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 (1861-1865) Civil War Battles (Eastern Theater)
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Steve Clements
Toronto ON Canada
Posts: 776
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/14/2021 11:40:39 AM

Skimming through the early part of Coddington this a.m., and came across a lengthy discussion of Lee's need for experienced and competent officers.

I know that D.H. Hill and Lee did not exactly have form a mutual admiration society (Hill had been quite critical of Lee at times...), but I would have thought that the need for a competent and aggressive commanders might have outweighed this.

IMO, Hill was a talented officer, whose skills were underutilized by the Confederacy. Given how many incompetent officers rose to high rank, this strikes me as a gross injustice and, more importantly, a waste of a valuable and scarce resource.

Any thoughts??

s.c.
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 71
Joined: 2020
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/14/2021 1:03:41 PM

Hi Steve,

Steve, interesting question.
Would depend on which D H Hill showed up. It’s well known that early on he was a proven hard fighter at the division level. A big part of lees problem at Gettysburg was poor performance by all three corps commanders so a proven veteran making a determined and highly competent performance may have brought surprising results. Lee was also often able to get better performance even from difficult subordinates but at times even lee had to endure petty balkiness in his officers. Hill was sent to Bragg where his insubordinate conniving got his nomination to Lt Gen. withdrawn (given to Hood) by Davis and Hill got no new command after relief by Bragg. In combat he could perform well. When not fighting his smart-alecky manner did no good.

Ultimately D H Hill was part of the chronic confederate plague of insubordinate petty officers that contributed to frequently snatching defeat from victory.
Very good question, thanks
Mike_C
mikecmaps
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4878
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/14/2021 4:02:23 PM

First rate combat commander.

Stonewall Jackson's brother in law ?

On the face of it, Lee was making a big mistake in moving him away.

On reflection, there must have been something very disruptive in Daniel Harvey's demeanour....was Lee such a bad judge ?

Regards, Phil

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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Larry Purtell
Little Meadows PA USA
Posts: 1121
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/16/2021 9:22:07 AM

Quote:
First rate combat commander.

Stonewall Jackson's brother in law ?

On the face of it, Lee was making a big mistake in moving him away.

On reflection, there must have been something very disruptive in Daniel Harvey's demeanour....was Lee such a bad judge ?

Regards, Phil



D.H. Hill was a malcontent. A commander might get 5 minutes of superb leadership from Hill and a life time of grief. R.E. Lee in my opinion made the right call getting rid of Hill.
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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
Steve Clements
Toronto ON Canada
Posts: 776
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/16/2021 12:20:15 PM

Mike,

Quote:
A big part of lees problem at Gettysburg was poor performance by all three corps commanders so a proven veteran making a determined and highly competent performance may have brought surprising results.


Agree. The attacks on the 2nd were very badly coordinated....seems that several division commanders basically took matters into their own hands...and sat on them-:) A P Hill's performance, or lack of the same, on both the first and second days stands out. Had A.P.'s corps been commanded by D.H., matters might have been a lot different, especially on Day Two, when Mahone etc., basically went to sleep.

Ewell also gets a lot of flack from some corners, although personally I am more sympathetic to his performance. Although the attacks by Johnston and Early's divisions were not properly coordinated...and Rodes' non attack, late on Day Two, is very difficult to explain or justify.

Quote:
Lee was also often able to get better performance even from difficult subordinates but at times even lee had to endure petty balkiness in his officers.


If there was a commander that could have got the best out of D.H., it was Lee. IMO, it would be difficult to criticize Hill's battlefield performance during Seven Days or the Antietam campaign. Of course, Hill was - I gather - publicly critical of Lee's tactics, at both Malvern Hill and Antietam. Which I am sure pissed Lee off...all the more, given that Hill's criticisms were not inaccurate. Lee needed to deal with that....yeah, I get that criticizing the boss rarely goes over well, but as someone once wrote, "you don't shoot a prize bull for shitting in the yard".

Quote:
Hill was sent to Bragg ....


Who would have forecast that this relationship would not have turned out very well-:) If Hill could be critical of Lee, you have to know that he would be all over someone like Bragg-:) That was a match made in hell...

Quote:
In combat he could perform well. When not fighting his smart-alecky manner did no good.


