Confederate Heartland Campaign a Success...?

5fish

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I ask was the Confederate Heartland Campaign a success?


The Confederate Heartland Campaign, also known as the Confederate Heartland Offensive, and the Kentucky Campaign, was a Confederate invasion of the border state of Kentucky in 1862. Confederate Generals Braxton Bragg and Kirby Smith planned to unite their armies in Kentucky to defeat Major General Don Carlos Buell's Army of the Ohio and to deliver Kentucky to the Confederacy.


It been argued it was a failure but no one ever explains "why?" It seemed to end Buell's career...

It this why leaving Kentucky in Union control... Lee with Maryland in Union control and no one faults him....

After the Battle of Perryville (October 8, 1862), Bragg retreated to Harrodsburg, Kentucky where he finally joined forces with Kirby Smith. The combined Confederate army was now comparable in size to Buell’s army. Nevertheless, Bragg lost his enthusiasm for the campaign. The Kentucky recruits he expected never materialized and he believed that his supply lines were too thin to remain in the state. Over the objections of Smith, Polk and other subordinates, Bragg ended the campaign and evacuated Kentucky, leaving the state in Union control for the remainder of the war.

He did remove the Union army from Middle Tennessee and Northern Alabama... Lee did not get the Union army out of Virginia...

Confederate General Joseph Wheeler claimed it was a success, stating ‘We recovered Cumberland Gap and redeemed Middle Tennessee and North Alabama. Two months of marches and battles by the armies of Bragg and Kirby-Smith had cost the Federals a loss in killed, wounded and prisoners of 26,530. We had captured 35 cannons, 16,000 stand of arms, millions of rounds of ammunition, 1,700 mules, 300 wagons loaded with military stores, and 2,000 horses.’ Confederate war clerk J.B. Jones recorded that Bragg "succeeded in getting away with the largest amount of provisions, clothing, etc., ever obtained by an army, including 8,000 beef cattle, 50,000 barrels of pork, and a million yards of Kentucky cloth."[7]

Who to blame...

Kirby Smith pleaded with Bragg to follow up on his success: "For God's sake, General, let us fight Buell here." Bragg replied, "I will do it, sir," but then displaying what one observer called "a perplexity and vacillation which had now become simply appalling to Smith, to Hardee, and to Polk,"[5] he ordered his army to retreat through the Cumberland Gap to Knoxville. Bragg referred to his retreat as a withdrawal, the successful culmination of a giant raid. He had multiple reasons for withdrawing. Disheartening news had arrived from North Mississippi that Earl Van Dorn and Sterling Price had failed at Corinth, just as Robert E. Lee had failed in his Maryland Campaign. He saw that his army had not much to gain from a further, isolated victory, whereas a defeat might cost not only the bountiful food and supplies yet collected, but also his army. He wrote to his wife, "With the whole southwest thus in the enemy's possession, my crime would have been unpardonable had I kept my noble little army to be ice-bound in the northern clime, without tents or shoes, and obliged to forage daily for bread, etc."[6]

Just like in Maryland for Lee the locals did not rally to his banner...

Bragg himself blamed the failure in large part on the Kentuckians themselves, whom he had expected to flock to his banner in droves as he marched through the state. He had even brought along a wagon train of 20,000 additional rifles to arm the new recruits he expected to receive. In a letter to his wife, he said "Why should we be expected to conquer the whole Northwest with 35,000 men? Our only hope was in Kentucky. We were assured she would be with us to a man, yet in seven weeks occupation, with twenty thousand guns and ammunition burdening our train, we only succeeded in getting about two thousand men to join us and at least half of them have now deserted.

Was it a failure?

