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Re: Thomas and command offers

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  • 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 1 of 12 , Jan 2, 2003
      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 2 of 12 , Jan 2, 2003
        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 3 of 12 , Jan 2, 2003
          --- 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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