Franklin-Nashville Campaign: What was the point?

archieclement

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#61
The Confederates were down 45-0 in the 4th quarter, on their own 5 yard line, with 15 seconds left on the clock. Hood was heard asking "How many timeouts do we have left"?
And here's the key in what to do I think personally, and as I wasn't there I cant accurately say.

Are the men defeated and ready to take a knee, and throw in the towel and go home, or are they looking to you to somehow stave off defeat with a hail mary? If its the latter, think the commander owes the men to least try.
 

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#62
That malicious claim was based on the opinions of a number of writers without a shred of evidence.
It doesn't matter. With the injuries he had he should have been relieved for medical reasons. A person with those injuries would almost certainly be assigned office work in the modern army.
This opinion is based on personal experience.
 

diane

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#63
The timing of the flanking maneuver was what was critical as noted - that's part of the disagreement Forrest had with Hood. Same with Walthall's brigade - timing!

I have to say there is something in the observations about Hood's subordinates not co-operating as a well-oiled team. That is where Davis should have stepped in long before and cleaned out the AoT of malcontents, schemers and good ol' boys! They seriously needed to have their heads banged together.
 
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#64
And here's the key in what to do I think personally, and as I wasn't there I cant accurately say.

Are the men defeated and ready to take a knee, and throw in the towel and go home, or are they looking to you to somehow stave off defeat with a hail mary? If its the latter, think the commander owes the men to least try.
Under the circumstances I mention so tongue in cheek, all I am really saying is that a trick play may have been better than trying to run it up the middle.
 

archieclement

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#65
Under the circumstances I mention so tongue in cheek, all I am really saying is that a trick play may have been better than trying to run it up the middle.
only if you have time to set it up and conduct it......it took within roughly a half hour of sunset to simply run up the middle...…….changing the play or developing another very well could have simply run out the clock, which results in doing nothing and making no attempt to stave off defeat

Also using your tongue in cheek analogy, the team owner in J Davis had made it clear you were expected to make the attempt unlike the coach you replaced...…… The previous coach's philosophy of taking a knee and saying we'll try next week had been rejected by the owner....
 
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WJC

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#66
It doesn't matter. With the injuries he had he should have been relieved for medical reasons. A person with those injuries would almost certainly be assigned office work in the modern army.
This opinion is based on personal experience.
Thanks for your response.
I agree that Hood was being asked to do too much, given his physical injuries. But the fact is there was virtually no one else. What I challenge is the unwarranted character assassination some have done on the man.
 
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#67
I defer to the Jacobson's & Cartwright's of the world when it comes to this topic. I've loved learning about it over the years and reading several works on the subject, but they know a lot better than I do.

I was hoping to see the reenactors do their usual walk from Winstead Hill up Columbia Pike to the Carter House for the Anniversary last week, but working late & the probable rain intruded, and sort of ruined that for me, sadly.
 
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#68
the team owner in J Davis had made it clear you were expected to make the attempt unlike the coach you replaced.
Which is why in an earlier post I placed all the blame on Davis. The whole thing stinks. I know Davis wanted a hard charger. I know Hood thought the AoT was slow. I also know Hood was mad after Spring Hill. I also know how many casualties there were during the Atlanta Campaign. The tragedy at Franklin was the result. I get emotional about that battle. Way more so than any other battle.
 
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#69
Thanks for your response.
I agree that Hood was being asked to do too much, given his physical injuries. But the fact is there was virtually no one else. What I challenge is the unwarranted character assassination some have done on the man.
The number of people who thought the Confederates who could win, as opposed to the number of people who did want Jefferson Davis to have total power over the winding down of the war, was rapidly changing by August 1864.
By November 1864 the situation was completely different.
The Confederate politicians never adjusted to the change. Franklin and Nashville and Fort Fisher were some of the results.
 

archieclement

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#70
Which is why in an earlier post I placed all the blame on Davis. The whole thing stinks. I know Davis wanted a hard charger. I know Hood thought the AoT was slow. I also know Hood was mad after Spring Hill. I also know how many casualties there were during the Atlanta Campaign. The tragedy at Franklin was the result. I get emotional about that battle. Way more so than any other battle.
I tend to place more the blame on JJ, there was a 2 1/2 month window to maneuver to seize the initiative or strike on favorable terms, however JJ squandered it...….when he finally accomplishes his stated goal of concentrating most of his army against just a part of theirs at New Hope Church, he springs with the ferocity of a mouse.....so much so the Union ends up attacking him..

He never attempts to seize the initiative, just retreat and concede it time and time again, then when they do make somewhat a mistake that presented the opportunity he claimed he was seeking all along, he still does little...
 
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jackt62

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#72
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.
Well, at the very least, Schofield was correct that Franklin was Hood's last chance to smash the Army of the Ohio before it could reach Nashville.
 

jackt62

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#73
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...….
Hood's real failure was not getting the Army of the Ohio at Spring Hill.
 
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#74
Well, at the very least, Schofield was correct that Franklin was Hood's last chance to smash the Army of the Ohio before it could reach Nashville.
In making that statement did General Schofield specify how many regiments in his army already had breech loading rifles?
Why would Franklin have been different that Peach Tree Creek, the battle of Atlanta, Ezra Church or Jonesboro? Had Hood's army ever defeated a part of the US armies it faced?
Why would Hood get a different result than Pickett?
 

Jamieva

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#76
Hood's overall plan to capture Nashville, march north through Kentucky to the Ohio then take a hard right and cross WV and the Valley to help Lee is some of the most fantastical craziness of a plan you will ever read in the annals of military history.