The invasion of Kentucky was a strategic failure, although it had forced the Union forces out of Northern Alabama and most of Middle Tennessee; it would take the Union forces a year to regain the lost ground. A writer for the Cincinnati Commercial wrote "It was intended by Jeff Davis as a demonstration to keep the men of the West from being employed beyond the Alleghenies to aid McClellan, while the best of the Southern troops invaded Maryland and flanked Washington. Thousands of Union troops at Louisville, Cincinnati, Cumberland Gap and elsewhere ‘have been held at bay by no more than 40,000 rebels scattered throughout Kentucky."[7
 

diane

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Didn't quite finish Buell, but it certainly did him no good. The one it damaged most was Albert Sidney Johnston. He was set up in Bowling Green, a breadbasket area, and had helped install a Confederate governor and administration, which he was protecting. However, with the Union win at Mill Spring and Bragg's operations causing Fts Henry and Donelson to be in danger, he had no choice but to beat a retreat to north middle Tennessee - and we have Shiloh. Not much of a win. Since Polk and Bragg had installed a Confederate governor of their own, that left Kentucky with two Confederate governors and one Union governor - not exactly a win! Bragg withdrew and, like Johnston, could not provide protection for his governor...but the Union could protect theirs.

The invasion of Kentucky had a huge ripple effect throughout the western theater, caused an enormous tsunami of troop movement, brought about the fall of Memphis and Nashville as well as the loss of Ft Donelson and the entire northern river system - that gave the Union free travel into the heart of Dixie. I just can't see how the Confederates came out on top with this one.
 

jgoodguy

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Didn't quite finish Buell, but it certainly did him no good. The one it damaged most was Albert Sidney Johnston. He was set up in Bowling Green, a breadbasket area, and had helped install a Confederate governor and administration, which he was protecting. However, with the Union win at Mill Spring and Bragg's operations causing Fts Henry and Donelson to be in danger, he had no choice but to beat a retreat to north middle Tennessee - and we have Shiloh. Not much of a win. Since Polk and Bragg had installed a Confederate governor of their own, that left Kentucky with two Confederate governors and one Union governor - not exactly a win! Bragg withdrew and, like Johnston, could not provide protection for his governor...but the Union could protect theirs.

The invasion of Kentucky had a huge ripple effect throughout the western theater, caused an enormous tsunami of troop movement, brought about the fall of Memphis and Nashville as well as the loss of Ft Donelson and the entire northern river system - that gave the Union free travel into the heart of Dixie. I just can't see how the Confederates came out on top with this one.
I cannot see it either. Other than the bungling, the CSA army was overextended because of Davis trying to defend everything, the line would have been broken at some point some time, just that Grant saw it and did it.
 

jgoodguy

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fall of Memphis and Nashville
Not only was the Kentucky breadbasket lost but also the Tennessee bread basket, hog production and metal working factories.
 

diane

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Not only was the Kentucky breadbasket lost but also the Tennessee bread basket, hog production and metal working factories.
Not the least of these commodities was salt. East Kentucky had a lot of it...and both armies wanted it! That's the real reason Bowling Green was fought over so many times.
 

O' Be Joyful

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Not the least of these commodities was salt. East Kentucky had a lot of it...and both armies wanted it! That's the real reason Bowling Green was fought over so many times.
And Saltville, Va.

G-grand pap dismounted and then... saddled back up to fight another day. He named one of his sons Burbridge.

 

diane

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And Saltville, Va.

G-grand pap dismounted and then... saddled back up to fight another day. He named one of his sons Burbridge.

Saltville was named that for good reason - and that's where Champ Ferguson had his own little war. (Made perfect sense in his head and he never understood why nobody else saw it his way!)

Avery Island, LA is now famous for tabasco sauce but it was, essentially, a big salt dome. At the beginning of the war salt was fifty cents a fifty pound bag in the South and by 1862 was $25...and kept going up. People were scrapping it out of smoke houses and re-using it off salted meats. Lots of salt for the South came from the Caribbean and Britain - the blockade hurt! One Union raid by sea did away with 400 sacks of salt in SC, which really hurt. One Southern planter moaned "Blessed are they who have no hogs!" as he had no salt to put them up with - that was a lot of cash gone.
 
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