View single post by samhood
 Posted: Tue Feb 26th, 2008 02:26 pm
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samhood
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Sam; let me make something pointedly straight. I like Sword's work. He isn't the only author I've read, not by a long shot. Stop latching onto one phrase and trying to extend it into everything, it's becoming irritating in it's inaccuracy. Okay, will do. Lord knows I understand irritation, with Sword's fact-filtered but eloquent version of Hood's life and career presently defining the man's eternal reputation accross the broad CW history community.  I have documented 86 errors, ommisions and blatant misrepresentations by Sword, but no matter, it all reads  good.  Swords writings on Allatoona are minimal; which is why I detailed Hood at Allatoona. I've read most of the mans work and enjoyed it. That said he is not my only read on the subject and not the only author to codemn Hood. To date I'm sitting at just over 2600 letters and diaries read, w/ perhaps 1/4-1/3 being CS soldiers of the western theatre and the majority of which were Brigade Commanders on down. I cannot recall a single one that believed Hood a wise choice for command and darned few that thought much of him. I prefer the words of the men of the day to those that came after.  In my opinion the AoT was so pissed at Davis that they wanted nobody else, especially an outsider from the East.  Like SA Cunningham said, "The removal of General Johnston, and the appointment of Hood to succeed him in command of the Army of Tennessee, was an astounding event. So devoted to Johnston were his men that the presence and immediate command of General Robert E. Lee would not have been accepted without complaint."  And Samuel Foster of Granbury's brigade wrote in his diary, A circular from Gen. Johnston announces that he has been removed from command of this Army, and that Gen. Hood succeeds him…Gen. Johnston has so endeared himself to his soldiers, that no man can take his place.”  Sounds like Hood started off with a lot of people in the AoT not liking him before he had a chance to do anything right or wrong.   

I strongly suggest reading Manigault if the opportunity presents itself, he was an intriguing fella. And not the only one to mention the meeting between senior Corps commanders & Davis. Yes, French was in on sending a letter to Davis though he signed it IIRC. As I said backroom politicking was not a rare thing in the AoT & Hood would be on the receiving end of his share.

Condemning the men for a Generals failure was not taboo, nor all that unusual... but it certainly speaks volumes about the author. Hood was no Lee, I've never heard anyone say that he was. or JEJ for that matter. Frankly, I don't think he was a Hardee or Cheatum either.

The men despised Hood for a variety of reason, not the least which was losing most of 30,000 casualties This is the highest number of casualties I have ever heard anyone claim for the 4 Atlanta battles! in two weeks for no gain As I said before, Hood was trying to repel or batter Sherman, hold the city at least thru the November elections, causing Lincoln to lose to McClellan and the South would negotiate their independance. then being flanked out of the city anyway... and blaming them for it. Stephen D Lee wrote about the AoT  …the majority of the officers and men were so impressed with the idea of their inability to carry even temporary breastworks, that when orders were given for attack, and there was a probability of encountering works…they did not generally move to the attack with that spirit which nearly always assures success."

Hood was not condemmed by Davis but praised... And Davis's speech laid out the plans for Sherman and all to see. It wasn't the first time Davis did such, JEJ was on the receiving end at least twice and trusted Davis to keep his mouth shut on military matters not a bit w/ obvious justification. Those men had to look at Hood and ask themselves how he was better than JEJ and more than a few recognized blatant cronieism when they saw it. There was a reason men were shouting "Give us Johnston."  Yes...as I said, he avoided battles and kept moving toward his supply base and was thus able to keep them well supplied.  Of course the men loved him...I would have too.  (Until Bentonville when he ordered an attack that killed 800 and wounded 2,000 soldiers of his beloved Army of Tennessee, all for no reason according to Johnston's own words.)  Allatoona is just one example of Hood's mishandling of an Army, French was in independent detatched command at Allatoona.  If he saw that the situation was different than everyone thought, why didn't he make the decision to not attack?  He had the authority.     IMO it is a prelude to how he mishandled his campaign into TN and proof he was in WAY over his head. Allatoona is proof Hood was in over his head? Frankly Allatoona taught him, or should have, that attacking strong works leads to heavy casualties w/ little real gain. Attacking strong works was sometimes necessary.  Sherman wrote about Kennesaw, "...I perceived that the enemy and our own officers had settled down to the conviction that I would not assault fortified lines...An army to be efficient must not settle down to a single mode of offense, but must be prepared to execute any plan which promises success.  I wanted, therefore, for the moral effect to make a successful assault against the enemy behind his breast-works, and resolved to attempt it at that point where success would give the greatest fruits of victory."  A prelude to Franklin? 

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