What evidence is there that John Bell Hood abused laudanum or other opiates?

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Jamieva

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Messages
4,301
Location
Midlothian, VA
Should one not take a grain of salt when reading books written about a relative by another relative, as one takes a grain of salt when reading memoirs...
So a relative writes a book full of first hand accounts, and you discount it because he wrote it? That's insane histiography
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Jamieva

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Messages
4,301
Location
Midlothian, VA
True, it seems Lee is trying to discourage Davis from considering Hood. He comes out and suggest Hardee should be looked at for the job.

Where?? You were presented with the facts of what was said but you still argue your opinion is right. There are facts and there are opinions. Opinions are not facts
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bee

5fish

Captain
Joined
Aug 26, 2007
Messages
7,275
Location
Central Florida
Except when the material is supported by primary source as the Sam Hood book is.
Woo! Memoirs are from the horse's own mouth can not get more primary source than that but still, we all know that most if not all memoirs have their faults. You do not think a relative writing about another relative would want to put their fellow family member in a good light and glossing over the bad. The next question is Hood's lost papers open to scholarly eyes or for public viewing or hidden from view. Like to point out I read Elizabeth Pryor's book on Lee with a grain of salt because no one has access to Lee papers from his trunks except her so we have no way of knowing what slants on Lee's papers she has taken.
 

EricAJacobson

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 15, 2012
Messages
555
True, we do have an issue about Hood and his motivation and were they compromised by opiates. We must speculate or hypothesized to see if it true.

I do not think pain the issue for I think if he was using opiates its to sleep. We know he had a sleep disorder while under Dr. Darby care. Sleep disorders just do not go away and it seems Hood had sleep issues before his maiming. I speculating once he saw Dr. Darby use opiates for him to sleep. He would use opiates again once his sleep issues resurfaced out in the field. Yes, speculation.. I know human nature craves sleep and will find ways to get it...
He had a leg amputated and was given morphine to sleep. Healing and recovery occurs best during uninterrupted sleep. That is direct and straightforward, and thus why Darby prescribed the medicine and weaned Hood off it several weeks later before he was sent to Richmond. Beyond that, you are just speculating. No evidence, just pointless speculation.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

5fish

Captain
Joined
Aug 26, 2007
Messages
7,275
Location
Central Florida
No evidence, just pointless speculation.
Remember post:

Dave’s onsite research at Spring Hill included a visit with the Maury County historian in Columbia. Her “treasure trove” of material had accounts by local residents, including members of the Thompson family (Hood stayed at the Absalom Thompson house that fateful night) and neighbors. Among them is even a hint that Hood had taken a painful spill from his horse along the rocky back road to Spring Hill. Based on these accounts and discussions with authorities in Civil War medicine, Dave concluded, “Laboring under intense pain, his [Hood’s] mind was often clouded by pain-killing drugs” (p. 21) — a statement he admits may have been too strong, lacking reliable eyewitnesses from the Army of Tennessee. (If you tweak him too much on this, he points out with a sly grin how Hood managed to wipe out many of those witnesses at Franklin the next day.)

For some reason, this local observation is discounted because there are no AoT reports or witnesses to support it. Why would we discount the locals observation of events as not primary? I find smoke for my causes... I supported my other thoughts as well...
 

WJC

Major General
Moderator
Thread Medic
Answered the Call for Reinforcements
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
Messages
12,824
I see there is a thread "debunking" a claim that John Bell Hood was a drunk. I have also seen several threads attacking the "myth" that Hood abused Lauanum. I have read John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General by Stephen Hood. Since a lot of effort has been spent in debunking these notions, I was wondering if there was any evidence that Hood used these drugs. Was this a baseless rumor, or was there some evidence that Hood had used these drugs.
Hood's addiction is an invention. I am no expert; but in all of my reading, I have seen no contemporary evidence to support the claim. And, for his detractors, he is conveniently not able to defend himself.
 
Last edited:

novushomus

Sergeant
Joined
May 23, 2016
Messages
559
Remember post:

Dave’s onsite research at Spring Hill included a visit with the Maury County historian in Columbia. Her “treasure trove” of material had accounts by local residents, including members of the Thompson family (Hood stayed at the Absalom Thompson house that fateful night) and neighbors. Among them is even a hint that Hood had taken a painful spill from his horse along the rocky back road to Spring Hill. Based on these accounts and discussions with authorities in Civil War medicine, Dave concluded, “Laboring under intense pain, his [Hood’s] mind was often clouded by pain-killing drugs” (p. 21) — a statement he admits may have been too strong, lacking reliable eyewitnesses from the Army of Tennessee. (If you tweak him too much on this, he points out with a sly grin how Hood managed to wipe out many of those witnesses at Franklin the next day.)

For some reason, this local observation is discounted because there are no AoT reports or witnesses to support it. Why would we discount the locals observation of events as not primary? I find smoke for my causes... I supported my other thoughts as well...
Local histories can also be notoriously bad if they are not documented. Is there a direct primary witness account that states either that Hood fell from his horse or that he was in pain and needed medication? I have quite a few examples of local history being based on nothing more than scuttlebutt, which is not always a good thing.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Messages
33,491
Location
Right here.
Woo! Memoirs are from the horse's own mouth can not get more primary source than that
Yes, in fact you can. Memoirs are written many years after the fact when memories fade, old scores are going to be settled, and the person writing is writing with an eye toward how they will be remembered. Far better are contemporaneous letters and diary entries that have not been edited later.


