View single post by Johan Steele
 Posted: Sat Feb 23rd, 2008 05:10 pm
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Johan Steele
Life NRA,SUVCW # 48,Legion 352

Joined: Sat Dec 2nd, 2006
Location: South Of The North 40, Minnesota USA
Posts: 1065

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At both Peachtree Creek & Atlanta (the Battle of) Hood put the blame on the failure of both battles on Hardee. In both cases the man was sorely wrong. At Peachtree Creek he attributed the failure to the "inefficiency" of Hardee... failing to note that Genl Thomas & the AoC had considerable say in the matter. Hood hoped to do w/ 35,000 men what Bragg had failed to do @ Chickamauga w/ 75,000 aka crush Thomas. He failed to move them.

I believe Hood claimed how close to victory he was and how a little "vigor" on the part of Hardee would have won the day. When I read Hoods take on the subject I got the impression Hood would have won if Hardee had struck 3 hours earlier, if the AoC had not acted w/ their usual stubbornness and Thomas had not been the normal solid General he proved over and over again to be and if US soldiers had to march a stupid 12 mile detour to hit his flank (they pretty much just pivoted in place and gave Hoods left merry hell instead). In other words his attack at Peachtree would have been a success if US soldiers were cowards and their generals idiots.

At Atlanta Hood gave the most important task to Hardee (the same guy he blamed for the failure at Peachtree Creek)had him take his men on a 15 mile forced march, at night, to thump the flank & rear of Sherman's Army... at a time when it's doubtful he really knew where Sherman's flank really was. When Hardee attacked he was as much suprised to find Dodge in front of him w/ a couple of Divisions as Dodge was to be facing "...the whole damned rebel army!" McPherson was killed early in the scrap, Sherman was able to see what was going on a felt Logan could fight it out on his own. Which he did.

As at Peachtree Hood placed the blame on Hardee; it's all wrong. The only reason Hardee failed was that the AoT (US) objected, rather strongly, to being whipped.

In one case the AoC in the other the AoT (US)objected to being driven back and whipped; instead they preferred to hold their ground and whip. Frankly the result would have been the same if Lee or Stonewall Jackson had been in command and they had tried the same attack.

In two weeks Hood attacked four times, was soundly defeated in each and lost more men that JEJ in three mos... not to mention leaving his army far more damaged than when he took command of it. I don't believe there were any doubts of the wisdom of JEJ's strategy after that as Hood didn't leave his works for a month. In short Hood was willing to suffer a siege.

I'm always reminded of an exchange between picketts at Atlanta. When asked how many men were left the CS reply was : "About enough for another killing."

Hood said: "The troops of the AoT (CS) had for such a length of time been subjected to the ruinous policy pursued from Dalton to Atlanta that they were unfitted for united action in pitched battle." Yet in his first couple weeks in command he lost far more men than JEJ and to say he had been less than succesful would be quite the understatement. For the rest of the campaign Hood stayed in his works "Like a turtle in a shell." His practical, tactical & strategic effectiveness was no better than JEJ when it came to progress and his losses were catastrophic.

Hood at Franklin has no excuse for such an assault against what he could plainly see were anything but weak works. He made an attack across open ground against entrenched troops, many of them veterans, who had arty support. He did so against his own experiance and knowledge (he was quite aware of the results of Fredricksburg, Pickett's Charge and more recently Allatoona) He attacked w/out any arty support across twice the length of open ground as at Gettysburg and he suffered considerably heavier losses. Then after he "won" the battle of Franklin (keep in mind he also claimed the battle of Atlanta as a victory) he moved on to Nashville and attempted to besiege a force considerably larger, better supplied and equipped thn his own. All he could hope to do was pin Thomas in Nashville and hope for a disastorous frontal assault on his works. In other words he had to hope Thomas would do what he had done at Franklin. Instead he watched his Army destroyed in a two day fight... no other US or CS Army was so clearly destroyed in the field.

Yes, I've read Harris, and a lot more on the subject of the western theatre than just Sword. I agree w/ Sword's take on Hood and Bragg, and quite a few others. Hood was no Lee, Grant, Sherman or JEJ for that matter. He had the courage needed in a general but lacked almost everything else. He was grossly out of his league when facing Sherman or Thomas and frankly was whipped by Schofield at Franklin. And when his flank was hit by AJ Smith @ Nashville he fell apart.

Hood has his merits, he was a superb Regimental & Brigade Commander and I think a decent enough Division commander, he had a good eye for defensive terrain and boundless personal courage... I just don't see many merits past that.  I cannot see him as a superior General to JEJ.  That said I've sometimes wondered why Hardee wasn't put in command and if things wouldn't have been different than w/ Hood.  But that's a what if... I view those as a waste of time.

Last edited on Sat Feb 23rd, 2008 05:16 pm by Johan Steele

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