Sherman Sherman's Wartime Record

DixieRifles

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Collierville, TN
I jotted down a few thoughts.

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tony_gunter

Corporal
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Feb 19, 2011
Location
Mississippi
For the Sherman experts, how would you evaluate his wartime record and exploits, BEFORE the Atlanta campaign? Did he have enormous battlefield success to justify the assignment? Or was he simply mediocre, but Grant trusted him?
Before the Atlanta Campaign? What would you even judge it by?

Shiloh: defensive badass.

Chickasaw Bayou: sent on a fool’s errand by Lincoln and Halleck.

Arkansas Post: skilled maneuver to take fortified position.

Vicksburg: relatively minor role played until the siege.

Jackson: another siege.

Chattanooga: sent to turn a position that didn’t exist.

Meridian: Sherman at his best, rapid movements to destroy materiel.

That’s about it. Why are you excluding the Atlanta Campaign?
 

tony_gunter

Corporal
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Feb 19, 2011
Location
Mississippi
For the Sherman experts, how would you evaluate his wartime record and exploits, BEFORE the Atlanta campaign? Did he have enormous battlefield success to justify the assignment? Or was he simply mediocre, but Grant trusted him?
The more I think about this question, the more I wonder why you would exclude the Atlanta Campaign? It seems the perfect campaign to highlight both his strengths and his limitations.

The biggest dig on Sherman is that he lacked intuition, battlefield vision. When his intuition failed, he tended to blame others and throw subordinates under the bus.

No Sherman Campaign highlights this more than Atlanta.

Intuition being McPherson’s strength, I would rather have seen McPherson in command with Sherman leading the Army of the Tennessee.

Resaca? McPherson predicted Johnston would turn on the flanking force with his full army. Atlanta? McPherson had to ride to Sherman’s HQ on the day of his death to argue against moving the AotT because McPherson predicted that Hood would storm that location.
 

MikeyB

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 13, 2018
Reason I'm excluding Atlanta. Want to know if his record made him a very strong and logical candidate to lead the Atlanta campaign. Or if his record was actually pretty mediocre and the only reason he got it was because he was best friends with Grant.
 

tony_gunter

Corporal
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Feb 19, 2011
Location
Mississippi
Reason I'm excluding Atlanta. Want to know if his record made him a very strong and logical candidate to lead the Atlanta campaign. Or if his record was actually pretty mediocre and the only reason he got it was because he was best friends with Grant.
Is that not enough of a reason? Grant was the most successful general in the war. Sherman was a subordinate he knew he could trust, and his senior subordinate.

Seems like a natural assignment.
 

rbasin

2nd Lieutenant
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Jan 31, 2013
Location
Tampa, Fl
Reason I'm excluding Atlanta. Want to know if his record made him a very strong and logical candidate to lead the Atlanta campaign. Or if his record was actually pretty mediocre and the only reason he got it was because he was best friends with Grant.
As someone who, as the more I read, the less I like Sherman as a general and as a person, he was lucky to be in Grant's group of friends.
 

NedBaldwin

Major
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Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
For the Sherman experts, how would you evaluate his wartime record and exploits, BEFORE the Atlanta campaign? Did he have enormous battlefield success to justify the assignment? Or was he simply mediocre, but Grant trusted him?
In spring of 1864 he was chosen to take operational command of a campaign, not really battlefield command.

From late 1862 to early 1964 he had led Corps and larger sized expeditions down the Mississippi, up the Yazoo, against Jackson after the surrender of Vicksburg, from Memphis to Chattanooga to Knoxville, and to Meridian. From an operational movement perspective the were all successful, even if the tactical actions along the way were less so.
 

Luke Freet

First Sergeant
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Nov 8, 2018
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Palm Coast, Florida
For the Sherman experts, how would you evaluate his wartime record and exploits, BEFORE the Atlanta campaign? Did he have enormous battlefield success to justify the assignment? Or was he simply mediocre, but Grant trusted him?
Sherman was quite poor at battlefield command. I'd say he did pretty well at Shiloh...after the battle started (before he had dismissed reports of enemy prescence). Chickasaw Bayou and Missionary Ridge are not his highlights. Shiloh I believe he did well mostly because he was on the defense rather than offense and was able to handle his command better.
I think the big thing with Sherman in this period is he is learning his trade. He takes note of Grant's campaign of maneuver again Vicksburg and implements it in Meridian and in the Atlanta, Savannah, and Carolina Campaigns to grand effect.
 

Drew

Major
Joined
Oct 22, 2012
He was one of Grant's West Point buddies and also had friends in Congress, very helpful to his boss.

That any of his statues are still standing, given what came out of his mouth during the period and the current political environment, is beyond me.

It is what it is.
 
He was one of Grant's West Point buddies and also had friends in Congress, very helpful to his boss.

That any of his statues are still standing, given what came out of his mouth during the period and the current political environment, is beyond me.

It is what it is.
Friends in Congress -- including his brother John of course.
 

Florida Rebel

Corporal
Joined
May 31, 2019
Certainly not the finest American, in fact, if you composed a list of really prominent and great American leaders, where do you think you'd find Sherman's name? Down near the bottom, where he belongs. It boggles the mind how everyone (it seems) loves to villify Lee and all Confederate leaders. But the people who treated the opposition terribly; and of course we're speaking of Southern civilians and the American Indians, Grant, Sherman and Sheridan, they get a pass from the American public?
 
Certainly not the finest American, in fact, if you composed a list of really prominent and great American leaders, where do you think you'd find Sherman's name? Down near the bottom, where he belongs. It boggles the mind how everyone (it seems) loves to villify Lee and all Confederate leaders. But the people who treated the opposition terribly; and of course we're speaking of Southern civilians and the American Indians, Grant, Sherman and Sheridan, they get a pass from the American public?
It was your Southern leaders that chose war against the United States and it was your Southern leaders including Lee, who chose to make Southern civilians an active extension of the Confederate army by demanding they take up arms against the United States military. You reap what you sow.

edited - changed "people" to "civilians"
 
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