View single post by Johan Steele
 Posted: Wed Feb 27th, 2008 10:22 pm
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Johan Steele
Life NRA,SUVCW # 48,Legion 352

Joined: Sat Dec 2nd, 2006
Location: South Of The North 40, Minnesota USA
Posts: 1065

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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.

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