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Re: [civilwarwest] War in the west

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  • D. Andrew Burden, Ph.D.
    Hugh: I am by no means an expert on any facet of the late unpleasantness, but I would guess that Hood s attack at Franklin had as much to do with frustration
    Message 1 of 10 , Aug 3, 2000
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      Hugh:
      I am by no means an expert on any facet of the late unpleasantness, but
      I would guess that Hood's attack at Franklin had as much to do with
      frustration as anything. It is often said that he ordered the attack so
      as to break the AoT of their perceived reluctance to attack the enemy in
      breastworks. Well, I don't think a more desparate attack was made in
      the entire war than at Franklin, and I don't think anyone could say
      afterwards that the AoT showed any reluctance to attack the Federal
      works at Franklin. I think the real reason he ordered the attack was to
      try to retrieve the lost opportunity of the night before at Spring
      Hill. As to the larger question of the wisdom of the campaign, I think
      it was desparation, pure and simple. Recall that Lee was bottled up in
      Petersburg at that time, and wasn't going anywhere without Grant nipping
      at his heels. Hood's army was the only other significant fighting force
      the CSA had in the field (at least that is my impression; were there any
      others?). They could either attack, or watch the CSA slowly die. They
      were no match for Sherman, who nevertheless didn't care what Hood did
      (at least not once he had made up his mind to visit Savannah and the
      Carolinas). I believe Hood envisioned a campaign to the Ohio River,
      followed by a link-up with Lee. In hindsight this seems like a
      ludicrous goal, but Hood had seen Lee take extreme chances and come out
      on top, and probably thought that such chances were called for. But as
      has been noted by a number of scholars on this subject, Hood was no
      Lee. As a side note, I think that had Hood not been given army command,
      he may well have ended up with a reputation on par with Jackson or
      Cleburne. As it stands, I still think Hood (on balance) contributed
      much more to the Southern cause than he hurt it. I also think that
      Franklin is the most underappreciated battle of the entire war. An
      absolutely Apocalyptic struggle.
      Andy

      > Hugh Martyr wrote:
      >
      > Like Graham Lee I too am from the U.K. and that a lot of my
      > correspondence has been in the question category. My interest in the
      > Civil War started with an American Teacher at High School and all he
      > told me and all that I had to read on the subject concentrated on the
      > Eastern theatre of the war. Many years later I was in the States and
      > the interest was reborn with a trip to Gettysburg. Then I started
      > reading and studying and came to the conclusion that it was out west
      > that the war was won. Then some years later I was lucky to land a job
      > in America and toured around much of the western area of conflict.
      > However, talking to many people who only have passing interest in the
      > war my ideas were usually not agreed with. The old ideas of the Army
      > under Grant grinding Lee down out East was to them the deciding
      > matter. Not back in the U.K I still work to get the correct
      > understanding over, but am still by no means fully knowledgable about
      > the subject. Is there anyone out there that is. I have learnt so much
      > from this site and feel somewhat selfish that I have not put an equal
      > amount back in in ideas and theories, I will try harder to do so. I am
      > trying at the moment to understand Gen. Hood's mind in his invasion of
      > Tennesee, what made him attack at Franklin and not stay down south and
      > at least try to hinder Sherman. Wasn't a winter campaign a campaign
      > too far?
      > I am etc,
      > Hugh Martyr
      > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      >
      > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    • Don Plezia
      Sherman walked away from Hood at Lovejoy Station leaving him to rebuild and re-equip his army. Davis came west and decided to throw Hood s Army on Sherman s
      Message 2 of 10 , Aug 3, 2000
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        Sherman walked away from Hood at Lovejoy Station leaving him to rebuild and re-equip his army. Davis came west and decided to throw Hood’s Army on Sherman’s communications. Forces from Smith’s and Magruder’s in the Trans-Mississippi would cross the river and join him in Northern Alabama; the united armies, gathering recruits as they swept north through Tennessee and Kentucky would gather at the Ohio and threaten that part of the country.  In addition, Hood also belived that Sherman might stop and return to fight him.

