Help me rank these Generals.

James N.

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I'm curious, did anyone of these generals try to copy Lee? As if to say "What would Lee do?"
Supposedly Hood's July 22, 1864 attack now known as the Battle of Atlanta was "inspired" by the Lee-Jackson combination at Chancellorsville; unfortunately, Hood was overoptimistic and didn't allow either enough time for Hardee to complete the "flank march" - which was compromised by the true nature of the Federal deployment - or consider the poor condition of the force allocated to perform it. Also, Jubal Early was operating under Lee's express directions when he first embarked on his own 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign.
 

jackt62

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Supposedly Hood's July 22, 1864 attack now known as the Battle of Atlanta was "inspired" by the Lee-Jackson combination at Chancellorsville; unfortunately, Hood was overoptimistic and didn't allow either enough time for Hardee to complete the "flank march" - which was compromised by the true nature of the Federal deployment - or consider the poor condition of the force allocated to perform it. Also, Jubal Early was operating under Lee's express directions when he first embarked on his own 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign.

In fact, Hood should be given credit for planning a massive flank attack against McPherson's AotT that was indeed modeled on Jackson's Chancellorsville assault. The original plan called for Hardee's Corp and Wheeler's cavalry to make a wide southward march from their positions at Atlanta, and then turn northeast to get into the rear of the AotT. That plan was revised to hit the flank of the AotT, in part because of the shorter travel distance and the desirability to aim for the flank. But that plan was stymied by McPherson's brilliant decision to move part of the XVI Corps into an "L" shape position to guard the southern flank against a surprise assault. Nevertheless, Hood does not seem to get much credit for at least planning such a move, which was clearly inspired by his time with the ANV.
 

jackt62

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@Jamieva @jackt62 I'm stunned that you guys think so fondly of Hardee. Can I ask why?

To be clear, I ranked Hardee in relation to the others in the list. So obviously we are not comparing Hardee with the likes of Lee, Jackson, Longstreet, and even Johnston. So in relation to commanders such as Bragg and Polk, Hardee at least had a long war career without any major screwups. His background and mastery in training and drill (he had translated the French Drill Manual), and his concurrent emphasis on unit discipline, made sure that his troops and Corps were well versed in battlefield maneuvers, one of the major criteria for being an effective commander. All in all, Hardee was a solid, but not spectacular CW commander.
 

James N.

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To be clear, I ranked Hardee in relation to the others in the list. So obviously we are not comparing Hardee with the likes of Lee, Jackson, Longstreet, and even Johnston. So in relation to commanders such as Bragg and Polk, Hardee at least had a long war career without any major screwups. His background and mastery in training and drill (he had translated the French Drill Manual), and his concurrent emphasis on unit discipline, made sure that his troops and Corps were well versed in battlefield maneuvers, one of the major criteria for being an effective commander. All in all, Hardee was a solid, but not spectacular CW commander.
I think it's probably significant that of the generals included on the OP list only two - Hood and Early - appear to have been in any way affected by any particular tactic or strategem that obviously sprung from Lee. None of the AOT commanders seem to have been so influenced, for the likely reason they never served directly under Lee to have imbibed any of his thoughts or tactics.
 

Belfoured

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Supposedly Hood's July 22, 1864 attack now known as the Battle of Atlanta was "inspired" by the Lee-Jackson combination at Chancellorsville; unfortunately, Hood was overoptimistic and didn't allow either enough time for Hardee to complete the "flank march" - which was compromised by the true nature of the Federal deployment - or consider the poor condition of the force allocated to perform it. Also, Jubal Early was operating under Lee's express directions when he first embarked on his own 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign.
This is from Johnston's official report of the Campaign:

"In transferring the command to General Hood I explained my plans to him: First, to attack the Federal army while crossing Peach Tree Creek. If we were successful great results might be hoped for, as the enemy would have both the creek and the river to intercept his retreat. Second, if unsuccessful, to keep back the enemy by intrenching, to give time for the assembling of the State troops promised by Governor Brown; to garrison Atlanta with those troops, and when the Federal army approached the town attack it on its most exposed flank with all the Confederate troops."

So, if Johnston is to be believed, the basic concept was his, not Hood's. And it need not have been based on what happened at Chancellorsville with the Lee-Jackson combination. Jackson's flank attack was hardly innovative. In the AWI our friend Lord Howe pulled the same stunt a few times on Washington, including two notable occasions at Long Island and Brandywine - the first in combination with Grant and the second in combination with Knyphausen. What was unique about Chancellorsville was Lee's splitting his army up in the presence of 1:2 odds.

I agree with your analysis of reasons for failure of the July 22 attack.
 
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I'd just split em into top 3 and bottom 3 as some so close it's hard to distinguish...

Top 3 Hood, Early, Bragg
Bottom Beauregard, Polk, Hardee

Going by doing what was expected of them, showing initiative, and accepting their situation.
 

