Help support TMP

"Worst Confederate Disaster?" Topic

79 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the ACW Discussion Message Board

Action Log

09 Mar 2019 8:06 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Poll Suggestions board

Areas of Interest

American Civil War

2,608 hits since 12 May 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Pages: 1 2 

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian12 May 2018 4:58 p.m. PST

The 2nd Battle of Franklin is usually ranked as one of the worst disasters of the Confederacy. Which battle would you rank as the greatest disaster?

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian12 May 2018 5:06 p.m. PST

Fort Sumter?

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2018 5:07 p.m. PST

Saber beat me to it. 😀

batesmotel3412 May 2018 5:27 p.m. PST

Probably Vicksburg. Took a full army out of the war.

Dynaman878912 May 2018 5:32 p.m. PST

Another vote for Fort Sumter. As the saying goes, the single most EFFECTIVE abolitionist was the guy that fired the first shot on the fort.

Duncan Adams12 May 2018 5:42 p.m. PST

1860 Democratic convention in Charleston

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2018 5:47 p.m. PST


Extrabio1947 Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2018 6:20 p.m. PST

Franklin. The effective destruction of The Army of Tennessee.

EJNashIII12 May 2018 6:24 p.m. PST

Sumter. Don't fight a war you have absolutely no hope of ever wining.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2018 6:28 p.m. PST

Mine Creek is my choice. Only time a retreating army was attack and over run.

Perris070712 May 2018 6:50 p.m. PST


rmcaras Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2018 6:52 p.m. PST

the blockade.

cosmicbank12 May 2018 7:23 p.m. PST

Listening to People from South Carolina

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2018 7:51 p.m. PST

Defeat of the Virginia, Hampton Roads.

zoneofcontrol12 May 2018 7:58 p.m. PST

The Reconstruction

GROSSMAN12 May 2018 8:14 p.m. PST


Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP12 May 2018 8:18 p.m. PST


torokchar Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2018 8:42 p.m. PST

Robert E. Lee

Personal logo The Beast Rampant Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2018 8:44 p.m. PST

Sumter. Don't fight a war you have absolutely no hope of ever wining.

There was little hope of a full military victory, plenty of hope otherwise. "Sumter" is just a snarky answer, and you were beaten to the punch at that.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian12 May 2018 8:49 p.m. PST

Only battles, please.

377CSG Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2018 9:31 p.m. PST

Ft. Donelson, Tennessee. Gen Grant had his first victory.

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2018 9:32 p.m. PST

Gettysburg. It irreparably damaged the ANV and Lee's reputation.

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2018 10:12 p.m. PST

I think the Appomattox Campaign is very much underrated. Lee started with over 58,000 men on March 29, and surrendered the 28,000 men on April 9, having lost the rest along the way. Probably the most effective pursuit since Napoleon defeated the Prussians at Jena/Auerstedt in 1806.


langobard Supporting Member of TMP13 May 2018 1:22 a.m. PST

Another vote for Vicksburg followed by Gettysburg.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP13 May 2018 3:29 a.m. PST

Sumter (again)

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP13 May 2018 3:51 a.m. PST

The battle by this kid in DOM's grade school class about 15 years ago to get the ACW called "the War of Northern Aggression". The kid really meant it.

Cleburne186313 May 2018 4:09 a.m. PST

Vicksburg and then Fort Donelson. Both took entire armies out of action. Both had severe strategic consequences.

Personal logo Buckeye AKA Darryl Supporting Member of TMP13 May 2018 4:55 a.m. PST

Second Battle of Cynthiana, destroyed John H. Morgan's command:


Said mostly tongue in cheek.

Donelson cost the Rebs about 10K in troops, and some say it cost the South the war as it helped opend the heartland (really the fall of Fort Henry was more devastating), but if that is true, why did it take another 38 months of fighting?

Franklin is a bit of a disaster, but Hood's army was fairly weak even before the battle, and even without Franklin, not sure if he could have done much with the AoT.

After Gettysburg the armies go back to fighting over that same 90 miles between Washington City and Richmond, so really, a disaster?

warwell13 May 2018 5:03 a.m. PST

As mentioned before, Vicksburg
Chancellorsville due to the loss of Jackson

cavcrazy13 May 2018 5:36 a.m. PST

Chancellorsville. Lee lost Jackson. It was the beginning of the end.

peterx Supporting Member of TMP13 May 2018 5:37 a.m. PST

Fort Sumter was a clever choice. Gettysburg and Pickets Charge was the high water mark of the Confederates and the three day battle killed and wounded the most rebel soldiers. Finally, the capture of Vicksburg meant that the Union controlled the Mississippi River and all the trade and transport in the West.

Landorl13 May 2018 6:43 a.m. PST

Should have been Antietam. McClellan should have been able to crush the Confederate army there, which would have ended the war much earlier. Instead it was only a minor victory or eve an draw.

Major Mike13 May 2018 7:04 a.m. PST

As bad as the disaster was at Franklin, the Union was still scared silly of Hood as he marched north to Nashville. Nashville is where the Army of Tennessee is finally wrecked beyond repair. In dealing with very poor weather, General Thomas stood his ground in waiting for the right time to attack as Washington was going apoplectic over his "dawdling" as they feared Hood would continue to march north or get away. As Sterling Prices attempt to take St. Louis had been soundly thrashed, the defeat at Nashville ended most of the threats posed west of the Appalachians.

raylev313 May 2018 7:47 a.m. PST

Vicksburg…led directly to the end. By the time of Franklin the war was essentially over.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP13 May 2018 7:52 a.m. PST

I tend to think of Henry and Donelson as one thing--battle? Campaign?--and "disaster" does nicely. True it doesn't end the war in the West, but the Confederacy never really seems to recover from it.

