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AS Johnston and the Battle of Shiloh - The Battle of Shiloh - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Wed May 2nd, 2007 03:09 pm
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susansweet
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Dave thanks for posting the picture. It does look like a lovely sculpture.  I will add it to my list of things to see .   This list seems to keep growing . 



 Posted: Wed May 2nd, 2007 03:19 pm
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ole
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Many thanks for posting that, Texas. An interesting glimpse at ASJ.

Ole



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 Posted: Thu May 3rd, 2007 03:49 pm
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David White
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Yes, the State Cemetery in Austin where many of the Texas heroes are buried.  Some interesting juxtapositons on Republic Hill.  Ben McCulloch lies alongside Barbara Jordan.  The cemetery boasts the shortest highway in Texas and it runs past Johnston's tomb.  John Wharton lies next to him, he was murdered by Col. John Baylor exactly three years to the day after Johnston died.  All the veterans from the Texas Confederate home lie nearby.  Susannah Dickinson, Edmund Davis, Stepen F. Austin, John Connally among others are buried on Republic Hill.  It's a who's who of Texas history.  There is a small museum in a building at the entrance that is an exact reproduction of the long barracks of the Alamo.



 Posted: Thu May 3rd, 2007 05:55 pm
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susansweet
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David this sounds like a very interesting place to visit.  All those names sound so familiar .  The museum sounds like a place to add to list of places to visit.  Wish I had gone to Austin on my trip across Texas  a couple of years ago.  I did go to Fort Jefferson Davis, Judge Roy Bean's , San Antonio ,  a place whose name I forget where there was a statue of Stephen Austin and  a store that had been in business since the early years.  I also visited San Jacinto , went up to the top of the monument and wandered around the battle field.   Now I wish I had gone to Austin , Galveston and Sabine Pass.  Again too many places too little time and money. 



 Posted: Thu May 3rd, 2007 07:14 pm
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JoanieReb
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I can see that a trip to the library is called for.

What sort of officer was ASJ?  Was he clever or traditional, risk-taking or cautious?  And all that sort of stuff.



 Posted: Thu May 3rd, 2007 09:50 pm
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Texas Defender
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   It has been asked what kind of an officer Albert Sidney Johnston was. If I had to give my impressions in one word, I would say: "Confident."

   Just before the battle of Shiloh commenced, General Beauregard and some of Johnston's staff were opposed to attacking the federals there. Johnston's reply was: "I would fight them if they were a million." This does not mean that he was rash. But he had made his decision to attack, and would not be turned away from  it. In  fact, once the battle had started, his reply to continued protests was basically to say: "Too late, the battle has begun."

Battle Of Shiloh

   The purpose of the staff is to give the commander all of the information needed for him to make his decision. Once his decision is made, then the staff is charged with seeing that his instructions are carried out.

   Of course, we have no report from Johnston to explain what was on his mind before he made his decision, or exactly how he made it. But once he made it, he seemed sure that he was right. If a commander does not believe in his own judgment, then probably someone else should be in command.

   Here is a short bio of ASJ from the excellent HANDBOOK OF TEXAS ONLINE.
JOHNSTON, ALBERT SIDNEY | The Handbook of Texas Online| Texas State Historical
   I have had to update this link. (13Feb12). ( In the duel with Felix Huston in 1837, ASJ was shot in the right hip.)


Last edited on Mon Feb 13th, 2012 04:31 pm by Texas Defender



 Posted: Fri May 4th, 2007 01:47 am
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ole
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What sort of officer was ASJ?  Was he clever or traditional, risk-taking or cautious?  And all that sort of stuff.

A little hard to come up with a definitive answer, Joanie. About the most notable things he did seemed to involve travelling great distances: the Mormon "War," the trip back from California........ He blew the defense of Forts Henry and Donelson. And he allowed Beau to walk all over him before Shiloh. He was apparently too bold during battle. Other than that, had he lived, he may well have been as great as Lee, who also blew his first encounters.

