I understand I’m treading on thin ice here with some folk when it comes to critiquing John Bell Hood, especially for his actions at Franklin. So let me clearly state my biases because we all have them; I’m just honest enough to admit them.
My biases and background?
- I was born in Kentucky, which was neutral in the Civil War officially.
- Until ten years ago (late 30s), I was very ‘pro-Southern’ and totally leaned to the so-called States’ rights side of the aisle. I espoused the Lost Cause ideology with conviction then, though I was not even aware how much I had descended into it.
- Today, I have completely shed the Neo-Confederate mindset and its accompanying arguments.
- I now believe that the American Civil War, at least for the last two years, was mostly (but not entirely) fought over the issue of slavery.
- I believe that human slavery was a moral scourge on this nation and wished it would have been effaced from our landscape without the shedding of blood.
If you still have an objective bone in your body I submit the following six items as evidence that John Bell Hood made at least six fatal errors at Franklin. These six are mainly related to his direct frontal massed assault at Franklin.
Hood’s blunder-failure (i.e., his frontal assault) at Franklin can be summed up thus:
a. His massed assault had virtually zero artillery support.
b. He had too large an army to perform an assault that only had roughly 1.7 miles of width-to-width from flanks once the works were reached. His columns were terribly constrained and inter-mixed.
c. He went against the better judgment of his top subordinate commanding generals.
d. His cavalry played virtually no role in the assault strategically.
e. He started the assault too late in the day. By the time his men reached the works it was nearly dark.
f. He apparently had very little true knowledge of the topography of Franklin, and/or if he had the knowledge, he ignored it.
I’d love to know your opinion. Please comment.
However, I will NOT approve any comment that descends into plain silliness and ad hominem attacks. I revealed my biases so fair-play suggests you will too , then lay out your arguments.
Let the readers make up their own minds.
By the way, don’t forget the Hood Legacy Discussion at Carnton coming November 6th.
Carnton will host a Hood panel discussion on Friday, November 6 at 6 p.m. in the event room of the Fleming Center. It is FREE to the public and will last about 1 ½ hours. Panelists will include Eric A. Jacobson (author, historian), Sam Hood (Hood expert, descendant), Sam Elliot (author, historian) and Brandon Beck (University of Mississippi).