        Davis sent the orders to Smith and Magruder but, they were intercepted by Canby. Canby incidently, was also partially responsible for Thomas’s complete victory over Hood. He controlled the crossings over the Mississippi and the Confederates never could get any large scale troops over to help Hood.

        Had this occurred, General George Henry Thomas for one, felt there might have been a chance of success. Later Grant’s irrational telegrams to Thomas at Nashville showed others were also as concerned.

        Grant had other concerns also. He foolishly let Sherman weasel him into making the march to Savannah, before disposing of Hood. Originally his orders to Sherman at the beginning of the Atlanta Campaign were "to break up Johnston’s army and get into the country and destroy everything" Sherman failed to do this at Resaca and Lay’s crossing and Jonesville and a few other areas although he had the opportunity to do so. He also foolishly believed Sherman’s promises to leave Thomas with an adequate force with which to fight Hood. In addition, Grant promised the mistrustful administration that Sherman’s march was OK because Thomas would be adequately provided for.

        Sherman almost from the beginning made his campaign to capture Atlanta rather than destroy Johnston’s (later Hood’s Army of Tennessee). He could have ended the war in the west within five days of leaving Chattanooga if he had listened to Thomas. But, Sherman was not a fighter, only a raider.

        As to Hood’s battle at Franklin, no one can say. The conventional wisdom is that he was angry at his inability to trap Schofield and Stanley at Spring Hill and was determined to punish his troops for that mistake. Hood was one of the many Civil War Generals failing to recognize that assaulting entrenchments were doomed to failure in this day of rifled weapons.

        His march to Nashville was predicated on the belief that help was coming from Trans-Mississippi.

        That the promised and awaited for help from across the Mississippi, did not appear was one problem. Another was Thomas was short of troops until almost the planned day of battle was another determinant. Hood had information about Thomas’s condition and felt he might be able to strike before all the Union forces could accumulate.

        Hood’s planning, in conjunction with Beauregard and Davis was not, in context, so irrational after all.

        Cordially,
         

        D. W. Plezia
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Thursday, August 03, 2000 3:37 PM
        Subject: [civilwarwest] War in the west

        Like Graham Lee I too am from the U.K. and that a lot of my correspondence has been in the question category. My interest in the Civil War started with an American Teacher at High School and all he told me and all that I had to read on the subject concentrated on the Eastern theatre of the war. Many years later I was in the States and the interest was reborn with a trip to Gettysburg. Then I started reading and studying and came to the conclusion that it was out west that the war was won. Then some years later I was lucky to land a job in America and toured around much of the western area of conflict. However, talking to many people who only have passing interest in the war my ideas were usually not agreed with. The old ideas of the Army under Grant grinding Lee down out East was to them the deciding matter. Not back in the U.K I still work to get the correct understanding over, but am still by no means fully knowledgable about the subject. Is there anyone out there that is. I have learnt so much from this site and feel somewhat selfish that  I have not put an equal amount back in in ideas and theories, I will try harder to do so. I am trying at the moment to understand Gen. Hood's mind in his invasion of Tennesee, what made him attack at Franklin and not stay down south and at least try to hinder Sherman. Wasn't a winter campaign a campaign too far?
        I am etc,
        Hugh Martyr
      • Hugh Martyr
        ... From: D. Andrew Burden, Ph.D. To: civilwarwest@egroups.com Date: 03 August 2000 21:28 Subject: Re:
        Message 3 of 10 , Aug 5, 2000
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          -----Original Message-----
          From: D. Andrew Burden, Ph.D. <daburden@...>
          To: civilwarwest@egroups.com <civilwarwest@egroups.com>
          Date: 03 August 2000 21:28
          Subject: Re: [civilwarwest] War in the west



