Does Major General William Walker get the attention he deserves?

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Joined
Aug 25, 2012
"Shot Pouch" or Fighting Billy, General H. T. Walker appears to have possessed reasonable good military skills, but is not as well known as many Confederate generals. General Joseph E. Johnston said of Walker, he was "the only officer in his command competent to lead a division".

Walker seemed to have the prerequisites of a successful senior Confederate general: West Point graduate, combat experience, West Point instructor of tactics, and Commandant of Cadets at West Point (1854-56). Still, General Walker never seemed to reach the heights he may have been qualified to reach. One of the possible reasons for this may be that Walker had resigned his Confederate commission in 1861 and severed in the Georgia militia until the beginning of 1863. Had he not resigned he may have reach a more senior level in the Confederate Army. Another issue for Walker is that he was considered difficult. Confederate St. John Liddell describes him as "a crackbrained fire-eater, always captious or cavilling about something." Walker's service to the Confederacy was cut short in when he was killed in action of July22, 1864 during the Atlanta Campaign.

So what do forum member think of Major General William Walker? Was he the petty nitpicking, foolish fire-eater as Liddell portrays him as, or a rising star whose contribution was cut short?
 

NedBaldwin

Major
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Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
... General Joseph E. Johnston said of Walker, he was "the only officer in his command competent to lead a division"...
Is this a compliment to him or a comment on the rest of the officers in his command at the time?
The comment was made in mid-May 1863, when Johnston was trying to make an army out of a mix of brigades to attempt to help Vicksburg. So he is identifying Walker amongst Gregg, Gist, Ector, McNair, Maxey, Evans.... not exactly top names
 

danny

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Feb 20, 2005
Location
Hattiesburg

To the Manner Born: The Life of General William H.T. Walker



Russell K. Brown
Mercer University Press, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 411 pages
0 Reviews
Making use of personal correspondence official documents, contemporary newspaper articles and eye witness narratives, the book includes details of Walker's formative years, family life, early military career and Civil War experiences. This book is the first full-length objective study of the ill-fated Confederate general. W.H.T. Walker was a man of action, but he was also a man of strong likes and dislikes; of hot temper but of tender compassion. Known in his life-time as Old Shot Pouch for his many war wounds, he has come down to us as the Georgia Firebrand. He could boast of his accomplishments, but he could be humbled by sorrow. He could appear reduced in integrity by his ambition, but he could be redeemed by service to his family or to his country. He held a philosophy of life that his contemporaries found admirable, however it might be judged by modern society. To dismiss him as merely a militant proslavery general is to do him less than justice. The evidence shows that he was that, but also much more. In the words of one reviewer. This finely crafted book was long overdue. Drawing on personal papers, official documents, and eyewitness accounts, Brown has written a biography of a Confederate general who also fought in the Seminole and Mexican wars, and who at one time could be concerned with family decorum issues at home and the next with battlefield strategies. Walker was a complex individual who was killed during the Atlanta campaign of 1864.
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Aug 25, 2012
Yet to many he is mostly remembered as a pro slavery hot head. Still if he taught tactics at West Point, he must have had some understanding of military tactics. I wonder if this book is worth reading.
 

jackt62

Captain
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Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
My knowledge of General Walker is slight, but I seem to recall that he was bitterly opposed to General Pat Cleburne's proposal to enlist Black slaves with a promise of freedom, and was a leader of the opposition to that proposal and to Cleburne himself.
 

Luke Freet

Sergeant Major
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Joined
Nov 8, 2018
Location
Palm Coast, Florida
"Shot Pouch" or Fighting Billy, General H. T. Walker appears to have possessed reasonable good military skills, but is not as well known as many Confederate generals. General Joseph E. Johnston said of Walker, he was "the only officer in his command competent to lead a division".

Walker seemed to have the prerequisites of a successful senior Confederate general: West Point graduate, combat experience, West Point instructor of tactics, and Commandant of Cadets at West Point (1854-56). Still, General Walker never seemed to reach the heights he may have been qualified to reach. One of the possible reasons for this may be that Walker had resigned his Confederate commission in 1861 and severed in the Georgia militia until the beginning of 1863. Had he not resigned he may have reach a more senior level in the Confederate Army. Another issue for Walker is that he was considered difficult. Confederate St. John Liddell describes him as "a crackbrained fire-eater, always captious or cavilling about something." Walker's service to the Confederacy was cut short in when he was killed in action of July22, 1864 during the Atlanta Campaign.

So what do forum member think of Major General William Walker? Was he the petty nitpicking, foolish fire-eater as Liddell portrays him as, or a rising star whose contribution was cut short?
Walker is hard to rate as there's few cases where he is actually engaged in a major battle; he's in Corps command at Chickamauga, where he coordinates Liddell's flank assault that routs Baird's Division; he's out sick for Missionary Ridge; and he's not at the center of a major engagement until Peachtree Creek (in which his men are the most heavily engaged of Hardee's mismanaged corps). He may have been the first casualty of the July 22nd battle. That said, from all I've read, he seemed to be a perfect division commander, and a hard fighting one; from his track record I'd say he may have been one of the best of the AoT (though Cleburne and Stewart still outshine him).
It's hard for me to like him. He was the most antagonist to Cleburne during the Dalton Controversy, being the one who sent a copy of Cleburne's Proposal straight to Davis, in an attempt to see Cleburne punished for being a traitor; of course, there seemed to have been little direct punishment for Cleburne or anyone else involved in the proposal. Scummy move, but his attitude was more in tune with the time and society than Cleburne's.
 

DixieRifles

Captain
Member of the Year
Regtl. Staff Shiloh 2020
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Mar 22, 2009
Location
Collierville, TN
Im reading Tim Smith’s book on the Siege of Vicksburg and just tead the chapter about Grant’s action to send out 1 brigade from each of his divisions to protect his rear.
Generals W. H. T. Walker and John Adams moved to cross the Big Black River to place them on the land between it and the Yazoo river. Grant was concerned this stripe of land would be used to attack his rear.
However there was no clash between the main forces and Walker garrisoned in Yazoo City.

It seems that Walker was making an attempt to threaten Grant while Gen. J. S. Johnston sat and requested Richmond send more troops.
 
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