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Thomas and command offers

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  • bobaldrich2001 <aldrichr@dsmo.com>
    I hope this doesn t open up yet another pandora s box, but I am genuinely puzzled by one thing about Thomas. It seems to me that I ve heard it said here in
    Message 1 of 12 , Jan 1, 2003
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      I hope this doesn't open up yet another pandora's box, but I am
      genuinely puzzled by one thing about Thomas. It seems to me that
      I've heard it said here in various places that (1) Thomas refused an
      offer to put him in command of AoO in place of Buell before
      Perryville, (2) Thomas was upset when Rosecrans, instead of Thomas,
      was named to replace Buell after Perryville; and (3) Thomas was
      reluctant to replace Rosecrans as commander of AoC after Chickamauga.

      First of all, do I have these three facts basically right? If so,
      then doesn't it seem as if (2) is psychologically inconsistent with
      (1) and (3)? Without getting into issues of honor, or
      justification, isn't it a rather curious pattern? Is there a
      psychological explanation, or is it just another one of those
      mysteries resulting from the inadequate personal record he left
      behind?

      Bob Aldrich
    • Daniel Moran
      Colonel McKibbin was sent to the west by the War Department to relieve Buell of the army right at the time the Army of Tennessee was invading Kentucky. The
      Message 2 of 12 , Jan 1, 2003
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        Colonel McKibbin was sent to the west by the War Department to relieve
        Buell of the army right at the time the Army of Tennessee was invading
        Kentucky. The Army of the Ohio had good confidence in Buell and did not
        want to let him go. At the time the orders were delivered Thomas was
        unprepared to take command.

        The War Department I think goofed on these instructions. McKibbin
        wasn't supposed to deliver the orders under the present circumstances
        going on in Kentucky, but out of contact with Halleck at the time due to
        slow telegraphic communications, he did what he thought was right by
        delivering the order. It sent everyone in the west into a tizzy.

        Halleck had to telegraph the west and tell everyone to ignore them.
        They weren't meant to be delivered.



        -----Original Message-----
        From: bobaldrich2001 <aldrichr@...> [mailto:aldrichr@...]
        Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 3:49 PM
        To: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [civilwarwest] Thomas and command offers

        I hope this doesn't open up yet another pandora's box, but I am
        genuinely puzzled by one thing about Thomas. It seems to me that
        I've heard it said here in various places that (1) Thomas refused an
        offer to put him in command of AoO in place of Buell before
        Perryville, (2) Thomas was upset when Rosecrans, instead of Thomas,
        was named to replace Buell after Perryville; and (3) Thomas was
        reluctant to replace Rosecrans as commander of AoC after Chickamauga.

        First of all, do I have these three facts basically right? If so,
        then doesn't it seem as if (2) is psychologically inconsistent with
        (1) and (3)? Without getting into issues of honor, or
        justification, isn't it a rather curious pattern? Is there a
        psychological explanation, or is it just another one of those
        mysteries resulting from the inadequate personal record he left
        behind?

        Bob Aldrich




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      • josepharose <josepharose@yahoo.com>
        ... an ... Thomas, ... Chickamauga. ... with ... Mr. Aldrich: As to (2), I think that Thomas indicated that the army should adhere to procedure/protocol/custom
        Message 3 of 12 , Jan 1, 2003
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          --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "bobaldrich2001
          <aldrichr@d...>" <aldrichr@d...> wrote:
          > I hope this doesn't open up yet another pandora's box, but I am
          > genuinely puzzled by one thing about Thomas. It seems to me that
          > I've heard it said here in various places that (1) Thomas refused
          an
          > offer to put him in command of AoO in place of Buell before
          > Perryville, (2) Thomas was upset when Rosecrans, instead of
          Thomas,
          > was named to replace Buell after Perryville; and (3) Thomas was
          > reluctant to replace Rosecrans as commander of AoC after
          Chickamauga.
          >
          > First of all, do I have these three facts basically right? If so,
          > then doesn't it seem as if (2) is psychologically inconsistent
          with
          > (1) and (3)? Without getting into issues of honor, or
          > justification, isn't it a rather curious pattern? Is there a
          > psychological explanation, or is it just another one of those
          > mysteries resulting from the inadequate personal record he left
          > behind?
          >
          > Bob Aldrich

          Mr. Aldrich:

          As to (2), I think that Thomas indicated that the army should adhere
          to procedure/protocol/custom by elevating the next ranking officer.

