I’m sure I’m not the first to think of this question, but, what if Jefferson Davis had promoted Patrick Cleburne to corps command as head of the Army of Tennessee instead of John Bell Hood in July 1864, or even earlier, perhaps even preceding Johnston?

Playing mental ping-pong with what-if-scenarios are highly conjectural, have the advantage of hindsight vision, and can be very unfair to some participants, especially of ones who made big blunders. Well . . . so. It’s still fun.

I postulate this. Had Davis promoted Cleburne instead of Hood to lead the Army of Tennessee, I think the Western theater results might have been very different. Imagine how Cleburne might have approached the Atlanta campaign differently, or especially the Franklin-Nashville campaign.

Though a certain sense of inevitability sets in at some point, meaning, one wonders if anyone on the Confederate side – at the level of Corps commander – would have made any difference having to report to Jefferson Davis, one still wonders what might-have been had someone like Cleburne been able to lead a Corps during the most desperate need for abled-body leadership on behalf of the Confederacy.

If Hood and Cleburne were in the ring together for ten rounds, I score it a knock-out by Cleburne in four!

Ding!

How do you call it?

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