Sumter is also an excellent choice.

Legion 413 May 2018 7:58 a.m. PST

Yeah … I'm going with Sumter … It started the whole disaster the ACW was. But it was most likely inevitable and had to happen. If you notice we are still sort of fighting the ACW to a point even today …

catavar13 May 2018 9:54 a.m. PST

Probably Vicksburg, but then the result at Gettysburg started the retreat towards, and siege of, Richmond I believe.

donlowry13 May 2018 1:46 p.m. PST


But Donelson is worthy of honorable mention; so is Chattanooga; and, of course, Appomattox.

Trajanus13 May 2018 3:13 p.m. PST

Any commander of the Army of Tennessee.

Bill N13 May 2018 4:51 p.m. PST

Strategically I agree with Sumter. After the war it was forgotten how strong the opposition to the war was during the war in the north. Before Sumter that opposition was even greater. Even many strong abolitionists were happy to accomplish the abolition of slavery in the U.S. by having the slave states leave. That changed when the Confederates attacked Sumter.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP14 May 2018 4:43 a.m. PST

The moment the planters started to believe their own mythology.

The image from Gone with the Wind, of a sophisticated society of gentle Cavaliers and Southern Belles all living in opulent mansions surrounded by oaks and magnolias covered in Spanish moss and that belief that King Cotton could never be dethroned and that the world owed the South hid a rather grimmer picture.

There was nary a planter who wasn't in debt to some foreign bank. Many wore cravats and gloves to hide a weather-beaten leathery neck or permanently calloused hands. Even the larger plantations yielded relatively little, consisting of patches of arable land in a wilderness of swamps, thick forest or rocky terrain where even a shadow wouldn't grow in the evening hours.

Most were within living memory of being immigrants and while they liked to play at being aristocrats, they would never get invited to the balls of the established families that could trace their ancestry a century or more, but pretended anyway for they had a common cause to distrust anyone who wasn't from the South or even be a damn Yankee.

Even the vast majority of farmers in the south whose condition was not that different from that of the average slave save for the colour of their skin there was a dream of upward mobility, acquired one slave or an acre at a time.

Economically the South was already being bypassed by Russia and India who produced more and cheaper despite the claims that nobody could beat slaves in terms of cost.

And these beautiful dreamers tried everything to preserve their special status until they saw no other way than to fight a war against a population that had more money, more men, more industry and would end up carving a bloody swath through the South and force it to give up.

And if they had been crazy dreamers before the war they doubled up afterwards, for the myth could never be shattered and there is incredible appeal in a lost cause and a fading rich aristocracy …

donlowry14 May 2018 8:36 a.m. PST

Ah, to look at things from a slightly different perspective, the true answer is (drum roll, please):

Jefferson Davis

(Braxton Bragg gets honorable mention)

darthfozzywig Supporting Member of TMP14 May 2018 1:48 p.m. PST

Chancellorsville is significant, not because of Jackson's death, but because it opened the door to Gettysburg. And while Gettysburg wasn't a cataclysmic tactical defeat for Lee, it does appear to have taken something out of his army. The ANV was still tenacious behind breastworks, but it wasn't the agile offensive threat that it might have once posed.

BW195914 May 2018 2:06 p.m. PST

And donlowry nails it

Walking Sailor14 May 2018 3:37 p.m. PST

Mobile Bay
1. It sealed the Gulf Ports. Most blockade runners staged out of Gulf & Caribbean ports. The blockade was collapsing the Southern economy all by itself with few casualties.
2. It gave a boost to the tyrant Lincoln's failing re-election campaign. If Democratic Party candidate Georgie Meade was elected he would likely respond to public pressure to allow session.

BW195914 May 2018 6:22 p.m. PST

I didn't know tyrants worried about re-elections.

SAMURAIFREDDY14 May 2018 11:46 p.m. PST

Stone River first, lookout Mountain/Chattanooga secondo: technicall the fist was a drw but it was the start of the complete lack of confidence in Bragg as commander of the army of Tennessee and huge lost opportunity to win the battle…in my opinion worse than a complete defeat on the battlefield as the long terms results were as much bad for the Confederacy. Same thought about Chattanooga/lookout Ountain : strategically a disaster and another lost opportunity for the Army of Tennessee that cancelled the huge exploit of Chickamauga and showed once more Bragg inadequacy as an army commander. Results of this were the total loss of initiative for the army of Tennesse and the start of its inesorable decline…

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP15 May 2018 8:51 a.m. PST

I would go with Vicksburg. Once the Mississippi was lost the South was cut in two and the campaign in the far west was pretty much over. The focus of the action shifted east and that led to the Atlanta Campaign and the March to the Sea and the final end-game. And the thing about Vicksburg was that its loss was not inevitable. A greater commitment of resources by the South might have allowed them to hold it for a lot longer, delaying those other campaigns indefinitely.

donlowry15 May 2018 8:57 a.m. PST

Not to mention the loss of 30,000 men, and that it made Grant the go-to-guy for the Union.

donlowry15 May 2018 9:02 a.m. PST

Chancellorsville is significant, not because of Jackson's death, but because it opened the door to Gettysburg. And while Gettysburg wasn't a cataclysmic tactical defeat for Lee, it does appear to have taken something out of his army. The ANV was still tenacious behind breastworks, but it wasn't the agile offensive threat that it might have once posed.

Which it wasn't at Gettysburg, either. In short, it was the loss of Jackson that changed the ANV's style.

But, yeah, losing about a third of its veteran infantry at Gettysburg didn't help.

Pages: 1 2