          Thomas may not have wanted to replace his commanding officer in any
          of the three situations; but once that commander was removed, he may
          have thought that the army should do what had been done previously.

          I don't know, however, how firmly these rules or customs were
          followed.

          Joseph
        • melchizedek22 <richthofen@buckeyeinet.co
          following rules and customs is another way of saying Thomas didn t follow orders,if your ordered to take command thats what you do! If your ordered to
          Message 4 of 12 , Jan 1, 2003
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            following rules and customs is another way of saying
            Thomas didn't follow orders,if your ordered to take command
            thats what you do! If your ordered to attack,thats what you do.
            An army without disipline is just a much of guys wearing
            the same cloths.And as we can only assume Thomas
            being the "true General",than had he taken command when first offered,
            we can only assume with the" true General" at the head of the
            Army,he would have helped win the war in the west much,much,quicker.
            And maybe than,Thomas would have had a shot for commander
            of the grand Army of the West in 64,instead the job
            went to "crazy" Sherman.The bottom line is Thomas was "slow"
            taking a command that would have moved his career
            along much,much faster. The Baron

            - In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose <josepharose@y...>" <josepharose@y...> wrote:
            > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "bobaldrich2001
            > <aldrichr@d...>" <aldrichr@d...> wrote:
            > > I hope this doesn't open up yet another pandora's box, but I am
            > > genuinely puzzled by one thing about Thomas. It seems to me that
            > > I've heard it said here in various places that (1) Thomas refused
            > an
            > > offer to put him in command of AoO in place of Buell before
            > > Perryville, (2) Thomas was upset when Rosecrans, instead of
            > Thomas,
            > > was named to replace Buell after Perryville; and (3) Thomas was
            > > reluctant to replace Rosecrans as commander of AoC after
            > Chickamauga.
            > >
            > > First of all, do I have these three facts basically right? If so,
            > > then doesn't it seem as if (2) is psychologically inconsistent
            > with
            > > (1) and (3)? Without getting into issues of honor, or
            > > justification, isn't it a rather curious pattern? Is there a
            > > psychological explanation, or is it just another one of those
            > > mysteries resulting from the inadequate personal record he left
            > > behind?
            > >
            > > Bob Aldrich
            >
            > Mr. Aldrich:
            >
            > As to (2), I think that Thomas indicated that the army should adhere
            > to procedure/protocol/custom by elevating the next ranking officer.
            >
            > Thomas may not have wanted to replace his commanding officer in any
            > of the three situations; but once that commander was removed, he may
            > have thought that the army should do what had been done previously.
            >
            > I don't know, however, how firmly these rules or customs were
            > followed.
            >
            > Joseph
          • DORR64OVI@aol.com
            I think you have to look at Thomas s command opportunities (and any Federal officer s) within the context of Army protocol as well as civilian/military
            Message 5 of 12 , Jan 1, 2003
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                 I think you have to look at Thomas's  command opportunities (and any Federal officer's) within the context of Army protocol as well as civilian/military politics.  Army officers in that day really needed civilian political sponsors in order to gain commands.  This was a horrid system and we all can name poloitical generals in any theater who did far more damage than good for the war effort.
                Unlike most of his Federal comtemporaries, Thomas came from a Southern state and thus had no "hometown" backers with clout who could go to bat for him.  Secondly, despite his being loyal to the Union, many politicians distrusted him especially at the beginning of the war.
                 Having said that, it makes me feel that GHT made a costly mistake when he turned down command of the Army of the Ohio.  We have gone over the reasons for this on this forum recently and given the situation, it is understandable why GHT refused the offer.  The AotO was a mess at this point and anyone might've said no.  Unfortunately not being a military man attuned to the politics of the system he was in, I think GHT cost himself dearly.
                 When Buell was replaced after Perryville, Thomas was bypassed in favor of Rosecrans.  GHT's objection was not to Rosecrans personally but to the manipulation of the seniority system, especially when the dates of Rosecrans rank were changed.  GHT made his beef, then shut his mouth and took the job to help Rosy.  
                 I dont recall a sense that GHT didnt want command of the AotC after Rosecrans was sacked .  IIRC, he felt loyalty to Rosecrans and I think any hesitancy he may have displayed was due to disappointment that Rosy was being removed.  I think he felt it unfair that Rosy had lost his job and wanted to show support.  By this time GHT was more than ready to assume command of the AotC.

