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 Posted: Fri Feb 22nd, 2008 02:40 pm
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samhood
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Joined: Tue Sep 6th, 2005
Location: West Virginia USA
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Johan Steele wrote: He genuinely cared for his troops and did what he could to minimze their pain and frankly he did a good job at that. 
Something has always bothered me about Johnston.  I don't doubt that he cared about the troops and always avoided battles that he thought might result in high casualties, but I can't understand how he has evaded all criticism for his attack on Sherman at Bentonville, considering what he wrote after the war.

Johnston wrote in his postwar memoir that he accepted command of the AoT after Hood's resignation,"...with a full consciousness on my part, however, that we could have no other object, in continuing the war, other than to obtain fair terms of peace; for the Southern cause must have appeared hopeless then, to all intelligent and dispassionate Southern men. I therefore resumed the duties of my military grade with no hope beyond that of contributing to obtain peace on such conditions as, under the circumstances, ought to satisfy the Southern people and their Government." Johnston, who criticized Hood for the "useless butchery" at Franklin, nevertheless ordered the Army of Tennessee to attack Sherman's Union army at Bentonville and the ensuing defeat resulted in 3,092 Confederate casualties, including 800 killed.

If Johnston knew in February that the cause was lost and in his own words "hopeless" why did he initiate an attack in March that killed 800 soldiers of the Army of Tennessee?  If Hood's attack at Franklin was considered a waste of life when he was trying to destroy Schofield before he could escape to Nashville, what should the loss of life at Bentonville be called considering the commander himself admitted there was nothing to accomplish?

Last edited on Fri Feb 22nd, 2008 02:52 pm by samhood

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