Discussion Did Jefferson Davis ever express regret for making Hood army commander?

major bill

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#1
Davis was tired of Johnston not engaging in battles and tendency to retreat, so Davis promoted Hood. Hood was the aggressive general Davis wanted, so I assume Davis was pleased with his choice.
 

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#2
Davis got an aggressive general for sure. If Davis was pleased with his choice in his final analysis then Davis was an idiot. Perhaps he knew that he made a mistake but didn't tell anyone or maybe he did and someone on the forum knows for sure whether Davis was ultimately happy or not.
 
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#3
Davis was tired of Johnston not engaging in battles and tendency to retreat, so Davis promoted Hood. Hood was the aggressive general Davis wanted, so I assume Davis was pleased with his choice.
I'm not sure Davis was satisfied when he made the appointment. I think he felt Atlanta lost, but needed to be contested. I also think he was thoroughly displeased by every general he had in that theater. As a matter of opinion, I think he should have gone to Atlanta earlier and taken personal charge.
 
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#5
Davis was tired of Johnston not engaging in battles and tendency to retreat, so Davis promoted Hood. Hood was the aggressive general Davis wanted, so I assume Davis was pleased with his choice.
Davis reappointed Johnston to command the AoT so apparently Davis did regret appointing Hood. The old saying "can't win for loosing" seems to apply.
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#6
I'm not sure Davis was satisfied when he made the appointment. I think he felt Atlanta lost, but needed to be contested. I also think he was thoroughly displeased by every general he had in that theater. As a matter of opinion, I think he should have gone to Atlanta earlier and taken personal charge.
Davis taking charge would be problematic at best. Doubtful if Davis would trust Rooms to lead the Confederacy in his absence. As Davis biographer William Cooper pointed out Davis suffered from severe neuralgia and living in the field would only make things worse.
Leftyhunter
 
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#7
Davis taking charge would be problematic at best. Doubtful if Davis would trust Rooms to lead the Confederacy in his absence. As Davis biographer William Cooper pointed out Davis suffered from severe neuralgia and living in the field would only make things worse.
Leftyhunter
Who is "Rooms"?
 
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#11
When he sent Longstreet west was he trying out Longstreet as army commander?
I don't think so, but who knows what he was really thinking at the time. He had his hands full with his cabinet (in which he made several changes), the Confederate congress which wasn't always in total agreement with what he was doing all the time, the War on other fronts, his family, etc. The man had a lot on his mind. My thinking is that if he had appointed Lee the Supreme commander earlier in the War until waiting to the last dying days and then quit trying to micromanage the War then maybe things would have turned out better for the War in the West. Kind of like Lincoln bringing in Grant when things were going badly for him. But again that is just so much conjecturing. Anyone can play "Monday morning football". It's dang near impossible to get into someone else's head even when one knows them well and you're looking at them. I'm not good at mental telepathy.
 
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#12
Has anyone read the Rise and Fall of the Confederacy, the two volume work of Davis after the war? I am curious now if he did admit anything, and was as open as other generals were in their own memoirs. Thanks,
Lubliner.
I just downloaded it to my Kindle. It is available at gutenberg.org. These books are long reads. I'll try to get back to you when I'm finished. That will likely be quite a while. Don't expect anything soon.
 

lelliott19

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Regarding Davis himself taking an active charge by making himself an Army commander. That never would have happened.Jefferson Davis had suffered poor health for many years. He likely contracted malaria or yellow fever about the time his first wife died. Additionally, as I said earlier, he had his hands more than full just being president.
 

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#16

lelliott19

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Ok. Finally found something.....not much. No idea what it means, but it seems to imply something.

Excerpt from a letter - Jefferson Davis to Mrs Davis, Fortress Monroe, Va., January 24, 1866

"....Again, any dolt whose blunders necessitated frequent conviction, and whose vanity sought for someone on whom to lay the responsibility of his failing, could readily, and if mean enough would now, <emphasis in original> ascribe them to me. Things done against my known views, and of which explanations were written to me when success was expected to result from the change of plan, have lately been attributed to my orders. Beauregard, Hood, Hardee, and Cobb know of a case in point, memorable by its consequences. Generals Lee and Bragg could give the history of the two largest armies...."

