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THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN OF 1864: A NEW LOOK Richard M. McMurry In May, 1864, three Federal armies under the overall command of Major General William T. Sherman advanced into northwestern Georgia. Sherman's host was opposed by a smaller Confederate force led by General Joseph E. Johnston. All through May and June Sherman steadily pushed Johnston back toward Atlanta. On July 9, the Confederate army retreated across the Chattahoochee River and deployed in a defensive position only a few miles from the city. Late in the evening of July 17, Johnston received a telegram announcing that, since he had been unable to block Sherman, the Confederate President had relieved him from command and selected General John Bell Hood as his successor. Over the next six weeks Hood fought and lost four major battles. On September 1, when Sherman established control of the last railroad into Atlanta, Hood was forced to evacuate the city. A few weeks later Hood led his army northward into Tennessee. In November and December he was outmaneuvered, outmarched, outfought , overwhelmed, and finally routed by Union forces at Columbia , Spring Hill, Franklin, and Nashville. The remnants of his army fled into Mississippi and there, in mid-January, 1865, Hood gave up fhe command. Many aspects of the military operations of 1864 were marked by disagreements among the southerners. Even as the Atlanta campaign was underway, Confederates debated the merits of different strategies as well as the tactics by which first Johnston and then Hood led the army. In their official reports of the campaign Johnston and Hood synthesized many of these arguments and in so doing built the framework within which most subsequent interpretations have been developed. In his report dated October 20, 1864, Johnston sought to justify his strategy of the preceding spring and summer and to demonstrate that in every dispute he had been correct and that his critics —especially Hood—had always been in error. Hood's report, dated February 15, 1865, began with a detailed critique of Johnston's conduct as an army commander and went on to justify his own actions and to demonstrate that the defeats suffered under his command were the fault of others. The generals further defended their O CIVIL WAR HISTORY positions in their postwar writings. Johnston's Narrative of Military Operations (published in 1874) and Hood's posthumously published Advance and Retreat (1880) were largely more detailed reiterations of their official reports. This is also true of their articles in the Century Magazine's collection Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. The earliest writings about the Confederate side of the campaign were thus framed in terms of a debate between Johnston and Hood.1 Six issues became major centers of controversy within this framework . One concerned the question of what overall strategy the southerners should adopt. In the winter of 1863-1864 the Confederate government wanted Johnston to assume the offensive and drive Sherman back to the Ohio before the Federals completed their preparations to invade Georgia. Johnston maintained that his army was too weak to undertake such a campaign; that he lacked the necessary supplies and transportation; that the Federals were too strong; that the terrain was unfavorable; and that it would be better to let the northerners advance into Georgia, defeat them there, and then move forward rather than risk an offensive north of the Tennessee River where his army might be cut off from its base of supplies and destroyed.2 This issue had not been resolved by early May when Sherman's advance made the Confederate debate 1 Johnston's report is in OR, Ser. 1, XXXVIII, pt. 3, pp. 612-621; Hood's in ibid., pp. 628-<336. (AU references in this article are to Series 1.) It has been asserted that Hood's report was, to some extent, dictated by Johnston's political enemies. See the account dated Aug. 14, 1868, in the Memorandum Book of Campbell Brown (Folder 4, Box 2, Campbell Brown and Ewell Papers, Tennessee State Library and Archives). This is a fascinating question with which I hope to deal at a later date; it is irrelevant for this paper. The generals' articles are to be found in Robert Underwood Johnson and Clarence Clough Buel (eds.), Battles and Leaders of the Civil War (New York, 1956), IV, 260-277 and 336-344. Hood's article is an abridgement from Advance and Retreat. For Johnston the disputes over the Atlanta Campaign were merely small parts of the all-encompassing feud that he carried on with Jefferson Davis. This paper is limited to the military aspects of the Johnston-Hood dispute and touches only tangentially on the larger issues. For detailed accounts of the Johnston-Davis vendetta see Alfred P. James, "Cenerai Joseph E. Johnston, Storm Center of the Confederate Army," Mississippi VaUey Historical Review, XIV (1927-1928), 342-359 and Philip L. Secrist, "Prelude to the Atlanta Campaign: The Davis-Bragg-Johnston Controversy," Attenta Historical BuUetin, XVII (1972). 