Rating General William Bate as a Division commander

Luke Freet

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I had no strong opinion on Bate as a field commander until I ran into some guy on Warhawk's Discord server calling him one of the worst Confederate division commanders. I cannot remember the exact arguments he made (I left the server soon after due to personal stuff); however, from what I recall, he refered to his actions at Dallas and Franklin as screw ups on his part, that he could have done way better in those cases (his rhetoric pumped up the impression there were a bunch more, but all he had to say about Shy Hill was that he did "as good as he could", which to him meant it was normal for him to get his rear handed to him because of a stupid mistake).
I don't know. I am not as well read on Bate and his division in 1864. If anyone has their own opinions on this, go ahead. I'm interested in hearing people talk about this man and not sound like they're just rattling off dates, or feel like "oh yeah and he was there".
 

Scott1967

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Bate was a competent commander and very brave he was wounded numerous times and had a dozen horses shot from underneath him he also passed up and opportunity to serve as governor to Tennessee to stay on the front lines and in late 1863 he was promoted to division command and was well thought of , Whoever this person was on the discord is full of manure.

I'm not sure what more Bate could have done to serve his country in my view.
 

rpkennedy

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Bate was a competent commander and very brave he was wounded numerous times and had a dozen horses shot from underneath him he also passed up and opportunity to serve as governor to Tennessee to stay on the front lines and in late 1863 he was promoted to division command and was well thought of , Whoever this person was on the discord is full of manure.

I'm not sure what more Bate could have done to serve his country in my view.

I tend to agree. I just looked at a brief synopsis of his service and I'm not seeing any major black marks. He was clearly personally courageous and seems to have competently led his various commands through the war.

Ryan
 

Luke Freet

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My take is it seems most of the incidents he was involved in the situation was out of his control and he was extremely unlucky. At Dallas 2 of his brigade commanders independent of his orders decided to attack the federal line and got cut down; at Atlanta he was sent to far to the flank and was too understrength to make any headway; at Franklin his men were ordered to attack the well defended Federal line and suffered heavily; and at Shy Hill, his men were in a poor position and overwhelmed by the Union assualt. I don't know if the poor placements of the defenses was his fault or was a systemic problem in the army since Missionary Ridge.
 

Scott1967

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I tend to agree. I just looked at a brief synopsis of his service and I'm not seeing any major black marks. He was clearly personally courageous and seems to have competently led his various commands through the war.

Ryan

I hate using the word average i think its disrespectful especially from a 20th century perspective , However Bate did his job no more no less he was nether outstanding nor poor but he was one of the bravest generals that led by example for that alone you cannot criticise him in my view.
 

Luke Freet

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I hate using the word average i think its disrespectful especially from a 20th century perspective , However Bate did his job no more no less he was nether outstanding nor poor but he was one of the bravest generals that led by example for that alone you cannot criticise him in my view.
he was certainly a frontline commander, at least when he led regiments and brigades from all I've read. Don't know much detail regarding his division command.
 

Scott1967

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My take is it seems most of the incidents he was involved in the situation was out of his control and he was extremely unlucky. At Dallas 2 of his brigade commanders independent of his orders decided to attack the federal line and got cut down; at Atlanta he was sent to far to the flank and was too understrength to make any headway; at Franklin his men were ordered to attack the well defended Federal line and suffered heavily; and at Shy Hill, his men were in a poor position and overwhelmed by the Union assualt. I don't know if the poor placements of the defenses was his fault or was a systemic problem in the army since Missionary Ridge.

All i know about Dallas is Bate made a sudden attack that was not expected and was repulsed even so he showed initiative and aggression but failed ultimately due to strong breastworks.

At Atlanta I'm sure Bate repulsed a Union attack with heavy loss to the federals and then retreated and formed a new line off the top of my head Luke.

At Franklin i think Bate was on the left of Cleburne and suffered quite lightly if memory serves me right but i remember reading an article where he admitted he could have been more aggressive , I think why Bate gets such scorn over this is the sheer loss of Cleburne and Brown divisions compared to his.
 

Luke Freet

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All i know about Dallas is Bate made a sudden attack that was not expected and was repulsed even so he showed initiative and aggression but failed ultimately due to strong breastworks.

At Atlanta I'm sure Bate repulsed a Union attack with heavy loss to the federals and then retreated and formed a new line off the top of my head Luke.

At Franklin i think Bate was on the left of Cleburne and suffered quite lightly if memory serves me right but i remember reading an article where he admitted he could have been more aggressive , I think why Bate gets such scorn over this is the sheer loss of Cleburne and Brown divisions compared to his.
Dallas I've heard many stories. I used to hear that it was somehow Hood's fault, though he was under Hardee's jurisdiction on the line at the time. I can't tell who actually concieved of that operation.
 

Scott1967

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Dallas I've heard many stories. I used to hear that it was somehow Hood's fault, though he was under Hardee's jurisdiction on the line at the time. I can't tell who actually concieved of that operation.

I really don't know Luke now that you mention it i do remember Hardee being involved.

I would really love to find out the small battle Bate had with the federals where he inflicted 10-1 casualties I'm sure it was Utoy Creek was that Bate Luke?
 

Scott1967

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I think Bate was involved but haven't read enough on Utoy Creek.

He was indeed

The Confederate Corps Commander, Lt General Steven D. Lee, cited Bate's Division and especially Tyler's and Lewis's Brigades for the repulse of a superior enemy force and the capture of 200 prisoners and three stands of Colors.

Casualties differ but it seems Bate inflicted at least a 3-1 ratio and in some cases a 5-1 ratio inflicting over 800 casualties while receiving between 45-250 casualties.
 

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