Question of the Week: 3/18-3/24/19

Who is your favorite commander that fought in both eastern and western theaters of the Civil War? Why?

17 Responses to Question of the Week: 3/18-3/24/19

  1. P.G.T. Beauregard — by the end of October 1861 General Beauregard was the Star of the Confederacy, with successes recorded at Fort Sumter, Manassas and Leesburg. There was talk of General Beauregard becoming the “next President of the Confederate States” …after Jefferson Davis, of course. Unfortunately, Beauregard and Davis suffered a personality conflict, and General Beauregard accepted transfer to the West to defuse the toxic situation.
    General Beauregard should not have gone west: he had undergone throat surgery just prior to being offered the new posting, and after-effects of the surgery sapped his energy. He attempted to Soldier on, but really should have seen the Surgeon for a Sick Certificate in March (which would have allowed him to sit out the Battle of Shiloh.) Subsequently, he took Sick Leave in June 1862… and was dismissed from command of the Army of the Mississippi.
    From Hero… to Zero… what makes PGT Beauregard remarkable: he refused to stay down. He continued to serve the Confederacy (in any capacity available) until the end of the war.
    Never quit.

  2. P.G.T. Beauregard. First Manassas, Shiloh and First Corinth, both Charlestons. And 4000 Grand Strategic Schemes! Hey, what’s not to love? Number 2 has to be Old Cement Head, Harry Heth. Then I’d throw in Slocum and Ohh Ohh Howard, because somebody has to say a kind word about them sometime!

  3. Joe Hooker. Gets a second chance in the West after the Chancellorsville debacle, and performs pretty solidly at Chattanooga and through much of the Atlanta Campaign.

  4. Phil Sheridan. I’ve always been ‘partial’ to cavalry. He excelled in both theaters.

    1. Unexcelled as a leader of infantry in the West, save perhaps by Hazen, and ignoring the debacle of Chickamauga. As a commander of cavalry I think he left a great deal to be desired.

      1. Well, to that, I will point out that there were few, if any, commanders anywhere who were ‘brilliant’ in every campaign they were in. And as the CW showed many a time, the actions or non-actions of many were often dictated or the result of what others did or didn’t do. And as always, we all have our opinions on such matters. We have the luxury of a 150 plus years of study and recollection and a host of other things to sway our mindsets. I will stay with what I have posted above.

  5. Hubert Dilger. Let’s give the redlegs some respect. Great performances against all odds at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg and then success in the Atlanta Campaign (even if his guys weren’t the ones who knocked off Polk).

  6. Uncle Billy Sherman with an amazing round trip. After a modest start with his brigade at 1st Bull Run, he had a rough start out West including a mental break down & relief from department command. But what a comeback as division commander at Shiloh & Vicksburg; army commander at Chattanooga & army group commander during the Atlanta campaign. Then deciding that he had to return East in one of the brilliant strategic maneuvers of the war he marched to the Sea & through the Carolinas to doom the Confederacy.

  7. Brig. General George Sear Greene: A totally unsung hero at Antietam and Gettysburg. 1 to 4 odds at Culps Hill and built the right defensive works. Add Col Ireland of 137th NY. A real leader! Wounded after arriving in Tennessee. Units hold off Confederates while approaching Chattanooga. Watashe.

  8. Oliver Otis Howard. A mediocrally competent commander from Bull Run to Gettysburg, he rose to command the AOP’s XI Corps. Although he failed to protect the army’s flank from Jackson’s surprise attack at Chancellorsville, he was savvy enough to agree with Hancock’s designation of Cemetery Ridge as the army’s ideal defensive position at Gettysburg. Shipped west with the XI and XII Corps after Chickamunga, he made few mistakes in the Atlanta campaign. Sherman tappedHoward over Hooker to command the Army of the Tennessee after MacPherson’s
    S death. At Ezra Churh the Confederates again attempted a Jackson-like ankle attack on Howard’s flank, but this time he was not surprised and learned from his Chan ellorsville mistake. There he was responsible for the most lopsided Union victory in the siege of Atlanta.

  9. I like John Breckenridge. He seems to be the Confederate version of “Where’s Waldo,” popping up in all sorts of places, East and West, in a lot pinch-hit situations. While he bears much of the blame for the Confederate loss at Missionary Ridge, he otherwise did pretty solid work in his many deployments.

  10. I like “Baldy” Smith. While involved in the whole Burnside cabal, he does good service as the Army of the Cumberland’s engineer and was instrumental in opening the Cracker Line at Chattanooga, before returning east. Kind of like Breckinridge in how he pops up.

  11. Rosecrans. Actually served in the East, West, and trans-Miss. Unfortunately there seems to have been a “Rosecrans effect” that resulted in his top subordinates (other than Sheridan) getting in Grant’s “dog-house”. Which some at least attribute to payback for Iuka. It didn’t help for his reputation to nurse a grudge (justified or not) after the war.

  12. Ulysses S. Grant. Captured two entire armies in the West at Fort Donelson and Vicksburg and one in the East at Appomattox Courthouse. He also won the CW. Not bad for a drunk who failed at almost every civilian job he ever had.

Please leave a comment and join the discussion!