              Kent Dorr
                 
            • melchizedek22 <richthofen@buckeyeinet.co
              Thomas was more than ready to replace Buell,it was a mistake on his part to not jump at the chance instead Rosecrans ended up with the job,that should have
              Message 6 of 12 , Jan 1, 2003
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                Thomas was more than ready to replace Buell,it
                was a mistake on his part to not jump at the chance instead Rosecrans ended up with the job,that should have been Thomas's The Baron


                - In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, DORR64OVI@a... wrote:
                > I think you have to look at Thomas's command opportunities (and any
                > Federal officer's) within the context of Army protocol as well as
                > civilian/military politics. Army officers in that day really needed civilian
                > political sponsors in order to gain commands. This was a horrid system and
                > we all can name poloitical generals in any theater who did far more damage
                > than good for the war effort.
                > Unlike most of his Federal comtemporaries, Thomas came from a Southern
                > state and thus had no "hometown" backers with clout who could go to bat for
                > him. Secondly, despite his being loyal to the Union, many politicians
                > distrusted him especially at the beginning of the war.
                > Having said that, it makes me feel that GHT made a costly mistake when he
                > turned down command of the Army of the Ohio. We have gone over the reasons
                > for this on this forum recently and given the situation, it is understandable
                > why GHT refused the offer. The AotO was a mess at this point and anyone
                > might've said no. Unfortunately not being a military man attuned to the
                > politics of the system he was in, I think GHT cost himself dearly.
                > When Buell was replaced after Perryville, Thomas was bypassed in favor of
                > Rosecrans. GHT's objection was not to Rosecrans personally but to the
                > manipulation of the seniority system, especially when the dates of Rosecrans
                > rank were changed. GHT made his beef, then shut his mouth and took the job
                > to help Rosy.
                > I dont recall a sense that GHT didnt want command of the AotC after
                > Rosecrans was sacked . IIRC, he felt loyalty to Rosecrans and I think any
                > hesitancy he may have displayed was due to disappointment that Rosy was being
                > removed. I think he felt it unfair that Rosy had lost his job and wanted to
                > show support. By this time GHT was more than ready to assume command of the
                > AotC.
                >
                > Kent Dorr
              • bobaldrich2001 <aldrichr@dsmo.com>
                Thanks Kent, this helps clarify his motives -- I guess they re not so mysterious after all. Best Wishes, Bob Aldrich ... Rosecrans ended up with the job,that
                Message 7 of 12 , Jan 1, 2003
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                  Thanks Kent, this helps clarify his motives -- I guess they're not so
                  mysterious after all.

