Civil War Interactive Discussion Board Home
Home Search search Menu menu Not logged in - Login | Register


John Bell Hood: Psychotically Aggressive? - John Bell Hood - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
 Moderated by: javal1 Page:    1  2  Next Page Last Page  
 New Topic   Reply   Printer Friendly 
 Rating:  Rating
AuthorPost
 Posted: Fri Jul 17th, 2009 11:17 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
1st Post
Naim Peress
Member
 

Joined: Wed Jun 17th, 2009
Location:  
Posts: 65
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

In State of Jones, the authors characterize John Bell Hood as "psychotically aggressive"? They cite the Battle of Franklin and his other command decisions. I don't agree with that at all. :X What do you guys think?



 Posted: Fri Jul 17th, 2009 09:26 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
2nd Post
The Iron Duke
Member


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

  back to top

Hood was no more aggressive than Grant or Lee.



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


 Posted: Sat Jul 18th, 2009 12:42 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
3rd Post
civilwar6165
Member


Joined: Wed Jan 14th, 2009
Location: Pitman, New Jersey USA
Posts: 18
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

I agree with Iron Duke. Would also add, look at his physcial condition not to mention he was worn out !



 Posted: Sat Jul 18th, 2009 07:35 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
4th Post
fedreb
Member


Joined: Tue Jan 16th, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 239
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Given that pschosis is a mental disorder characterized by symptoms that indicate impaired contact with reality, was the attack on Franklin pschotically aggressive? The reported rage in Hood over the failure to stop Schofield at Spring Hill coupled with his own poor physical condition led to him ordering the assault with only two of his three corps, without most of his artillery and against the advice of Forrest and Cheatham amongst others. Facing the formidable defences at Franklin was this a momentary loss of touch with reality? Maybe.



 Posted: Sat Jul 18th, 2009 11:59 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
5th Post
Naim Peress
Member
 

Joined: Wed Jun 17th, 2009
Location:  
Posts: 65
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

I think he simply exercised very poor judgment. He was determined to break a stalemate.



 Posted: Sat Jul 18th, 2009 12:01 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
6th Post
Naim Peress
Member
 

Joined: Wed Jun 17th, 2009
Location:  
Posts: 65
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

He exercised poor judgment.  Besides, military commanders are supposed to be aggressive.  I think the authors of The State of Jones had a very poor grasp of military history. 



 Posted: Sat Jul 18th, 2009 12:02 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
7th Post
Naim Peress
Member
 

Joined: Wed Jun 17th, 2009
Location:  
Posts: 65
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Think of it.  Grant and Lee both ordered attacks that went terribly.  Just think of Picketts Charge and Cold Harbor.  Naturally, they were far better commanders than Hood. 



 Posted: Mon Apr 25th, 2011 12:49 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
8th Post
BHR62
Member


Joined: Sun Dec 12th, 2010
Location: Indiana USA
Posts: 242
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Defense was the best option in front of Atlanta. Offense just played into the hands of Sherman. Then he left the state of Georgia wide open to Sherman's March...while having very little chance of changing the strategic situation of marching into Tennessee.



 Posted: Mon Apr 25th, 2011 11:41 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
9th Post
Mark
Member
 

Joined: Mon Mar 30th, 2009
Location:  
Posts: 434
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

In my opinion, psychological dispositions of historical figures are the mark of a lazy historian. Mental disorders have very specific clinical definitions and are usually hard to diagnose in living people even by trained psychologists. As you folks have ably pointed out, there are a number of reasons short of mental illness that can explain Hood's aggressive conduct.

Mark



 Posted: Mon Apr 25th, 2011 08:12 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
10th Post
Hellcat
Root Beer Lover


Joined: Tue Nov 15th, 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 890
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

I gotta disagree a little, Mark. I don't think it's entirely a sign of laziness on the part of the historian, I think it's a sign of today's society. Seems the insanity plea is used way too often today to get someone off a murder rap, it's become the go to defense really. I don't doubt that there are people that are insane when they commit a crime, but I don't accept that everyone doing so is. So why not apply some mental disorder to some historical figure to explain the decisions they made when those decisions may have been poorly made. Makes it so much easier to apply today's social standards, just look for signs that would today cause the folks to apply a particular disorder to individuals. Boom if the "signs" are there then the historical figure was obviously suffering from the disorder.