9-20. Several of the author's colleagues at Valdosta State College and Professor Bell I Wiley of Agnes Scott College have read this paper in manuscript and their comments have greatly improved it. They, of course, are not responsible for any errors of fact or interpretation that may remain. 2 This debate may be followed most easily through the letters in OR, XXXII, pts. 2 and 3. and Johnston's Narrative, pp. 262-302 and 355-356. In attempting to ascertain the truth about the issues under debate, as opposed to what has been written by participants and historians, one must be careful to distinguish between what was written at the time and what was written later. This paper deals largely with what has been written about the events and, therefore, the differences between the generals' contemporary comments and their memoirs are not relevant. ATLANTA CAMPAIGN7 irrelevant. Meanwhile, Hood had asserted that a Confederate movement into Tennessee was practicable and would probably be successful. The troops were ready, reinforcements were available and could quickly be brought to the army. "When we are to be in a better condition to drive the enemy from our Country, I am not able to comprehend," he wrote on April 13.3 The debate over strategy led to a second dispute over the strength of the Confederate forces. Johnston asserted that the "effective strength" of his army was 42,856 on May I.4 Sherman, by contrast, commanded over 100,000 men. Johnston's desire was to make his force appear as small as possible, thereby providing an explanation for his failure to accomplish decisive results. Hood, who wished to make the army appear as large as possible in order to fault Johnston for not destroying the Federals, claimed that over 70,000 men were available for an offensive strike.5 Once the campaign was underway a dispute arose over the question of what could be done to stop the Federal advance. Johnston preferred to fortify a strong position and hope that Sherman would attack it. Sherman, however, always used his superior numbers to threaten Johnston's flanks and supply line, compelling the southern forces to retreat. Meanwhile, Johnston urged that Confederate cavalry in Mississippi be used against Sherman's railroads in Tennessee to cut the northern line of supply. Without supplies, Sherman would either have to retreat or attack Johnston's fortified lines.6 The Confederate government, however, feared that removal of the cavalry from Mississippi would open that state to invasion. Therefore, the authorities would not order such a movement.7 A fourth issue concerned the morale of the troops who opposed Sherman. Johnston asserted that the rank and file understood the disparity of numbers that dictated his strategy and tactics and that therefore the long retreat to Atlanta and the constant defensive posture of the army did not impair morale.8 Hood, on the other hand, maintained that the retreat demoralized the men, weakened or destroyed their fighting spirit, and led many of them to desert. Only offensive action, he believed, could restore the army's esprit.9 3 Hood to Braxton Bragg, Apr. 13, 1864, in Bragg Papers, microfilm in Emory University Library (originals in Western Reserve Historical Society). See also Hood's Advance and Retreat, pp. 89-95. 4 Johnston, Narrative, p. 302. 5 Hood, Advance and Retreat, chapter IV, passim, especially p. 70. 8 Johnston, Narrative, pp. 359-362. 7 This issue did not directly involve Hood. But Hood, like the Richmond authorities, believed that Johnston's army must rely on its own resources and carry the fight to Sherman rather than hope for outside help. 8 Johnston, Narrative, pp. 351, 365-369. 9 Hood, Advance and Retreat, pp. 129-140. 