The Battle of Nashville.

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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My copy of The Civil War Monitor arrived yesterday, and as usual, reading Civil War Magazine cause me to think of questions. Andrew S. Bledsoe has an article in The Civil War Monitor "The Hero of Franklin". It is not a bad article, but it got me thinking about how the Battle of Franklin impacted the Battle of Nashville. Hood had acted aggressively at the Battle of Franklin, but had only partly achieved his goals. Hood had attacked Schofield and had taken Franklin. Hood had damaged Schofield command, but failed to destroy them. In the end Hood's victory at Franklin was at best incomplete and he would have to face the remnants of Schofield combined with the Army under Thomas at the Battle of Nashville.

Question 1: Should have Hood simply repeated his aggressive nature at Nashville and attack as so as he arrived? I know he hopped that Thomas would attack him and he could counter attack. Once Thomas's army was crushed, Hood could then easily capture Nashville and advance to the Ohio River. Still an attack by Hood as soon as he reached Nashville may have paid higher dividends. I am not sure time was on Hood's side.

Question 2: Hood expected to gain 20,000 recruits in Tennessee and Kentucky. In December of 1864 and January of 1865 could Hood have gotten his 20,000 recruits? Were the men in Tennessee and Kentucky willing to join the Confederate cause in these kind of numbers, so late in the War?
 

Rusk County Avengers

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Question 1- One does not attack the Rock of Chickamauga and expect positive results... Especially when he's garrisoning a well fortified city!

Question 2- I don't see how Hood could have expected such an optimistic number of recruits. Most everyone who wanted to fight, or could be conscripted had already done so. Plus in Occupied Tennessee, one did not go fight for the Confederacy unless he wanted his his family to be persecuted or worse. Lot of pyromaniacs in Union ranks occupying the State that loved an excuse to make Confederate sympathizers regret something. Besides, Bragg expected such numbers out of Kentucky in 1862 and never got it. How could Hood expect to draw such numbers from one demoralized State, and another that it was clear wouldn't have enough, or any left, willing to join.

Hood lost his chance at both possibilities at Spring Hill, and Franklin. It was a bloody disaster long before Nashville.
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Hood lost his chance at both possibilities at Spring Hill, and Franklin. It was a bloody disaster long before Nashville.

But if Hood had a major victory at Nashville, would it have not "erased" his less than perfect victories at Spring Hill and Franklin? The major point of the Nashville Campaign was to capture Nashville and push on to the Ohio River while recurring 20,000 men from Tennessee and Kentucky. Had Hood seriously trashed Thomas at Nashville, Spring Hill and Franklin would have not really mattered.
 

leftyhunter

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los angeles ca
My copy of The Civil War Monitor arrived yesterday, and as usual, reading Civil War Magazine cause me to think of questions. Andrew S. Bledsoe has an article in The Civil War Monitor "The Hero of Franklin". It is not a bad article, but it got me thinking about how the Battle of Franklin impacted the Battle of Nashville. Hood had acted aggressively at the Battle of Franklin, but had only partly achieved his goals. Hood had attacked Schofield and had taken Franklin. Hood had damaged Schofield command, but failed to destroy them. In the end Hood's victory at Franklin was at best incomplete and he would have to face the remnants of Schofield combined with the Army under Thomas at the Battle of Nashville.

Question 1: Should have Hood simply repeated his aggressive nature at Nashville and attack as so as he arrived? I know he hopped that Thomas would attack him and he could counter attack. Once Thomas's army was crushed, Hood could then easily capture Nashville and advance to the Ohio River. Still an attack by Hood as soon as he reached Nashville may have paid higher dividends. I am not sure time was on Hood's side.

Question 2: Hood expected to gain 20,000 recruits in Tennessee and Kentucky. In December of 1864 and January of 1865 could Hood have gotten his 20,000 recruits? Were the men in Tennessee and Kentucky willing to join the Confederate cause in these kind of numbers, so late in the War?
Highly unlikely Hood could of gained recruits that late in the war. If a man joined that late he knew at best he would get paid funny money. Maybe a handful did but not likely many.
Leftyhunter
 

Rusk County Avengers

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Coffeeville, TX
But if Hood had a major victory at Nashville, would it have not "erased" his less than perfect victories at Spring Hill and Franklin? The major point of the Nashville Campaign was to capture Nashville and push on to the Ohio River while recurring 20,000 men from Tennessee and Kentucky. Had Hood seriously trashed Thomas at Nashville, Spring Hill and Franklin would have not really mattered.

In theory? Maybe, but Hood had zero chance of victory at Nashville after butchering his own army and high command at Franklin, especially after winter weather froze what was left.

Hood, was just the absolute worst choice for command of the Army of Tennessee, and Thomas was a much better army commander than Hood, who never should've have commanded anything bigger than a division. Its like Robert E. Lee said about Hood, "He's all lion and none the fox...."

Army commanders have to be both lion and fox. Plus, Hood's ability to get along with his subordinates was as much a campaign killer for him as it was for Bragg.

