Franklin-Nashville Campaign: What was the point?

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19thGeorgia

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Aside from Hood's characteristic aggressive behavior, I see little point in going on the Franklin-Nashville Campaign. If it succeded, what would Hood have gained for the Confederacy, if not a few more dead and a few more days before the final surrender. The war was definitively lost at Atlanta. What did Hood have to gain in a costly offensive?
What I've read is it was to "reverse the course of the war." That may have been accomplished with 80-100,000 men and a better commander but not with 30-40,000 and Hood. My big question is- why was Hood still in command after the fall of Atlanta?
 

diane

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What I've read is it was to "reverse the course of the war." That may have been accomplished with 80-100,000 men and a better commander but not with 30-40,000 and Hood. My big question is- why was Hood still in command after the fall of Atlanta?
Think it was because Johnston could be blamed for any messes at Atlanta - Hood had taken the reins midstream and Johnston had not told him what he'd been planning to do. The only other possible replacement already had a job and was needed there - Richard Taylor. I believe Richard Taylor would have gone after Sherman not Thomas, or at least stayed in his way. Part of Sherman's success in the march was that he didn't stay long enough anywhere to totally wear out its usefulness - an army hanging onto his legs might have done that. Taylor did replace Hood but way, way too late.
 
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RochesterBill

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Think it was because Johnston could be blamed for any messes at Atlanta - Hood had taken the reins midstream and Johnston had not told him what he'd been planning to do. The only other possible replacement already had a job and was needed there - Richard Taylor. I believe Richard Taylor would have gone after Sherman not Thomas, or at least stayed in his way. Part of Sherman's success in the march was that he didn't stay long enough anywhere to totally wear out its usefulness - an army hanging onto his legs might have done that. Taylor did replace Hood but way, way too late.
I know I'm alone in this but I'd like to have seen them give that army to D. H. Hill.

Yes, Harvey hated everybody and everybody hated him, but he was head and shoulders above someone like Hood.

At the least he wouldn't have done stupid stuff, and he'd have made Sherman pay for every mile.

But im a Harvey Hill believer and we're a lonely bunch
 

diane

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I know I'm alone in this but I'd like to have seen them give that army to D. H. Hill.

Yes, Harvey hated everybody and everybody hated him, but he was head and shoulders above someone like Hood.

At the least he wouldn't have done stupid stuff, and he'd have made Sherman pay for every mile.

But im a Harvey Hill believer and we're a lonely bunch
:D Ain't we, though! I like Old Rawhide. He was the only one to pay Forrest a fine compliment on the use of his cavalry - took his hat off to do it, too. He wouldn't have parted with Forrest at a critical battle, and he wouldn't have sent Wheeler after Sherman.
 
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Polloco

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Got a question for someone smarter than myself. Hood was pretty much a cripple and probably in more pain than we know. Could it possibly have been the painkillers (opiates) that left him "not-so-clear-headed"? But that doesn't answer as to why Davis went along with it.
 

Jamieva

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Got a question for someone smarter than myself. Hood was pretty much a cripple and probably in more pain than we know. Could it possibly have been the painkillers (opiates) that left him "not-so-clear-headed"? But that doesn't answer as to why Davis went along with it.
He wasnt on painkillers
 
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Hot d***.
I don't even know with certainty if any of my ancestors fought in the war, and your ancestor was a d*** general!
Not trying to hijack the thread but I actually do have an ancestor who was a General. My 4th gr grandfather. My gg uncle Edmund Winchester Rucker's grandfather was General James Winchester, who served in the Revolution and in the War of 1812. He was in command at the Battle of Frenchtown, aka the River Raisin Massacre. Over 400 men were killed and over 500 were captured by the British in the engagement. James Winchester was included in those captured. There is a sad running joke in our family because of this. Kelloggs headquarters are in Battle Creek, Michigan. The family joke goes like this.... Someone asks.... "What's for breakfast"? There is then a unanimous answer of....."Raisin Bran" and a collective moan.
 

WJC

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Got a question for someone smarter than myself. Hood was pretty much a cripple and probably in more pain than we know. Could it possibly have been the painkillers (opiates) that left him "not-so-clear-headed"? But that doesn't answer as to why Davis went along with it.
That malicious claim was based on the opinions of a number of writers without a shred of evidence.
 
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Carronade

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The war was definitively lost at Atlanta.
Trouble was, the Confederates were not willing to accept that. This was not like a European war, where the loser would cede some province on the border and hope to do better next time. It was a war for the survival of the Confederacy. To accept defeat was to give up their dream of independence, and in all probability they would have to accept emancipation as well, lose their slave labor force, and live side by side, forever, with millions of free blacks.