I think that what really stung was that most of his carping (what Lee referred to as his "croaking") was bang on. And the Confederacy was still hung up on senior officers acting like good Christian gentlemen. Yeah, kill the enemy, but don't swear at them...

s.c.
Steve Clements
Toronto ON Canada
Posts: 776
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/16/2021 12:29:00 PM

Larry,

Quote:
D.H. Hill was a malcontent. A commander might get 5 minutes of superb leadership from Hill and a life time of grief. R.E. Lee in my opinion made the right call getting rid of Hill


I believe that your "5 minutes of superb leadership" is unduly harsh. Not an expert on Hill, but what, if any, criticisms do you have concerning any of his battlefield performances?

Frankly, both the ANV and the AoT were full of whack job division and corps commanders. And the less said about army commanders such as Bragg and Hood, the better-:) So to shunt Hill off to the boonies strikes me as a waste of a very rare commodity in the Confederacy, i.e. a (senior) battlefield leader who "could kick ass and take names'.

Yes, Hill was a pain in the ass. But he was often/usually right.

Frankly, Lee needed to be willing to be a more heavy handed with some of his Lieutenants, especially at Gettysburg, but also in general. He (Lee) did not like confrontation. Well, when you are the boss, sometimes you gotta have a little confrontation-:) That's part of the job...and it was a part that Lee shied away from. Again, everyone was too worried IMO about being a "gentleman".

s.c.
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 71
Joined: 2020
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/16/2021 12:47:16 PM

Steve,

I think you are right that Lee and Davis needed to deal directly and forcefully with bad behavior at the highest level.

Actually, a major problem contributing to confederate defeat was the habitual insubordination of even higher ranking officers and Davis simply coddled it, even contributed. Sending a relatively effective combat leader away was part of the problem too. Woodworth in “No Band of Brothers” details several cases each one having effect on combat/strategy. Davis’ incompetent handling made the problem worse by allowing it to continue. He failed to enforce anything resembling regular order and discipline at the highest level. Even when charges were preferred Davis allowed them to be dismissed and bad actors were often just moved to another location where their insubordination contributed to another defeat; Loring & Vicksburg. Hill certainly showed he was a good fighter, had some strict discipline been enforced in ’61-62 he may have been able to contribute effectively in PA or TN. Bragg has a terrible reputation but his army was the dumping ground for many problem “Generals.”

its a great question that shows clearly and directly and exactly why armies have a strict code of discipline.

Thanks,
Mike_C
mikecmaps
john hayward
Allenstown NH USA
Posts: 871
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/16/2021 4:42:20 PM

Gentlemen

DH Hill was at his best when he had good men on either side of him and was fighting without full responsibility on the battlefield. Hill's sharp comments after Antietam do not exhibit the qualities of a "croaker" which Lee thought was one of Hill's defects. Hill's disposition to find fault with his comrades may help explain the difficulty in using to best advantage his undeniable qualities.

At South Mountain Hill felt a terrible sense of loneliness but as soon as Longstreet came up and Lee was close at hand, he fought the type of battle he liked-hard combat, where he might fight with all his strength and cunning and was not responsible for strategy. No officer seemed to get more fire power from a given number of troops.

Not one for self- criticism, after the battle Hill once again became the highly critical subordinate. "Had Longstreet's Division been mine at daylight...the enemy would have been disastrously repulsed."
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4878
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/16/2021 4:57:31 PM

Once Gary Gallagher came to London and gave a lecture about Lee.

He gave a very glowing account of Lee's qualities as a commander.

The thing I remember most clearly is his allusion to the removal of DH Hill : to have managed that in such a discreet and expeditious manner was an accomplishment that spoke volumes about Lee's management skills. Gallagher remarked that such a move would have caused a mighty furore in the West.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Steve Clements
Toronto ON Canada
Posts: 776
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/16/2021 5:19:13 PM

Quote:
Once Gary Gallagher came to London and gave a lecture about Lee.

He gave a very glowing account of Lee's qualities as a commander.

The thing I remember most clearly is his allusion to the removal of DH Hill : to have managed that in such a discreet and expeditious manner was an accomplishment that spoke volumes about Lee's management skills. Gallagher remarked that such a move would have caused a mighty furore in the West.