Obligatory morbid joke about the last thing from a someone who has a very dark sense of humor: "Hood was smarter than Bragg, he knew exactly how to handle unruly subordinates. Throw them at the enemy!"

I might need to have my head looked at....
 

Pete Longstreet

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Hood's army was wrecked after Franklin. He lost many good men, including Cleburne, one of his best commanders. There is some suspicion that Hood was trying to discipline his army for what happened at Spring Hill, basically making them attempt charge after reckless charge. If Hood attacked Nashville with the aggressiveness as he did Franklin... it most likely would have disintegrated his already dwindling army. As far as 20k recruits.... at that point in the war, the Confederacy had no more men to offer. And most of the men in boarder states who were sympathetic to the Southern cause had already made their choice long before the Battle of Franklin. The Confederacy was running on empty as far as man power. The Union seemed to have an endless supply.
 

leftyhunter

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los angeles ca
Hood's army was wrecked after Franklin. He lost many good men, including Cleburne, one of his best commanders. There is some suspicion that Hood was trying to discipline his army for what happened at Spring Hill, basically making them attempt charge after reckless charge. If Hood attacked Nashville with the aggressiveness as he did Franklin... it most likely would have disintegrated his already dwindling army. As far as 20k recruits.... at that point in the war, the Confederacy had no more men to offer. And most of the men in boarder states who were sympathetic to the Southern cause had already made their choice long before the Battle of Franklin. The Confederacy was running on empty as far as man power. The Union seemed to have an endless supply.
Well to be fair hardly an endless supply. There was quite a lot of bounty jumbers and desertion. Plus of course in the thread switching sides the Union recruited quite a few Confedrate POWs. That would not be the last war in which the US Army had to recruit from the enemy.
Leftyhunter
 

Pete Longstreet

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Well to be fair hardly an endless supply. There was quite a lot of bounty jumbers and desertion. Plus of course in the thread switching sides the Union recruited quite a few Confedrate POWs. That would not be the last war in which the US Army had to recruit from the enemy.
Leftyhunter
Any idea of how many Confederate POWs were recruited by the Union throughout the war?
 

Carronade

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Pennsylvania
"Hood's victory at Franklin"? He captured ground that Schofield had been planning to evacuate and suffered inordinate losses in doing so. And this was against hastily improvised field fortifications, at a place the Union had never planned to fight for, where they only stopped because the bridges needed repair.

Nashville on the other hand had been an important base for almost the whole war, first for the Confederates, then for the Yankees. Its fortifications had been built and expanded over three years. It had a strong garrison of mainly veteran troops even before it was reinforced by the "remnants of Schofield" - about 90% of his command. They knew Hood was coming and were prepared to meet him. A hasty attack would have made Franklin look like a picnic.
 

leftyhunter

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los angeles ca
Any idea of how many Confederate POWs were recruited by the Union throughout the war?
At first POWs were exchanged so no effort were made. It's quite a complicated history but Current has a whole chapter on it. Current doesn't give a break down on numbers but Dyers Compendium would on US Army Volunteer Regiments sent West and formed at POW camps.
Some POWs did directly fight the Confedracy but if captured were executed. That figure appears to be in the hundreds who fought against the Confedracy.
Leftyhunter
 

Coonewah Creek

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Northern Alabama
By the time of Nashville following Spring Hill and Franklin, I don't think Hood thought he had any alternative. If he'd fallen back, the remnants of his army would have melted away almost as assuredly as it did after being thrashed by Thomas. If he wanted to maintain a command, given Hood's proclivities, what other choice could he think he had? The fantasy in his mind...defeat Thomas's attack, and then crush him in a counter punch.
 

EricAJacobson

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Oct 15, 2012
In the end Hood's victory at Franklin was at best incomplete and he would have to face the remnants of Schofield combined with the Army under Thomas at the Battle of Nashville.

I have been as impartial and fair as anyone to Hood through the years, but there is no way that Franklin was a victory for Hood or the Confederates. They took 3/4 of the casualties and Schofield achieved his objective. His evacuation was part of the plan. If two guys get into a bad bar fight, and one knocks the other out and leaves and him on the floor, the guy on the floor is not the winner.
 

TerryB

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Location
Nashville TN
Franklin was a pyrric victory at best, and I'd call it a strategic defeat. Hood had already promised his men he was only going to act on the defensive. Nashville was second only to Washington City in terms of its defenses. He had no siege guns and was under the guns of the stone Fort Negley, which was supported by two smaller forts. If you've been to the locations of these forts, you can appreciate Hood's dire situation. Sam Watkins also wrote of the intense cold, much colder than usual that early in the year for Nashville.
 

JKT

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Hood’s Franklin disaster at Franklin (preceded by missing Schofield getting ahead of him at Spring Hill), doomed him at Nashville. The abysmal freezing weather was just the “icing” (pardon the pun) on the cake”. He bled out the AofT, starting in Atlanta, and to the tune of Yellow Rose of Texas..”played hell in Tennessee”.
 
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