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Re: Thomas and Duplicity

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  • bjer50010 <bjewell@iastate.edu>
    ... [snip] ... Thomas stated that until Sherman apprised him of the situation the he had never heard of Keim. That is fine as far as it goes. My problem with
    Message 1 of 84 , Jan 2, 2003
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      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose <josepharose@y...>"
      <josepharose@y...> wrote:
      > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "bjer50010 <bjewell@i...>"
      > <bjewell@i...> wrote:
      > > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "josepharose
      > <josepharose@y...>"
      > > <josepharose@y...> wrote:
      > > > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, Aurelie1999@a... wrote:
      > > > > In a message dated 12/31/2002 1:53:11 PM Central Standard
      > Time,
      > > > > dmsmith001@y... writes:
      > > [snip]
      [snip]

      > > And you are showing that your entire defense is based on
      > ignorance.
      > > Thomas's statement "I do not know why Genl. Sherman should have
      > > ordered him (Keim) to be sent to me for punishment, as I did not
      > know
      > > anything about him" refers to the fact that Thomas did NOT
      > understand
      > > why the case was being referred to him, not that he did not know
      > > Keim.
      >
      > Actually, it refers to both.
      >

      Thomas stated that until Sherman apprised him of the situation the he
      had never heard of Keim. That is fine as far as it goes. My problem
      with his statements to McPherson is that he should have made them to
      Sherman in reply to his original message rather than strongly
      recommend the execution of a man "I did not know anything about".
      Instead, his reply to Sherman can easily be read as tacit approval of
      Sherman's intentions to have Thomas try and possibly execute Keim.

      > > Reread Kent Dorr's excellent post #15254, which is a well-
      > > written and well-balanced answer to Connie's original post, and
      > you
      > > will find he draws the same conclusion.
      > >
      > > > Thomas' statement that "I did not know anything about him" came
      > > > exactly one day after identifying him. As he did not write, "I
      > > *do*
      > > > not know anything about him," than it stands to reason that he
      > was
      > > > speaking about his knowledge at a past point in time--let's say
      > two
      > > > days before.
      > >

      That's an irrelevant argument.

      > > No. What Thomas is saying is that he did not know anything about
      > > Keim until Sherman drew the article to his attention. Frankly, I
      > > don't know why Sherman wanted Thomas to handle the matter but my
      > > guess would be Sherman and McPherson were too close to him to
      give
      > > him a fair trial.
      >
      > What do you mean, "no"? I agree that "[w]hat Thomas is saying is
      > that he did not know anything about Keim until Sherman drew the
      > article to his attention." Whatever the reason, your suggestion
      > that Sherman wanted Thomas as an impartial judge is not directly
      > relevant to Thomas' alleged disingenuousness.
      >

      Yes it is. Sherman fully intended, and never hid the fact, for
      Thomas to handle the case. This is clear from his original message.
      His use of the phrase "If you request it", while clumsy and
      ambiguous, obviously is intended to inform Thomas that he could
      accept or decline the case. Unfortunately for him, and us, Thomas
      chose to reply to one ambiguous message with an even more ambiguous
      message. Given Sherman wanted Thomas to take the case, why only he
      knew, and sent a message to Thomas clearly indicating that fact.
      Thomas's reply rather strongly endorses a course of action to which
      Sherman had already committed. Whether Thomas intended that or not
      is not relevant, his reply to Sherman clearly supported Sherman's
      idea.

      > > >Please read Thomas as he wrote; he didn't even make a
      > > > poitive ID, merely stating that the article was "written, or
      > > > pretended to be written" by Keim.
      > > >
      > >
      > > I have reread all of the relevant messages several times sir.
      His
      > > statement that "I did not know anything about him" refers to his
      > > inability to understand why Sherman chose him to take care of the
      > > case.
      >
      > . . . and to the fact that he did not know anything--besides the
      > obvious--about Keim.
      >
      > > His answer to McPherson is disingenuous, as he gives the
      > > impression that he has never heard of Keim, which IS untrue.
      >
      > I'm sorry, but it is absurd to argue that Thomas was trying to
      cover
      > up the fact that he read Keim's name in a newspaper article. He
      had
      > nothing to be embarrassed about, he mentioned Keim's name to
      > Sherman, and there is no reason to think he had any reason to plead
      > ignorance of the man's name.
      >

      Who said he was trying to cover up the fact that he had read Keim's
      name in the newspaper? What is disingenuous in Thomas's message to
      McPherson is that his original reply to Sherman was clearly tacit
      approval of Sherman's intentions to have Thomas handle the case and
      then claims ignorance of the case in complaining about it to
      McPherson. Had he written as strongly worded a refusal to Sherman in
      the first place this entire discussion would never have started, he
      didn't and had to live with the consequences.

      > Furthermore, he used the PAST tense.
      >

      Irrelevant.

      > > He also
      > > fails to mention that Sherman's first note came before Thomas
      > > fingered Keim and contains the phrase "If you request it, I will
      > have
      > > him imprisoned and delivered to you for trial". This message is
      > > dated June 29, 1864 and is apparently the first mention of the
      > > incident. Also note, Sherman gives Thomas an out for refusing
      the
      > > assignment in stating "If you request it". Thomas obviously did
      > not
      > > catch the fact that Sherman was giving him an out and his answer
      > > could only have been read by Sherman as acquiescence in the
      > matter.
      > > I see no other reasonable way for Sherman to read Thomas's reply.
      >
      > Thomas clearly stated, "If you request it, I will have him
      > imprisoned and delivered to you for trial." If Thomas didn't
      > *request* it, then there was no cause for Sherman to have dropped
      > Keim on him. Thomas didn't have to acquiesce.
      >

      No he did not. But Sherman's poorly worded first message does not
      excuse Thomas's strong tacit approval in his reply. Sherman may have
      misread his intentions, but ISTM that he had every reason to. Thomas
      strongly endorsed Sherman's plan and did NOT refuse the assignment.
      That Sherman acted accordingly is understandable.