                  Best Wishes,

                  Bob Aldrich

                  --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "melchizedek22
                  <richthofen@b...>" <richthofen@b...> wrote:
                  > Thomas was more than ready to replace Buell,it
                  > was a mistake on his part to not jump at the chance instead
                  Rosecrans ended up with the job,that should have been Thomas's The
                  Baron
                  >
                  >
                  > - In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, DORR64OVI@a... wrote:
                  > > I think you have to look at Thomas's command opportunities
                  (and any
                  > > Federal officer's) within the context of Army protocol as well as
                  > > civilian/military politics. Army officers in that day really
                  needed civilian
                  > > political sponsors in order to gain commands. This was a horrid
                  system and
                  > > we all can name poloitical generals in any theater who did far
                  more damage
                  > > than good for the war effort.
                  > > Unlike most of his Federal comtemporaries, Thomas came from a
                  Southern
                  > > state and thus had no "hometown" backers with clout who could go
                  to bat for
                  > > him. Secondly, despite his being loyal to the Union, many
                  politicians
                  > > distrusted him especially at the beginning of the war.
                  > > Having said that, it makes me feel that GHT made a costly
                  mistake when he
                  > > turned down command of the Army of the Ohio. We have gone over
                  the reasons
                  > > for this on this forum recently and given the situation, it is
                  understandable
                  > > why GHT refused the offer. The AotO was a mess at this point and
                  anyone
                  > > might've said no. Unfortunately not being a military man attuned
                  to the
                  > > politics of the system he was in, I think GHT cost himself dearly.
                  > > When Buell was replaced after Perryville, Thomas was bypassed
                  in favor of
                  > > Rosecrans. GHT's objection was not to Rosecrans personally but
                  to the
                  > > manipulation of the seniority system, especially when the dates
                  of Rosecrans
                  > > rank were changed. GHT made his beef, then shut his mouth and
                  took the job
                  > > to help Rosy.
                  > > I dont recall a sense that GHT didnt want command of the AotC
                  after
                  > > Rosecrans was sacked . IIRC, he felt loyalty to Rosecrans and I
                  think any
                  > > hesitancy he may have displayed was due to disappointment that
                  Rosy was being
                  > > removed. I think he felt it unfair that Rosy had lost his job
                  and wanted to
                  > > show support. By this time GHT was more than ready to assume
                  command of the
                  > > AotC.
                  > >
                  > > Kent Dorr
                • Dave Smith <dmsmith001@yahoo.com>
                  There is something, I think, to a parallel between Thomas and William J. Hardee, who didn t want the temporary command of the AoT after Bragg s resignation,
                  Message 8 of 12 , Jan 2, 2003
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                    There is something, I think, to a parallel between Thomas and William
                    J. Hardee, who didn't want the temporary command of the AoT after
                    Bragg's resignation, and then got upset when the command was given to
                    Johnston.

