Nashville Thomas and the Nashville campaign

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rbasin

2nd Lieutenant
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Jan 31, 2013
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Tampa, Fl
Hey,

Is it just me, or did Thomas not have the best set of subordinate generals of the war for the north during this campaign?

Schofield
Stanley
Cox
Couch
Wilson
A.J. Smith
Wood

I'm having a hard time matching it with a better set for the Union. Not flashy, but efficient.
 

OpnCoronet

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
Its been noticed but not so much as mystery as an insight to Sherman mind and generalship.

When Sherman culled his Army down to the youngest and fittest men in his army, he also caarefully chose his commanders, and to me, at least they were not the very best and brightest of the lot.

He left Howard with the dirty end of the stick,, having to face Hoods veterans, while he marched to glory against Ga. Militia. Sherman left Schofield and his veterans as a solid core around which Howard could welf the scrapings of Western theatre, when, or if, they ever reached him in time.


P.S. If Hood had been able to destroy Schofield, at Spring Hill or Franklin, Thomas task of building an effective army would have been much delayed.
 

James N.

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Hey,

Is it just me, or did Thomas not have the best set of subordinate generals of the war for the north during this campaign?

Schofield
Stanley
Cox
Couch
Wilson
A.J. Smith
Wood

I'm having a hard time matching it with a better set for the Union. Not flashy, but efficient.
I'd never really thought about it that way before, but most of these were to one extent or another failures or rejects from elsewhere. Although one of the best, Schofield was a conniving back-stabber when he thought it would get him a higher command; Stanley had been competent a year earlier commanding Rosecrans' cavalry at Stones River but was scarcely an inspiring leader; Jacob D. Cox was a political general who had served under another lackluster commander, Ambrose Burnside, scarcely a good mentor; Darius Couch failed to relieve and replace Joe Hooker at Chancellorsville when he might've been able to make something out of that disaster, but instead resigned rather than continue to serve under Fighting Joe; Wilson was a protégé of both Grant and Sherman but had repeated timorous slips and failures while serving under Phil Sheridan in the Valley thereby meriting his removal from that theater, though following Nashville he redeemed himself in the pursuit of Hood's broken army; A. J. Smith was an excellent fighter and a sound subordinate, a veteran of the Vicksburg and Red River Campaigns as well as a significant victory over Forrest at Tupelo; Wood was a loose cannon who had performed soundly on various fields including Orchard Knob and Missionary Ridge, but must nevertheless share responsibility with his superior Rosecrans for Longstreet's breakthrough at Chickamauga. Quite a mixed bag!
 
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cake1979

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As James N. said, there are some bright spots, but it’s a pretty interesting group altogether. As a Thomas fan, I despise Schofield, but he was a solid commander if you ignore the backstabbing.

Who did Sherman take with him for his jaunt to the sea? Knowing who was present out West, it couldn’t have been an impressive group, as @OpnCoronet noted.
 

DanSBHawk

Sergeant Major
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Location
Wisconsin
I believe Schofields "backstabbing" is overstated. Particularly the rumor that Schofield had been in contact with Grant during the period Thomas waited to attack Hood in front of Nashville. Grant said that never happened.
 

rbasin

2nd Lieutenant
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Jan 31, 2013
Location
Tampa, Fl
But as say a corps commander under Thomas, I think he'd be ok. And all of these guys seemed to have performed well under Thomas. Or maybe it's the NyQuil.
 
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cake1979

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I believe Schofields "backstabbing" is overstated. Particularly the rumor that Schofield had been in contact with Grant during the period Thomas waited to attack Hood in front of Nashville. Grant said that never happened.
Maybe not, but the below is from Schofield’s biography, after he describes how he “saved” Thomas at Nashville:

I believe it must now be fully known to all who are qualified to judge and have had by personal association or by study of history full opportunities to learn the truth, that General Thomas did not possess in a high degree the activity of mind necessary to foresee and provide for all the exigencies of military operations, nor the mathematical talent required to estimate "the relations of time, space, motion, and force" involved in great problems of war.

I’d have rather had Hooker.......
 

rbasin

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Tampa, Fl
Maybe not, but the below is from Schofield’s biography, after he describes how he “saved” Thomas at Nashville:

I believe it must now be fully known to all who are qualified to judge and have had by personal association or by study of history full opportunities to learn the truth, that General Thomas did not possess in a high degree the activity of mind necessary to foresee and provide for all the exigencies of military operations, nor the mathematical talent required to estimate "the relations of time, space, motion, and force" involved in great problems of war.

