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What if Hood had pursued Sherman's March to the Sea?

Discussion in '"What if..." Discussions' started by OldBrainsHalleck, May 19, 2017.

  1. OldBrainsHalleck

    OldBrainsHalleck Private

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    We all know that Lt. Gen. John Bell Hood conducted the Franklin-Nashville campaign in an attempt to draw Sherman's forces out of Georgia, but Sherman simply sent Maj. Gen. George Thomas to deal with Hood, while he (Sherman) conducted his March to the Sea. But, what if Hood hadn't gone on the campaign which practically ended the Army of Tennessee as an effective fighting force, and instead pursued Sherman on his march to the sea? How might things have turned out?
     
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  3. Irishtom29

    Irishtom29 Sergeant

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    I suppose Hood would've run into serious logistical problems, what with his army having to follow in Sherman's burned out wake. I suppose Sherman would've turned on him at some point and destroyed his army. Had Hood not moved north to threaten Tennessee I reckon Sherman would've kept the Army of the Cumberland intact under Thomas and taken it along, thus the 4th Corps and probably the 23rd Corps would've made the march, giving Sherman six corps and Thomas to fight his battles rather than Howard and Slow Come. Hard to see any good coming to Hood.
     
  4. OldBrainsHalleck

    OldBrainsHalleck Private

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    Wouldn't Sherman also have the Army of the Ohio?
     
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  5. Irishtom29

    Irishtom29 Sergeant

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    Yes, that was the 23rd Corps. The Army of the Ohio had only the one corps.
     
  6. Jimklag

    Jimklag Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

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    It's not likely that the end result would have been any different against Sherman than it was against Schofield and Thomas.
     
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  7. OldBrainsHalleck

    OldBrainsHalleck Private

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    How many men were in the Army of the Ohio?
     
  8. Mark F. Jenkins

    Mark F. Jenkins Lt. Colonel

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    I think it would have made life more difficult for Sherman. The latter professed to be actually rather relieved when Hood moved off and wandered northward; the 'March to the Sea' might have been conducted differently if Sherman had had to keep at least part of his army detached on "Hood Watch." I'm not sure there was much Hood could do to actually *stop* Sherman, but he could have hindered him a lot more than he did historically.
     
  9. Yankeedave

    Yankeedave 1st Lieutenant

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    Logisticly speaking, prior to Hood's move north how long did it take him to refit. With the destruction of Atlanta where did Hood draw supplies from. My point is did Hood have the logistic ability to immediately move on Sherman?
     
  10. Mark F. Jenkins

    Mark F. Jenkins Lt. Colonel

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    I mean, at the very least, the active presence of a large and organized enemy formation would have forced Sherman to stay more concentrated-- he couldn't have cut as large a swath as he did with only Wheeler and whatever Hardee could scrape up to oppose him if Hood had continued to be a close threat.
     
  11. Mark F. Jenkins

    Mark F. Jenkins Lt. Colonel

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    It's my understanding that he faded west into Alabama before moving north. I presume he could draw on supplies there.
     
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  12. OldBrainsHalleck

    OldBrainsHalleck Private

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    The reason I asked is because I am considering doing an alternate history novel where Jefferson Davis predicts that Sherman will march to Savannah, and instead of approving for of Hood's plan to attack Sherman's lines of communication, orders Hood to prevent Sherman from taking Savannah at all costs.
     
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  13. O' Be Joyful

    O' Be Joyful First Sergeant

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    A sample of Sherman's thoughts of Hood's intentions from the NYT.

    "Major-Gen. WILLIAM T. SHERMAN is in the city and communicating with the Government. No man in America is more cheerful or self-possessed. For the generalship of HOOD it is no secret that he has the most inexpressible contempt. Speaking of him to his general officers one day, he remarked, with an emphasis peculiar to himself:

    JOHNSTON being a sensible map I could generally divine his movements, but as HOOD is not, I can tell nothing at all about them!'

    Another time he said:

    "D -- n him! if he will go to the Ohio River I'll give him rations! The nearer the rebels come to us, the easier it will be to kill them."

    Last week HOOD was reported at Decatur, Alabama, with his whole army.

    "Let him go North," said SHERMAN; "my business is down South!"

    THOMAS will take care of him at Nashville, and SCHOFIELD will not let him into Chattanooga or Knoxville. The military sky is as bright as the noon-day sun in this department.
    http://www.nytimes.com/1864/11/16/news/sherman-s-campaign.html
     
  14. Jamieva

    Jamieva 2nd Lieutenant Forum Host

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    Hood moved to Tuscumbia to await supplies from Alabama and Mississippi. So if he moves in pursuit of Sherman, who is clearing everything in front of Hood, his army is going to starve. Quickly
     
  15. Mark F. Jenkins

    Mark F. Jenkins Lt. Colonel

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    Oh yeah... those pesky logistical details, like what are the men and horses going to eat?
     
  16. OldBrainsHalleck

    OldBrainsHalleck Private

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    Maybe Hood would go there first and resupply, and see if Sherman sent anybody after him, and try to weake
    Maybe Hood would go to resupply and see if Sherman sent anybody after him. If that was the case, Hood could weaken Sherman's overall forces by fighting the ones Sherman sent after him, then going after Sherman.
     
  17. Jimklag

    Jimklag Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

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    Isn't that exactly what happened? Sherman sent part of his forces after Hood and Hood proceeded to destroy his own army.
     
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  18. Eric Calistri

    Eric Calistri 2nd Lieutenant

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    Pursuing Sherman was probably a loser. But if Hood had stayed in position South or East of Atlanta, that would have changed the situation dramatically. Also having Forrest in Georgia would have helped the CSA a bunch.
     
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  19. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    This is where I think Old Joe's tactic of staying before Sherman was valuable. That way Sherman had to live off whatever Johnston's army didn't destroy as they retreated. This is what he did in Mississippi with fairly good results. Hood wouldn't have done much to completely stop Sherman by following him but by staying in front of him he would have seriously damaged Sherman's plans. He also had Sherman's worst nightmare with him - Forrest. Forrest was a very capable raider, tore up tracks better than Sherman's men did and would have made it very hard for Sherman to live off the land. If Hood had been unable to step in front of Sherman, Forrest could have done so and we have the example of the Meridian Campaign to see what effect Forrest could have had on Sherman's advance through the heartland of the South. By stopping Sherman's cavalry from combining with the main army, he stopped the entire campaign. Sherman may have marched to Mobile if Sooey Smith had not encountered Forrest at Okolona.
     
  20. wausaubob

    wausaubob 2nd Lieutenant

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    1. Sherman could have marched faster.
    2. Hood's army did not accomplish much outside of the Atlanta fortifications. There was a substantial risk of Sherman completely surrounding Hood, without a town to support Hood. No matter where two armies met, Hood would not have the advantage of the carefully prepared entrenchments.
     
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  21. Jamieva

    Jamieva 2nd Lieutenant Forum Host

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    But Sherman is marching away from him. He would never have any hope of catching him.
     

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