Skip to comments.The Unionís Most Undervalued General (Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas)
Posted on 10/25/2013 5:52:30 AM PDT by C19fan
Despite his brilliant victory at Vicksburg in July, some lingering doubts remained about Gen. Ulysses S. Grant when he took command of the besieged Union forces at Chattanooga, Tenn., on Oct. 23, 1863.
But until it proved successful, Grant had angrily denounced the unauthorized assault that chased the rebels away from Chattanooga and brought him glory, muttering that, should it fail, somebody will suffer. And Grant had a very particular somebody in mind, a leader he persistently disparaged because he dreaded the man as a rival: Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas.
(Excerpt) Read more at opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com ...
The Rock of Chickamauga - but for Thomas and for Braxton Bragg on the Confederate side (who idiotically weakened his forces by sending Longstreet and his corps off to capture Knoxville, there might have been a different outcome to the Civil War (at least it would have lasted much longer).
Grant defeated Lee, but Thomas made sure that Lee would never receive outside help.
Because of Thomas, Grant's victory became inevitable.
Thomas chose to do the right thing, Lee chose to do the popular thing.
Lee is still popular, Thomas is still right.
I forget the country artist but I knew a big star wrote a song about Thomas smashing Hood outside Nashville. I heard it at the Memorial Day Concert at Capitol Hill. Awesome song especially if you can appreciate the history behind it.
I have never liked Grant
Gen Thomas is buried not far from where Grant died, in Troy/Albany NY.
He got results with a comparatively low "Butcher's Bill," too. He was unfortunately the victim of a vicious political PR cabal set up by Grant, Sherman, and Scholfield, who used him to distract Lincoln and Halleck from their own failures in the field. For instance, Grant was stalled for months at Vicksburg, but that did not stop him from endlessly bitching to Washington about Thomas' "slowness" at Nashville ... this after Sherman had stripped Thomas' command of well trained divisions, all his remounts, months of supplies, and most of his artillery!
While we're on the subject, I am somewhat jaundiced by now whenever I read yet another hagiographic piece about the great Southern Generals, particularly Lee. Yes, he was a great tactician. But remember he was working on interior lines of communication ... a tremendous advantage. Great general that he was, he was also a complete dunderhead when it came to logistics. In the industry-poor south, his armies never lacked for ammo delivery. but in the agriculturally rich South, his men generally never got a square meal (unless they captured it from the Federals), or a decent pair of pants, much less boots. It's fashionable to blame that on his Commissary General, but it took Lee until 1865 to notice? It also should be noticed that Lee's outstanding victories, quite brilliant as they were, were at tremendous cost in casualties. His battles on northern territory were nearly run standoffs ... but again at shattering cost in casualties.
All around great generalship? Thomas takes it. Grant and Sherman admitted it long after the war when Grant was President and Sherman Secretary of War. Schofield, who served as Chief of The Army and gave himself the CMoH, was caught in a tissue of lies about Thomas in his memoirs. The superior whom he had continually sabotaged had the posthumous satisfaction of sorts of seeing his detractor totally discredited.
On both sides, the war effort was seriously crippled by much political infighting among jealous generals. Thomas is the most obvious case on Team Yankee.
Hood was still quite a dangerous adversary at Nashville. Many a Federal operation went very badly when faced with similar advantages. Thomas' plan was a classic envelopment that went well. It was also the first time the Union cavalry was used to overwhelming tactical advantage when Wilson's Spencer-armed 12 thousand rolled them up on the Confederate left. On the Union right, Thomas placed great faith in his African-American troops, who performed admirably under General Stedman. In the center, the day was carried by General MacArthur, father of you-know-who.
This was a classic set-piece battle victory studied in military academies the world over.
Strangely, the author writes of the battle of Nashville as if it were the only battle that took place in that area at that time.
Franklin is one of those forgotten notes in Civil War history. The Southern charge along the Columbia Pike was bigger than Pickett’s charge the year before, and crossed as much open ground. Too boot, it was a dusk/night attack, hastily organized. Hood believed this to be his last chance to beat the Federal Army piecemeal and plunged the Army of Tennessee into an ill-conceived attack strongly opposed by his generals, most notably Nathan Bedford Forrest. 14 of those generals and 55 regimental commanders became casualties at Franklin.
I guess because Franklin ended up in the hands of Hood at the conclusion, somehow, it was considered a Confederate victory.
Beating, even crushing, the crippled Army of Tennessee, just out of the horrendous battle of Franklin, the Federal Army consisting of twice the men, many armed with Henry and Winchester repeating rifles, was not the great feat of marshal prowess the author lets the reader conclude it was.
He was born in Southampton County in 1816—he and his family had to hide in the woods to avoid being killed in Nat Turner’s rebellion in 1831. His family never forgave him for siding with the Union against his own state. When he died at the age of 53, none of his relatives attended his funeral.
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