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Joe Johnston and John Bell Hood - John Bell Hood - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Wed Feb 27th, 2008 01:47 am
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EricJacobson
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Johan,

Your quote is below:

My number of 30k includes: killed, wounded & missing (all causes from captured to unauthorized leave) In July & August Hospital Admissions for the AoT were just shy of 16,000 as wounded w/ killed about 2,000 w/ approx 10,000 missing from all causes. Less than 30k but not by a whole lot. I've been told Georgia Militia losses were not counted by Hood in an effort to lessen his casualties (I don't pretend to know if that is true but I wouldn't doubt it) and his casualty reports very rarely tabulate w/ the numbers reported as buried by his enemy. Blame Newton for my numbers... enough math to give anybody a screaming headache and if they're off I'd be more likely to blame me for doing a poor job of transcribing them from my shabby notes.

I think we have pretty well laid out our positions regarding Hood and I think we can respect each other's opinions.  As I have said, I'm not into this to be Hood's defender.  Rather it is about objectivity.  Now as to casualties, I'm going to present a few numbers to consider.  These come straight out of the Official Records.  See below:

Effective strength of the Army of Tennessee July 10, 1864

Hardee's Corps - 14,226

Hood's Corps - 13,553

Stewart's Corps - 11,712

Effective total infantry & artillery - 39,491

Cavalry and artillery reserve 10,923

Army effective strength - 50,414

Source: OR 38, pt. 3, p. 679

 

Effective strength of the Army of Tennessee Aug. 31, 1864

Hardee's Corps - 12,148

Lee's Corps - 10,103

Stewart's Corps - 10,052

Effective total infantry & artillery - 32,303

Cavalry - 10,559

Army effective strength - 42,862

Source: OR 38, pt. 3, p. 682-683

 

Effective strength of the Army of Tennessee Sept. 30, 1864 (abbreviated report)

Infantry - 27,094

Cavalry - 10,543

Artillery - 2,766

Army effective strength - 40,403

Source: OR 38, pt. 3, p. 637

 

Effective strength of the Army of Tennessee Nov. 6, 1864

Lee's Corps - 8,632

Stewart's Corps - 8,708

Cheatham - 10,519

Cavalry (as of Nov 15) - approximately 5,000 (only Jackson's Division of about 2,000 remained from the cavalry which had been present around Atlanta as Wheeler's troops were detached from the army and Forrest joined it on Nov 15)

Army effective strength - 32,859

Source: OR 45, pt. 1, p. 678

 

Everyone needs to keep in mind these figures do not accurately show casualties, especially since many slightly wounded men returned to the ranks within days or weeks and many prisoners taken at Jonesboro were exchanged and rejoined the army in a short time.  However, these number will illustrate one thing with absolute certainty.  There is no way Hood suffered 30,000 genuine casualties after taking command.  Sick men are not casualties and the Georgia Militia (regardless of whether their losses were counted or not) barely did any fighting.

Just before Hood took command the army numbered just over 50,000 men of all arms counted as effective.  After Atlanta's fall there remained 40,403 men effective for duty.  Unless I'm missing something, the organizational structure of army remained much the same in mid-Sept that it was in mid-July.  There were no transfers to the army and no reinforcements.

So what were the casualties?  Stated losses, as I said before, for the three major battles in July are around 14,000.  Jonesboro amounts to approximately 4,000.  Could Hood's total losses have exceeded 20,000?  Perhaps.  I'm not trying to be cute, but the numbers don't lie.

To be fair, Johnston was far more reliable with his numbers regarding the Atlanta Camapign than Hood.  Hood's claim, page 228 of his memoirs, that Johnston suffered 25,000 casualties is ridiculous.  In Johnston's own memoirs, page 577, the killed and wounded around Atlanta from July 4 to Sept 1 was reported to be 12,546.  Add in prisoners and you're heading, maybe, toward 20,000.

Wiley Sword (him again??!!) tried this crazy number game in his book.  He claimed on page 426 that Hood suffered 23,789 casualties during the Tennessee Campaign.  Well that's funny because Hood had 32,589 men going into Tennessee and had nearly 20,000 when he came out.  But I can tell you one of the ways in which Sword, whether purposely or carelessly, skewed the numbers.  There were 3,800 Confederate wounded left at Franklin who were taken prisoner after Nashville and Sword counted them twice against Hood.  He can't have it both ways.  As far as casualties are concerned, either you're wounded or you're a prisoner, but you can't fall into both numerical categories.

As far as I'm concerned, that kind of blatant misrepresentation is no better than Hood sending letters behind Johnston's back.


Last edited on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 05:16 am by EricJacobson



 Posted: Wed Feb 27th, 2008 02:57 pm
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samhood
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Johan:

I understand your dislike for Hood, and to be honest, I'll admit there are plenty of reasons not to like him...although I would disagree only with some of your reasons for your dislike of Hood.

But moving past that, as a knowledgable Johnston supporter, would you please comment on his attacking at Bentonville after resuming command of the Army of Tennessee in Feb 1865 after writing in his memoirs that he resumed command with the full knowledge that continuing the war was hopeless, and all that could be accomplished was to gain fairer terms of surrender?  As I said before, he sustained 3,092 casualties at Bentonville, including 800 killed.

For the benefit of any late observers to this topic, Johnston's quote is that he resumed command,"
...with a full consciousness on my part, however, that we could have no other object, in continuing the war, other than to obtain fair terms of peace; for the Southern cause must have appeared hopeless then, to all intelligent and dispassionate Southern men. I therefore resumed the duties of my military grade with no hope beyond that of contributing to obtain peace on such conditions as, under the circumstances, ought to satisfy the Southern people and their Government."

