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Re: [civilwarwest] Joe Johnston the Confederacy's best hope in the West #2

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  • Ronald black
    JEJ aka Wayne: Your post is a good summary of a deplorable situation that existed Johnston and President Davis. (No comment is necessary concerning Hood and
    Message 1 of 4 , May 22, 2006
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      JEJ aka Wayne:
      Your post is a good summary of a deplorable situation that existed Johnston and President Davis.  (No comment is necessary concerning Hood and Wheeler)  Both must share blame but if Davis had a proper army staff composed of qualified officers at army HQ, then they could have helped to ease the strain.  This staff should have included some independent thinkers to balance the army staff.
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Thursday, May 18, 2006 8:34 PM
      Subject: [civilwarwest] Joe Johnston the Confederacy's best hope in the West #2

      <<I will admit that I am biased towards JEJ, mainly because I think that he is too often bashed by authors and others because his style of fighting was not like that of Hood or Lee. >>
      I posted this previously and within that post, I said I would continue in looking at Joe Johnston pragmatically even though I do admit to being biased.
      I left off the last post with JEJ's difficulty in dealing with Davis and that he did have a friend in Richmond, Wigfall, to whom he could communicate in confidence.  Another individual that he could communicate with, was with his brother Beverly.  Davis would criticize Johnston publicly amongst government officials, especially after the fall of Vicksburg.  The Richmond Sentinel published parts of Pemberton's official correspondence with Davis that was derogatory to JEJ.  JEJ wrote to his brother Beverly that it was necessary to correct this and to assure that his positive reputation would remain intact.  Beverly in return, gave the   letter to Wigfall who assured him that the record would be set right..  Wigfall's estimate of Davis was that his bad judgement of men and bad temper together will ruin the country unless he is controlled.
      I believe much of the brouhaha that existed between the President and JEJ was primarily due to the ego of Davis.   Johnston also fed into this having a high ego himself and thus, it was a continuing no win situation between the two of them.  I also criticize Davis for un professionalism in assisting in the breaking of the traditional chain of command.
      Hood was a brave man, but he also was a brown noser.  Prior to leaving for Dalton, he said to Davis, "Mr President, why don't you come and lead us yourself?  I would follow you to the death."   Davis requested that he be kept up the activities of the AOT and Hood agreed to send reports directly to him without JEJ's knowledge on the AOT,   Of course, Hood, having Lee as his Guru, thought that the only way to win was to attack.  His letters would criticize JEJ and gave statistics that would conflict with those given by JEJ.  In April, he wrote to Davis criticizing JEJ:  "How unfortunate for our country it is for the Generals in the field to fail to cooperate with the authorities of the Government."   The biggest problem was however, JEJ was totally oblivious to this correspondence between a subordinate he admired and trusted with  the President.  
      Hood was only one individual JEJ had to contend with.  Wheeler was also in contact with Davis and Seddon.  Polk and several others that were part of the anti-Bragg faction also had a problem with following JEJ's orders and if they did obeyed them, took their own sweet time in doing so.  Hood, as a dreamer wrote Davis that he envisioned the AOT totally destroying the Union forces South of the Ohio and Davis then receive a letter from JEJ that if Sherman brought troops up from Mississippi to join Thomas,  he would need reinforcements to hold his position at Dalton.  As a result of much of this, JEJ's letters and requests were taken by Davis and the government as poor excuses. Davis would take JEJ's letters as an exaggeration of his army's weakness and that he refused to advance like Hood said that they were able to.
      In lieu of this, when evaluating JEJ, always remember he did not have to fight just one enemy at a time.  Besides fighting Sherman, he had to fight Davis, Hood, and those that followed his orders only when they felt to do so.
      More to come later
      JEJ    aka    Wayne

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