      > It's completely unreasonable for Sherman to state, "[i]f you
      request
      > it," and then go ahead when Thomas DIDN'T request it.
      >

      Read the above. Your argument is unreasonable. Besides, where is
      it written that Sherman was not allowed to change his mind and order
      Thomas to take the assignment with or without his request?
      Commander's perogative. And given Thomas's strong endorsement of
      Sherman's intentions in his original reply Sherman's behaviour was
      completely reasonable.

      > > As to what Thomas replied, "... a dispatch headed "Sherman",
      > written
      > > or pretended to be written by DeB. Randolph Keim and which
      reveals
      > > the very important fact that we are in possession of the secret
      of
      > > the enemy's signals." He goes on to say "Keim is not harbored in
      > the
      > > AotC, and I know not where he is. I forward such action as you
      > may
      > > deem proper in the premises, but am of the opinion that Keim
      > should
      > > be at once executed as a spy." Even assuming you are correct in
      > your
      > > interpretation of Thomas's reply to McPherson how do you explain
      > the
      > > fact that Thomas "didn't even make a poitive (sic)ID, merely
      > stating
      > > that the article was "written, or pretended to be written" by
      > Keim"
      > > but several sentences later makes this pronouncement "but [I] am
      > of
      > > the opinion that Keim should be at once executed as a spy"? Talk
      > > about ignoring facts, either Thomas fingered the man correctly or
      > he
      > > did not, but if the latter ISTM that he acted inappropriately in
      > > recommending execution. Either way there is an element of
      > duplicity
      > > in how he handled the affair.
      >
      > Excuse me, but's it's rather foolish to expect Thomas to
      write "Keim
      > or the person pretending to be Keim" again and again when referring
      > to the specified individual, just two and three sentences after he
      > had already done so.
      >

      I was responding to your apparent argument that Thomas did not even
      know for certain that Keim had written the article. ISTM that Thomas
      did not know whether Keim was his real name or his pen name, but
      Thomas clearly recommended the execution of the man calling himself
      Keim.

      > > > Besides ignoring those facts, you make two, even more obvious
      > > > mistakes. Thomas identified Keim through the article in the
      New
      > > > York Herald. A lowly corporal serving in the Army of the
      > Potomac
      > > > could have "fingered" Keim in this respect just as well as
      > Thomas
      > > > did. In truth, *everyone* who read the article could have
      > > > identified Keim!
      > > >
      > >
      > > So what? Sherman was obviously, in his first message, informing
      > > Thomas that he wanted him to handle the affair. Thomas replies by
      > > identifying the culprit, which Sherman probably knew anyway (he
      > does
      > > refer to the specific issue of the NY Herald which contained the
      > > article), by recommending his execution but he does not take
      > Sherman
      > > up on his offer to refuse the assignment.
      >
      > You are completely misstating the situation. Sherman did not offer
      > Thomas the *choice* of refusing the assignment; to the contrary, he
      > stated that Thomas could "request" the assignment. The two are not
      > at all the same. Thomas DID NOT request it.
      >

      And again, so what? Sherman read Thomas's message as tacit approval
      of and request for the assignment and acted accordingly. But as I
      said above, it doesn't matter, once Sherman made the direct order
      Thomas was honor bound to carry it out whether he requested the task
      or not. To then complain, as he did in his message to McPherson, is
      unreasonable.

      > > > Secondly, if that corporal was even somewhat astute, he could
      > also
      > > > have recommended execution for a reporter who divulged what was
      > > > obviously an important military secret. It doesn't take a very
      > > high
      > > > IQ to recognize that.
      > > >
      > >
      > > Apparently not.
      >
      > Therefore, Thomas may have been as ignorant as the average person
      > about Keim, and there is no reason to criticize him over his
      > statement of that fact.
      >

      But the average person did not write a message to his commanding
      officer, in response to that officer's original message, recommending
      execution of the man. Thomas did so and to later try to hide behind
      his prior ignorance of the situation is disingenuous. Furthermore,
      to inform another officer of your displeasure with an order from a
      superior, without informing that superior of your displeasure is a
      breach of military protocol. Had Thomas as strongly expressed his
      displeasure with the original message as he did to McPherson the
      entire incident would be irrelevant.

      > [snip]
      >
      > Joseph

      JB Jewell
    • josepharose <josepharose@yahoo.com>
      Mr. Weeks, You recently mentioned not having an index to Sherman s memoirs, IIRC, which makes me think that you or others might also not have a digital copy of
      Message 84 of 84 , Mar 3, 2003
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        Mr. Weeks,

        You recently mentioned not having an index to Sherman's memoirs,
        IIRC, which makes me think that you or others might also not have a
        digital copy of that work or of other useful books.

        Would it be helpful, and would your website have the extra megabytes
        (several MBs per book, roughly), for me to upload into your database
        such texts as Sherman's, Grant's, and Sheridan's memoirs and Van
        Horne's biography of Thomas? If so, once I return home, I would be
        glad to do so.

        I could put these in Word and/or .TXT formats.

        Joseph
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