          Thanks for the information, I am now working through a lot of gathered
          material concerning Hood's campaign. I few questions I would like views on
          though. The area Hood was entering had been fought over and was not going to
          help him in as far as supplies were concerned and the winter weather was
          always going to hinder him (was the weather at the time of Nashville the
          norm or particularly severe?) it seems as if this did not enter into his
          reckoning. I can understand Hood being angry about the missed oppurtunity at
          Spring Hill, but why at his soldiers? His Commanders in the field maybe. I
          have heard that Hood's pyhical health was not good and that he was at the
          time under laudanum for his old wounds, if this was the case then surely he
          should have stepped down. This brings me back to the thoughts I have that
          Cleburne should have been in Command. I know that there has been lots of
          ideas on this site over that.Did Hood still trhink that help was coming from
          Smith and Magruder right up to the battle at Nashville?
          Hugh:
          > I am by no means an expert on any facet of the late unpleasantness, but
          >I would guess that Hood's attack at Franklin had as much to do with
          >frustration as anything. It is often said that he ordered the attack so
          >as to break the AoT of their perceived reluctance to attack the enemy in
          >breastworks. Well, I don't think a more desparate attack was made in
          >the entire war than at Franklin, and I don't think anyone could say
          >afterwards that the AoT showed any reluctance to attack the Federal
          >works at Franklin. I think the real reason he ordered the attack was to
          >try to retrieve the lost opportunity of the night before at Spring
          >Hill. As to the larger question of the wisdom of the campaign, I think
          >it was desparation, pure and simple. Recall that Lee was bottled up in
          >Petersburg at that time, and wasn't going anywhere without Grant nipping
          >at his heels. Hood's army was the only other significant fighting force
          >the CSA had in the field (at least that is my impression; were there any
          >others?). They could either attack, or watch the CSA slowly die. They
          >were no match for Sherman, who nevertheless didn't care what Hood did
          >(at least not once he had made up his mind to visit Savannah and the
          >Carolinas). I believe Hood envisioned a campaign to the Ohio River,
          >followed by a link-up with Lee. In hindsight this seems like a
          >ludicrous goal, but Hood had seen Lee take extreme chances and come out
          >on top, and probably thought that such chances were called for. But as
          >has been noted by a number of scholars on this subject, Hood was no
          >Lee. As a side note, I think that had Hood not been given army command,
          >he may well have ended up with a reputation on par with Jackson or
          >Cleburne. As it stands, I still think Hood (on balance) contributed
          >much more to the Southern cause than he hurt it. I also think that
          >Franklin is the most underappreciated battle of the entire war. An
          >absolutely Apocalyptic struggle.
          > Andy
          >
          >> Hugh Martyr wrote:
          >>
          >> Like Graham Lee I too am from the U.K. and that a lot of my
          >> correspondence has been in the question category. My interest in the
          >> Civil War started with an American Teacher at High School and all he
          >> told me and all that I had to read on the subject concentrated on the
          >> Eastern theatre of the war. Many years later I was in the States and
          >> the interest was reborn with a trip to Gettysburg. Then I started
          >> reading and studying and came to the conclusion that it was out west
          >> that the war was won. Then some years later I was lucky to land a job
          >> in America and toured around much of the western area of conflict.
          >> However, talking to many people who only have passing interest in the
          >> war my ideas were usually not agreed with. The old ideas of the Army
          >> under Grant grinding Lee down out East was to them the deciding
          >> matter. Not back in the U.K I still work to get the correct
          >> understanding over, but am still by no means fully knowledgable about
          >> the subject. Is there anyone out there that is. I have learnt so much
          >> from this site and feel somewhat selfish that I have not put an equal
          >> amount back in in ideas and theories, I will try harder to do so. I am
          >> trying at the moment to understand Gen. Hood's mind in his invasion of
          >> Tennesee, what made him attack at Franklin and not stay down south and
          >> at least try to hinder Sherman. Wasn't a winter campaign a campaign
          >> too far?
          >> I am etc,
          >> Hugh Martyr
          >> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
          >>
          >> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • Daniel Giallombardo
          ... unpleasantness, but ... attack so ... enemy in ... in ... was to ... think ... up in ... nipping ... force ... there any ... They ... did ... out ... But
          Message 4 of 10 , Aug 5, 2000
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            --- In civilwarwest@egroups.com, "D. Andrew Burden, Ph.D."
            <daburden@m...> wrote:
            > Hugh:
            > I am by no means an expert on any facet of the late
            unpleasantness, but
            > I would guess that Hood's attack at Franklin had as much to do with
            > frustration as anything. It is often said that he ordered the
            attack so
