View single post by Scout
 Posted: Mon Jul 21st, 2008 02:28 am
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Joined: Thu Mar 13th, 2008
Location: Nashville
Posts: 45

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I agree with you that the A o T deserved far better. The fact is that when the army is at its strongest and most equal to the A o tC and A o tT in numbers it is at this time being piloted by Bragg (great planner poor reactor) From late '62 until the second retreat from Chattanooga is when the A o T was most potent. and had its most impotent commander.

The two books that first come to mind examining these contrasts are McMurry's "Two Great Rebel Armies" and T.L. Connelly's two part study on the A o T.

That said I do believe any number of men we've mentioned previously could have fared better as commanding General, and would indeed be worthy. Forrest as stated was a cavalry man, whose record stands for itself though somewhat aided by legend. few were more effective considering the disparity in resources. Still, Hardee, Longstreet (had the confidence of A o T corps commanders) Johnston even Cheatam and Cleburne could have been more successful then Bragg. It was too early in the war really to move Taylor from the far west or Gordon (brigade commander at this time) from the east.

I also dont think the comparison of Lee to Grant fair for developing generals. The Confederacy had two main field armies three when including the A o T-M which rarely numbered more than 12-15,000. It was a more rigid system with less opportunity for independent command (outside of raids). The structure of the Federal Armies, particularly in the West allowed for several armies working together under one leader. In the Atlanta Campaign Sherman was at the helm of 3 difft army groups. During Vicksburg, Grant similarly led elements of the A o tT, A o tM, A otO.
In other words a looser command structure allowed to test more generals in independent commands. Later in the war, Lee would do the same with Early, and previously did w/ Jackson (2nd Man. + H.F./Antietam) and Longstreet (Suffolk, Chickamauga). The former proved able, the latter not as much. Point being the southern commands had less to work with and could not spread themselves out over a wider command structure for extended periods of time.

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