Regards, Phil


Hi Phil,

My memory may be a little foggy....but in late 62/very early 63, I think that Hill was back with the ANV (he and his division were at Fredericksburg).....but wanted to retire from the service. Hill had a bad back (from memory), and being in the saddle much of the day was very painful (and may have contributed to his propensity to be very sarcastic...that was appreciated by few to none). Hill felt that he was no longer fit for service in the field.

I seem to remember that Lee pressed him to stay in the service and to take command in North Carolina i.e. that was a type of service that Hill's body could handle. To be fair, Lee wanted Hill to replace G.W. Smith...whom Lee held a low opinion of...

When Lee was preparing for the Gettysburg campaign, he did his best to strip the coastal defenses (now under Hill) of battle tested brigades...and promptly butted heads with D.H. Hill.

s.c.
john hayward
Allenstown NH USA
Posts: 871
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/16/2021 5:45:41 PM

Steve

I also read that he suffered from dyspepsia which might make anyone grumpy
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4878
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/17/2021 4:18:06 AM

Quote:
Quote:
Once Gary Gallagher came to London and gave a lecture about Lee.

He gave a very glowing account of Lee's qualities as a commander.

The thing I remember most clearly is his allusion to the removal of DH Hill : to have managed that in such a discreet and expeditious manner was an accomplishment that spoke volumes about Lee's management skills. Gallagher remarked that such a move would have caused a mighty furore in the West.

Regards, Phil


Hi Phil,

My memory may be a little foggy....but in late 62/very early 63, I think that Hill was back with the ANV (he and his division were at Fredericksburg).....but wanted to retire from the service. Hill had a bad back (from memory), and being in the saddle much of the day was very painful (and may have contributed to his propensity to be very sarcastic...that was appreciated by few to none). Hill felt that he was no longer fit for service in the field.

I seem to remember that Lee pressed him to stay in the service and to take command in North Carolina i.e. that was a type of service that Hill's body could handle. To be fair, Lee wanted Hill to replace G.W. Smith...whom Lee held a low opinion of...

When Lee was preparing for the Gettysburg campaign, he did his best to strip the coastal defenses (now under Hill) of battle tested brigades...and promptly butted heads with D.H. Hill.

s.c.


Steve,

Thanks for telling me this.

It puts a very different complexion on the impression I took away from Gallagher's lecture.

Whenever I read the accounts written by DH Hill in my beloved Battles & Leaders volumes, I'm always profoundly impressed by his discerning depiction of the performance of the southern fighting man. He strikes me as very much the soldiers' soldier.

I wonder if he was a tad irreverent at times. Anecdote has it that, when a soldier requested to be transferred from a combat role to become a bugler in the regimental band, he replied request denied : we need shooters, not tooters.

Regards, Phil


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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4878
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/17/2021 6:16:19 AM

Quote:
as someone once wrote, "you don't shoot a prize bull for shitting in the yard".
.



No, but on your doorstep ?

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4878
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/17/2021 8:30:50 AM

Steve,

Two interesting comments about DH Hill.....

Shelby Foote ....an accomplished hater, with a sharp tongue he was never slow to use on all who crossed him, including now the President...

Here's one that you will approve of, from Glenn Tucker :

One of the best fighting records in the army....was that of North Carolinian Daniel Harvey Hill ....... An explanation of the need would undoubtedly would have taken Harvey Hill back to Virginia to command the Third Corps, and possibly to change the fate of the Confederacy at a critical moment at Gettysburg. A void in the army as it moved north was the absence of the other Hill.


Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Steve Clements
Toronto ON Canada
Posts: 776
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/18/2021 10:24:57 AM

Quote:
Steve

I also read that he suffered from dyspepsia which might make anyone grumpy



John,

Must admit that I had to google "dyspepsia" -:) Guessing Hill either had an ulcer or perhaps GERD. Neither would have benefited from the "everything cooked in bacon grease" cuisine of the CW-:)

Phil,

Many thanks for digging up those quotes...