            > as to break the AoT of their perceived reluctance to attack the
            enemy in
            > breastworks. Well, I don't think a more desparate attack was made
            in
            > the entire war than at Franklin, and I don't think anyone could say
            > afterwards that the AoT showed any reluctance to attack the Federal
            > works at Franklin. I think the real reason he ordered the attack
            was to
            > try to retrieve the lost opportunity of the night before at Spring
            > Hill. As to the larger question of the wisdom of the campaign, I
            think
            > it was desparation, pure and simple. Recall that Lee was bottled
            up
            in
            > Petersburg at that time, and wasn't going anywhere without Grant
            nipping
            > at his heels. Hood's army was the only other significant fighting
            force
            > the CSA had in the field (at least that is my impression; were
            there
            any
            > others?). They could either attack, or watch the CSA slowly die.
            They
            > were no match for Sherman, who nevertheless didn't care what Hood
            did
            > (at least not once he had made up his mind to visit Savannah and the
            > Carolinas). I believe Hood envisioned a campaign to the Ohio River,
            > followed by a link-up with Lee. In hindsight this seems like a
            > ludicrous goal, but Hood had seen Lee take extreme chances and come
            out
            > on top, and probably thought that such chances were called for.
            But
            as
            > has been noted by a number of scholars on this subject, Hood was no
            > Lee. As a side note, I think that had Hood not been given army
            command,
            > he may well have ended up with a reputation on par with Jackson or
            > Cleburne. As it stands, I still think Hood (on balance) contributed
            > much more to the Southern cause than he hurt it. I also think that
            > Franklin is the most underappreciated battle of the entire war. An
            > absolutely Apocalyptic struggle.
            > Andy
            >
            > > Hugh Martyr wrote:
            > >
            > > Like Graham Lee I too am from the U.K. and that a lot of my
            > > correspondence has been in the question category. My interest in
            the
            > > Civil War started with an American Teacher at High School and all
            he
            > > told me and all that I had to read on the subject concentrated on
            the
            > > Eastern theatre of the war. Many years later I was in the States
            and
            > > the interest was reborn with a trip to Gettysburg. Then I started
            > > reading and studying and came to the conclusion that it was out
            west
            > > that the war was won. Then some years later I was lucky to land a
            job
            > > in America and toured around much of the western area of conflict.
            > > However, talking to many people who only have passing interest in
            the
            > > war my ideas were usually not agreed with. The old ideas of the
            Army
            > > under Grant grinding Lee down out East was to them the deciding
            > > matter. Not back in the U.K I still work to get the correct
            > > understanding over, but am still by no means fully knowledgable
            about
            > > the subject. Is there anyone out there that is. I have learnt so
            much
            > > from this site and feel somewhat selfish that I have not put an
            equal
            > > amount back in in ideas and theories, I will try harder to do so.
            I am
            > > trying at the moment to understand Gen. Hood's mind in his
            invasion of
            > > Tennesee, what made him attack at Franklin and not stay down
            south
            and
            > > at least try to hinder Sherman. Wasn't a winter campaign a
            campaign
            > > too far?
            > > I am etc,
            > > Hugh Martyr
            > >
            ----------------------------------------------------------------------
            > > This is a case where I must agree with Andy.Additionally, I would
            lke to add,that in my opinion,Hood WAS in fact trying to break them
            of
            what Paddy Griffith called "the psychological comfort of entrenched
            positions"-in other words they would rather stay behind entrenched
            positions than attack them.
            The following items-IMHO-should also be noted: Hood was
            depending upon laudinum-not the best concoction for a situation
            requiring clear and/or quick thinking;and secondly,as Andy pointed
            out-quite correctly-Hood was in the deep end of the pool,and he
            wasn't
            that good as a swimmer. Had he NOT been given the army,I think his
            reputation would've been secure.....I also wonder how many of
            Hood's actions were intended to impress Sally Buchanan......
            Dan
            > >
            ----------------------------------------------------------------------
          • Daniel Giallombardo
            ... unpleasantness, but ... attack so ... enemy in ... in ... was to ... think ... up in ... nipping ... force ... there any ... They ... did ... out ... But
            Message 5 of 10 , Aug 5, 2000
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              --- In civilwarwest@egroups.com, "D. Andrew Burden, Ph.D."
              <daburden@m...> wrote:
              > Hugh:
              > I am by no means an expert on any facet of the late
              unpleasantness, but
              > I would guess that Hood's attack at Franklin had as much to do with
