View single post by The Iron Duke
 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 04:22 am
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The Iron Duke

Joined: Tue Jul 29th, 2008
Location: Georgia USA
Posts: 333

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I believe one of the main reasons why the Confederacy lost is because they never developed their corps and army leadership outside of Lee's army. Just sit back and think about this for a moment. They started the war with Joe Johnston, Beauregard, and Lee and they ended with the same guys in charge. The Federals on the other hand started with the likes of McDowell, McClellan, and Buell and ended with Grant, Thomas, Sheridan, and Sherman.

Forrest was a great fighter and good at handling a small independent command but he doesn't seem to have had the temperament to lead a major army. Longstreet didn't do so well when he was on his own. Beauregard had poor health and had too many wild ideas. Bragg had health issues as well and severly lacked people skills. Don't even get me started on Hood; there are very few people from the Civil War era that I truly despise but Hood is one of them. Stephen Dill Lee was a disaster as a corps commander. Cheatham had a weakness for the bottle which is not exactly the type of person I would want to be in charge. Hardee was offered command of the army once before but he turned it down. Unfortunately, Cleburne just didn't have the experience.

My opinion of Joe Johnston has definitely dropped over time. Now I don't think he could have relieved Vicksburg but the fact that he barely made an attempt and threw up his hands so quickly when he finally did move just makes me question how committed he was. He had opportunities during the Atlanta Campaign to counterattack. One was at Cassville but he allowed his subordinates to talk him out of it. After he war he even acknowledged that he had made a gross blunder here. Another opportunity was when Sherman was crossing the Chattahoochee River; Sherman's army was divided between both sides of the river but Johnston seems to have been totally demoralized by this point. I don't think Johnston's removal was necessarily a bad decision considering what was at stake.

The reason we have so few choices is that the bad generals were simply kept in their positions for too long of a period. That is why others like AP Stewart and Richard Taylor weren't discovered until it was too late.

With all that being said, my nomination is Richard Taylor, the Prince of the Confederacy. Son of Zachary Taylor, he served with Stonewall in the Shenandoah who was one of the best independent commanders in the Confederacy. Plus, he displayed his skills during the Red River campaign.

I think an army with Richard Taylor at its head, Cleburne and AP Stewart in charge of the infantry corps, and Forrest as the leader of the cavalry would have been a hell of a force to reckon with.


Last edited on Fri Aug 1st, 2008 04:43 am by The Iron Duke

"Cleburne is here!" meant that all was well. -Daniel Harvey Hill
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