8 CIVIL WAR HISTORY Another disputed point concerned the number of casualties that the army suffered while under Johnston's command. That officer wrote that his killed and wounded in May and June numbered 9,972 in his infantry and artillery and that he lost an additional 4,700 men from all other causes. Such low casualties demonstrated the wisdom of his plan to fight from fortified positions.10 Hood asserted that the army lost 22,750 men during Johnston's long retreat .11 Finally, the two generals differed over whether Johnston would have held Atlanta or whether he would have abandoned it as he had all the area north of the city. After the war Johnston claimed that he had planned to defend the city and offered proof to support his assertion.12 Hood, on the other hand, wrote that his predecessor had been willing to abandon Atlanta to the Federals and would probably have done so.13 Historians have usually accepted Johnston's version of these and other disputed points. In so doing, they have seen the Atlanta Campaign in terms of the original Johnston-Hood conflict as expressed in the generals' wartime reports and have interpreted the events of 1864 within the framework of the original debate between the two generals. The framework that historians have built for interpreting the campaign consists of one indisputable fact and one exceedingly dubious assumption. The indisputable fact is that John Bell Hood was, to put it bluntly, a poor general. From this fact most students of the campaign have gone on to make the dubious assumption that, since Hood was a bad general, Johnston, who disagreed with Hood, must therefore have been a good—even great—commander. For a century this one indisputable fact and this one very dubious assumption have served as the framework for the military history of the Atlanta Campaign. They have been the stickum with which biographers , military analysts, monographers, and other specialists have held together whatever particular bits of history they have happened to be dealing with. This interpretation permeates Margaret Mitchell's novel Gone With The Wind and through that work it has received far more popular attention than most historical theories ever get.14 10Johnson, Narrative, pp. 356, 576-577 and OR, XXXVIII, pt. 3, p. 619. 11OR, XXXVIII, pt. 3, p. 629. 12Johnston, Narrative, pp. 363-364. 13Hood, Advance and Retreat, pp. 143-149. 14This paragraph is shamefully (but shamelessly) modeled on the opening pages of J. H. Hexter's brilliant essay "A New Framework for Social History," published in The Journal of Economic History in 1959, but more conveniently available in his delightful book Reappraisals in History: New Views on History and Society in Early Modem Europe (New York and Evanston, 1963), pp. 14-25. See Mitchell's Cone With the Wind (New York, 1961), pp. 242, 247-249, 265, 269. ATLANTA CAMPAIGN9 Writers have usually asserted that Johnston's strategy was correct ; that his conduct of the army was a masterpiece of Fabian tactics as he skillfully parried Sherman's thrusts; that his vastly outnumbered troops did not suffer high casualties nor were they demoralized; that had the Confederate government accepted his recommendations concerning the cavalry in Mississippi, Sherman would have been forced to beat a hasty retreat to the Ohio; and that had Johnston not been relieved from command just as he was preparing for the decisive battle of the campaign, the northerners would have been repelled, Atlanta saved, Lincoln would have gone down to defeat in the 1864 election, and the Confederacy would have gained its independence. By contrast, Hood's tenure as commander has usually been regarded as a disaster. His appointment is alleged to have demoralized the men, led many of them to desert, and brought the army close to a mutiny. In July and August Hood blindly assaulted Sherman , smashing his own dispirited army to pieces in desperate charges against the Federals' heavy fortifications. Thoroughly befuddled by Sherman's maneuvers, Hood lost the city in September , thus reinspiring the North and assuring both Lincoln's victory in the 1864 election and the ultimate defeat of the South.15 15 For examples of the old framework see: Robert Selph Henry, The Story of the Confederacy (Carden City, 1931), pp. 382, 386, 389; J. C. Randall and David Donald, The Civil War and Reconstruction (Lexington, Mass., 1969), pp. 424^26; Emory M. Thomas, The American War and Peace, 1860-1877 (Englewood Cliffs, N. J., 1973), pp. 159-162, 164-166; Samuel Carter, III, The Siege of Atlanta, 1864 (New York, 1973), passim; Charles P. Roland, The Confederacy (Chicago and London , 1960), pp. 139-140, 146-147; W. B. Woods and J. S. Edmonds, Military History of the Civil War (New York, 1960), pp. 171-173; Clement Eaton, A History of the Southern Confederacy (New York and London, 1954), pp. 277-279; Allen P. Julian, "From Dalton to Atlanta—Sherman vs. Johnston," Civil War Times Illustrated, III, No. 4 (July, 1964), pp. 4-7, 34-39; Wilbur C. Kurtz, Sr., "The Fighting at Atlanta," ibid., p. 9; Cilbert E. Covan and James W. Livingood, A Different Valor: The Story of General Joseph E. Johnston, C. S. A. (Indianapolis and New York, 1956), pp. 240336 ; Richard O'Connor, Hood: Cavalier General (New York, 1949), p. 203; John P. Dyer, The GaUant Hood (Indianapolis and New York, 1950), pp. 233, 238; Stanley F. Horn, The Army of Tennessee: A Military History (Indianapolis and New York, 1941), pp. 323, 326, 333, 339, 345-350; Hartwell Osborn, "Sherman's Atlanta Campaign," Western Reserve University Bulletin, XIV (1911), 116-138, especially pp. 117-118; Thomas Robson Hay, "The Davis-Hood-Johnston Controversy of 1864," Mississippi VaUey Historical Review, XI (1924-1925), 54-84, especially pp. 69-70; Hay, "The Atlanta Campaign," Georgia Historical Quarterly, VII (1923), 1&43, 99-118, especially pp. 28-33; Hay, "Davis, Bragg, and Johnston in the Atlanta Campaign," ibid-, VIII (1924), 38-47 (although Hay's accounts are more balanced than most); William J. McNeill, "A Survey of Confederate Soldier Morale During Sherman's Campaign Through Georgia and the Carolinas," ibid., LV (1971), 1-25; Bruce Catton, "The Creat Battle of Atlanta," American Heritage, VII, No. 2 (Feb., 1956), 33-44; Catton, The American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War (New York, 1960), II, 476481 , 515-516; and Catton, Never Call Retreat; volume three of The Centennial History of the Civil War (Carden City, 1965)", pp. 317-334. Not all of these authors, of course, accept, or even deal with, all facets of the old framework. 10CIVIL WAR HISTORY There are two fundamental weaknesses in this old framework. For one thing, most of the writing about the campaign has been based almost exclusively on postwar memoirs. Historians have found it easier to use these readily-available sources than to dig through the scattered manuscript letters and diaries that give a contemporary picture of events. When Confederates and Federals penned their postwar reminiscences, they did so with full knowledge of the disasters that marked Hood's tenure as commander. This knowledge inevitably colored their recollections of the 1864 events. The traditional framework's second fundamental weakness lies in the acceptance of Johnston's own interpretation of the campaign. Owing probably to Hood's well-deserved reputation as a failure, most writers have simply accepted the old interpretation and have made no real effort to determine whether it is supported by the facts. Recently, however, as some historians have begun detailed studies of various aspects of the campaign, it has become increasingly clear that many of the facts simply do not fit the JohnstonHood dichotomy. The outline of a new framework has begun to emerge. A 1970 study of "Confederate Morale in the Atlanta Campaign," based upon an exhaustive investigation of contemporary letters and diaries, demonstrated that Hood's version of what happened to the morale of southern troops during the campaign corresponded more closely to the facts than did Johnston's. In their wartime writings many of the Confederate soldiers did express demoralization and frustration*during the long retreat to Atlanta. More surprising was the discovery that many Confederates viewed Hood's battles of July and August as victories for their cause. In these battles, the southern assaults on Sherman were, in reality, Confederate defeats. However, the results of the attacks were not immediately apparent and many of Hood's men saw them as costly but successful attempts to keep Sherman out of Atlanta. Thus, their morale was high during the weeks of July and August when Hood's defense of the city appeared to be successful.16 In 1971 a more comprehensive critique of some aspects of the traditional framework of the Atlanta Campaign appeared when Thomas Lawrence Connelly published his iconoclastic Autumn of Glory: The Army of Tennessee, 1862-1865. Although Connelly accepts the traditional version of such matters as Confederate strength and morale, he depicts Johnston as a "troubled man who seemed bitter and despondent," and "a pessimist," who was "not communicative." Johnston "gave the impression that nothing 18 Richard M. McMurry, "Confederate Morale in the Atlanta Campaign of 1864," Georgia Historical Quarterly, LIV (1970), 226-243. For a contrasting view see the McNeill article cited in footnote 15. ATLANTA CAMPAIGN11 pleased him and that whatever future arrangement was made probably would not please him either." Johnston, asserts Connelly, had "a relatively limited capacity as an overall commander." In Autumn of Glory Johnston finally received a long-deserved comeuppance for his poor handling of the army during the Atlanta Campaign . Johnston "did not seem to grasp the picture of total war developing in Georgia in 1864," writes Connelly. His conduct of certain aspects of the campaign was "somewhat apathetic." The political importance of Atlanta "seemed unknown to him." Instead of seeking a means of defeating Sherman in North Georgia, Johnston "not only determined upon a direct retreat to his base, but planned also to give