              > frustration as anything. It is often said that he ordered the
              attack so
              > as to break the AoT of their perceived reluctance to attack the
              enemy in
              > breastworks. Well, I don't think a more desparate attack was made
              in
              > the entire war than at Franklin, and I don't think anyone could say
              > afterwards that the AoT showed any reluctance to attack the Federal
              > works at Franklin. I think the real reason he ordered the attack
              was to
              > try to retrieve the lost opportunity of the night before at Spring
              > Hill. As to the larger question of the wisdom of the campaign, I
              think
              > it was desparation, pure and simple. Recall that Lee was bottled
              up
              in
              > Petersburg at that time, and wasn't going anywhere without Grant
              nipping
              > at his heels. Hood's army was the only other significant fighting
              force
              > the CSA had in the field (at least that is my impression; were
              there
              any
              > others?). They could either attack, or watch the CSA slowly die.
              They
              > were no match for Sherman, who nevertheless didn't care what Hood
              did
              > (at least not once he had made up his mind to visit Savannah and the
              > Carolinas). I believe Hood envisioned a campaign to the Ohio River,
              > followed by a link-up with Lee. In hindsight this seems like a
              > ludicrous goal, but Hood had seen Lee take extreme chances and come
              out
              > on top, and probably thought that such chances were called for.
              But
              as
              > has been noted by a number of scholars on this subject, Hood was no
              > Lee. As a side note, I think that had Hood not been given army
              command,
              > he may well have ended up with a reputation on par with Jackson or
              > Cleburne. As it stands, I still think Hood (on balance) contributed
              > much more to the Southern cause than he hurt it. I also think that
              > Franklin is the most underappreciated battle of the entire war. An
              > absolutely Apocalyptic struggle.
              > Andy
              >
              > > Hugh Martyr wrote:
              > >
              > > Like Graham Lee I too am from the U.K. and that a lot of my
              > > correspondence has been in the question category. My interest in
              the
              > > Civil War started with an American Teacher at High School and all
              he
              > > told me and all that I had to read on the subject concentrated on
              the
              > > Eastern theatre of the war. Many years later I was in the States
              and
              > > the interest was reborn with a trip to Gettysburg. Then I started
              > > reading and studying and came to the conclusion that it was out
              west
              > > that the war was won. Then some years later I was lucky to land a
              job
              > > in America and toured around much of the western area of conflict.
              > > However, talking to many people who only have passing interest in
              the
              > > war my ideas were usually not agreed with. The old ideas of the
              Army
              > > under Grant grinding Lee down out East was to them the deciding
              > > matter. Not back in the U.K I still work to get the correct
              > > understanding over, but am still by no means fully knowledgable
              about
              > > the subject. Is there anyone out there that is. I have learnt so
              much
              > > from this site and feel somewhat selfish that I have not put an
              equal
              > > amount back in in ideas and theories, I will try harder to do so.
              I am
              > > trying at the moment to understand Gen. Hood's mind in his
              invasion of
              > > Tennesee, what made him attack at Franklin and not stay down
              south
              and
              > > at least try to hinder Sherman. Wasn't a winter campaign a
              campaign
              > > too far?
              > > I am etc,
              > > Hugh Martyr
              > >
              ----------------------------------------------------------------------
              > > This is a case where I must agree with Andy.Additionally, I would
              lke to add,that in my opinion,Hood WAS in fact trying to break them
              of
              what Paddy Griffith called "the psychological comfort of entrenched
              positions"-in other words they would rather stay behind entrenched
              positions than attack them.
              The following items-IMHO-should also be noted: Hood was
              depending upon laudinum-not the best concoction for a situation
              requiring clear and/or quick thinking;and secondly,as Andy pointed
              out-quite correctly-Hood was in the deep end of the pool,and he
              wasn't
              that good as a swimmer. Had he NOT been given the army,I think his
              reputation would've been secure.....I also wonder how many of
              Hood's actions were intended to impress Sally Buchanan......
              Dan
              > >
              ----------------------------------------------------------------------
            • Chris Huff
              Dear Folks Hugh Martyr wrote the following: Thanks for the information, I am now working through a lot of gathered ... to ... As Richard McMurry explained
              Message 6 of 10 , Aug 5, 2000
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                Dear Folks