Oh did I mention he plans to start this in the winter?!!!! And Davis endorses and encourages it. Amazing.
 
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#77
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?
The answer is that you can't rule out the possibility of capitulation.

When you lead a nation at war, you're responsible above all for not simply throwing men's lives away because you don't know what else to do and your pride won't let you do the obvious thing that would allow tens of thousands to live to a ripe old age instead of getting tossed into a shallow roadside grave at age 17.

The lack of wisdom, foresight and statesmanship on the part of the Confederate leadership is appalling. Even the Marble Man, Lee himself, should have used the moral leadership he must have known he had at that point and told Davis, "No more. It's done. We cannot beat these people and I'm not going to keep tossing souls into the furnace."

Even more disgusting is Davis' attempt to continue the war after Richmond fell. Nobody was willing to follow him but how morally obtuse can one man be?

As for your question, it's simple: when there is no hope, you have to stop the killing.
 
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Nytram01

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#78
There are, I feel, three main areas of the Franklin-Nashville Campaign which can be placed on Hood's shoulders as being a failing in his abilities as a commander, and they are all connected.

1) Spring Hill

Having decided that it was important that he catch the Army of the Ohio at Spring Hill and get between them and the Army of the Cumberland, General Hood decided to leave the battle in the hands of his subordinates - the very same subordinates he'd criticised after Altanta fell for giving a less than satisfactory performance - and had a meal and early night.

He removed himself entirely from the battle despite believing it was an important part of the campaign which would contribute much to its overall success or failure, and the Army of Tennessee failed to achieve any of his aims in his absence.

2) Franklin

Having failed to get between the Federals at Spring Hill, subsequently allowing Scofield to occupy Franklin, he had no choice but to attack if he hoped in any way to prevent the Federal Armies uniting. The wisdom of conducting a frontal assault on a wide front against an entrenched enemy will always be suspect - though there, in truth, may not have been many alternatives - and there is no doubt that it gutted the Army of Tennesse for no practical gain.

Having all but wiped out his officer corp, and suffered casualties numbering almost a third of his Army, General Hood felt he could do nothing but advance or risk his Army disolving though desertions, so that's what he did.

3) Nashville

With the Army of the Ohio united with the Army of the Cumberland, and both sitting in a major supply hub upon the Federal controled rivers, General Thomas and General Schofield were sitting pretty. Being almost double the size of their enemy, in a well fortified and well supplied position as winter set in they were never in any danger. Nevertheless, General Hood decided to attempt to besiege his enemy in the vague, forlorn hope that Confederate troops in the Trans-Mississippi would come to his aid.

Hood's failures were thus

1) voluntary abdication of command during a crucial battle upon which much of the campaign's potential for success hinged

2) willful disregard for the damage suffered to his own army and lacking the fortitude to admit the campaign was lost - some might think this harsh, but the Duke of Wellington once said the mark of a great commander was to know when to retreat and dare to do it, and Hood failed to do this after Franklin even though he must have known he hadn't really any chance of salvaging anything.

3) putting his army in an exposed position with no clear end goal, no hope of success, clinging to a fools hope of salvation and, in keeping with the above, being too proud to admit he'd failed, cut his losses and pull back.

I am of the opinion that Hood's entire career is coloured retrospectively through the lense of the Franklin-Nashville Campaign, that the utter disaster that Campaign turned out to be ruined his reputation forever more, and his good reputation as divison commander could not offset the damage.

This being said, the Confederates could have gained something from the campaign under a more competant Army General - Spring Hill could have been a victory that badly damaged the Army of the Ohio, it might not have prevented the Federals linking up but it could have depleated their numbers and undoubtedly would have left the Army of Tennessee in a far healthier state to face the Federals as it would have prevented the Battle of Franklin from ever happening - but I think any gains from this campaign were going to be undone in short order anyway, as the Confederacy was on it's last legs and would have been unable to exploit any success.
 

JeffBrooks

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#79
I tend to place more the blame on JJ, there was a 2 1/2 month window to maneuver to seize the initiative or strike on favorable terms, however JJ squandered it...….when he finally accomplishes his stated goal of concentrating most of his army against just a part of theirs at New Hope Church, he springs with the ferocity of a mouse.....so much so the Union ends up attacking him..

He never attempts to seize the initiative, just retreat and concede it time and time again, then when they do make somewhat a mistake that presented the opportunity he claimed he was seeking all along, he still does little...
I assume you mean Cassville, not New Hope Church. And the failure at Cassville was more the fault of Hood than Johnston, to the extent that it was the fault of anything aside from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

But this is a topic for a different thread.
 

archieclement

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#80
I assume you mean Cassville, not New Hope Church. And the failure at Cassville was more the fault of Hood than Johnston, to the extent that it was the fault of anything aside from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

But this is a topic for a different thread.
No, meant new hope church... on morning may 25th, Hardee's corps is just east of Dallas, Polks Corps is to the right and Hoods corps just a few miles away at New Hope, essentially the entire AOT is gathered against just the approaching Hooker's XX Corps initially, yet they don't attack, they don't do anything to take advantage of the concentration they had gained

They see the dust from the approaching XX corps from observers on Elsberry Mountain, Hoods pickets take a prisoner of Geary's div who confirms its just XX corps approaching...….. yet pretty much nothing is done...…..Meanwhile Hooker is clueless the entire AOT has gathered to his front at this point.
 
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