 Posted: Tue Apr 26th, 2011 01:27 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
11th Post
Kyguy
Member
 

Joined: Tue Apr 26th, 2011
Location:  
Posts: 6
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Great comments on this subject.

If Hood was psychotically aggressive, he would have attacked Schofield at Columbia rather than flank him at Spring Hill. And Hood would have attacked Thomas at Nashville, or bypassed Nashville and headed into Kentucky.

Hood's preference of frontal assaults is a myth. His four attacks at Atlanta all involved flanking movements to some degree. The only frontal assault he ever ordered in independent command was at Franklin. He certainly participated in some frontal attacks, but he was carrying out orders of RE Lee.

Another myth is Hood's alledged rage at Franklin. There is one--and only one--first hand account of Hood being angry at any time on Nov. 30 and that was in the morning. Even that account (the famous "wrathy as a rattlesnake" description) came third hand from Gen. John C Brown to Maj. Joseph Vaulx to JP Young and entered the historical record via a Confederate Veteran article forty years after the event. Every single eyewitness account of Hood after the morning in Spring Hill described him as acting normal and composed.

Over the last ten years I have been researching many of the assertions made about Hood by modern authors. Most have no primary source whatsoever, and most of the rest have a primary source but the interpretation and presentation by authors has been skewed. He was not a proponent of frontal attacks, he didn't take laudanum, he wasn't enraged at Franklin, he didn't position any brigades/divisions/corps for any reason other than the order they arrived at Franklin, he never called anyone a coward, he complimented and praised his soldiers, and did accept total responsibility for his defeat in Tennessee. All that may sound blasphemous, but that is what the historical records reveal.  

Notwithstanding melodramatic assertions by some authors, Hood attacked Schofield at Franklin because there was only a few hours of daylight remaining and by morning Schofield would have been in Nashville.   

 

 

Last edited on Wed Apr 27th, 2011 12:04 pm by Kyguy



 Posted: Tue Apr 26th, 2011 06:11 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
12th Post
Cogswell Pepperbox
Did I Fire 6 Shots or Only 5 ?


Joined: Mon Oct 4th, 2010
Location:  
Posts: 28
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

I think too much of today's opinion of Genrl. Hood, in relation to the November 1864 campaign, comes primarily (and perhaps solely)from Wiley Sword; or from an opinion posted in a forum like this, where the poster's opinion was formed primarily (or perhaps solely) on Wiley Sword, which further disseminates that opinion.
(Not to discount the value of Mr. Sword's book, it is well written, and an enjoyable read; his layout of the facts and the developments from Spring Hill to Nashville are accurate, and some descriptive passages are excellent. But he obviously had a "negative agenda" towards John Bell Hood, in personal terms, which colored the account in hues not necessarily supported by other sources)

aside: I checked in here to post a very specific question for the forum members on Spring Hill, and was pleased to find a current discussion of General Hood. I will post my topic in another thread, once I have searched through past threads here, in case my question has already been discussed, and add my post there.



 Posted: Wed Dec 28th, 2011 12:03 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
13th Post
csamillerp
Member


Joined: Wed Feb 10th, 2010
Location: South Carolina USA
Posts: 212
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

I might be the odd ball here but i agree with Hood going on the offensive at Atlanta... think about it, the confederates couldn't hold off a siege against the federals. I think Hood realized that if he allowed his army to be besieged then he would lose his army



 Posted: Wed Dec 28th, 2011 12:51 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
14th Post
Kyguy
Member
 

Joined: Tue Apr 26th, 2011
Location:  
Posts: 6
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Pepperbox is 100% correct. Hood's current reputation is largely due to Sword's 1992 book, which is extremely biased. Sword's book is beautifully written but filled with major substantive errors of fact and he cherry-picks the historical records, revealing only evidence that supports his anti-Hood theme.