                Hugh Martyr wrote the following:

                "> Thanks for the information, I am now working through a lot of gathered
                > material concerning Hood's campaign. I few questions I would like views on
                > though. The area Hood was entering had been fought over and was not going
                to
                > help him in as far as supplies were concerned and the winter weather was
                > always going to hinder him (was the weather at the time of Nashville the
                > norm or particularly severe?)"

                As Richard McMurry explained in his biography of Hood "John Bell Hood
                and the War For Southern Independence", the weather was particularly bad on
                the 20th of November as the Southern army moved north and the supply wagons
                bogged down in the mud. The men were pelted by snow on the 21st and were
                freezing as they were ill clad for the weather that time of the year. The
                morale was good, though, as many of the men were returning to their home
                territory.

                Hood himself mentioned the mud in his own report concerning his
                attempts to cut Schofield off before he reached Nashville (the stated
                objective in his report), "The want of a good map of the country, and the
                deep mud through which the Army marched, prevented our overtaking the enemy
                before he reached Columbia, but on the evening of the 27th of November, our
                Army was placed in position in front of his works at that place. During the
                night, however, he evacuated the town... "

                Apparently is was wet and cold and miserable and frustrating.

                "it seems as if this did not enter into his> reckoning."

                I'm sure he knew it can be cold and wet and miserable in Tennessee in
                the winter or late fall, but I'm sure he didn't appreciate the mud "siding"
                with the Union. He was desperate to catch and destroy Schofield if he could
                and even left Lee and his supplies behind in his attempt to catch the enemy.

                "I can understand Hood being angry about the missed oppurtunity at
                > Spring Hill, but why at his soldiers?"

                I don't think that he was angry with his men or was trying to discipline
                them by ordering them to attack at Franklin, even though this has been
                projected as a possibility by his earlier biographers. Dr. McMurry
                apparently doesn't think so either. From the research Dr. McMurry has done
                it can be determined that there was some confusion on the part of his corps
                commanders as to what his orders were at Spring Hill and as they had done in
                times past, they failed to execute his orders properly and were lax in
                reporting important federal movements back to their commander. Earlier, Hood
                had blamed Cheatham for failing to obey an order to block the pike down
                which the federal troops would be retreating in Spring Hill, and then, upon
                being told that a staff officer had fallen asleep and had failed to deliver
                the order, he withdrew his criticism. So he doesn't strike me as being
                unfair or vindictive.

                " I> have heard that Hood's pyhical health was not good and that he was
                at the> time under laudanum for his old wounds, if this was the case then
                surely he
                > should have stepped down.

                The poor guy was minus a leg and a useful arm, of course he had health
                problems, but he had demonstrated early after his return to command that he
                was physically up to the task at hand and many people had remarked upon his
                ability to move around with ease on horseback. His wounds were not
                particularly severe nor were they unusual for men who had seen combat during
                the war. People who had been with him during his recovery and who had known
                him during his recuperation (including Jefferson Davis himself) had not
                found anything about him that would indicate a lack of ability either
                mentally or physically.

                "This brings me back to the thoughts I have that> Cleburne should have been
                in Command. I know that there has been lots of> ideas on this site over
                that."

                I don't doubt that Cleburne was a better administrator and that his men
                adored him. Hood was not particularly good at military "housework". He was
                bad about giving very generalized (no pun intended) instead of exact orders,
                leaving his commanders to "fill in the details" (which is hard to do if your
                "minder reader" is broken) and was roundly hated by those under his command.
                Hood's inability to communicate well with his corps commanders and their
                patent dislike of him worked against him.

