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1460Re: [civilwarwest] Hood and Franklin

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  • Bob Redman
    Sep 1, 2000
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      Steve,

      At 00:35 9/1/00 EDT, you wrote:

      However, it was my impression that the question
      >was asked in an honest and straightforward manner. In line with the
      >advertised purpose of this group to come in, ask questions, and share
      >opinions. Perhaps the caveat of snide replies should be added to the
      >advertisement. Shame on you, Mr. Redman....and a teacher at that.

      I was referring to Andy Burden's comment "Funny how everyone will call Hood
      a butcher for Franklin, but no one would dare utter a sound about Lee's
      Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble debacle on 3rd day at G'burg. The difference
      between these 2 assaults is that Hood's was somewhat more successful than
      Lee's (in a tactical sense)". I didn't even remember who had made it. I
      should have used the word "unfortunate" instead of "invidious". I get
      worked up when I sense any indifference whatsoever to unnecessary slaughter.

      >"I think that those who attempt to find some good in the commander Hood from
      >Peachtree Creek on are looking for a nitch,..."
      > I'm curious. Why from Peachtree Creek on? Does that suggest that
      >pre-Peachtree he was a different man with a different set of values?

      His values were the same, but he was no longer physically capable of
      fullfilling his sacred duty to his troops, that is achieve a valid military
      objective while getting as many of them through the battle as possible. The
      fact that he was in constant pain did not dissuade him from writing letters
      to Davis about Johnston (no saint, but at least he didn't press boys and
      old men into service). Worse yet, Hood wasn't capable any more, if he ever
      was, of defining a valid military objective, that is one which was
      achievable with the means at hand. Add this to his untrammeled ambition,
      and he makes it to my short list. No, I don't think he changed just before
      Peachtree creek, or even after Chickamauga. He stayed the same, and that is
      the problem with romanticising him before or afterward. By the way, I am
      just waiting for someone to mention him suggesting to Longstreet to not
      frontally attack Little Round Top.

      >A conditional "victory" there, put almost within Hood's
      >reach by the incompetence and personal cowardice of Schofield (he kept
      >himself far far away from the front) would have changed nothing as the
      >damage to Hood's army would have been debilitating no matter what the
      >immediate outcome."

      I think you misunderstood me here. The outcome was definitive enough. I
      meant, that if Hood had been luckier or whatever and been able to do more
      damage to the defenders than he did, his essential situation would not have
      changed, that is, the means he had at his disposal to deal with Thomas were
      not even remotely sufficient. Hadn't he learned a thing from Peachtree
      Creek when he concentrated superior forces against Thomas and still got
      beat? Didn't he know a thing about what had happened at Chickamauga? Could
      he learn at all?

      > This, in my mind, was a victory pure and simple. When two armies meet
      on
      >a field and, at the conclusion of the battle, one army remains in possession
      >of the ground while the other has retreated, that, sir, is a victory in any
      >sense of the word. Also, we have the words of that venerable
      citizen-soldier
      >Sam Watkins who called Franklin a "costly victory" but considered it a
      >victory, even after the war.

      I enjoy reading Sam Watkins and quote him when it suits me. However, during
      the battle of Franklin he was on "French leave" and missed the fun. More
      power to him, I say, but if he had actually been there he might have judged
      the outcome differently, if he had survived, that is.

      >You detract from his actions by claiming that the only way he could have
      >won was because his opponent was a coward.

      That was just a dig at Schofield.

      So what? Who cares? He
      >accomplished the mission he set out to accomplish.

      He was in a rage about Schofield having passed within a mile of him during
      the night at Spring Hill. Rather than admit his primary responsibility for
      this, he decided to teach his army a lesson and thus sent hundreds of men
      to their deaths.

      >Could it be that
      >such personable, charming, dashing, and tactically proficient officers such
      >as Cleburne and Gist were killed while serving in his command?

      If this is a reference to me you should be more specific. If it is indeed a
      reference to me, then you haven't been carefully reading my other postings
      or, if you have, you are indulging in a well-known and unfair debating
      tactic. My primary concern is always the welfare of the lowly "pawn".

      If you continue in this vein I will call you on it every time.

      >"To what purpose did all those people die that day in Franklin? And what
      sort
      >of man in what sort of disciplinary rage brought it about? You answer the
      >questions."
      > They died for the purpose of defeating the enemy in the field.

      They died to assauge Hood's wounded pride.

      As
      >millions had died before them and as millions more have died since.

      That is my point. Hood and commanders like him get ordinary people killed
      in the pursuit of non-military objectives. I insist on telling the truth
      about him and generals like him as a warning against people like them in
      our times, waiting in the wings for the public's vigilence (such as it is)
      to relax.

      Greetings,

      Bob Redman
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