I agree there was little point in continuing the war after Lincoln's reelection, which confirmed the determination of the Union to carry on until victory; but if you rule out the possibility of capitulation, what do you do? It was evident that a defensive posture would merely delay the inevitable, so what does that leave?
 

archieclement

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I believe the offensive could have worked, if handled differently by another General who would not let the Union forces slip by the Confederates at Spring Hill, not ordered the disastrous frontal assault at Franklin or trying to lay siege to a much larger army like at Nashville. So many tactical errors where made during that Campaign.
At times I tend to think too much blame is placed at the top of the AOT during this period, certainly a substantial problem was the subordinates who repeatedly showed little initiative and were slow to carry out what was ordered. Hood may have been right at Franklin in that the AOT seemed incapable of conducting any flanking or complex attack maneuver in any type of a coordinated and timely matter to be able to succeed.
 
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jackt62

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At times I tend to think too much blame is placed at the top of the AOT during this period, certainly a substantial problem was the subordinates who repeatedly showed little initiative and were slow to carry out what was ordered. Hood may have been right at Franklin in that the AOT seemed incapable of conducting any flanking or complex attack maneuver in any type of a coordinated and timely matter to be able to succeed.
It has been my understanding that Hood was adamant in his decision to employ direct frontal tactics at Franklin, and that responsibility for this fiasco should not rest with his subordinates. In fact, Forest recommended just such a flanking movement that Hood rejected and other subordinates including Cleburne and Cheatham were opposed to the frontal attack.
 

archieclement

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It has been my understanding that Hood was adamant in his decision to employ direct frontal tactics at Franklin, and that responsibility for this fiasco should not rest with his subordinates. In fact, Forest recommended just such a flanking movement that Hood rejected and other subordinates including Cleburne and Cheatham were opposed to the frontal attack.
Even with a basic frontal attack they don't get in place to commence the attack till 4PM......sunset was 4:34....there was no time to conduct a flanking attack.....the goal was to force battle and destroy/or least cripple Army of the Ohio before it reaches Nashville and General Thomas. Just forcing Schofield to safely retreat to Thomas during the night wasn't the goal at all, and would have been a failure as well

Certainly the subordinates previously demonstrating the slows isn't going to encourage complex maneuvers anyway.

That's the odd thing about suggestions to merely flank Schofield into retreating during the night again. The key point of the whole campaign hinged on bringing Schofield to battle BEFORE he retreats to Nashville not merely watching and allowing Schofield and Thomas to combine. I'd say forcing Schofield to battle before Nashville was the point in the OP's "what was the point?"

Guess I differ with some in least rolling the dice to try accomplish your goal, and failing...…...is better then not even trying at all and failing.....Realistically to have any chance at all, you have to at least try, you very well may still fail, but least you actually tried. A 1-in 20 chance of success will likely fail, but still seems a 5% more chance then doing nothing and throwing in the towel...….
 
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James N.

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… True that the "Confederate soldiers had proven all that honor demanded by November 1864," but doesn't change the fact the war was still going on - and that their were nearly forty-thousand men ready and still willing to fight for the Confederacy in the AoT at that time.

I don't think we should speak in absolutes today - even if in hindsight. The situation in October - November 1864 was far different to the men and women of both sides than it is to us today...
Even as big a critic of John Bell Hood as Capt. Samuel Foster (in the book One of Cleburne's Command) wasn't dismayed by the assault at Franklin - until the next morning where he surveyed the carnage. He at first seemed satisfied that the Federals had been driven in retreat and the Confederates had evidently "won" the battle!
 

James N.

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It has been my understanding that Hood was adamant in his decision to employ direct frontal tactics at Franklin, and that responsibility for this fiasco should not rest with his subordinates. In fact, Forest recommended just such a flanking movement that Hood rejected and other subordinates including Cleburne and Cheatham were opposed to the frontal attack.
Somewhere I've read a defense of Hood's tactics by none other than his old friend and former West Point classmate John M. Schofield, whose point was that this was Hood's absolute last chance to possibly cripple and hopefully capture his army before it could reach the safety of the Nashville entrenchments. Schofield thought Hood was justified in at least taking the risk, since his own army was outnumbered with its back to a river and enmeshed in the old problem of trying to cross it while being attacked. If Hood had attempted or waited for any sort of flanking maneuver to succeed, the bird would've flown and any chance at all been lost.
 
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