Hill clearly did not suffer fools gladly....frankly, he was a "talent" not uncommon in many organizations. Usually very good at what they do, but with limited patience for organizational b.s., and an inability to control one's tongue when dealing with what they regard as gross incompetence.

s.c.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4878
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/18/2021 11:31:11 AM

Steve,

All in the realm of “ might have beens” , of course, but I think that DH Hill would have turned Gettysburg in the South’s favour.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
john hayward
Allenstown NH USA
Posts: 871
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/18/2021 2:33:23 PM

Phil

It is possible that DH Hill would have been an upgrade over AP Hill but nowhere in AP Hill's track record up to that point could Lee had foreseen what his performance would be in July 1863. AP Hill did have problems with Jackson but who didn't? DH Hill had problems with everyone.On the Peninsula he criticized Magruder, Holmes,Whiting, Toombs, even Jackson. There were even problems in his own division. Later on after Antietam it was Longstreet and even Lee. He griped about Davis. In general he was a PITA. Pretty soon you have to decide is he worth it?
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
Steve Clements
Toronto ON Canada
Posts: 776
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/18/2021 4:00:11 PM

John,

Quote:
AP Hill did have problems with Jackson but who didn't? DH Hill had problems with everyone.On the Peninsula he criticized Magruder, Holmes,Whiting, Toombs, even Jackson.


A.P. not only fought with Jackson, on almost a continual basis, he also fought with Longstreet, in fact I believe he challenged Longstreet to a duel after Seven Days....which is why, I believe, that A.P.'s division ended up with Jackson...to get A.P. away from Longstreet.

Well, somewhat ironically, DH did get along well with Jackson, and if he criticized Jackson for his lack of activity at Glendale etc., the criticism was well deserved. As for the other four officers that you noted, I think that Lee would agree with D.H.'s "criticisms....since he did a pretty good job of getting rid of most of them-:)

Basically, almost all of Lee's Seven Days battles were poorly executed. And except for Gaine's Mill, all were tactical defeats....that little Mac chose to view them otherwise is something else entirely-:)

And yes, A.P. did criticize Lee over Antietam, in his after battle report. Which was more than justified...maybe not politically wise, but that is a separate issue.

A better question might be, what "criticisms" offered up by D.H. were invalid?

s.c.
Phil Andrade
London  UK
Posts: 4878
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/19/2021 4:09:59 AM

Steve and John, Mike and Larry,

Doesn’t this tell us how important the role of personal conduct is in the functioning of hierarchy ?

It’s hard to imagine a more formidable combat performance than that displayed by DH : unfortunately for the confederacy, his zeal for fighting was not confined to the battlefield.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
john hayward
Allenstown NH USA
Posts: 871
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/19/2021 12:33:00 PM

Gentlemen

The CSA officer corps seemed to be tighly wound, prideful, and a bit touchy about things. Little things grew into big things rather quickly. Perhaps Lee was trying to find generals he could work with smoothly and DH Hill just didn't fit. His name came up often because many saw his performance in combat as excellent but other things, his lack of a filter, overruled it.
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"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."
scoucer
Berlin  Germany
Posts: 2840
Joined: 2010
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/20/2021 7:56:28 AM

Quote:
Gentlemen

The CSA officer corps seemed to be tighly wound, prideful, and a bit touchy about things. Little things grew into big things rather quickly. Perhaps Lee was trying to find generals he could work with smoothly and DH Hill just didn't fit. His name came up often because many saw his performance in combat as excellent but other things, his lack of a filter, overruled it.


Something that JR Price always pointed out, the rigid code of honour. An obssession with reputation and no slight was forgotten.

Trevor
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`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre PA USA
Posts: 1149
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/28/2021 1:56:59 AM

Trevor,

One of the best scenes from the book/movie "The Killer Angels" is when Lee meets with JEB and tells him there are some officers who think charges should be brought against him for leaving the army blind. JEB says to tell him their names and Lee loses it yelling there will be none of that, we don't have time for that. The thing is I don't think it was a honour thing with DH Hill. He likw Bragg to a point just had one of those personalities that it was hard to get along with.


Steve,
The thing between AP Hill and Longstreet was over stories being given to Southern newspapers by somebody from Hill's staff/military family glorifying Hill and his Division in a way that minimized Longstreet and his Division. Longstreet called them out in a letter to the editor that Hill took as a insult.


Mike I think,

I don't think I'd call the AOT a dumping ground. I'd be interested in seeing who you thought were "dumped" there. If it isn't Mke who said this sorry but whoever did I'd like to see your reasoning in a little more detail.