                    Dave

                    --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "bobaldrich2001 <aldrichr@d...>"
                    <aldrichr@d...> wrote:
                    > Thanks Kent, this helps clarify his motives -- I guess they're not
                    so
                    > mysterious after all.
                    >
                    > Best Wishes,
                    >
                    > Bob Aldrich
                    >
                    > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "melchizedek22
                    > <richthofen@b...>" <richthofen@b...> wrote:
                    > > Thomas was more than ready to replace Buell,it
                    > > was a mistake on his part to not jump at the chance instead
                    > Rosecrans ended up with the job,that should have been Thomas's The
                    > Baron
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > - In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, DORR64OVI@a... wrote:
                    > > > I think you have to look at Thomas's command
                    opportunities
                    > (and any
                    > > > Federal officer's) within the context of Army protocol as well
                    as
                    > > > civilian/military politics. Army officers in that day really
                    > needed civilian
                    > > > political sponsors in order to gain commands. This was a
                    horrid
                    > system and
                    > > > we all can name poloitical generals in any theater who did far
                    > more damage
                    > > > than good for the war effort.
                    > > > Unlike most of his Federal comtemporaries, Thomas came from
                    a
                    > Southern
                    > > > state and thus had no "hometown" backers with clout who could
                    go
                    > to bat for
                    > > > him. Secondly, despite his being loyal to the Union, many
                    > politicians
                    > > > distrusted him especially at the beginning of the war.
                    > > > Having said that, it makes me feel that GHT made a costly
                    > mistake when he
                    > > > turned down command of the Army of the Ohio. We have gone over
                    > the reasons
                    > > > for this on this forum recently and given the situation, it is
                    > understandable
                    > > > why GHT refused the offer. The AotO was a mess at this point
                    and
                    > anyone
                    > > > might've said no. Unfortunately not being a military man
                    attuned
                    > to the
                    > > > politics of the system he was in, I think GHT cost himself
                    dearly.
                    > > > When Buell was replaced after Perryville, Thomas was
                    bypassed
                    > in favor of
                    > > > Rosecrans. GHT's objection was not to Rosecrans personally but
                    > to the
                    > > > manipulation of the seniority system, especially when the dates
                    > of Rosecrans
                    > > > rank were changed. GHT made his beef, then shut his mouth and
                    > took the job
                    > > > to help Rosy.
                    > > > I dont recall a sense that GHT didnt want command of the
                    AotC
                    > after
                    > > > Rosecrans was sacked . IIRC, he felt loyalty to Rosecrans and
                    I
                    > think any
                    > > > hesitancy he may have displayed was due to disappointment that
                    > Rosy was being
                    > > > removed. I think he felt it unfair that Rosy had lost his job
                    > and wanted to
                    > > > show support. By this time GHT was more than ready to assume
                    > command of the
                    > > > AotC.
                    > > >
                    > > > Kent Dorr
                  • SDE80@aol.com
                    In a message dated 1/2/2003 6:40:44 AM Eastern Standard Time, ... Didn t get upset relative to JEJ, he got upset relative to Hood. Big difference. Sam Elliott
                    Message 9 of 12 , Jan 2, 2003
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                      In a message dated 1/2/2003 6:40:44 AM Eastern Standard Time, dmsmith001@... writes:

                      There is something, I think, to a parallel between Thomas and William
                      J. Hardee, who didn't want the temporary command of the AoT after
                      Bragg's resignation, and then got upset when the command was given to
                      Johnston.


                      Didn't get upset relative to JEJ, he got upset relative to Hood.  Big difference.

                      Sam Elliott
                    • Dave Smith <dmsmith001@yahoo.com>
                      Sam, I don t think I m mistaken - didn t Hardee turn down command immmediately after Bragg s resignation, but then come across as upset when the official
                      Message 10 of 12 , Jan 2, 2003
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                        Sam,

                        I don't think I'm mistaken - didn't Hardee turn down command
                        immmediately after Bragg's resignation, but then come across as upset
                        when the official command was not offered to him, but to Johnston.

                        I need to check Connelly.

                        Dave

                        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, SDE80@a... wrote:
                        > In a message dated 1/2/2003 6:40:44 AM Eastern Standard Time,
                        > dmsmith001@y... writes:
                        >
                        > > There is something, I think, to a parallel between Thomas and
                        William
                        > > J. Hardee, who didn't want the temporary command of the AoT after
                        > > Bragg's resignation, and then got upset when the command was
                        given to
                        > > Johnston.
                        > >
                        >
                        > Didn't get upset relative to JEJ, he got upset relative to Hood.
                        Big
                        > difference.
                        >
                        > Sam Elliott
                      • SDE80@aol.com
                        In a message dated 1/2/2003 9:23:47 AM Eastern Standard Time, ... No, I don t think so. In talking to Hardee s biographer, Nat Hughes, he said the reason he
                        Message 11 of 12 , Jan 2, 2003
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                          In a message dated 1/2/2003 9:23:47 AM Eastern Standard Time, dmsmith001@... writes:

                          I don't think I'm mistaken - didn't Hardee turn down command
                          immmediately after Bragg's resignation, but then come across as upset
                          when the official command was not offered to him, but to Johnston


                          No, I don't think so.  In talking to Hardee's biographer, Nat Hughes, he said the reason he turned it down is because he thought JEJ was the right man for the job, not to avoid responsibility.

