In my new book "John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General" I release the contents of two letters among the cache of the newly discovered personal papers of Hood. One letter from Major WW Old identified Frank Cheatham as having intentionally disobeyed Hood's orders to attack at Spring Hill because he disapproved night attacks. This letter corroborates previously known similar letters from Major Joseph Cumming and Major James Ratchford. Another letter from SD Lee to Hood, also previously unknown, states that AP Stewart also identified Cheatham as disobeying Hood's orders, because he didn't approve of night attacks.
AP Stewart also stated that Patrick Cleburne concurred with Cheatham, and upon learning of Schofield's escape the next morning, felt personal remorse and responsibility, and "in that feeling" lost his life at Franklin. This explains Cleburne's purportedly anomalous behavior at Franklin.
This information is not my interpretation or opinion, but the words of Major William W Old and Gen. AP Stewart. Unless these officers (and Cumming and Ratchford) are not to be believed, this should close the book on who was responsible for the Confederate failure at Spring Hill.
In yet another letter, SD Lee wrote to Hood, explaining that when Cheatham (not Hood) ordered Ed Johnson's division's night attack at Franklin to support William Bate, they were ordered not to fire until they reached the works for fear of hitting Bate's men. Johnson's men held their fire, were decimated, but upon arrival at the front, found Bate's division was gone. Lee stated that Bate was not there, "nor were many of his dead." Lee further said that he looked for Bate's division during the evening but could not find them, nor Bate himself. Lee asked Hood how Bate's casualties compared to the other divisions. I don't know if Hood provided the information to Lee, but records indeed reveal that Bate's division suffered the lowest casualties of the six Confederate divisions involved in the initial attack, and much lower casualties than Johnson's division.
Last edited on Sun Jul 21st, 2013 11:38 am by samhood
This is interesting information, sheds light on Hood's state of mind the morning after. Did anger get the best of him at Franklin? Did Cleburne throw caution to the wind because of it? Sounds like you've done some intriguing research. I fancy the idea of a new book.