battle in the heart of the South's manufacturing area. For this decision he would be labelled a genius in the art of Fabian tactics." Furthermore, Johnston "often lost touch with Sherman's army" and "seemed unable to fathom Sherman's designs ." He had only a "limited comprehension of the campaign." Johnston was, in summary, a poor army commander and a petulant man, whose "reputation was based mainly upon a series of mighthave -been situations."17 Hood, in Connelly's opinion, was even worse than Johnston. He was an ambitious trouble maker who had suffered two serious wounds in 1863. He was also in love with the beautiful Sally Buchanan Campbell Preston. Connelly believes that Hood's ambition "may have been caused by the urgency to prove himself a man" in spite of his wounds and that Hood was "a simple man, often tactless and crude, more of a fighter than a general." At worst, writes Connelly, "Hood was a chronic liar." In July, 1864, when he replaced Johnston, Hood was "a troubled man," who had "an intense and driving ambition to save Atlanta and to maintain his image as a hero." "Almost to the point of being psychotic, he associated valor with casualty figures" and foolishly sent his army into the desperate assaults against Sherman.18 A third example of the new, more critical attitude toward the old framework of the campaign appeared in 1974. It concerned the published diary of a Confederate staff officer, Lieutenant Thomas Bennett Mackall. Published in 1891 as a part of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, the Mackall Journal had long been used as a basic document in support of Johnston's version of the campaign. However, a detailed study of the document revealed that the published journal was not the diary kept by Lieutenant Mackall in 1864, that several passages supporting 17Connelly, Autumn of Glory (Baton Rouge, 1971), pp. 286, 288, 103, 365, 369, 335, 405, 370-371, 330, 340, 372, 405 (pages are listed in the order quoted in the text). 18Ibid., pp. 6, 322, 417, 429, 432. 12CIVIL WAR HISTORY Johnston had been added to the published document at a later date, and that the original Mackall diary actually contained entries that weakened Johnston's case. These damaging passages had been deleted from the published Journal. In summary, it seems that someone (possibly Johnston, in whose papers the original diary was found and who sent to the editors of the Official Records the manuscript from which the published journal was taken) deliberately created a false document designed to enhance Johnston's reputation and to besmirch Hood's.19 Some tentative conclusions about other disputed points are also possible. Johnston, it now seems clear, was correct in his belief that it would not have been possible for the southerners to launch an offensive campaign before Sherman was ready to march into Georgia. Even had the Confederates been able to assemble a large enough force in North Georgia, they would probably have been unable to supply it once it crossed the Tennessee River. Nor could the southerners have found adequate supplies in the NashvilleChattanooga -Knoxville area. The Federals who wintered there in 1863-1864 often found local supplies to be insufficient.20 The most important aspect of this disputed point seems to have been Johnston 's abrasive personality and his inability to communicate, which combined to make it impossible for him acceptably to explain his objections to the Confederate authorities and to cooperate with them in developing a coordinated plan for the 1864 campaign. Johnston was clearly wrong with regard to the strength of the army that he led against Sherman. The Confederate commander chose to use the "effective strength" of his army as the criterion by which to judge the number of men in his ranks. The "effective strength" included only fully-equipped enlisted men who were present for duty with their units. By this criterion, Johnston calculated that he had only 42,856 men on May 1. In reality, Johnston had at least 55,000 officers and men at his command when the campaign opened. Reinforcements received early in the campaign boosted his strength to at least 70,000.21 It -was unusual for a major 19Richard M. McMurry, "The Mackall Journal and Its Antecedents," Civil War History, XX (1974), 311-328. 20See Jacob D. Cox, Atlanta (New York, 1882), p. 15; Freeman Cleaves, Rock of Chickamauga: The Life of General George H. Thomas (Norman, 1948), pp. 203-204; Thomas B. Van Home, History of the Army of the Cumberland, Its Organizations, Campaigns, and Battles (Cincinnati, 1875), II, 26-27. 