                          Sam
                        • bjer50010 <bjewell@iastate.edu>
                          ... (and any ... needed civilian ... system and ... damage ... Exactly true. This is very definitely a problem with how the army was run early on. But by the
                          Message 12 of 12 , Jan 2, 2003
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                            --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, DORR64OVI@a... wrote:
                            > I think you have to look at Thomas's command opportunities
                            (and any
                            > Federal officer's) within the context of Army protocol as well as
                            > civilian/military politics. Army officers in that day really
                            needed civilian
                            > political sponsors in order to gain commands. This was a horrid
                            system and
                            > we all can name poloitical generals in any theater who did far more
                            damage
                            > than good for the war effort.

                            Exactly true. This is very definitely a problem with how the army
                            was run early on. But by the same token some political generals
                            became very competent leaders.

                            > Unlike most of his Federal comtemporaries, Thomas came from a
                            Southern
                            > state and thus had no "hometown" backers with clout who could go to
                            bat for
                            > him.

                            I agree with this assessment. He very definitely lacked political
                            clout. But as a point of discussion, prior to Perryville, had he
                            really performed anything notable, even if he had had such backing,
                            to justify placing him in command of the army? IIRC, outside of Mill
                            Springs, he had not seen much combat; he missed the biggest show in
                            the west to that point, Shiloh.

                            >Secondly, despite his being loyal to the Union, many politicians
                            > distrusted him especially at the beginning of the war.

                            But he did have strong allies, including his ex-roommate, WT Sherman,
                            who strongly recommended him to his brother early on in the war. In
                            fact, it could be argued that without Sherman, Thomas might never
                            have gotten a commission in the Union army. Perhaps Thomas should
                            have made more of that connection.

                            > Having said that, it makes me feel that GHT made a costly
                            mistake when he
                            > turned down command of the Army of the Ohio. We have gone over the
                            reasons
                            > for this on this forum recently and given the situation, it is
                            understandable
                            > why GHT refused the offer. The AotO was a mess at this point and
                            anyone
                            > might've said no. Unfortunately not being a military man attuned
                            to the
                            > politics of the system he was in, I think GHT cost himself dearly.

                            It was certainly unfortunate that the decision to remove Buell was so
                            untimely. Had it been done several weeks earlier Thomas would have
                            had time to do something with the AotO and may have won a big
                            victory. But given the timing of the actual attempt to replace
                            Buell, Thomas made the correct decision. But do you think if his
                            performance at Perryville had been better that he might have been the
                            choice later on?

                            > When Buell was replaced after Perryville, Thomas was bypassed
                            in favor of
                            > Rosecrans. GHT's objection was not to Rosecrans personally but to
                            the
                            > manipulation of the seniority system, especially when the dates of
                            Rosecrans
                            > rank were changed. GHT made his beef, then shut his mouth and took
                            the job
                            > to help Rosy.

                            Which does him a great deal of credit. GHT was an extremely loyal
                            officer, just being a Southerner in the Union army shows that. But
                            again for the sake of argument, what had Thomas accomplished of note
                            to that point? Mill Springs and good, not outstanding service with
                            the AotO. But Rosecrans, in addition to some political clout, also
                            had Iuka/Corinth behind him. ISTM, that political clout is one
                            thing, but a general also had to show some battlefield successes to
                            get noticed. Thomas simply did not have those at the time.

                            > I dont recall a sense that GHT didnt want command of the AotC
                            after
                            > Rosecrans was sacked . IIRC, he felt loyalty to Rosecrans and I
                            think any
                            > hesitancy he may have displayed was due to disappointment that Rosy
                            was being
                            > removed. I think he felt it unfair that Rosy had lost his job and
                            wanted to
                            > show support. By this time GHT was more than ready to assume
                            command of the
                            > AotC.
                            >

                            I agree with this point. Rosy had unfortunately fallen afoul of US
                            Grant, who was rapidly on the rise and that meant he was gone. Of
                            course the debacle at Chickamauga didn't help Rosy, but it did bring
                            GHT to the fore. He had finally accomplished something which made
                            him stand out from the pack.

                            > Kent Dorr

                            JB Jewell
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