Thursday, May 3, 2007

Rocky Mountain CWRT

I had read on Eric's blog where a reader had complained that Eric did not promote his upcoming talk at a roundtable. I'm not in the same class as Eric but I thought that I would promote my upcoming talk to the Rocky Mountain Civil War Roundtable, mostly on the off chance that someone from the Denver area is reading this and isn't already a member of the roundtable.

The RMCWRT is a Denver based roundtable with most of our membership coming from Littleton. We meet the 2nd Thursday of the month at the Country Buffet near Southwest Plaza, presentation at 7 but we have the room starting at 5:30.

My presentation is on the critical decisions of the Shiloh campaign. This will start with decisions being made in March until a week after the battle. Basically the way the talk is organized is that a critical decision is one that changes the apparent flow of the battle at that point. I also shied away from decisions that seemed too obvious. For instance the formation of a final line of defense along Dill Branch is not a critical decision because it is a sound military practice to have fallback lines, in this case there was few options for another line farther north so this has to be a final line. Its a good decision but since any good commander should make it, it is not a critical decision. If Grant had made a conscious effort to not build a final line that would have been a critical decision.

An example of a critical decision is the Confederate plan of attack; attacking with each corps in a line instead of by column. This causes a ton of command and control issues that cause confusion which brings along delays and piecemeal attacks. If the attack had been made by column there would have been less confusion and maybe (we'll obviously never know) the Confederates could have taken certain geographic positions earlier in the battle which might have brought a victory.
My talk is next Thursday, May 10. I hope to make everyone think a little differently about some things at Shiloh. If you're interested in more information about the roundtable please email me at

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