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Support for Grant having something against Thomas

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  • taurus37@hotmail.com
    George Thomas was easily one of the most capable generals Grant ever had under his command. Sherman, Sheridan and McPherson (this one is VERY debatable) are
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2001
      George Thomas was easily one of the most capable generals Grant ever
      had under his command. Sherman, Sheridan and McPherson (this one is
      VERY debatable) are some others. Among these generals, with the
      possible exception of Sheridan, they were all slow to move or failed
      to attack in several situations. Yet Thomas is the only one who comes
      under any criticism for it. There is no criticism of Sherman for his
      late arrival at Chattanooga, instead Grant credits this to the
      weather. Here's an excerpt from Grant's memoirs;

      "His march was conducted with as much expedition as the roads and
      season would admit of . . . Sherman received his orders at the ferry,
      and was asked if he could not be ready for the assault the following
      morning . . . It was impossible to get Sherman's troops up for the
      next day. I then asked him if they could not be got up to make the
      assault on the morning of the 22d, and ordered Thomas to move on that
      date. But the elements were against us. It rained all the 20th and
      21st. The river rose so rapidly that it was difficult to keep the
      pontoons in place "

      Yet when Thomas failed to attack in front of Nashville, citing
      weather, Grant simply continued to send a flurry of dispatches
      ordering him to attack. Why Grant was willing to accept weather as an
      acceptable reason for delay in Sherman's case, and not Thomas I don't
      understand. This shows a double standard.

      And when McPherson, Sherman or Sheridan does make a mistake Grant
      makes sure to point out that he agreed with the decision when it was
      made. For example Grant does tell us that McPherson failed to
      entrench at Shiloh, but he quickly throws his own support behind the
      decision, saying the troops needed drill and training and that
      entrenching was a rare at that time in the West.

      As for the preemptive attack Grant suggested Thomas make at
      Chattanooga before Sherman and Hooker arrived, later authors would
      agree with Thomas. Fuller, writes, "The only thing Grant could do was
      attack, but Thomas very rightly persuaded him to delay a forward
      movement." I haven't read any sources that agree with Grant that the
      attack should have been made as he originally conceived it, before
      Sherman and Hooker arrived. If someone finds one please feel free to

      Even Bruce Catton, who is generally supportive of Grant, wrote of the
      incident with Thomas before Nashville, "For the only time in his
      career Grant was suffering from a case of the jitters. It appears
      that under everything there was some coolness between Grant and
      Thomas. Ordinarily a first-rate judge of soldiers, Grant never quite
      rated Thomas at his true worth, and now he was unable to contain
      himself. It quickly became evident that Grant was indulging in a lot
      of needless worrying." (Catton, The Civil War).

      Both of these men, Fuller and Catton, had a high opinion of Grant,
      and yet they were still willing to admit that Grant was wrong in both
      these situations. In fact Catton goes so far as to state that the
      relationship between Grant and Thomas was not good.

      I agree that many of my points are contentious, and anyone is more
      than welcome to argue with them. But these are the reasons why I
      believe Grant had something against Thomas. Thanks.
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