 1863 if they had wanted to. The overland option was still available. Once Port Hudson fell the city could have been approached from the south. Grant's genius was in overcoming the obstacles of the option he chose, advancing south along the river. Once the navy was able to pass the guns of Vicksburg though even this option was likely to succeed. Bagging Pemberton's army was as much due to choices by Pemberton as by Grant's genius.

My choice would be Henry & Donnelson. Taking these positions and gaining control of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers split the Confederate line in the west in two. It gave U.S. forces the potential to get behind Johnston's troops in central Kentucky, and it prevented Johnston from reinforcing Polk in western Kentucky.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2018 7:52 a.m. PST

Sherman's March, a bold plan that really helped bring the war to an end.

donlowry10 May 2018 8:23 a.m. PST

Henry/Donelson is an interesting choice. Has to be in the top 5, for sure.

There are really 2 aspects to the question:

1. How cleverly was the campaign conducted -- the operational level, so to speak.

2. How well did the general pick the right point to attack to achieve decisive results -- the strategic level.

Henry/Donelson scores high on the second part, not so high on the other.

Vicksburg scores high on both counts.

Jackson's Valley Campaign scores very high on part 1, fairly high on part 2 (basically, it was a strategic diversion, which was about all that could be expected of a force that size).

Tullahoma scores well on both parts, but, unfortunately for Rosecrans, bad weather prevented it from resulting in a decisive battle.

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2018 8:44 a.m. PST


Tullahoma for a close second.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2018 10:33 a.m. PST

I'll be an heretic and suggest that the Naval
Campaign 'gainst the Mississippi River was the
most brilliant AND the most decisive.

Beginning with the NAVY'S capture of New Orleans
and continuing with the severing of East-West
communications between the Western and Eastern
portions of the CS which denied to Confederate
armies various necessities.

If the Mississippi is NOT controlled, taking
Vicksburg becomes much more problematic.

The rivers off the Mississippi were a wonderful
highway for Union forces later in the war, since
you can move a lot more supplies and troops by
water than you can by road, especially over the roads
of 1862-1865. You can move them much more quickly

Once the Mississippi was Union-controlled, that network
became available for the increasing logistical needs
of the Union armies, just as it was important for Sherman
to reach the port of Savannah and feed/supply his
army from the storeships dispatched for that purpose.

Without control of the Mississippi, the Vicksburg
Campaign probably doesn't happen, and the Kentucky
and Tennessee campaigns become much more difficult.

Ditto Alabama, at least the southern and western

Bill N10 May 2018 2:00 p.m. PST

I am having trouble seeing the cleverness Don. Grant devoted a great amount of time and effort trying to deal with the problems caused by his decision to advance on Vicksburg from the north along the river. In the end he succeeded by combining elements of the two other options. Running the ships past Vicksburg's guns allowed Grant to initially approach the city from the south as the U.S. would have if it came up from Port Hudson. In swinging east to Jackson Grant made his final approach along the route he likely would have used if he had advanced overland.

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2018 2:03 p.m. PST

Being of the "Western" school, I would have to say the Vicksburg campaign and the Tullahome-Chattanooga-Chickamauga campaign were the most clever.


Trajanus10 May 2018 3:51 p.m. PST

Can't say I'm of the "Western School" but I'd still say Vicksburg.

langobard Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2018 4:35 p.m. PST

Another vote for Vicksburg.

AussieAndy Supporting Member of TMP11 May 2018 2:53 a.m. PST

The one where Grant, Sherman, Lee and Jackson got together to fix the TMP bug and restore the search function.

Legion 411 May 2018 6:14 a.m. PST

That I think would be called "Alternate History" Andy ! evil grin

donlowry11 May 2018 7:43 a.m. PST

The really brilliant part of Grant's Vicksburg campaign came after he got across the river south of the city. Maneuvering his divisions to keep his left flank covered by the Big Black River while simultaneously threatening 1) Vicksburg, 2) Jackson, and 3) the railroad between them (especially the bridge over the Big Black), all the while keeping his divisions in supporting distance of each other, camped by sources of water, etc. Then the decision to cut loose from the river, chase off Joe Johnston and tear up the railroads around Jackson (so Confederates would have a hard time assembling units to threaten him from that direction), then turning on Pemberton and driving him into the defenses of Vicksburg. Halleck compared the campaign favorably with Napoleon's maneuvers about Ulm (not that I'm familiar with those).

Throw in sending Sherman to fake an attack on Chickasaw Bluffs while the rest of his army was crossing the Mississippi below the city, as well Grierson's raid (worthy of nomination on its own account) to further divert Pemberton's attention.

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