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Re: Thomas and command offers

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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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