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Re: [civilwarwest] An alternative choice for Hood

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  • Ronald black
    Hood had the initiative in the Nashville Campaign of late 1864. His army was formed and in movement. The federal forces were forming their forces and moving
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 13, 2007
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      Hood had the initiative in the Nashville Campaign of late 1864.  His army was formed and in movement.  The federal forces were forming their forces and moving troops back and forth.  They did not know Hood's plan or goal.  The federal task was to organize and defend Nashville.  This penned Thomas's men to a static role while their forces at Columbia were retreating.  Following the terrible loss and large casualties suffered at the Battle of Franklin, Hood's army had fewer choices and possibilities.  His movement to Nashville was to safe guard his army as well as putting pressure on the federal forces and Thomas.  The safeguard for Hood was to put his men into positions and stop the marching specially during the harsh winter.  Grant would not stand for that and so, the Battle of Nashville. 
       
      A move to Murfreesboro would have been questionable.  The capacity of the rebel forces may allow the occupation of one or the other but not both for a long time period.  Since Murfreesboro was on the railroad to Chattooga, the ever increasing strength of the federal forces would not have allowed them to allow the rebels alone in Murfreesboro.  But, if a federal attack came later then the actual Battle of Nashville, on less hilly terrain, in better weather than possibly Hood would lose Murfreesboro but with less losses and not as complete a destruction as at Nashville.  At Murfreesboro, the federals would have to advance, not Hood, and the rebels would have proper notice of Thomas's advance and attack.  Hood still loses and with less loss. 
       
      Ron
       
       ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 3:19 PM
      Subject: [civilwarwest] An alternative choice for Hood

      I was interested to find in Stanley Horn's "The Decisive Battle of
      Nashville" (published mid-1950's) a strategic choice for Hood that
      very few historians since have touched on. Horn presented the
      choices available to Hood on December 1st, after the slaughter at
      Franklin, and one of these was follows: Hood could have moved north
      by northeast, probably overwhelmed the Murfreesboro garrison, and
      entrenched there. In Horn's estimate, this would have (rough
      paraphrase) "restored the strategic picture of circa late-1862"
      (i.e., when Bragg took post at Murfreesboro after the KY Campaign).

      It's very interesting that no one has dealt with this since then.
      Certainly we can all agree that standing still at Franklin would have
      done Hood no good; nor did his move to Nashville ultimately turn out
      favorably (!). By following the above suggestion, Hood might have
      been able to achieve at least a substantive victory in middle
      Tennessee, perhaps to counteract Franklin. Additionally, when the
      weather finally clears in mid-December, Thomas has to advance south
      from Nashville a greater distance in order to reach Hood. Would
      Thomas have been able to cover the distance involved before the snow
      storms of mid-to-late December set in (it took Rosecrans at least
      five days in 1862 to get everyone in position outside Murfreesboro
      before the battle)? If he hadn't, would he have risked an attack in
      the midst of the storm (considering that he had waited for better
      weather before launching the Dec. 15-16th attacks, I personally find
      this a doubtful outcome, but one never knows...), or would he have
      waited for the spring thaw of 1865? How does this effect the larger
      strategic picture of the last year of the war?

      Thoughts?

      Dan


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    • James W. Durney
      ... the rebels would have proper notice of Thomas s advance and attack. Hood still loses and with less loss. ... or they could hold the roads both North and
      Message 2 of 6 , Dec 13, 2007
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        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Ronald black" <rblack0981@...>
        wrote:
        >
        >
        > At Murfreesboro, the federals would have to advance, not Hood, and
        the rebels would have proper notice of Thomas's advance and attack.
        Hood still loses and with less loss.
        >
        >

        or they could hold the roads both North and South, allowing Hood to
        starve and freeze. In the end, with a weaker army and fewer supplies
        Hood would have to surrender or attack.
      • keeno2@aol.com
        Sight problem in that Murphreesboro is SSE of Franklin. And it would have been a retrograde movement. Almost any alternative would have made more sense than
        Message 3 of 6 , Dec 13, 2007
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          Sight problem in that Murphreesboro is SSE of Franklin. And it would have been a retrograde movement. Almost any alternative would have made more sense than Franklin and then advancing on Nashville following that. That late in '64, he couldn't last parked just about anywhere he wanted.
           
          Just a thought.
           
          ken



        • keeno2@aol.com
          In a message dated 12/13/2007 2:30:07 P.M. Central Standard Time, SDE80@aol.com writes: I don t recall if there was a rail line operating from Corinth to
          Message 4 of 6 , Dec 13, 2007
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            In a message dated 12/13/2007 2:30:07 P.M. Central Standard Time, SDE80@... writes:
            I don't recall if there was a rail line operating from Corinth to Tuscumbia/Florence
            There was, but the last 7 or 9 miles of it was tore up so anything shipped on it had to be toted by wagon the rest of the way anyway.
             
            ken



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