Re: [civilwarwest] Hood and Franklin
- Mr. Redman,
Thank you for your thoughts on the questions I posed. Perhaps I
misunderstood to whom you were directing your post as it came to my machine
on the heels of another post asking about the artillery at Franklin.
I agree with most of what you wrote and shall agree to disagree on the
"He was in a rage about Schofield having passed within a mile of him
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."
Yes and it has been my understanding that his anger was directed
primarily toward Cheatham. Someone had posted a note previously saying that
Hood's aides refused to awaken him to tell him that the enemy was passing
through. Actually, this is not true. Hood was awakened and he issued orders
for Cheatham to block the turnpike and to confront the enemy which he felt
would have contained Schofield until the morning. When his orders were not
carried out he, naturally, blamed Cheatham for the failure. After he sent a
message to J. Davis calling for Cheatham's court-martial and the assignment
of another major general, he was informed that the aide who was to deliver
the message never accomplished this task. This particular major fell asleep
while writing or shortly after writing the directive and the orders were
I say this to say this: when Hood was informed of the error he retracted
his court-martial demands and appears to have calmed his anger towards his
subordinate commander and perhaps chalked it up to the "fog of war."
I find it difficult to believe that Hood would have deliberately impaled
his army upon the Yankee salient "to teach his army a lesson". He was
intelligent enough to know that this was the same army which he would need
later on for his strategic goals. I think that you and others have reached
this opinion based your readings of the battle, memoirs, letters, etc and I
can respect your conclusions concerning Hood's thought processes and state of
mind. However, my conclusion is that his actions were based on his idea of
military tactics and doctrines of the time and his aggressive tendency to
pursue the enemy.
You have expressed concern about folks who romanticize or deify Hood. I
don't think I am or do (but then how would I know for sure?) but I also don't
believe he was the consummate evil general bent on sating a blood lust.
Concerning Cleburne and Gist, no that was not a reference to you or to
anyone specifically. It was a general reference to the letters that I
usually read after any type of discussion of General Hood.
The welfare of the lowly pawn is, indeed, a commander's primary concern.
A good commander will transmit this concern to his subordinates and will
ensure that the welfare of his troops is a priority to all those in
supervisory or leadership position. In garrison the welfare of the troops
can be seen through attending to the basic needs (food, clothing, shelter,
pay, mail, etc); on the battlefield the welfare of the troops takes on a
different light. It is the commander who fears for or places a greater
concern on the deaths and injuries of his pawns who soon finds himself
incapacitated and trapped in a swamp of indecision...thus adding to the
possible destruction of his pawns.
In this vein, haven't you ever swapped a pawn or two in order to gain an
advantageous position on the board? And then found out you made a mistake?
That happens in chess quite frequently, but also consider that chess is a
strategic exercise where all of the pieces and the possible moves can be
readily seen by both sides. Yet, potential moves are still overlooked and
"By the way, I am just waiting for someone to mention him suggesting to
Longstreet to not frontally attack Little Round Top."
Whew....glad I dodged that bullet. <g>
- 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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