[Jefferson Davis: ex-president of the Confederate States of America : a memoir by his wife, Volume 2, Davis, Varina, Belford Co., New York, c1890. pp. 743-744.]
 
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Nytram01

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#19
Davis reappointed Johnston to command the AoT so apparently Davis did regret appointing Hood. The old saying "can't win for loosing" seems to apply.
Leftyhunter
Davis did not reappoint Johnston to command after the Franklin-Nashville Campaign of his own volition. His hand was forced.

The Confederate Congress passed a bill in January 1865 which appointed Robert E.Lee as General-in-Chief and in the very same bill recommended Johnston be returned to Command of the Army of Tennessee.

Davis willingly appointed Lee General-in-Chief but resisted restoring Johnston for a month, and he wrote a ****ing assessment of Johnston's conduct over the course of the war fully intending to submit it to Congress to fight the call to restore Johnston.

It was not until Lee himself came to Davis with the recommendation that Johnston be reappointed to command that Davis gave in.

So whatever else he might have felt about Hood's time in command of the Army of Tennessee, I doubt very much that any feelings of remorse about it led him to restoring Johnston
 
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#20
I doubt Davis would like to talk about his appointing Hood period simply because of the disaster it was. Admitting it was a mistake would also be admissions of Johnston being a better Army commander, (he was not going to admit that), and also that he made a big bloody mistake. While I look upon Davis a bit more favorably than most people, we must all bear in mind he did not like being wrong, and his health problems only made that trait worse.

Lets try to look at the situation from Davis's point-of-view to some extent. Johnston had fallen back to Atlanta, every battle he had fought had ended with the Army of Tennessee retreating. Almost all the generals left had been enemies of Braxton Bragg, trying to get him relieved more than a couple of times, Bragg was now an advisor to Davis and Davis still thought highly of him, so that ensured none of the general officers of the Army of Tennessee especially since Bragg had blamed them for all his failures, on Johnston's watch not only had the Army been driven back to Atlanta but General Leonidas Polk, a West Point classmate and friend of Davis had died. Compound all that with Davis's bad health, I'd say he had a pretty good grouch on when he sent Bragg to assess the situation.

Now lets look at the credentials Hood offered from the President's view:

1. He had come from the Army of Northern Virginia, an Army renown for victory, and so no black marks on his record from Bragg's tenure, (as far as I can recall)

2. He had a record of being an aggressive commander

3. His wounds from Gettysburg and Chickamauga were very visual reminders that he could be brave in the field, and so not likely to panic

4. He hadn't been repeatedly accused of being the cause of defeat by a superior officer.

As I recall, Bragg was the one sent to assess the situation at Atlanta, where he predictably gave very poor assessment of Johnston and his plans or as he said lack thereof, but Hood had stepped up and told Bragg that they had missed a lot opportunities to attack and defeat Sherman, and that the only solution to the problem was to attack Sherman. Davis had a report from his advisor that Hood was the only wanting to attack, Hood wasn't guilty insubordination in the past, and Davis wanted someone in command who would in his mind fight back. So with Hood's record, a general who Davis detested and from his office only looked to have retreated without a real fight, Hood believed successful offensives were possible, all the other candidates were worthless in Bragg's eyes, so therefore the eyes of Davis, there's no way Hood was not gonna get command at that point.

All those factors mentioned alone suggest Davis wasn't gonna admit he screwed up royally choosing Hood, but there is one more factor. Hood blamed all his screwups on his subordinates. Hood never said he made a mistake, (as far as I can recall off hand), and Bragg had blamed all his screwups on the same people, establishing a pattern in the eyes of Davis.

With his own faults, two Army of Tennessee commanders blaming the mistakes on the same people, well I imagine Davis went to his death bed thinking Hood wasn't as bad as history records.

But that's my view.
 



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