Re: [civilwarwest] Hood and Franklin
- Mr. Redman,
Okay, I admit it - I had to look up the word "invidious" and I thank you
for the vocabulary lesson. 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 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? If so,
then what was the drastic turning point that could be responsible for such a
dramatic change in a man's personality?
I think that those who are determined to find no good in any certain
commander will (surprise!) actually find no good in any of his actions. As
demonstrated in your previous paragraph:
"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
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.
You detract from his actions by claiming that the only way he could have
won was because his opponent was a coward. So what? Who cares? He
accomplished the mission he set out to accomplish. Many commanders have
faced less than courageous adversaries and won but were not called to account
for the cowardice on the part of the enemy.
What specifically is it that causes historians and others to belittle
Hood's accomplishments? Was he the best commander...no, I don't believe so.
Was he worst commander...no, far from it. But what is it about the mention
of Sam Hood that raises such passion within some people? Could it be that
such personable, charming, dashing, and tactically proficient officers such
as Cleburne and Gist were killed while serving in his command? Regrettable,
yes, but the fact of the matter is that soldiers run the very real risk of
dying on the battlefield. There were many privates, sergeants, and
lieutenants who were just as deserving of hero worship who also died at
Chickamaugua, Shiloh, Vicksburg, Blakeley, and a thousand smaller skirmishes
that we have never heard of. Listen to the words of the period song "All
Quiet Along The Potomac Tonight."
The fact is that during this war many generals died on the battlefield.
I say this because inevitably the names of these two generals are cast forth
as examples of the "needless slaughter" at Franklin. Dry your eyes, folks,
your tears are dimming your vision of the battle.
"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
They died for the purpose of defeating the enemy in the field. As
millions had died before them and as millions more have died since. Your
second question presupposes that he was looking to prove a point. What point
or disciplinary measure are you referring to?
Of course, should these questions prove to be rather invidious I will
completely understand if you choose not to trouble yourself with answering
them. Just consider these thoughts as some partisan musings on a warm summer
- Tom;They say that timing is everything but you don't quite have it right. W.H.L. Wallace was wounded late in the day, about 5:00 pm during the withdrawal of his troops and while they were in the process of being trapped by the confederates. There is a possibility that he may have been captured if he was not wounded. Wallace's division took position at 10:00 am in the Duncan field and the western portion of the sunken road. They held until about 4:00 pm, the retreat began first with the artillery, then the regiments started pulling back. At this time, they started to come disorganized while in the withdrawal, those still in front line positions continued to hold for a short while longer. The balance of units fighting at the front after 5:00 pm were commanded by Prentiss and he had troops from all three divisions and they were coming unglued. The surrenders started shortly, about 5:30.As to Grant and the sunken road, I believe that he had very little to do with the selection of this lane as a position. At 10:00 am, Wallace and Hurlbut ordered and put their troops in position along this lane and placed Prentiss' survivors between them. Grant only approved their choice of position. Actuall the Official Reports are mostly silent about Grant and this position.RonOriginal Message -----From: Tom MixSent: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 1:59 PMSubject: FW: [civilwarwest] Re: Shiloh
From: Tom Mix [mailto:tmix@ insightbb. com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 11:32 AM
To: 'civilwarwest@ yahoogroups. com'
Subject: RE: [civilwarwest] Re: Shiloh
I agree completely in what your saying about how they ended up in the lane. They sort of fell together there. But Grant did recognize something about the position that made a defense plausible then set it as the official design for defense. I have found it highly creditable as to how Will Wallaces unit maintained a degree of order after their commanders mortal wound, the heavy attack confronting them, the confusion surrounding the soldiers, the terrain limits and such and yet they stay together, re-establish order, establish a defensive line and coordinate with Prentiss. It speaks well for the more junior officers of the Division. And Grants personal involvement.
If any one walks the road one of the first things that becomes very apparent is that it is not sunken any where. The fencing, the tree line, the slight undulation kind of creating a natural rallying point, I would guess, for those who were not high tailing it to the rear. As I think about those men in blue at that specific moment, I am always impressed with their courage, clarity of purpose and ability to keep their heads while those all around them were losing theirs, literally and figuratively. I would guess that seeing Grant at the front amidst all the smoke, noise, trees, chaos, disorder and death must have had a positive effect on the men too. I think it could be equated to the response to Hancock 1 July 1863, IMO..
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