Folks should take some of the really, really nasty stuff Sword says about Hood and then check his footnotes. You will find that many of Sword's assertions have no relationship to the primary source that he cites. Some of the things he wrote is astonishingly inaccurate.  

If you read the early books that focus on Hood by Thomas Hay and Stanley Horn you'd think they were writing about different men. Thomas Connelly started being rough on Hood in "Autumn of Glory" (1971), and he joined up with James McDonough in "Five Tragic Hours" (1983) but Sword jumped the shark with his book.

Until the mid-late 1900s Hood was considered a sort of hard-luck hero in Tennessee. John Bell Hood's brother William moved to Nashville from KY around 1880, married a Nashville girl and lived there until he died around 1910. In Nashville a street named General Hood Trail was opened in the 1930s. There is a Hood Avenue in Atlanta. There was a Hood Hospital in Cuthbert GA in 1864-1865. A former Alabama governor, Forrest Hood "Fob" James was named for Hood. In 1964 the Nashville Banner (now Tennessean) newspaper wrote a glowing tribute to Hood in a special Civil War Centennial edition. Hood was a hero in the South until Connelly, McDonough and Sword started their war dances.   



 Posted: Wed Dec 28th, 2011 01:03 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
15th Post
Kyguy
Member
 

Joined: Tue Apr 26th, 2011
Location:  
Posts: 6
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Csamillerp is right. How did playing defense to a siege work for Pemberton at Vicksburg and Lee at Richmond/Petersburg?

Davis was wanting Hood to try to hold Atlanta at least until the Northern elections in November, hoping Lincoln would lose to McClellan.

All of Hood's attacks attempted to catch portions of Sherman's army detached from the main army. They were also intended to strike while the Federals were moving and before they could entrench. And they were also designed to be attacks on the flanks and rear of Sherman's targeted corps.

Hood did about all any outnumbered commander could have done. He was ordered to fight to save the city and that's what he did.



 Posted: Sun Jan 1st, 2012 09:26 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
16th Post
csamillerp
Member


Joined: Wed Feb 10th, 2010
Location: South Carolina USA
Posts: 212
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Thank you Kyguy alot of people are stuck on contempory history, but as good historians and history buffs we should all question the mainstream historical logic.



 Posted: Sun Jan 1st, 2012 12:15 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
17th Post
Kyguy
Member
 

Joined: Tue Apr 26th, 2011
Location:  
Posts: 6
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Correct again Csamillerp, especially when something just doesn't pass the smell (common sense) test. Civil War book publishing has become big business in the last 25 years and is by far the largest genre of literature in the Library of Congress cataloguing system. Many modern authors write to sell, not to educate or inform.

A perfect example is Wiley Sword's soap-operatic portrayal of Hood and Sally "Buck" Preston. In Thomas R. Hay's and Stanley Horn's iconic books on the Army of Tennessee and Hood's campaign, she isn't even mentioned. Even Thomas Connelly only mentioned her once. Sword comes along in 1992 and Buck Preston permiates his book. She is listed in the index of his book more times than 4 of the 6 generals killed at Franklin...combined!

We are told by Sword that Hood was stupid and socially unrefined, then we  are told that he completely snookered and bamboozled the highest ranking officers in the Confederate army, a president and his entire cabinet to get command of the Army of Tennessee. 

All authors tell us that Hood loved frontal attacks yet Franklin was the only one he ever ordered. If Hood loved frontal charges why did he even try the flank around Columbia to Spring Hill the previous day? Why didn't he just attack Schofield at Columbia? Even at Franklin writers tell us the attack was pointless and suicidal, yet the Federal lines were broken, saved only because Emerson Opdycke disobeyed orders and was where he was.

Many authors call Hood a butcher for ordering the attack at Franklin yet Joe Johnston ordered an attack at Bentonville four months later, sustaining 3,000 casualties, and wrote in his memoirs that he had accepted command of the AOT a month earlier knowing the war was lost and nothing could be attained but better terms of surrender. In April 1865 Lee was outnumbered 4-1 yet launched an attack at Ft Stedman, sustaining high casualties. So why was Franklin and Nashville in November/December 1864 called "useless butchery" and other desperate attacks much later in the war never criticized?