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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 71
Joined: 2020
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/28/2021 4:48:10 PM


Mike I think,

I don't think I'd call the AOT a dumping ground. I'd be interested in seeing who you thought were "dumped" there. If it isn't Mike who said this sorry but whoever did I'd like to see your reasoning in a little more detail.

02282021
Hi John, Steve & group,
Yes I did say “dumping ground.” Might be a better way to say it but will stick with it for now anyway.
Have been reading/researching Army of Tennessee. In 1863 it’s a mess. D H Hill was sent to Bragg because Hardee was sent to Miss because of Hardee & Bragg friction. But Hardee came back to be part of Missionary Ridge debacle. Hardee was brought back when Polk was relieved & sent to Miss. Polk was a constant agitator against Bragg and had the personality that instigated endless insubordination. It took Longstreet no time to pick up this general atmosphere and had to be sent away to Knoxville after Chickamauga. Lee was not perfect by any means but managed a little better in culling the dead weight. Davis made things worse by refusing to get rid of Polk and refusing to support Bragg when he tried to prefer charges. Davis refused to relieve Bragg when he requested to be relieved before Chickamauga. Combine this with the fact that Bragg himself was not really effective many times & it’s a toxic combination. A major contribution to the “hard luck” Army of Tennessee was the chronic dysfunction at the top Davis on down. Joe Johnston was sent to “supervise” Bragg by Davis but made no positive contribution to the defense of Tennessee before being sent to Mississippi to “supervise” Pemberton. Of Braggs chief subordinates Polk, Hardee, Cheatham, Hindman, Stewart and Cleburne; only Hardee had any significant experience. Polk, Hindman and Cheatham were political generals. Stewart was a west point grad but resigned and spent the 15 years before the war as a math professor. In June 63 Lee had twelve corps/division commanders all but Rodes (VMI) Westpoint grads and all but Heth with long service in Lee’s army.
Bragg made three reorgs in weeks before Chickamauga necessitated mainly by transfers of Hardee, Hill, Buckner & Longstreet. Buckner’s East Tennessee force was brought to Chattanooga as the new third corps with Stewarts Division transferred from Hills (ex Hardee) corps. Two divisions were sent from Johnston’s Miss force (Breckinridge and W H T Walker) to Bragg and added to Hills corps. Previously Stevenson’s division had been sent from Bragg to Johnston.
I kinda think Steve’s suggestion is right that Lee made mistake in not finding a place for D H Hill. & even wonder if keeping 2 corps org with Longstreet & D H Hill commanding may have been better. (yes DH senior to AP) Maintaining his old army org may have been better than having 2 new untried corps and 2 green division commanders 3 three of whom figured significantly in the first day & not necessarily all for the good.
& forgive me for another what if, also had D H Hill been sent to take over in Braggs place in early spring 63, it would have eliminated the issue of Hills own carping against his superiors. It would have force something to be done about Polk (yeah not likely) and possibly sent a message that the pettiness must stop? Yes, it would have been a big jump but clearly almost any chance may have been positive & yes I know -20/20?
& I agree with John & Trevor about whole “tighly wound, prideful, and a bit touchy about things. Little things grew into big things rather quickly” nature of confederate commanders.
Thanks all & Steve for good topic & discussion
Yours, Mike_C
mikecmaps
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre PA USA
Posts: 1149
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/28/2021 8:16:06 PM

Mike,

The reorganizations by Bragg were in large part the intigration of troops and officers from Pemberton's AOM surrendered at Vicksburg and revenge against certain officers in the AOT. Cheatham in particular as he fired him and broke up his division..

Hardee requested transfer as did Cleburne. Forrest refused to serve another day Under Bragg. Bishop Polk was a West Point Grad. Hindman wasn't a primary commander in the AOT I believe he only was there for Chickamauga. DH Hill commanded Cleburne's and Breckinridge's Divisions at Chickamagua, Walker was commanding the Reserve Corps. Also with respect why n the name of God do you let Longstreet go anywhere when that flank is under attack and you've already lost most of Lookout Valley?