Ole



 Posted: Fri May 4th, 2007 08:32 pm
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JoanieReb
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Very good and helpful summaries, TD and Ole.  Thank you.

Now, it occurs to me that there are two different ways of looking at the original question.

The first is from the aspect that ASJ had never been wounded at all, so his command was uninterrupted.

The second is far more complex, I think.  What if his injury had happened as it did, but he had survived?  I need to get home to my books!

In the second case, well, he was injured on April 6th, 1862, I believe.  Joseph E. Johnston was still in command of the The army of Northern Virgina at that time.  He was wounded May 31st, 1862, and Lee took command June 1st, if memory, and the internet, serve me correctly.  I don't know what the recovery time for ASJ's injury would have been, but it seems probable that, if he had left command in the west to recover, and had recovered sufficiently by the time of JEJ's wounding, he may have been given command in the east.  By all accounts, Davis thought the world of ASJ.

Would this have led to Lee getting command in the west?

Wow, I need to get to my books.  What a different war that would have been!

Last edited on Fri May 4th, 2007 08:52 pm by JoanieReb



 Posted: Fri May 4th, 2007 09:45 pm
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susansweet
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Joanie since I am reading Joseph E. Johnston by Craig Symonds right now I looked . It was a six month recovery for Joe from his wound. He stayed with the Wigfalls in Richmond while recovering . 

Susan



 Posted: Fri May 4th, 2007 09:49 pm
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Texas Defender
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Joanie,

   I don't usually like to engage in speculation, because it can be argued endlessly. However, this time I'll give it a go.

   What ASJ was trying to do was destroy Grant's forces before Buell's Army of the Ohio could join him. Buell would then be dealt with later.

   First of all, ASJ was unlucky. He actually wanted to attack much earlier than 6 April. The problems that he had were bad weather and a slowness of his forces to get into the desired positions. However, he still thought that he could do it on 6 April. (Only one division plus of Buell's men were in the area, but more were coming).

   If ASJ had not been wounded, he might have insisted on more vigorous action than was actually taken to push the federals back against the river. He might even have continued after dark, I cannot say. If he could have produced a general rout, the end might have been different. However, once Grant survived the first day, with Buell's men now streaming in, I don't think that ASJ could have won on the second day.

   As for possibly taking command in the east, I have to question whether or not ASJ would have wanted the job. I have no direct knowledge, but ASJ was a westerner. He had been in the Black Hawk War, the Texas Revolution and its aftermath against the Mexicans, the Mexican War, and the expedition against the Mormons. My guess is that his heart was in the west. Whether or not Jefferson Davis could have persuaded him to take the job in the east (If Davis in fact had wanted that) is another question that I can't answer.



 Posted: Fri May 4th, 2007 09:56 pm
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JoanieReb
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Thank you Susan.

I think that I may have been unclear.  I was wondering, if ASJ had survived his injury, would he have been sufficiently recovered from it to assume command in the east  when Joseph E. Johnston was severely injured?  I think that, if ASJ was sufficiently recovered by then , Pres.Davis would have chosen him (ASJ) to replace J.E. Johnston in the east instead of choosing Robert E. Lee.

If that was the case, would Lee have been sent west?

 



 Posted: Fri May 4th, 2007 10:08 pm
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JoanieReb
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Texas Defender,

Thank you for your thoughtful and kind reply.

It apparently came in while I was replying to Susan, so did not see it at first.  I will read it and give it the careful consideration that it deserves, but I have to go pick up my daughter now.

Just, didn't want to seem rude.

Again, thank you.

Joanie



 Posted: Sat May 5th, 2007 04:48 am
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JoanieReb
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Texas Defender,

Wow!

Your reply has seriously challenged me to think, in the best possible way.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and thoughts here.  I will be using them as my basis for reading this weekend.

Darn good stuff!  I am grateful to you that, dispite your general aversion, you were kind enough to indulge in speculation this time, as you seem to have a strong foundation and very good knack for it.

