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Re: [civilwarwest] Re: Thomas at Louisville

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  • Robert Taubman
    Fortunately or unfortunately, semantics and interpretation play a large role in discussions here. What it eventually boils down to is one person s opinion
    Message 1 of 69 , Aug 1, 2001
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      Fortunately or unfortunately, semantics and interpretation play a large role in
      discussions here. What it eventually boils down to is one person's opinion
      based on his/her interpretation of how certain facts are presented. Some may
      agree with each other, some may not.

      We still don't know what the meaning of the "suspended" order is/was or how to
      interpret it. But it was "suspended", at least according to the OR.

      However, decline, refuse can be found at http://www.wordsmyth.net/home.html and
      you can make your own interpretation from that.

      And I know this isn't the last word on the subject but what the hey, it's too
      hot outside anyway.

      Bob "complains about the cold as well" Taubman
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Dave Smith" <dmsmith001@...>
      To: <civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2001 12:03 PM
      Subject: [civilwarwest] Re: Thomas at Louisville


      | --- In civilwarwest@y..., josepharose@y... wrote:
      | > Dave,
      | >
      | > I didn't write that you said that Thomas "refused to follow an
      | > order." I did used the word "refusing" to characterize the word
      | > you first used "declined." In my dictionary, "refuse" is the first
      | > synonym given for "decline." I'm sorry if you think that the
      | > meaning of "decline" isn't close enough to that of "refuse."
      |
      | In my Webster's Seventh (Brown University edition) the only synonyms
      | listed are renounce, reject, and deny.
      |
      | All are a lot more positive than "decline."
      |
      | Sigh.
      |
      | You said:
      |
      | > I'm pretty surprised by your opinion.
      |
      | What follows would, I assume, be your interpretation of what I'd
      | previously said.
      |
      | This was Joe:
      | > I think that the difference between refusing to follow an order and
      | > requesting that an order--which would redound to one's own benefit--
      | > be dismissed is big enough to drive a truck through.
      |
      | Now, I think, and may be wrong, but the only difference between the
      | two is "refusing to follow an order," a (which is it?) present tense
      | expression, and "refused to follow an order," which reflects a past
      | tense. Now, I think, in your expression, you were speaking of Thomas
      | (a pretty reasonable assumption in these here parts), and I was, so
      | aren't the two the same?
      |
      | You said that I said Thomas refused an order. I did not.
      |
      | Unlike some other posters, who see Thomas's declination as some form
      | of disobedience, I don't see it that way. Washington, for whatever
      | reason, saw fit to accept it (which will have its various
      | interpretations, pro-Thomas and con-Thomas), and not try to enforce
      | it on him again.
      |
      | ObCivilWarWest: I can only conclude that given the obvious
      | dissatisfaction on the part of Halleck with Buell's performance (he
      | even told H.G. Wright in Cincinnati that the whole command would go
      | to the first major general to do something positive), this refusal,
      | declination, hesitation, or whatever you want to call it on the part
      | of George Thomas did not help further his career.
      |
      | We shan't discuss semantics any more, but if you want to discuss the
      | effect that Thomas's turning down of the command had on his further
      | career, I'll be glad to discuss it further.
      |
      | Dave
      |
      | Dave Smith
      | Villa Hills, KY
      |
      |
      |
      |
      |
      |
      |
      | Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      |
      |
    • Bob Huddleston
      The first chapter ( article ) of the Civil War Army Regulations: ARTICLE I. MILITARY DISCIPLINE. 1. All inferiors are required to obey strictly, and to
      Message 69 of 69 , Aug 4, 2001
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        The first chapter ("article") of the Civil War Army Regulations:


        "ARTICLE I.

        MILITARY DISCIPLINE.

        1. All inferiors are required to obey strictly, and to execute with
        alacrity and good faith, the lawful orders of the superiors appointed
        over them."

        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
        incompetent one.

        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.

        Take care,

        Bob

        Judy and Bob Huddleston
        10643 Sperry Street
        Northglenn, CO 80234-3612
        303.451.6276 Adco@...

        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?

        Joseph
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