DH Hill was requested for command in NC by Gov Vance but within a few months he was more than willing to let him head west because Hill was a defeatest.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 71
Joined: 2020
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
2/28/2021 10:29:23 PM


John,
Yes, actually what you say pretty much (IMHO) concedes that AOT was in a significant muddle at the point of two important battles Chickamauga & Chattanooga.
Forest left after Chattanooga & as I say you confirm the problem. “Refused to serve” how does that work, didn’t know officers get to pick where to serve – that’s the problem and point like Trevor and John(?) said insubordination was rampant. The whole practice of moving officers around instead of enforcing discipline was fatal to the army. Moving Forest was pointless since Bragg also left after Chattanooga.
And yes reorgs were partly related to shifting troops which was the double whammy new commanders and new troops. Hill got two new divisions from Miss when one of his was sent to Buckers corps, why not send the Miss troops to Buckner and not disrupt Hill’s corps days before Chickamauga? Miss troops where only part of troops sent to Bragg before Chickamauga. And transfer requests were part of insubordinate syndrome all coddled and stoked by Davis. Polk was utterly incompetent he resigned immediately after graduation and never served at any army post. He was disciplined at west point for cheating presaging his refusal to subordinate to military authority.
Hindman led a division from Aug after his predecessor resigned in July (Withers don’t know why) Withers was west point grad who resigned 6 mos after graduating & no army service so conforms to pattern of others. (Withers was reinstated & sent to Mobile)
Longstreet was guilty of deplorable insubordination to Davis and Bragg (un)resolved again in the destructive process of using troop assignments to salve bickering Generals. He was sent away to Knoxville days before Missionary ridge action.
We have somewhat different take perhaps but maybe not best described simply as “dumping ground.”
Thanks, Mike_C
Mikecmaps
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre PA USA
Posts: 1149
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
3/1/2021 12:27:38 AM

Mike,

Forrest left after Chickamauga.

Hill commanded Cleburne's and Breckinridge's Divisions at Chickamauga and that was the only battle Hill fought with the AOT. He was long gone when the reorganizations your talking about happened. Bragg wanted him charged because he didn't attack bright and early on day two when he never received the order to attack until well after the time he was supposed to attack. If you remember Cleburne's Division made a attack at dusk and Hill was on the scene during and after the attack as he should have been. Meaning it was about 11PM when he set out to find Braggs HDQ to report and get his orders for the next day. To make a long story short Hill never found the HDQ because it was so far from the lines and the currier from Polk never delivered the orders to attack that night. Bragg took the view that he issued the orders and both Polk and Hill were guilty of not carrying out lawful orders.

Yes we do have different takes you aren't blaming Bragg for anything. Bragg was the main problem IMHO while you are blaming everybody else.

Edit Jones Withers resigned to join General Patterson's staff and spent over a year in that position during the war against the Creek Indians. Also during the Mexican War he commanded the Alabama Reg, was Lt Col in the 13th US Inf Reg and Col commanding the 9th US Inf Reg. By my math that gives him over 5 years n regular service plus the 4 at West Point.

Edit I am the JR Price Trevor mentioned in his post and the way your "taking" the meaning isn't what I wrote in years past.
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 71
Joined: 2020
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
3/1/2021 4:10:14 PM


03012021
John,
So, I am sorry to be late again, had some stuff this morning.
But, no not blaming everybody and letting Bragg off. My Major point is that (given yes Bragg didn’t do too good) Bragg’s reputation and opinions held by key subordinates don’t excuse disobedience and insubordination. The fact that Bragg was not the best only made it more vital that he have loyal and effective service from subordinates. I am not a military person but I appreciate that under the best circumstances operations can be difficult any way. A unit requires the best efforts of all to work well.
Specifically, the reorgs I am talking about occurred in Aug & Sept after Hill arrived in July. Breckinridge and Walker didn’t arrive from Miss until late Aug and were carried on Johnstons Aug 20 63 return as present in Miss on that date. On the same date Braggs divisions were Hindman, Cheatham, Stewart, Cleburne; under Polk and Hill. Sorry getting in the weeds but want to clarify. After Chickamauga Davis found Hill and Hindman (yes wounded) culpable enough to send them away. And Polk enough to send to Miss. and recall Hardee. Pretty extreme for Davis but even he began to see the situation was becoming destructive of military operations. (Hindman was reinstated after Chattanooga and Johnston took command)
So yes Bragg was a good part of the problem but his best efforts, such as they were, were undermined by disobedience.
You are right, I believe and stand corrected, that Forrest left after Chickamauga.
But guess were going to quibble re: Withers; from Grad in 35 to 1861 is 26 yrs. I don’t credit academy as service (though it may be officially counted) so by your own count he had 5 yrs / 26 experience. I stand by the point whether Hindman or Withers; “only Hardee had any significant experience” AOT top commanders. (after Bragg)
(& think I was referring to John Hayward post 2/19?)
Thanks, Mike_C.
mikecmaps
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre PA USA
Posts: 1149
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
3/2/2021 3:08:27 PM

