Should Thomas Have Been Given Command in the West in 1864, Rather Than Sherman?

Should Thomas Have Been Given Command in the West in 1864, Rather Than Sherman?

  • Yes, Thomas should have been given the command

    Votes: 15 42.9%
  • No, Sherman was the right choice

    Votes: 20 57.1%

  • Total voters
    35

JeffBrooks

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 20, 2009
Location
Manor, TX
When Grant was made general-in-chief my President Lincoln in early 1864, he appointed Sherman to the overall command the the armies in the Western Theater. I have always thought this was a mistake and that Thomas should have been given the command. I think Grant's decision was based on his personal dislike of Thomas, his friendship with Sherman, and the overall favoritism shown to the Army of the Tennessee vis-à-vis that of the Army of the Cumberland.

Thoughts?
 

BillO

Captain
Joined
Feb 2, 2010
Location
Quinton, VA.
I think you are correct in that Grant's decision was based on personal dislike of Thomas and his friendship with Sherman. I'd point out that even with that Sherman was the better choice.
Thomas wouldn't have been allowed the freedom to do what Sherman could because of politics and quite honestly Sherman ended up being a very good, innovative Army commander.
 

Dave DuBrucq

Corporal
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Location
Tennessee
When Grant was made general-in-chief my President Lincoln in early 1864, he appointed Sherman to the overall command the the armies in the Western Theater. I have always thought this was a mistake and that Thomas should have been given the command. I think Grant's decision was based on his personal dislike of Thomas, his friendship with Sherman, and the overall favoritism shown to the Army of the Tennessee vis-à-vis that of the Army of the Cumberland.

Thoughts?
Agree Grant's choice was based on his friendship with Sherman, while not as certain if it was because of his dislike of Thomas. Grant knew Sherman and they were indeed friends. Moreover, Grant respected and trusted Sherman's abilities and Sherman's judgement. He was comfortable with Sherman and the two worked well together. In the same situation, I would have acted as Grant did and chosen a respected and trusted officer to command.
This is not to disparage Thomas in any way. He was a great commander, and would have performed as well as Sherman.
 

jackt62

Captain
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
It's been noted already; Grant had developed a close relationship with Sherman in the early days of 1862, when Sherman had months earlier been forced to relinquish his Kentucky command due to what might have been undue stress, and Grant had been sidelined by Halleck after the criticism received for Shiloh. So they both had a commonality of being branded as "tainted." Sherman famously said that "Grant stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by Grant when he was drunk" (or something to that effect, I don't remember the exact quote.) Anyway, on top of that, Thomas had turned down command of the Army of the Ohio, when Buell was being relieved by Lincoln in September 1862. It was true then and it remains true nowadays, that if a senior position is offered and turned down, it usually won't be offered again.
 

Bruce Vail

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Nice. I've been up there myself a couple of times.

We enjoyed stoppng at Middletown on the way home for some cold beer.
 

Jamieva

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Location
Midlothian, VA
The decision had way more to do with his complete trust in Sherman has they had been together for almost 2 years at that point. That's a much bigger factor than any dislike for Thomas. Commanders generally want to give their most important missions to those they can trust the most.
 

JeffBrooks

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 20, 2009
Location
Manor, TX
The decision had way more to do with his complete trust in Sherman has they had been together for almost 2 years at that point. That's a much bigger factor than any dislike for Thomas. Commanders generally want to give their most important missions to those they can trust the most.
Yet Grant gave command of the Army of the James to Benjamin Butler, of all people.
 

rbasin

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Location
Tampa, Fl
I think you are correct in that Grant's decision was based on personal dislike of Thomas and his friendship with Sherman. I'd point out that even with that Sherman was the better choice.
Thomas wouldn't have been allowed the freedom to do what Sherman could because of politics and quite honestly Sherman ended up being a very good, innovative Army commander.

Wasn't very innovative during the Atlanta campaign.
 

rbasin

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jan 31, 2013
Location
Tampa, Fl
The decision had way more to do with his complete trust in Sherman has they had been together for almost 2 years at that point. That's a much bigger factor than any dislike for Thomas. Commanders generally want to give their most important missions to those they can trust the most.
Sorry, but what did sherman do to earn that command?
 

Jamieva

Captain
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Location
Midlothian, VA
Wasn't very innovative during the Atlanta campaign.

Didn't have to be. Got the job done, there was no reason for him to take huge risks. Being more innovative probably would've just gotten a lot more Union soliders killed and slowed down his progress. To me Sherman is like a NFL QB, he was taking what the defense was giving him.
 
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