                I don't think that Cleburne was any luckier, though. In this instance,
                Hood's lack of good reconnaisance (a plague to many commanders before and
                after him) and knowledge of the terrain led to error after error in his
                pursuit of Schofield-something that could and did happen to everyone in the
                war.

                Many think that Hood's decision to attack Schofield at Franklin was a
                mystery. It was sure a "stunner" to his men at the time, although some
                historians feel that the entire army was "burning for revenge upon the
                fiasco of the previous day" and that this infected Hood's thinking.

                I think the impetus for Hood's attack at Franklin was a little of that
                good fighting spirit burning brightly in his men (witness their terrible
                sacrifice) and the urgency Hood felt to capture and destroy Schofield before
                he could get to Nashville. Hood himself wrote, "I learned from dispatches
                captured at Spring Hill from Thomas to Schofield that the latter was
                instructed to hold that place till the position at Franklin could be made
                secure, indicating the intention of Thomas to hold Franklin and his
                strongworks at Murfreesboro. Thus I knew that is was all important to attack
                Schofield before he could make himself strong, and if he should escape at
                Franklin, he would gain his works about Nashville. The nature of the
                position was such as to render it inexpedient to attempt any further flank
                movement, and I therefore, determined to attack him in front and without
                delay."

                Well, with hindsight, we know that this attempt to stop Schofield
                failed. Schofield withdrew after incredibly fierce fighting and the
                confederacy lost 6000 men, among them the flower of Hood's officer corps.

                "Did Hood still trhink that help was coming from> Smith and Magruder
                right up to the battle at Nashville?"

                I don't doubt that Hood hoped that there would be reinforcements, but he
                had staked everything on this one big effort and had overplayed his hand. He
                had no choice but to continue on to Nashville (Franklin left the army too
                weak to either challenge Sherman, now far into South Georgia, or to face the
                Unionist in Tennessee) and pray that things would go better there.

                Hope this answers some of your questions and gives a little more even handed
                understanding of why Hood may have done what he did. I would commend Dr.
                McMurry's book to you as it is a more recent biography and Dr. McMurry's
                research is impeccable.

                Chris Huff
                Atlanta, GA
              • Chris Huff
                Dear Folks Hugh Martyr wrote the following: Thanks for the information, I am now working through a lot of gathered ... to ... As Richard McMurry explained
                Message 7 of 10 , Aug 5, 2000
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                  Dear Folks

                  Hugh Martyr wrote the following:

                  "> Thanks for the information, I am now working through a lot of gathered
                  > material concerning Hood's campaign. I few questions I would like views on
                  > though. The area Hood was entering had been fought over and was not going
                  to
                  > help him in as far as supplies were concerned and the winter weather was
                  > always going to hinder him (was the weather at the time of Nashville the
                  > norm or particularly severe?)"

                  As Richard McMurry explained in his biography of Hood "John Bell Hood
                  and the War For Southern Independence", the weather was particularly bad on
                  the 20th of November as the Southern army moved north and the supply wagons
                  bogged down in the mud. The men were pelted by snow on the 21st and were
                  freezing as they were ill clad for the weather that time of the year. The
                  morale was good, though, as many of the men were returning to their home
                  territory.

                  Hood himself mentioned the mud in his own report concerning his
                  attempts to cut Schofield off before he reached Nashville (the stated
                  objective in his report), "The want of a good map of the country, and the
                  deep mud through which the Army marched, prevented our overtaking the enemy
                  before he reached Columbia, but on the evening of the 27th of November, our
                  Army was placed in position in front of his works at that place. During the
                  night, however, he evacuated the town... "

                  Apparently is was wet and cold and miserable and frustrating.

                  "it seems as if this did not enter into his> reckoning."

                  I'm sure he knew it can be cold and wet and miserable in Tennessee in
                  the winter or late fall, but I'm sure he didn't appreciate the mud "siding"
                  with the Union. He was desperate to catch and destroy Schofield if he could
                  and even left Lee and his supplies behind in his attempt to catch the enemy.

                  "I can understand Hood being angry about the missed oppurtunity at
                  > Spring Hill, but why at his soldiers?"

