|View single post by EricJacobson|
|Posted: Tue Feb 26th, 2008 06:05 pm||
It's always fun discussing Gen. Hood. I would like to point out, however, that 30,000 casualties around Atlanta as the result of Hood's actions is really not accurate. Slightly over 10,000 were suffered at Peachtree Creek and Atlanta (or Decatur), about 4,000 at Ezra Church, and about 4,000 at Jonesboro. This is much closer to 20,000. As far as casualties around Atlanta are concerned I don't trust Johnston or Hood. One has to do his own homework because each man tried to justify his own argument about who had lost more while in command.
Manigault is indeed an interesting read. What is also interesting about him is that he also criticizes the troops for their lack of enthusiasm in pushing the offense. I don't have his book in front of me (I'm at work), but I think he was referring to the action at Ezra Church which was a colossal mess.
I do think, sincerely, that much if not most of the anti-Hood feeling, or hatred, is based upon late 20th century writing, not 19th century. Authors such as Sword and McDonough just attached themselves to the popular trend that Hood was a bungling fool who was either on drugs or just so enraged at various times that he couldn't see the trees through the forest. I think all in all, the average soldier, rank and file or officer, who wrote about Hood was pretty objective. For every Sam Foster who condemned Hood there was a Sam Watkins who said Hood tried his best. Few if any ever got personal and none ever wrote about laudanum, Sally Preston, or fits of anger.
I can't speak for Sam, but I can say that my only goal is to provide Hood with some objectivity. I think that by simply saying Hood was unpopular, shouldn't have had command, was in over his head, played politics, and cherry picked when he wrote his reports and memoirs, somewhat ignores the basic facts of late 1864. The South was dying, Lee was boxed in at Petersburg, and Hood had the only army capable of pulling off something positive. In the end, he came a lot closer than many people realize. Federal troops, and they are a good judge of things as well, would write volumes after the war about how close the Tennessee Campaign really was.
I think that Franklin has been forgotten for so long, and why so much of the battlefield was built on and developed, was because many people 60-140 years after the war just casually said it was hopeless, reckless, foolish, suicidal, and that Hood was incompetent. Those who were here in 1864 thought differently. Federal troops believed it was a crowning moment in their military careers and Confederate soldiers, although unsuccessful in their bid, described Franklin for what it was - a last ditch effort to stem the tide washing against them. Most understood fully what the odds were. Many were willing to die for what they believed in.
Hood deserves his share of criticism - even harsh criticism. But he simply was trying to do what he thought best. Unfortunately, he could be his own worst enemy with the pen. Like Longstreet he lived long enough to do himself great harm.
Hopefully I have not rambled on too long.