Re: [civilwarwest] Some thoughts on Thomas-- Lots and lots of supposition
At 09:02 9/3/00 -0500, you wrote:
> 1. The 'passing' on the order of command in September 62 I feel is aI don't think I ignore it. I simply feel that his unique position in the
>critical action the significance of which many Thomas was the GREATEST
>advocates overlook or ignore.
Union hierarchy explained the decision of a man who was trying to avoid
"all appearance of impropriety". There weren't many of his contemporaries
who had the same scruples.
>The two mostWere they really all that close?
>prominent victims of the coup were Little Mac and his friend and protege
>When Thomas 'passed' with words to the effect I am not up to it-- it simplyMaybe, maybe not. Lincoln was pretty good at taking the longer view, and he
>had to have marked him in Lincoln's mind.
understood politics very well.
> whatever motivated Thomas (personal loyalty as his supporters suggestNeither as far as I am concerned. I think he was trying to protect his
>or lack of self-confidence as Thomas himself seemed to state)
effectiveness as he went about building the world's first modern army,
still a model today.
>irretreiveable member of the McClellan-Buell -Porter crowd who apparentlyThat is not fair to Buell.
>did not really believe in civilian command of the military or was at worse
>not really commited to winning of the war.
>2. Thomas' personality we are told was somewhat reserved, somewhatThat's a fine reason for putting Sherman in charge for the campaign against
>aristocratic and perhaps a tad standoffish?
>Neither Grant nor Sherman would haveThat was part of the problem. Thomas was right so often. That Patterson,
>taken to a subordinate who seemed to desire to dominate them from his
>subordinate position. Even Thomas' supporters I think have to admit that
>Thomas seemed to excell in this exact role with both Buell and Rosey.
Rosecrans, and Sherman too often did not accept his advice lengthened the
> 3. Thomas unquestionably lacked any political base.It's hard for us today to correctly estimate the importance of this base in
those times. I try.
>4. Thomas' battle field successes as a subordinate where like many in theAlso by the work of Thomas's subordinates whom he had assiduously trained.
>war acheived with a healthy dose of commander support, good luck and enemy
>ineptitude. Thomas' holding of the center at Murfreesboro was certainly
>aided by Bishop Polk's performance.
Thomas' holding of the left at
>Chickamauga was some might argue initially acheived at the expense of undulyThomas was protecting the only road back to Chattanooga, Thomas had warned
>weaking of the right and that even after Thomas had been given all the
>support he had asked for
Rosecrans about chasing Bragg too precipitously, Thomas knew they were in
hot water, and Thomas did not underestimate Bragg (fashionable even back
Breckenridge did belatedly open the battle on the
>20th by partially flanking Thomas' position. Further Thomas' heroic andNot entirely fortuitous. He was placed by Rosecrans with a corps a couple
>justifiably admired defense on the 20th was made possible by Granger's
>totally unexpected and incredibly fortutious arrival.
of miles to the north specifically to be the reserve. He could hear what
much of what was going on. Even with Granger's addition, it was about
35,000 Union troops against about 60,000 Confederate troops, all afternoon
long. The achievement was without parallel because the level of training of
Thomas's troops was without parallel. After the battle, Thomas is reported
to have got down from his horse to shake the hand of a private and thank
him for having won the battle for him.