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 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 02:37 am
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The Iron Duke
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My opinion of Johnston has lowered over time and here's why. He was in charge of a department stretching from the Mississippi River all the way to the Cumberland Gap. Instead of overseeing the entire department he split it up into thirds and mainly concentrated on his center portion located in Kentucky. He pretty much ignored what was going on with Polk's men near the Mississippi and the forces near Cumberland Gap. He also showed little interest in building up the defenses at Forts Henry and Donelson. When Henry final fell and Pillow and Floyd were looking for orders regarding Fort Donelson Johnston pretty much blew them off. He told them it was entirely up to them if they wanted to evacuate or not. And we all know their fate.

Once Donelson fell Johnston did show decisiveness in ordering all the Confederate forces to gather at Corinth for a counterattack. But once he got there it seems that Beauregard pulled all the strings. It almost seems to me to be like the Hindenburg and Ludendorff relationshp where Hindenburg was the face of the operation but Ludendorff was the brains. Even during the battle of Shiloh itself Johnston acted more like an impulsive regimental commander in leading a desperate infantry charge than as an army commander.

It's undeniable that Johnston had potential but I think Larry Daniel is entirely correct when he says that Johnston's reputation is based on what ifs. I do think he had an almost impossible job especially since he had no navy to parry Federal thrusts down the rivers but just looking at what Johnston did accomplish as a Confederate general it doesn't seem to me that he deserves such high praise.

In regards to Beauregard, I don't think his mind was always at ground level. Plus, he seems to have been sick a lot.

Robert.

Last edited on Fri Aug 1st, 2008 02:39 am by The Iron Duke



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