Re: Thomas at Louisville
- Thanks for addressing the political angle, which in general I'd love
to hear more of. It seems to me, though, that implicit in what you
are saying is that, in addition to the election factor and the
warning to McClellan, there *was* a sort of connection between the
firings of Buell/McClellan and the EP. In the EP, Lincoln was taking
the war to a new level. In fact, wasn't the EP technically justified
as a "contraband confiscation" matter? So, in order to implement the
EP, it made sense to eliminate generals who would be less than
aggressive in carrying it out.
What was the mentality of somebody like Buell? (And were there other
WT generals with similar views?) Did he rationalize that
confiscating property/slaves would not make a "military" difference,
or did he see the war as something less than a "real" war? If the
latter, did he hope that the two sides would get tired of fighting
and negotiate a reunion, or did he accept separation as a fait
accompli and think he was fighting over which states would remain in
I'm wondering if there was any counterpart to this issue on the
Confederate side. Was Johnston, for example, or any other general
disfavored because he was seen as "soft" on protection of slavery?
E.g., conceding ground to Grant and Sherman may have protected his
army but at the cost of losing control of territory and slaves.
--- In civilwarwest@y..., "Bob Huddleston" <adco1@r...> wrote:
> I am more inclined to believe that the firing of Buell was related
> the firing of McClellan. Buell was a McClellanite and a practioner
> "soft" war, leaving Rebel citizens and their "property" (the
> word for slaves) alone. Buell's relief was a warning, a shot across
> bows, as it were, that McClellan needed to get his army across the
> Potomac and get on with the war. The EP was issued at the same time,
> just after Antietam and just before the October state elections.
> In those days, elections took the place of the NFL/MLBB, etc., as
> great spectator sport. They seemed to be constantly happening. Many
> states elected governors and state representatives in October,
> presidents in November every four years, and US representatives
> in October or November -- and some states chose their US
> at scattered dates during the rest of the year.
> The new Congress did not meet until December of odd numbered years,
> or 14 months after most of the representatives had been chosen. One
> the reasons Lincoln delayed calling Congress into special session
> days after Fort Sumter was that several states had to have time to
> special elections to chose their representatives.
> The majority *were* chosen in October and November of even numbered
> years. Antietam and the EP came immediately before the elections.
> Historians usually talk about how the Republicans "lost" the 1862
> elections, but the reality was that the party in the White House
> loses seats in the mid-term elections -- and the EP was issued to
> an impact on the election by bringing out the anti-slavery and
> Abolitionist vote. It worked: the Republican losses in 1862 were the
> smallest since before the Mexican War.
> A day or so after the states which voted in November had spoken,
> McClellan, barely across the Potomac and in slow, slow pursuit of
> who now had a head start, was finally fired. Like the EP,
> firing was politically timed.
> Take care,
> Judy and Bob Huddleston
> 10643 Sperry Street
> Northglenn, CO 80234-3612
> 303.451.6276 Adco@F...
> I still want to know what the connection is between the Emancipation
> Proclamation and Buell's being replaced. Must be another myth.
> Bob "never retreat in the face of adversity - like a Rock" Taubman
- The first chapter ("article") of the Civil War Army Regulations:
1. All inferiors are required to obey strictly, and to execute with
alacrity and good faith, the lawful orders of the superiors appointed
There is nothing wrong about raising some questions about an order --
which Thomas did. But when the order is given, an officer (whether in
1862 or 2001) is to obey the order. When CW generals turned down orders
to take command, the War Department respected and accepted those
refusals: an unwilling commander is likely to be worse than an
In Thomas' case(s), when offered army or independent command, he
consistently turned the offer down (until Chattanooga). To me -- and I
imagine to Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Stanton and Gen. Halleck -- that is the same
as telling your superior that you have no desire for such a position.
Judy and Bob Huddleston
10643 Sperry Street
Northglenn, CO 80234-3612
You stated, "a soldier has the responsibility to obey an order. Was
it customary or allowable for a general to question his superiors
about an order?
You stated, "Thomas refused." No, he didn't.
You stated, "Since Thomas had told them that he had no desire to be
an Army commander ...." I'm sorry, but I must have missed something;
when did Thomas say that?