My question is, how can Hood be accused of wasting soldiers at Atlanta and in Tennessee (Johnston himself said Hood engaged in "useless butchery" at Franklin) and Johnston avoid complete condemnation for Bentonville?  One prominent historian wrote that Hood was "a fool with a license to kill his own men"...tantamount to calling Hood a murderer.  Considering what Johnston wrote with his own pen, how could ordering men to their deaths at Bentonville not be considered outright murder?  (And for the record, I am NOT condemning JEJ here...rather, I am implying that neither Hood nor Johnston should be condemned for doing what they, as commanders. thought they should do.  I am only questioning the inconsistency in the caustic and harsh judging that Hood always receives versus the treatment that other commanders receive.)


Last edited on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 02:59 pm by samhood



 Posted: Wed Feb 27th, 2008 03:12 pm
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ole
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Excellent post, samhood. Thank you.

ole



 Posted: Wed Feb 27th, 2008 09:22 pm
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Johan Steele
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1st I owe some crow, I looked over Newtons book and found my numbers of desertions off considerably w/ Hood only losing about 5000 men to desertions.While he had approx 11,000 convalescents the majority of those appear to have been men on the sick list instead of casualties. Thank you for the correction Eric. It's appreciated. When I'm wrong I want it pointed out.

As to JEJ @ Bentonville I can understand why he did what he did at Bentonville; he had Sherman's Army in a position where it was divided and he hoped to catch a portion of that army and perhaps defeat it in detail. I doubt even if he could have licked that wing that he could have proceeded to lick the rest of Shermans Army, there were just too many hardcore veterans in Sherman's ranks to let that happen and far too many green in his own.

A victory at Bentonville, especially a dramatic one might have given the CS something to bargain w/, primarily a claim that they still had effective armies in the field that could lick. But I do believe even that is a stretch. Though I think from a military standpoint he had a better chance of success than some give him credit for. HIndsight is 20/20. By the time of Bentonville and some of the other larger skirmishes, like Averasboro, the war was all but over and the only people who didn't seem to know it was Davis and a few of his Generals in the field... and w/ the fall of Richmond and surrender of te ANV & JEJ's Army it was over and noone could deny it who wasn't a little, or a lot, mentally disturbed. JEJ had to have looked at what was left of the AoT and shudder as they were the battle hardened cadre that had suffered so much. The majority of the men he had to rely on at Bentonville were a far cry from the veterans of May of 64; far too many old men and children in the ranks along w/ a horde of stay behinders & relectant confederates who took every opportunity to fade away. The AoT was an Army he had managed to rebuild after Bragg's tenure and was a shattered shadow of itself less than a year later. I know I've read how he listened to those men's opinion of Hood and probably adopted some of it. That was quite a change & I think he had reason to blame Hood for as much of that as anyone else.

That said, that's merely one man's opinion. As I've said repeatedly I think Hood was a good Regimental & Brigade commander, maybe even a good Divisional one but anything past that he was way out of his league. He deserves points for giving it a good shot but past that I don't see him as much of an improvement over Bragg. The men certainly didn't seem to think so... which I suppose is in itself quite an indictment. In my eyes the opinion of the men on the sharp end along w/ success are the most important factors in determining the quality of a General. Frankly, Hood comes up wanting, as does Bragg & JEJ. Do any of them get a fair shake by history? Hood at least had some redeeming qualities as did JEJ... Bragg well at least we aren't comparing him to anybody.



 Posted: Thu Feb 28th, 2008 12:13 am
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samhood
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Johan:

I wish Eric would have sat beside me in my high school math class and I might have made better than a C!  In all the years I have fussed to the world about Sword, the erroneous casualty "formula" he used for the TN Campaign eluded me...until Eric caught it.  So there's no shame in Eric finding someone's math error"-)

I agree with you on Johnston at Bentonville.  Although I sound like I'm condemning him for attacking when he wrote in his book that everything after the TN Campaign was hopeless, I realize that he was trying a last ditch Hail Mary, just like Hood at Franklin/Nashville.  I think Hood and Johnston got too involved with arguing after the war when really they had some things in common...namely each gave his all (and then some) when they came to the end.  It just bugs me that Hood's words and deeds often appear to be held to a different standard by scholars and authors...and that was the only point I was trying to make.

And by the way, I am not a blind anti-Johnston zealot (not that you or anyone in this forum said I was)...I defend him when I think he was right.  One example is his retreat down the Virginia peninsula in 1862.  It was the correct thing to do.  Davis fussed about it but in that case Davis was wrong and Old Joe was right...in my opinion.

Throughout this forum you have indeed consistently acknowledged Hood's personal courage, and praised his work as a brigade and division commander.  (Although Val Giles of the Texas Brigade wondered "if Hood made the Texas Brigade or the Texas Brigade made Hood":-)  Hood probably was in over his head as an army commander, but he stayed with the cause when he could have retired and been praised to this very day as a Confederate hero.  Like Eric said, he didn't help himself much when he picked up a pen.  But then again, he was only 32 and 33 years old whe he was writing his Official Reports and correspondance.  He had no excuse for some things he wrote in his memoirs I suppose, but he was in a public blood fued with Johnston at the time and probably embellished on some subjects.  (Like just about every CW general did to some extent in their memoirs.)



 Posted: Thu Feb 28th, 2008 01:02 am
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EricJacobson
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Johan,

If you're ever in Franklin stop by and see me at Carnton.  I work there as the Associate Director and would love to meet you.  Thanks for listening as I tried to lay out my case.

Sam,

I'll see you at the conference.



 Posted: Thu Feb 28th, 2008 01:54 am
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Johan Steele
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Well I was hoping to meet up w/ Steve Cone this last summer but money was too short. Heck I didn't even get to Allatoona; at least I made it to Charleston & Columbia again.



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