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 Posted: Fri Jul 25th, 2008 05:20 pm
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David White
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CleburneFan:

The question is not who Davis could have appointed but who you would have appointed having all the hindsight facts, a really really counterfactual question but interesting nonetheless.



 Posted: Sat Jul 26th, 2008 12:21 am
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CleburneFan
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Given all the genius of hindsight, I , if president of the Confederacy, would have bitten my lips, held my breath, promoted Patrick Ronayne Cleburne over the heads of lesser lights and named him commander of the Army of Tennessee.

Further, I would have given him the authority to reorganize the AoT in any manner he saw fit including promote or remove or transfer personnel as he needed.  In a reversal of my previous policies as president, I would follow Cleburne's advice to arm, train and free slaves to fill out the diminishing ranks of the army.

I would have called a meeting of the Confederate high command, including Cleburne and planned strategy for the next phase of the war in both theaters. The session would have to be a no BS, honest assessment of what is doable and what is impractical but desirable and what is just plain pie-in-the-sky and never going to happen no matter how badly some political high fliers want it. 

 



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 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 03:22 am
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The Iron Duke
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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.

Robert.

Last edited on Fri Aug 1st, 2008 03:43 am by The Iron Duke



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


 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 02:41 pm
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ole
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Powerful argument, Duke! And well said.

ole



 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 03:23 pm
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ashbel
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I would vote for Richard Taylor.  He commanded competently in all of his assignments.

Besides if Davis had selected Taylor we would have had a much better written account of what happened in the West.  Taylor's "Destruction and Reconstruction" is one of the best autobiographical works on the War.

 



 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 09:12 pm
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mikenoirot
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I took a quick glance through the previous posts. I like D.H. Hill. He would have made a fine commander. However, I struggle with his ability to yield to authority. While he and Bragg did not get along, his performance at Chickamauga was terrible.

I would vote for Stephen D. Lee. He was a solid fighter a good leader and handled pressure well. He was a West Point grad. He would have been young to be the top command, in the west, in 62 or 63, but he would have been great in 64.

Being new to the board, I will be interested to receive your feedback on my choice.



 Posted: Sat Aug 2nd, 2008 03:57 am
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ole
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Being new to the board, I will be interested to receive your feedback on my choice.

Your choices are highly defensible. D.H. Hill was an experienced and usually competent commander. One might even venture to say that he was no more quarrelsome than Bragg and a few other top commanders.

Don't know nothin' about S.D. Lee except that he seemed to be another usually competent commander.

It really does go back to the failure to select promising junior officers  and create commands to test and develop them. I'm not certain that the Union system was there by design, but it certainly worked better than that of the Confederacy. The Union pool of promotable officers was -- maybe not larger than the Confederate pool nor more skillful -- used more effectively. Can't say that a senior union officer sat down and wrote a procedure urging promotion of promising material, but it does seem to have worked for the Union and not for the Confederacy.

ole



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 Posted: Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 05:23 am
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sgtredleg
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I do not know why Hardee refused higher command, could it have involved conflict with Davis?
Never-the-less I would have liked to see him command the AofT with Cleburne, Gordon and Forrest as it's senior commanders.
Taylor may have done as well or better, but I am not as well versed on him as I should be.



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