Mike,

The West and the troop assignments weren't anything like the ANVA and Lee and the AOT came into being when Bragg split it off from the AOM. Brigades and divisions were transfered back and forth as the military situation dictated because there weren't enough troops to go around.

After Chickamauga there was another explosion of discontent when Bragg brought charges and relieved from command certain officers and Davis came to try and make the peace. Davis didn't like any of the alternatives to command, he dismissed the charges, transfered and promised to transfer others who requsted it and kept Bragg in command because he didn't think he had a choice.

As for your thought about supporting a poor commander by following his orders I would ask don't you have a responsibility to your troops and your country? To spend as few of their lives as possible and to win the battles and wars it sends you to fight?

Edit When Bragg split the AOM at Corinth and took four Divisions north to Tenn and the invasion of KY Breckinridge and his Division which included the Orphan Brigade was left in Miss under Van Dorn. Bragg wanted them transferred Van Dorn didn't want to let them go. The idea being that Breckinridge and the Orphan's would be a great help attracting recruits in KY. Richmond stepped in and ordered the transfer but too late for them to take part in the KY Campaign. In a letter after Perryville to Davis Bragg blamed the defeat in KY on Breckinridge. Begining of Dec Bragg ordered the execution of a deserter from the 6th KY in front of the entire Brigade with the firing squad drawn from his company. Every officer in the brigade and Brecinridge signed a petition for leinrncy. The man was the only son of a widowed mother whose house was burned to the ground and he had tried to get a forlough to go home to get her settled. Bragg responded in writing to the effect "kentuckians blood is too feverish for war, I'm going to cure them of the fever if I have to shoot every one of them." Bragg was freakin insane!
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 71
Joined: 2020
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
3/2/2021 5:30:57 PM

03012021
John
Well your first two comments yes I can agree with.
“because he (Davis)didn't think he had a choice.”
Yes, Davis was part of the problem. He was a poor judge of commanders. He only saw maybe 4 that he could trust IMO AS Johnston JE Johnston (they fought like roosters but JD felt he was competent) and Lee, Bragg. Davis was criticised for favoring West pointers but I’d say he was right in that. So makes the problem; trying to make strategy based on personnel.
“I would ask don't you have a responsibility to your troops and your country?”
I would think every officers oath covers that. But we cant really suggest that means any officer can choose when he has to obey and when not, and particularly not at the top. If really necessary the only way, as I understand, is to resign, and that cant be done when under fire or in the presence of the enemy, it would be disobedience and/or cowardice. So, no its not the place of a division or brigade commander to decide he does not like the plan and change it or refuse. So while yes Bragg was not a great general and made bad choices and got demoralised and confused at times it cant justify insubordination. And just not having enough really qualified professionals (plus the southern mind set) was a basic problem. The responsibly does not go down it goes up; it was on Davis to take decisive action to fix AOT command problem – he never did.

Thanks, Mike_C.
mikecmaps
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre PA USA
Posts: 1149
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
3/2/2021 6:17:29 PM

Mike,

Did you know that Davis sent Bragg to Atlanta to basically give Joe Johnston one last chance to attack before he replaced him with Hood? That if he had plans to attack he would stay in command. Told him to talk to as many officers as he could. Bragg wrote back that there were no arraingment then being made for an attack and no plans being discussed for a attack in the near future. Peach Tree Creek was Johnston's plan and in the first communication from Hood he told Davis that army was in the middle of preperation to launch it when he was ordered to take command.

