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23529Joe Johnston as weak link

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  • Dave Smith
    Oct 17, 2003
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      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "james2044" <james2044@h...>
      > I don't agree that JE Johnston is the "weak link" in the west.

      We would significantly disagree, then. As little a proponent of
      Braxton Bragg as I am, at least he was willing to role the dice and
      take risks.

      Joe Johnston was not. Whether we are talking about the Vicksburg
      campaign or the Atlanta campaign, both were characterized by lack of
      initiative, ducking of clearly defined responsibility, and a
      consistent unwillingness to take chances.

      > Many people, at that time, felt it was wrong to speak against
      > someone if they would profit from it. JEJ, refused to step in and
      > remove Bragg knowing he would be his replacement.

      Johnston's orders *clearly* gave him both authority and
      responsibility to do so.

      If he was unwilling to carry out the scope of his command
      responsibilities, he should have resigned. But it does no good to
      have a commander in place who is unwilling to fullfil the scope of
      and character of his command.

      > Davis knew that
      > the AoT was having very real problems with Bragg, knew that the
      > west had real problems in command & control, knew that Polk & K.
      > Smith normally did as the pleased, knew that Van Dorn was unfit for
      > command and did nothing.

      Wrong. It wasn't the best decision (though good from an
      administrative sense), but Davis put Pemberton in charge of
      Mississippi and East Louisiana following the debacles of Corinth and

      He further put Johnston in a super-departmental command, in order to
      try to put a veteran, seasoned officer in charge to make decisions
      east of the Mississippi River that would bring harmony to the three
      departments of Pemberton, Smith and Bragg.

      Davis hoped that Johnston would solve the problems inherent in the
      Kentucky invasion between Price (Van Dorn), Bragg, and Smith.
      Johnston ducked the responsibility, citing a whole litany of excuses
      over the next nine months.

      > When Davis did make a command change in
      > the AoT, he put Hood in charge. Even Lee refused to endorse that
      > move.

      Bragg was ineffective, so was Johnston. Who next? At least Hood
      promised aggressive action.