Luke Freet

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Help me rank these Generals by performance in the field, ready? John B. Hood, Braxton Bragg, William J. Hardee, Jubal Early, P.G.T. Beauregard, Leonidas Polk.

Rank them and tell me why you put them in that order.
1. Jubal Early (His campaigns in the Valley were quite successful. His only egregious mistake was at Cedar Creek, where he called off Gordon's attack on the 6th Corps because he expected them to retreat with the rest)
2. William Hardee ("Old Reliable" sums him up well: Not awful, but not particularly great. His best showing was at Stones River, where he commanded the brunt of the attack and overran most of the Union positions; prone to squabling with his superiors, particularly Bragg and to a lesser extent Hood; his biggest contribution to the war was his mentoring and support for Patrick Cleburne, the AoT's best officer).
3. P. G. T. Beauregard (A real dandy, in my book. His idea of organizing the Army of Mississippi into Corps when that wasn't yet common in the CS army at the time was sound. His actions around Charleston and on the Bermuda Hundred deserve some praise. But certainly a man of mediocre skill).
4. John Bell Hood (Aggressive commander; did good job at brigade and division level at Gaines Mill, Second Manassas, Antietam, and partial Corps command at Chickamauga, he didn't have much time to demonstrate his skill at division level at Gettysburg due to early wounding; His time as Corps commander in the AoT was a mediocre affair; his time as Army commander for remainder of Atlanta Campaign left much to be desired; and his decision making in the Tennessee Campaign was abysmal and resulted in a needless effusion of lives so late in the war; not as bad as many historians portray him, but certainly not a great commander)
5. Braxton Bragg (A somewhat decent tactitian and operational commander, but poor at diplomacy in management, resulting in his subordinates refusing to follow his orders out of spite. May have made a good corps commander if he wasn't promoted, but still, quite a bad commander in many senses)
6. Leonidas Polk (Troops loved him; that was his only positive trait; his actions resulted in Kentucky joining the Union; he bungled the right flank at Chickamauga on the 20th, resulting in the failure of the Battle overall).
 

Luke Freet

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I left out Jubal Early from my previous post. I would place him after Beauregard and before Bragg. His elevation to command of the Army of the Valley during the 1864 Shenandoah campaign was based on his mostly solid performance as a Division Commander and experience at most of the ANV's engagements in northern Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Early started strong in the Shenandoah Valley by successfully routing Union forces, threatening Washington City, and at least initially executing a strong assault at Cedar Creek, but eventually was overpowered by Sheridan's forces. Although Lee called Early his "bad old man," Lee ultimately relieved Early after the defeat in the Valley.
Early's elevation also was influence by the fact he spent much of the Overland Campaign as a defacto Corps commander, leading A. P. Hill's Third Corps for all of Spotsylvania and the 2nd Corps during the Cold Harbor operations. In the valley, facing adversaries on par with those faced by Jackson two years prior, he ran roughshod over the Valley, threatened Washington, and humiliated General Crooknat the same battlefield Jackson suffered defeat upon. When Sheridan arrives, the Union efforts and strategy improved, making the tactics Early was using useless. And even after his defeats at Opequon and Fisher Hill, he was still able to bounce back and nearly strike a deadly blow at Cedar Creek. Of course my sympathies for him run dry with his halt order, and his blaming of his own troops for his own failure.
 
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Early's elevation also was influence by the fact he spent much of the Overland Campaign as a defacto Corps commander, leading A. P. Hill's Third Corps for all of Spotsylvania and the 2nd Corps during the Cold Harbor operations. In the valley, facing adversaries on par with those faced by Jackson two years prior, he ran roughshod over the Valley, threatened Washington, and humiliated General Crooknat the same battlefield Jackson suffered defeat upon. When Sheridan arrives, the Union efforts and strategy improved, making the tactics Early was using useless. And even after his defeats at Opequon and Fisher Hill, he was still able to bounce back and nearly strike a deadly blow at Cedar Creek. Of course my sympathies for him run dry with his halt order, and his blaming of his own troops for his own failure.
At work at the moment, but wow, thank your for the breakdown.
 

speedylee

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Help me rank these Generals by performance in the field, ready? John B. Hood, Braxton Bragg, William J. Hardee, Jubal Early, P.G.T. Beauregard, Leonidas Polk.

Rank them and tell me why you put them in that order.
Not an easy ask but it is a fun question to consider. My list, then the reasoning below. Just my humble opinions here...

Hood
Beauregard
Bragg
Early
Hardee

{Great distance of time and place, filled by any incompetent fool you want to add to the list}

Polk.



Before he suffered his wounds, Hood led his Texans and they accomplished good work for the CSA. I include that period when considering the question. Thus, on this list, Hood is first.

Beauregard was hard for me to figure, in this instance. Given the limitations of this list, he's second.