                  I don't think that he was angry with his men or was trying to discipline
                  them by ordering them to attack at Franklin, even though this has been
                  projected as a possibility by his earlier biographers. Dr. McMurry
                  apparently doesn't think so either. From the research Dr. McMurry has done
                  it can be determined that there was some confusion on the part of his corps
                  commanders as to what his orders were at Spring Hill and as they had done in
                  times past, they failed to execute his orders properly and were lax in
                  reporting important federal movements back to their commander. Earlier, Hood
                  had blamed Cheatham for failing to obey an order to block the pike down
                  which the federal troops would be retreating in Spring Hill, and then, upon
                  being told that a staff officer had fallen asleep and had failed to deliver
                  the order, he withdrew his criticism. So he doesn't strike me as being
                  unfair or vindictive.

                  " I> have heard that Hood's pyhical health was not good and that he was
                  at the> time under laudanum for his old wounds, if this was the case then
                  surely he
                  > should have stepped down.

                  The poor guy was minus a leg and a useful arm, of course he had health
                  problems, but he had demonstrated early after his return to command that he
                  was physically up to the task at hand and many people had remarked upon his
                  ability to move around with ease on horseback. His wounds were not
                  particularly severe nor were they unusual for men who had seen combat during
                  the war. People who had been with him during his recovery and who had known
                  him during his recuperation (including Jefferson Davis himself) had not
                  found anything about him that would indicate a lack of ability either
                  mentally or physically.

                  "This brings me back to the thoughts I have that> Cleburne should have been
                  in Command. I know that there has been lots of> ideas on this site over
                  that."

                  I don't doubt that Cleburne was a better administrator and that his men
                  adored him. Hood was not particularly good at military "housework". He was
                  bad about giving very generalized (no pun intended) instead of exact orders,
                  leaving his commanders to "fill in the details" (which is hard to do if your
                  "minder reader" is broken) and was roundly hated by those under his command.
                  Hood's inability to communicate well with his corps commanders and their
                  patent dislike of him worked against him.

                  I don't think that Cleburne was any luckier, though. In this instance,
                  Hood's lack of good reconnaisance (a plague to many commanders before and
                  after him) and knowledge of the terrain led to error after error in his
                  pursuit of Schofield-something that could and did happen to everyone in the
                  war.

                  Many think that Hood's decision to attack Schofield at Franklin was a
                  mystery. It was sure a "stunner" to his men at the time, although some
                  historians feel that the entire army was "burning for revenge upon the
                  fiasco of the previous day" and that this infected Hood's thinking.

                  I think the impetus for Hood's attack at Franklin was a little of that
                  good fighting spirit burning brightly in his men (witness their terrible
                  sacrifice) and the urgency Hood felt to capture and destroy Schofield before
                  he could get to Nashville. Hood himself wrote, "I learned from dispatches
                  captured at Spring Hill from Thomas to Schofield that the latter was
                  instructed to hold that place till the position at Franklin could be made
                  secure, indicating the intention of Thomas to hold Franklin and his
                  strongworks at Murfreesboro. Thus I knew that is was all important to attack
                  Schofield before he could make himself strong, and if he should escape at
                  Franklin, he would gain his works about Nashville. The nature of the
                  position was such as to render it inexpedient to attempt any further flank
                  movement, and I therefore, determined to attack him in front and without
                  delay."

                  Well, with hindsight, we know that this attempt to stop Schofield
                  failed. Schofield withdrew after incredibly fierce fighting and the
                  confederacy lost 6000 men, among them the flower of Hood's officer corps.

                  "Did Hood still trhink that help was coming from> Smith and Magruder
                  right up to the battle at Nashville?"

                  I don't doubt that Hood hoped that there would be reinforcements, but he
                  had staked everything on this one big effort and had overplayed his hand. He
                  had no choice but to continue on to Nashville (Franklin left the army too
                  weak to either challenge Sherman, now far into South Georgia, or to face the
                  Unionist in Tennessee) and pray that things would go better there.

                  Hope this answers some of your questions and gives a little more even handed
                  understanding of why Hood may have done what he did. I would commend Dr.
                  McMurry's book to you as it is a more recent biography and Dr. McMurry's
                  research is impeccable.

                  Chris Huff
                  Atlanta, GA
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