Question of the Week: 12/3-12/9/18

In your opinion, what’s the “classic” Civil War Christmas story/account?

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20 Responses to Question of the Week: 12/3-12/9/18

  1. John Pryor says:

    Lee and Jackson’s time with the family near the Fredericksburg Battlefield.

  2. Glynn says:

    Longfellow’s poem “Christmas Bells.”

  3. Douglas Pauly says:

    “I beg to present you, as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah…”

    • John Pryor says:

      Wasn’t he precious? Actually, Hardee should have written the note. With Sherman’s tactical skill, he would probably have taken until March to take it.

      • John Foskett says:

        Oh, I don’t know about that. Sherman did a pretty effective job of operating in enemy territory after abandoning his supply lines and lines of communication. It culminated in the quick and effective taking of Fort McAllister, which effectively sealed Savannah’s fate. Besides, Hardee couldn’t write the note – he was too busy getting out of Dodge.

      • John Pryor says:

        I would hardly refer to his field trip without any opposition as an operation. More like a hike in pleasant weather, Boy Scouts with an attitude.

      • John Foskett says:

        The weather wasn’t consistently pleasant. And when Sherman departed Atlanta (after initial reservations by Grant), his supply line was left vulnerable to depredations by Brother Wheeler. Likewise, had Brother Hood decided to change direction things could have become challenging. “The flag that makes you free ….”.

      • John Pryor says:

        I was back on topic. But I cannot leave the gauntlet on the ground…. Wheeler? Wheeler was rarely a threat to a roving troop of Girl Scouts!. Forrest loathed him. Sherman had NO opposition through Georgia save a tragic band of overenthusiastic and underskilled state militia. Hood’s March Up Country gave Sherman two choices-the difficult one of bringing Hood to heel, and the flamboyant and easy one. Had Hood destroyed Schofield at Spring Hill, the red head’s Christmas gift would have looked less valuable. But a vengeful war against defenseless civilians, exceeding even Lieber’s liberal interpretation of permissible actions, is so much more rewarding.

        Anyway, I like the various stories of Christmas truces and snowball fights.

      • John Foskett says:

        Probably an accurate assessment of Wheeler, although using Forrest as a reference isn’t the wisest choice (contrary to popular “wisdom”, Bedford was also far from perfection personified – see Failure in the Saddle). As for the Lieber Code and the March, I’ll leave that to the facts rather than to the folklore.

      • John Pryor says:

        Forrest had more than a few blemishes, but was unequaled when the odds were anywhere near equivalent, or even less. His time with Hood was hardly his best work, but as shot up as he was, he might be slightly excused. And as far as the clear violations of the Lieber Code, there are more than enough remonstrations from Union generals to show it to have been fact, not the Southern Legend.

      • John Pryor says:

        John, I hope to meet you at Spotsylvania this August! I’ll bring the bourbon!

    • Meg Groeling says:

      Nope. I’m with Doug on this.

      • John Pryor says:

        That’s cool. I’m with Castel. I think Sherman is the Northern version of Jackson; strategically gifted, tactically inept. But back to the topic…How about Jackson and Lee at Fredricksburg.?

      • John Foskett says:

        Actually, we appear to agree on Sherman’s tactical skills (although lowering them to Stonewall’s tactical aptitude gives me pause). But Savannah was the result of operational decisions and execution. Once Sherman got to Savannah, the tactical issue was pretty much reduced to grabbing McAllister. That was pulled off in less than an hour.

      • John Pryor says:

        Tecumseh benefited from his commander on scene, the ferocious Mr Hazen. What a bulldog!

      • John Foskett says:

        I think we agree on Hazen. An under-appreciated field officer who was always in the thick of things – especially Stones River, Chickamauga, Atlanta Campaign, etc. He opened the Cracker line at Chatt and made short work of McAllister..

      • John Pryor says:

        And had a rather interesting and disputatious post war career.

      • John Foskett says:

        Without exploring all of the (many) post-war “conflicts” he got himself into (including taking on Lincoln, Jr.), I think it’s safe to say that “he may been an a——e but he was our a——e”. .

      • John Pryor says:

        Pattonesque!

  4. Michael Bradley says:

    Capt. Charles Anderson’s account of Christmas 1862 as celebrated by Forrest’s command while on the First West Tennessee Raid.

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