Bragg was saddled with a mixed bag of some competent and some useless corps and brigade commanders. Bragg was not good at adjusting to the ebb and flow of battle, nor was he an inspirational leader. Neither was he well served by his commanders. On this list, he is no worse than third-best.

Not many songs or poems were written about Early's military brilliance, but on my list of this group, he's fourth.

I know less about Hardee than the others. I put him where I thought he'd do little harm.

Polk may have been the best soldier the Union army had, so he's worst on this list.
 

Dave DuBrucq

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Help me rank these Generals by performance in the field, ready? John B. Hood, Braxton Bragg, William J. Hardee, Jubal Early, P.G.T. Beauregard, Leonidas Polk.

Rank them and tell me why you put them in that order.
None of these General officers were stellar in my opinion however, Beauregard and Early would be the top two in this line-up of mediocrity. Beauregard was a planner more than a fighter and Early performed as well as could be expected given the disadvantages
he faced. Still, he too, was a paragon of mediocrity. Hardee would place third in this group. Leonidas Polk follows at fourth. He would have been much better off sticking to his clerical duties. Polk was not a good commander. Then comes Bragg and Hood. Take your pick as to which one was the worst. My rating would put Hood at next to last. He was brave and an aggressive fighter, but he was promoted beyond his capability and destroyed the Army of Tennessee. Bragg comes in as dead last. A disagreeable man, he was loathed by his subordinate officers and disliked by his troops. Bragg was the one Confederate General who could continuously snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Sadly for the Confederacy, he was a favorite of Jefferson Davis who refused to remove him and did more to lose the war than any General.
 
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None of these General officers were stellar in my opinion however, Beauregard and Early would be the top two in this line-up of mediocrity. Beauregard was a planner more than a fighter and Early performed as well as could be expected given the disadvantages
he faced. Still, he too, was a paragon of mediocrity. Hardee would place third in this group. Leonidas Polk follows at fourth. He would have been much better off sticking to his clerical duties. Polk was not a good commander. Then comes Bragg and Hood. Take your pick as to which one was the worst. My rating would put Hood at next to last. He was brave and an aggressive fighter, but he was promoted beyond his capability and destroyed the Army of Tennessee. Bragg comes in as dead last. A disagreeable man, he was loathed by his subordinate officers and disliked by his troops. Bragg was the one Confederate General who could continuously snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Sadly for the Confederacy, he was a favorite of Jefferson Davis who refused to remove him and did more to lose the war than any General.
Not an easy ask but it is a fun question to consider. My list, then the reasoning below. Just my humble opinions here...

Hood
Beauregard
Bragg
Early
Hardee

{Great distance of time and place, filled by any incompetent fool you want to add to the list}

Polk.



Before he suffered his wounds, Hood led his Texans and they accomplished good work for the CSA. I include that period when considering the question. Thus, on this list, Hood is first.

Beauregard was hard for me to figure, in this instance. Given the limitations of this list, he's second.

Bragg was saddled with a mixed bag of some competent and some useless corps and brigade commanders. Bragg was not good at adjusting to the ebb and flow of battle, nor was he an inspirational leader. Neither was he well served by his commanders. On this list, he is no worse than third-best.

Not many songs or poems were written about Early's military brilliance, but on my list of this group, he's fourth.

I know less about Hardee than the others. I put him where I thought he'd do little harm.

Polk may have been the best soldier the Union army had, so he's worst on this list.
Wowwwwwwwwwwwwww you put Hood first?
 
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None of these General officers were stellar in my opinion however, Beauregard and Early would be the top two in this line-up of mediocrity. Beauregard was a planner more than a fighter and Early performed as well as could be expected given the disadvantages
he faced. Still, he too, was a paragon of mediocrity. Hardee would place third in this group. Leonidas Polk follows at fourth. He would have been much better off sticking to his clerical duties. Polk was not a good commander. Then comes Bragg and Hood. Take your pick as to which one was the worst. My rating would put Hood at next to last. He was brave and an aggressive fighter, but he was promoted beyond his capability and destroyed the Army of Tennessee. Bragg comes in as dead last. A disagreeable man, he was loathed by his subordinate officers and disliked by his troops. Bragg was the one Confederate General who could continuously snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Sadly for the Confederacy, he was a favorite of Jefferson Davis who refused to remove him and did more to lose the war than any General.
I think Bragg was only slightly better than Hood, Hood didn't know when to stop when things got bad.
 

speedylee

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It's not fondly, but you're comparing some bad options, and he was never in army command so the amount of negative damage he could do was limited. Bragg won 1 battle as an army commander, due to luck, and spent his entire tenure in army command fighting with his corps and division commanders, notably Polk. Polk....i have a very low opinion of him as a corps commander. He was insubordinate multiple times in major battles, and spent way too much time and effort undermining Bragg to Richmond. Beauregard has these elaborate strategic plans that were complete pie in the sky stuff. I put Beauregard 2nd due to his good work in bottling up Butler and drawing the forces together to do so.
I sure agree on Polk.
 
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