Just because an author writes a book and a publisher sells it doesn't mean the information asserted in the book is accurate. I spend a lot of time checking cited sources and it's amazing how often there is little or no relationship to what an author writes and what his declared sources state. Another problem is that authors simply cite the comments of earlier writers, so if something innacurate or biased is written eloquently, it ends up being repearted over and over.        



 Posted: Sun Jan 1st, 2012 12:29 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
18th Post
csamillerp
Member


Joined: Wed Feb 10th, 2010
Location: South Carolina USA
Posts: 212
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

it may come down to the lost cause fanatics, they blamed longstreet for gettysburg, did they maybe use Hood as a scapegoat?



 Posted: Sun Jan 1st, 2012 01:55 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
19th Post
Kyguy
Member
 

Joined: Tue Apr 26th, 2011
Location:  
Posts: 6
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

There is a relatively new book out "John Bell Hood and the Fight for Civil War Memory" by Dr. Brian Miller. The book is an enigma; it is his published PhD dissertation and he has some great research and theories, but the book is horribly edited. Like most published dissertations it has way too much minutia. But he argues quite persuasively that the seeds of Hood's reputation were indeed planted by E A Pollard, Jube Early and other Lost Causers. The Southern Historical Society was originally based in New Orleans but was taken over and moved to Richmond, where the Virginians started deifying Lee and hammering New Orleaneans Hood and Longstreet.

But I think Hood's awful reputation is largely the fault of Sword, who basically took Connelly and McDonough's unsourced 1983 narrative "Five Tragic Hours" and expanded it to cover the entire Tennessee Campaign. As I said, I have researched primary sources extensively (do I need to get a life or what?) and many of Sword's claims are totally unfounded. He habitually mischaracterizes issues, such as Hood's relationship with Beauregard, which he claims was contentious but the records reveal all correspondence between them as routine in tone.

Sword also leaves out a mountain of historical testimony by Confederates and Federals that was sympathetic and supportive of Hood. When readers only get one side they draw incorrect inferences.

Sword is such an eloquent writer that his stuff is very persuasive. His book dominates the footnotes of virtually every book written since 1992 that covers Hood or the AOT or the Tennessee Campaign. It's astounding how fact-filtered and factually innacurate his book is but how widely it has influenced the common Civil War perception of Hood.

Hopefully a new campaign study of the Tennessee Campaign will be written by a historian who will tell the whole story. 



 Posted: Mon Jan 2nd, 2012 11:24 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
20th Post
Kyguy
Member
 

Joined: Tue Apr 26th, 2011
Location:  
Posts: 6
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Here is a perfect example of the method Sword uses to mischaracterize facts.

After Franklin Hood moved on to Nashville and the Official Records show that he  flooded the wires with requests for reinforcements and supplies.  Sword, noting that only 164 recruits joined Hood's army at Nashville, wrote the following: "Hood reacted angrily and resolved 'to bring into the army all men liable to military duty.' If recruits wouldn't voluntarily flock to his standards, he intended to bring them in at the point of a bayonet."

As his source Sword cites a letter from Hood to Confederate Secretary of War Seddon but in that letter Hood wrote only a single sentence on the subject of conscription: "As yet I have not had time to adopt a general plan of conscription, but hope soon to do so, and bring into the Army all men liable to military duty." The rest of the letter concerns routine issues such as railroad repairs and enemy troop strength. Nowhere in the letter is the slightest hint of anger expressed by Hood nor did he say anything about bringing in conscripts "at the point of the bayonet."

This sort of conduct by authors like Sword isn't techincally dishonest, but it sure does give readers the wrong impression. No wonder authors like the ones who wrote "State of Jones" assert that Hood was psychotic.

 

Last edited on Mon Jan 2nd, 2012 01:54 pm by Kyguy



 Current time is 06:15 amPage:    1  2  Next Page Last Page  
Top




UltraBB 1.17 Copyright © 2007-2008 Data 1 Systems
Page processed in 0.3101 seconds (8% database + 92% PHP). 26 queries executed.