21The different methods used to compute the strength of the southern armies make it impossible to determine with any assurance of accuracy the number of men under Johnston's command. Official strength reports included such categories as "effective strength," "total present," "present for duty" (probably the best figure to use), and "present and absent." Totals in each category were determined by different criteria and often varied considerably. One report listed Johnston's strength for April 10, 1864, as 43,463 effectives; 53,901 present; and 85,335 present and absent (Undated "Field ATLANTA CAMPAIGN13 Confederate army to be of such nearly equal strength with its opponents as Johnston's army was with Sherman's in June, 1864. Whether Johnston was deliberately distorting the true size of his force or was simply ignorant of it is not now ascertainable. It is very doubtful that the Confederate cavalry in Mississippi could have disrupted Sherman's railroad long enough to have affected Federal operations in Georgia. Sherman had accumulated a six-months' supply for his troops in Nashville even before the campaign began,22 and he had the use of two separate railroads from Nashville as far as Stevenson, Alabama. Any effective break in the line would have to have been made between Stevenson and the Federal army in Georgia. While the line might have been interrupted by Confederate raiders, it could not have been held by the southerners long enough to damage Sherman's plans. Furthermore, the political consequences of abandoning Mississippi to concentrate against Sherman's railroad could have been disastrous. What would have been the reaction among the Mississippi troops who comprised a large portion of Johnston's army? How would Mississippi political leaders have reacted to such a strategy? What would have been its impact on the Confederate doctrine of state rights? A study of the available data indicates that Johnston's casualties numbered at least 20,000. If one adds estimated casualties in the cavalry to Johnston's admitted loss in killed and wounded in his infantry and artillery in May and June, includes the 4,280 prisoners and deserters whom the Federals reported as having passed through their control in May and June, and adds 5,000 estimated sick, the total is 20,452. Casualties incurred in the first seventeen days of July and deserters who went home or into hiding rather than to the enemy would undoubtedly swell the total to at least the 22,750 estimated by Hood.23 Return of Troops" in the Bragg Papers). Another report gives the strength for the same date as 42,125 effectives; 50,661 total present; and 55,065 aggregate present (Entry in the "diary" of Col. Benjamin S. Ewell, Joseph E. Johnston Papers, Earl Cregg Swem Library, College of William and Mary). For April 30, 1864, Johnston's army reported 4,589 officers and 49,911 enlisted men present for duty; 43,887 effectives ; 63,777 aggregate strength; and 96,863 aggregate present and absent. OR, XXXVIII, pt. 3, pp. 675-676. See also the discussion by Maj. E. C. Dawes in Battles and Leaders, IV, 281-283. 22OR, XXXII, pt. 3, pp. 174, 411, 475, 532. 23The figures and their sources are Admitted killed and wounded in the infantry and artillery in May and June (Johnston, Narrative, p. 356. See also ibid., pp. 576-577 and OR, XXXVIII, pt. 3, p. 619):9,972 Estimated losses in the cavalry (this is a conservative estimate since Maj. Cen. Joseph Wheeler, commanding a part of the Confederate cavalry, wrote on July 1, that his command had up to that time lost 1,000 men and the acting assistant adjutant general of Armstrong's brigade of cavalry, which was not a part of Wheeler's command, re- 14CIVIL WAR HISTORY Whether Johnston would have held Atlanta is debatable. He did not appreciate the economic and political importance of the city and he had not really prepared for a long struggle (most of Atlanta's heavy fortifications were built after Hood assumed command). The evidence that Johnston presented of his intent to hold the city is not convincing.24 Probably all that can be asserted with any degree of confidence is that Johnston, after the war, believed that in 1864 he had intended to hold Atlanta. Thus the assumption and some of the supporting data on which the old framework rests have been called into question. New studies of the campaign will probably develop along the same lines. Johnston , it now seems clear, will come to be regarded as every bit as incompetent and untrustworthy as Hood. Historians influenced by the new framework will probably view both Confederate leaders as unsuited to command an army—or at least any army situated as was the Confederate force in Georgia in 1864. Although the new framework has already provided the answers to some old questions about the campaign, it has also raised at least two new problems. One concerns the textbook assumption that an "advantage" enjoyed by the South was its superior military leadership . Southern generals, it has long been asserted, were better than their northern counterparts—at least in the early stages of the war.25 Johnston, indeed, is usually ranked second only to Robert E. Lee among Confederate military leaders. If the second best southern commander was the bungling, incompetent Johnston, what then are the implications for the South's vaunted leadership? If Lee only ranks ahead of Johnston, was he necessarily a very good general? ported on May 30, that Armstrong's brigade alone had lost 170 men in the campaign. Wheeler's letter in the Bragg Papers; Armstrong's casualties in the Memphis Appeal, June 2, 1864):1,200 Loss from sickness (Johnston reported 4,700 other losses, mostly from sickness, in his infantry and artillery in May and June, OR, XXXVIII, pt. 3, p. 619. On July 1, 1864, there were 11,437 sick men in the hospitals that served Johnston's army. See James O. Breeden, "A Medical History of the Later Stages of the Atlanta Campaign," Journal of Southern History, XXXV (1969), 54-55.):5,000 Federal reports of prisoners and deserters who passed through Nashville in May and June (O«, XXXVIII, pt. 1, pp. 147, 153):4,280 Total 20,452 It should be noted that some of the 4,280 prisoners and deserters who were processed at Nashville were probably not a part of Johnston's army and that Johnston's 4,700 other losses included some prisoners and deserters as well as the sick. However, these are more than offset by the very conservative estimates of the number of casualties in the cavalry and the number lost through sickness. 24See Johnston, Narrative, pp. 363-364. 25See, for example, the College Outline Series volume by John A. Krout, United States to 1865 (New York, 1962), p. 139 and Hugh C. Bailey, America: The Framing of a Nation (Columbus, O., 1975), I, 301. ATLANTA CAMPAIGN15 Indeed, Thomas Lawrence Connelly has already begun to hack away at the base of Lee's pedestal.26 The second problem has to do with the Federals. If Johnston and Hood were such poor generals, why did it take Sherman so long to capture Atlanta? Was the northern commander too cautious? Was he as inept as his southern opponents? Or, could it be that historians, with the benefit of hindsight, are expecting too much of men who had to act on the basis of uncertain information and to bear the responsibility for the success or failure of nations? Clearly the Atlanta Campaign, like all events in history, will constantly be reinterpreted. Whether the new framework will prove more durable than the old is uncertain. The immediate needs, however , are obvious. Historians must use contemporary sources rather than rely on participants' postwar memoirs. New biographies of Johnston, Hood, and Sherman are needed.27 Studies of the Federal armies involved in the campaign should provide useful companions to Professor Connelly's volumes on the army led by Johnston and Hood. More attention needs to be given to the personalities and influence of corps, division, and brigade commanders.28 Studies of even lower-ranking leaders can provide useful information on the campaign—as Bell Wiley has demonstrated in his article about Lieutenant Robert M. Gill of the 41st Mississippi Regiment.29 Only when such works have been completed will the full dimensions of the new framework become visible. Only then can the new framework be adequately tested. Only then will we know if it is really better than the old. 28 Connelly, "Robert E. Lee and the Western Confederacy: A Criticism of Lee's Strategic Ability," Civil War History, XV (1969), 116-132. See also the attack on Connelly by Albert P. Castel in "The Historian and the Cenerai: Thomas L. Connelly versus Robert E. Lee," ibid., XVI (1970), 50-63 and the counterattack on Castel by Richard F. Lemal (with Castel's reply) in ibid., XVII (1971), 171-174. 27James M. Merrill, William Tecumseh Sherman (Chicago, New York, and San Francisco, 1971) is mostly a collection of excerpts from the Ceneral's correspondence, reports, and Memoirs. John B. Walters' Merchant of Terror: General Sherman and Total War (Indianapolis and New York, 1973) is an inadequately researched antiSherman diatribe that was written as a doctoral dissertation in the late 1940's and published without revisions a quarter of a century later. 28Howell and Elizabeth Perdue's Pat Cleburne: Confederate General (Hillsboro, Tex., 1973) is much better than either of the recent volumes on Sherman listed in footnote 27, but suffers from the same weaknesses as the work by Merrill. 29Wiley, "A Story of 3 Southern Officers," Civil War Times Illustrated, III, No. 1 (April, 1964), pp. 6-9, 28-34. ...


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