I, myself, have a real weakness for this sort of speculation.  Like Ole, as long as it is within reason, I really enjoy working out the alternatives. 

Truth be told, when I can't sleep at night, I often work out the reasonable "what if's" to the best of my ability.

I was tickled pink when Ole posted this, as strangely enough, I had seriously considered posting the same question about three weeks ago.  But, I thought that I should research it better before I did.

I am really looking forward to intelligent discussion on this, and am grateful that you contributed so much in pushing it ahead, even tho it isn't your cup of camp coffee:).

JoanieReb

Last edited on Sat May 5th, 2007 04:51 am by JoanieReb



 Posted: Sat May 5th, 2007 07:48 am
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ole
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So far as Jeff Davis was concerned, AS Johnston had the seniority and the  confidence. I doubt that under any circumstance he would have been summoned east -- there were a goodly number of Davis proteges there already. ASJ was Davis' trump card in the west. When he was killed, Davis had no fall-back except Beauregard who came up short. Next best choice was Bragg. And the rest is history.

We might consider that, if Beauregard had handled his self-granted leave a bit better and didn't irritate Davis quite so much in the weeks following Shiloh, Bo might have remained in command. We might not have had Bragg and JE Johnston in command of the AoT. What might have been if that were the case?

Ole

Last edited on Sat May 5th, 2007 07:53 am by ole



 Posted: Tue May 8th, 2007 05:33 am
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JoanieReb
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Jumping backwards to Johnston's death:  a fairly detailed and rather touching account can be found in Shelby Foote's narrative, volume 1, pg 339-340; including ASJ's  insistence - over his surgeon's protests, that the surgeon stay behind to care for Yankee wounded. 

Also, a rather amusing and sweet little story on 338-339 about why he used a tin cup instead of a sword to lead the charge into the Hornet's Nest.

(I'd forgotten how enjoyable Foote can be - must pull him off the shelf more often. Damn good company on sleepless nights;  but, as Miss Susan says: "so many books, so little time!".) 



 Posted: Wed May 9th, 2007 04:28 am
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JoanieReb
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 Bo might have remained in command. We might not have had Bragg and JE Johnston in command of the AoT. What might have been if that were the case?

That's a whole other kettle of fish.  Wouldn't mind taking that one on, too.

I'll admit to being completely confused when it comes to Beauregard.  I haven't read much about the man, and what I have read has left me very confused about his character and competency.

Problem is, I've always been so obsessed with The Army of Northern Virginia, I have really given the western threater short shrift.  I'm trying to correct that now.  I'm seeing, now, how very much I have missed by staying stuck in the east.

 

Last edited on Wed May 9th, 2007 04:38 am by JoanieReb



 Posted: Wed May 9th, 2007 12:46 pm
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ole
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Read one thing on a Jeff Davis site that points to the rift between JEJ, PGTB, and JD: Seems Jeff maintained different rules for different people. The troubles began (ignoring the possibility of seeds planted at West Point) with the 1861 appointments of generals. Sam Cooper was first, AS Johnston second, RE Lee third, JE Johnston fourth, and PGT Beauregard fifth. Both Bo and Joe thought their placement should have been higher; both had reason to believe that, but both argued with Davis.

And here's the kicker (from memory): Johnston argued using facts; Beauregard argued using twisted facts (the basis of his arguments were frequently misleading).

This was from a post on a blog somewhere, so there is no provenance. It does make an plausible, interesting point; therefore, I share it.

Ole



 Posted: Wed May 9th, 2007 01:37 pm
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susansweet
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Not sure about Beau but Johnston according to Symonds book did argue he had been the highest ranking US officer when he resigned which would have made him rank higher according to the rules the Confederate Congress laid down. But Davis argued that Lee and Joe Johnston had both served in the Militia first before joining the Confederancy which made the first issue not apply to them.  Of course Johnston disputed this . 



 Posted: Wed May 9th, 2007 09:15 pm
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younglobo
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man what a cool post Texas Thanks

 



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