I’d have rather had Hooker.......
Let's not go crazy here.
 
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cake1979

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OK. Get rid of Schofield. Whose your Corps Commanders of that bunch? I'd go Couch and Stanley personally, with Wilson with the Calvary. Or, AJ Smith and Couch with Stanley in charge of the troopers.
Apologies for the craziness!

I agree with your choices. Always thought Couch was okay, and may have had a better AotP career had he not gotten tired of the silliness.
 

DanSBHawk

Sergeant Major
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Maybe not, but the below is from Schofield’s biography, after he describes how he “saved” Thomas at Nashville:

I believe it must now be fully known to all who are qualified to judge and have had by personal association or by study of history full opportunities to learn the truth, that General Thomas did not possess in a high degree the activity of mind necessary to foresee and provide for all the exigencies of military operations, nor the mathematical talent required to estimate "the relations of time, space, motion, and force" involved in great problems of war.

I’d have rather had Hooker.......
He had an opinion of Thomas, which he stated after his career was long over. It doesn't make him a "back stabber." I think Thomas had a chief of staff that, while he deeply admired Thomas, admitted that he was indeed slow.
 

Drew

Major
Joined
Oct 22, 2012
Jacob D. Cox was a political general who had served under another lackluster commander, Ambrose Burnside, scarcely a good mentor;
I agree with most of this, except Jacob Dolson Cox was ultimately a very humble Union General, who wrote of his experience accordingly.

He didn't order the advance across "Burnside's Bridge" at Antietam and held the line against the Confederate attack against the Union line at Franklin, TN - Cox was scared to death and said so, after the fact.

I admire him for not pounding his chest in victory - he was terrified of Hood's assault at the time and honest about it after the fact.
 
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rpkennedy

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I agree with most of this, except Jacob Dolson Cox was ultimately a very humble Union General, who wrote of his experience accordingly.

He didn't order the advance across "Burnside's Bridge" at Antietam and held the line against the Confederate attack against the Union line at Franklin, TN - Cox was scared to death and said so, after the fact.

I admire him for not pounding his chest in victory - he was terrified of Hood's assault at the time and honest about it after the fact.
All in all, Cox was actually a decent general. Considering how bad a lot of other political generals were, Cox stands apart from them.

Ryan
 
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rpkennedy

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Agree that Cox was a good political general. Although, I don't recall him writing anything about being "terrified" or "scared to death" at Franklin. Here is his book on the battle:
I would describe it more as deeply concerned, rather than terrified. Until the attacks finally ended, he wasn't sure that his men would be able to hold.

Ryan
 

Irishtom29

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Who did Sherman take with him for his jaunt to the sea? Knowing who was present out West, it couldn’t have been an impressive group, as @OpnCoronet noted.
He took the Army of Georgia under Slocum--the 14th (Jefferson Davis) and 20th (Alpheus Williams) Corps. And the Army of the Tennessee under Howard--the 15th (Peter Osterhouse and John Logan) and 17th (Francis Blair) Corps. These were first rate veteran corps under capable leadership. As were the 4th and 23rd Corps that went back to Tennessee with Thomas.
 

Tin cup

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Location
Texas
He left Howard with the dirty end of the stick,, having to face Hoods veterans, while he marched to glory against Ga. Militia. Sherman left Schofield and his veterans as a solid core around which Howard could welf the scrapings of Western theatre, when, or if, they ever reached him in time.


P.S. If Hood had been able to destroy Schofield, at Spring Hill or Franklin, Thomas task of building an effective army would have been much delayed.
Thomas was left to face Hood's veterans at Nashville, Howard went with Sherman on the march.

Kevin Dally
 
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Tin cup

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A great discussion, I see no one (in spite of their ego's) not doing their job at Nashville on the Union side. I can't find a time when Schofield's conniving behind folk's back caused a disaster in a battle. It was always after that Schofield gritched about so-n-so did this, failed to do that, in hopes of elevating himself...I think on the field he did his job!

I think Sherman did a good job deciding who went on the march, and who stayed behind at nashville.

Kevin Dally
 

cake1979

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The South Shore of the Mighty Ohio
He took the Army of Georgia under Slocum--the 14th (Jefferson Davis) and 20th (Alpheus Williams) Corps. And the Army of the Tennessee under Howard--the 15th (Peter Osterhouse and John Logan) and 17th (Francis Blair) Corps. These were first rate veteran corps under capable leadership. As were the 4th and 23rd Corps that went back to Tennessee with Thomas.
No doubt, that’s a solid group. Thanks for the info!
 
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