The relationship between Joe Johnston and Davis is where the code of honour come into play big time. I don't think Davis found him competent because Johnston was never going to follow his stratigic orders such as defend Vicksburg to the last.

AS for resigning what the hell do you think all of them were threatening to do?
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 71
Joined: 2020
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
3/2/2021 8:34:37 PM

Hi John,
“AS for resigning what the hell do you think all of them were threatening to do?”
Ah, but cant do that in a campaign or with enemy down the road & don’t think any did except Bragg and was not accepted. You cant “threaten” thats just posturing/politicking and shows bad intent. You actually have to put your head on the block if your serious and take what comes. That’s integreity and courage of your convictions. Also you first have to obey and execute the order. Jackson resigned after executing Davis’ order & requested to be sent back to institute. Johnston got him to withdraw the resignation.
Yes I know about the episode of Bragg re Johnston, Hood, Davis & Atlanta.
I do think Davis thought JEJ was competent, they just had very different Ideas sometimes of where & when & how to fight. & davis was like JEJ in that he didnt like to take risks & tended to be defensive minded.
“relationship between Joe Johnston and Davis” yes big problem but davis called on him at least 3 times (VA 61-62) (Tn & MS 63) and atlanta and Lee apptd him in NC 65 that must be some evidence of competence if not success.
John Thanks very much & really enjoyed your discussion good points & makes me challenge myself good way for me to learn.
Mike_C.
mikecmaps
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 71
Joined: 2020
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
3/3/2021 11:02:42 AM

Group,
Forgive me if I prolong this. But more directly, and on reflection, I think Steve’s original suggestion has merit. I specifically refer to July 1 situation 4-5pm in front of Cemetery Hill; a younger more fit more aggressive Hill, in Ewells place, may have gone ahead and taken CH? Not necessarily it’s true but chance would have been likely better IMHO.
Yours, Mike_c.
mikecmaps
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre PA USA
Posts: 1149
Joined: 2004
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
3/6/2021 2:41:26 PM

Mike,

If DH Hill is at Gettysburg it means he was at Chancellorsville commanding his Division not Rhodes. Does that change in command save Jackson's life? Also I don't believe Hill could command 2nd Corps if Jackson had died because of the seniority laws. I'm pretty sure Ewell is senior so by law Hill can't be promoted above him in 2nd Corps. And speaking of Rhodes and Pender, Early and Heth for that matter what are you going to do with them?
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A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country. "to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"
mikecmaps
CAMARILLO CA USA
Posts: 71
Joined: 2020
D. H. Hill at Gettysburg
3/6/2021 8:35:26 PM

John Thanks,
Some good questions I know D H Hill was senior to AP Hill who was the third corps commander. Ewell could have been put in command of Richmond defenses leaving possibly Longstreet & D H Hill in two corps org. Early 1863 DH Hill in command in NC and brought to Richmond for Gettysburg, so he could have been available to switch with Ewell, Ewell being hobbled & therefore better as garrison commander it may have been reasoned. (yes given typical confederate attitudes would maybe be a dust-up over it) For Chancellorsville Longstreet was in SVA & NC dept. which may have given chance to send him to Tenn in June. (ANV Corps DH Hill & Ewell?) Think it was proposed but Lee shot that down but was a choice available. Mainly Lee didn’t want to lose his troops. Davis gave Lee desecration for his own command. Surprisingly DH Hill was pretty senior among MAJ GENS only Longstreet Jackson Ewell being senior.(in VA army) Then AP Hill Anderson Hood. Early thru Pender Maj-gen only in Sprg 63 so don’t figure in corps set up in ANVA.
So, again major point (our- Steve & I) D H Hill was proven in 1862 good division fighter who seems to be a misused asset? & much of that is pinned to Lee who seems to have written him off. Perhaps he had cause but looks like it came with significant cost of passing over folks because of personality clashes, tough way to lose a war, maybe?

“If DH Hill is at Gettysburg it means he was at Chancellorsville” No Don’t think so.
“Does that change in command save Jackson's life?” No don’t think so.
I think the number is like 30 division & Corps commanders U&C killed in the war, so did happen not a lot but was always a chance. Some critic that Leaders should not have exposed themselves but that was the nature of war then.

Thanks, Mike_C
mikecmaps

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