You do not think a relative writing about another relative would want to put their fellow family member in a good light and glossing over the bad.
The book relies on primary source material. Letters, journals, diary entries, and the OR.


The next question is Hood's lost papers open to scholarly eyes or for public viewing or hidden from view. Like to point out I read Elizabeth Pryor's book on Lee with a grain of salt because no one has access to Lee papers from his trunks except her so we have no way of knowing what slants on Lee's papers she has taken.
Wrong. The papers are available to the Virginia Historical Society and are used by the Lee Family Archives Project. Sam Hood has published a second volume that contains many of the letters in the newly discovered selection.
 

WJC

Major General
Moderator
Thread Medic
Answered the Call for Reinforcements
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
Messages
12,824
Yes, in fact you can. Memoirs are written many years after the fact when memories fade, old scores are going to be settled, and the person writing is writing with an eye toward how they will be remembered. Far better are contemporaneous letters and diary entries that have not been edited later.




The book relies on primary source material. Letters, journals, diary entries, and the OR.




Wrong. The papers are available to the Virginia Historical Society and are used by the Lee Family Archives Project. Sam Hood has published a second volume that contains many of the letters in the newly discovered selection.
Agreed on all points, with one caveat: ORs sometimes reflect what the writer wanted to have happened, not what actually happened.
A post-Civil War example is Terrys reports of Custer's defeat at Little Bighorn. His first report seems to align with all known facts, while the second- written days later- appears to be simply CYOA.
Unfortunately, because of communications at the time, the second was received before the first, and made it into the newspapers. Many- including both Sheridan and Sherman= made statements they later regretted and had to revise.
Sadly, even with the best of intentions, there is no way to overcome personal bias: it is what it is. The reality is once an event occurs, all subsequent attempts to describe it or record it are subject to bias.
A good historian, though, is one willing to work, to do the tough research to find and evaluate the earliest, least biased, primary sources, not simply- as all too many writers do- copy someone else's speculation.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Messages
33,491
Location
Right here.
Agreed on all points, with one caveat: ORs sometimes reflect what the writer wanted to have happened, not what actually happened.
A post-Civil War example is Terrys reports of Custer's defeat at Little Bighorn. His first report seems to align with all known facts, while the second- written days later- appears to be simply CYOA.
Unfortunately, because of communications at the time, the second was received before the first, and made it into the newspapers. Many- including both Sheridan and Sherman= made statements they later regretted and had to revise.
Sadly, even with the best of intentions, there is no way to overcome personal bias: it is what it is. The reality is once an event occurs, all subsequent attempts to describe it or record it are subject to bias.
A good historian, though, is one willing to work, to do the tough research to find and evaluate the earliest, least biased, primary sources, not simply- as all too many writers do- copy someone else's speculation.
Every source, even a primary source, needs to be evaluated. The ORs are excellent for providing a record of what orders were given that survived the war. Officer reports may or may not be less reliable. Letters and correspondence in the OR are excellent sources for what one person wrote to another person.
 

WJC

Major General
Moderator
Thread Medic
Answered the Call for Reinforcements
Joined
Aug 16, 2015
Messages
12,824
Every source, even a primary source, needs to be evaluated. The ORs are excellent for providing a record of what orders were given that survived the war. Officer reports may or may not be less reliable. Letters and correspondence in the OR are excellent sources for what one person wrote to another person.
Thanks for your response.
Exactly! Perhaps I wasn't clear: skepticism and a willingness to do the hard work finding and evaluating source material are what makes good historians.
 

diane

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Messages
20,544
Location
State of Jefferson
Every source, even a primary source, needs to be evaluated. The ORs are excellent for providing a record of what orders were given that survived the war. Officer reports may or may not be less reliable. Letters and correspondence in the OR are excellent sources for what one person wrote to another person.
Very true. There's a primary source for Hooker being drunk at Chancellorsville - Custer. However, Custer's personal observation was in error based solely on seeing Hooker staggering about on the lawn in front of the Chancellor house...knocked wobbly by a shell. Not drunk at all. It's not very often a single source is credible by itself, but sometimes it does happen. In the case of Hood's drug use - there's too many primary sources that support each other, all showing he didn't use. Just because he was once prescribed a powerful drug isn't proof he was always using it. And, if he was, doesn't it seem somebody would notice it after the war? If he was hooked on it, why wouldn't he keep using it? But there isn't such a record. Hood was just the general he was and that's all!
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

5fish

Captain
Joined
Aug 26, 2007
Messages
7,275
Location
Central Florida
Wrong. The papers are available to the Virginia Historical Society and are used by the Lee Family Archives Project.
Wait! Yes, the papers from those two trunks are at the Virginia Historical Society but they are not open to Scholarly eyes or to the public. They are under lock and key the last I looked into them. There is a thread about them on another topic within this forum.
 

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Messages
33,491
Location
Right here.
Wait! Yes, the papers from those two trunks are at the Virginia Historical Society but they are not open to Scholarly eyes or to the public. They are under lock and key the last I looked into them. There is a thread about them on another topic within this forum.
They are open for scholarly inquiry there and with the Lee Family Archives project.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top