George H. Thomas, Major General U.S.A. "The Rock of Chickamauga," - "The Sledge of Nashville."
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This page is where I'll list books, articles and other material I've read, Web Sites I visit and of course my opinions.

Boatner III, Mark M., The Civil War Dictionary ISBN 0-8129-1726-X Random House New York NY 1988

Bradley, Michael, R., Tullahoma – The 1863 Campaign for the Control of Middle Tennessee ISBN 1-57249-167-1 Beidel Printing House Shippensburg, PA

Buell, Thomas B., Warrior Generals, Combat leadership in the Civil War, ISBN 0-517 59571 -0, Crown Publishers, Inc. NY,NY 10020 1997

A very good description of the abilities of a selection of generals in the CW. Thomas fares well but, Grant does not. For that matter neither does Lee. Written in the narrative style of Shelby Foote.

Castel, Albert E., Decision in the West – The Atlanta Campaign of 1864, ISBN 0-7006-0562-2 University Press of Kansas.

The definitive text of the Atlanta Campaign. Sherman, glorified all out of proportion to his performance is pilloried by Castell for his lack of ability and refusal to fight. Sherman never won a battle during the war. Castell explains the numerous opportunities wasted by Sherman to end the war in the west and there were many. He could have ended the War in the West four days after his campaign started but frittered away his chance. He then, is responsible for all the casualties in this campaign (40,000 +/- on the Union side and 30,000 +/- Confederates), and who knows how many would have been spared Grant’s butchery.

Connelly, Thomas Lawrence, The Army of the Heartland, The Army of Tennessee, 1861 – 1862, ISBN 0-8071-0404-3 University Press Baton Rouge and London Louisiana State 1994

         A Southern treatment of the ill-fated AOT.

Connelly, Thomas Lawrence, Autumn of Glory, The Army of Tennessee, 1862 – 1865, ISBN 0-8071-0445-0, University Press Baton Rouge and London Louisiana State 1993

A continuation of the above.

Cozzens, Peter, This Terrible Sound, The Battle of Chickamauga, ISBN 0-252-01703-X, University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago 1992

This book and it’s companion below are usually defined as the definitive texts of these two battles. Cozzens does have a lot of citations. One wonders how he managed to read and research all this material, write the books and maintain his position as an official of the U. S. State Department? His characterization of Thomas "pestering Rosecrans for reinforcements" seems out of place since Thomas was charged with keeping open the only line of retreat for The Army of the Cumberland and Bragg kept flanking him thus requiring more troops to extend his left.  Does Cozzens think he should have not performed his duty?

Cozzens, Peter – The Shipwreck of Their Hopes, The Battles of Chattanooga, ISBN 0-252 01922-9, University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago 1994

Describes the battle and charge up the Missionary Ridge by the Army of the Cumberland in good detail. He fails to utilize the "Operations Reports" of the Union participants who, all but one, said that the charge was to the top of the Ridge rather than to the foot, as Grant had ordered

Daniel, Larry J., Days of Glory -- The Army of the Cumberland 1861 - 1865 ISBN 0-8071-2931-3 Louisiana State University 2004  (See Menu on left for review)

Daniel, Larry J., Shiloh – The Battle That Changed the Civil War ISBN 0-684-80375-5 Simon & Schuster New York NY 1997

DiLorenzo, Thomas J., The Real Lincoln – A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War ISBN 0-7615-3641–8 Prima Publishing, Roseville, California 2002

A book that will appeal to the "Lost Cause" population still extant in the South. While apparently intended primarily as an Economic argument, DeLorenzo presents an interesting case for secession. As we all know (or should know), slavery was not the only cause for the South’s secession. In fact, DeLorenzo shakily shows the arguments for secession; leading from the birth of the Country and existing today. He traces the destruction of "States Rights" and creation of "Big or Central Government" to Lincoln’s mercantilistic (big business) political dogma. He shows that Lincoln’s beliefs derive from the Hamilton - Jefferson debates over "mercantilism" versus "states rights." An interesting book sometimes a little pedantic.

Einolf, Christopher J.,  George Thomas, Virginian for the Union, ISBN 978-0-8061-3867 University of Oklahoma, Norman, 2000

“Virginian for the Union”

By

Christopher J. Einolf

 

This is a new book, with hopefully new research, that disappoints.  There is some new material in the book but most is a regurgitation of others works.  He adopts the style of the Rev. Larry J. Daniel whose history of “Days of Glory: The Army of the Cumberland, 1861-1865,” was used to deprecate the last commander of the Army of the Cumberland.  While Einolf is not as insulting as Daniel is, he misuses his material mush in the same way.

 

Einolf‘s perfunctory research is evident by his use of Cozzens material which is also superficial and contradictory.  On p. 317 of “This Terrible Sound,” Cozzens states that:

 

“Out on the Federal left, General Thomas passed the hours after sunrise waiting for Negley (to reinforce his left flank and protect the escape route for the Army of The Cumberland).  That he did nothing more is odd. As Colonel Aquila Wiley of the Forty‑first Ohio later pointed out in a well‑reasoned article in the National Tribune, Thomas actually had the means at hand to extend his threatened left flank across the La Fayette road.  Units were so tightly packed in the Kelly field salient that Johnson was compelled to leave the brigades of Willich and Dodge in reserve and Palmer to do the same with the brigade of Grose; even Joseph Reynolds, on the right of the line, admitted that he retained nearly half his infantry in reserve.”

 

“When, in the early hours of the morning, Thomas first discovered that his left was in the air, he should promptly have called upon at least two of these brigades to strengthen it,” argued Wiley “If he was unaware that these brigades were being held in reserve,” continued Wiley, “then Thomas must be censured for not having informed himself of the formations his division commanders had adopted.”  A persuasive argument.  Given that the Federals enjoyed the advantage of interior lines, Thomas would have risked little by shifting these two brigades six hundred yards across the Kelly field.  Perhaps even the Virginian was feeling the effects of fatigue.39

 

Then on p.  327, Cozzens writes:

 

“Thomas was unduly concerned Rosecrans was not about to neglect his sector (this is incorrect, Rosecrans told Thomas that his position must be held if he had to use the whole of his right flank to do it).  The commanding general was prepared to pay any price to save the left and keep the roads to Chattanooga open.  At 10:10 A.M., after reassuring Thomas's first courier, Rosecrans laid out his intentions in a warning order to McCook It read: "General Thomas is being heavily pressed on the left.  The general commanding directs you to make immediate disposition to withdraw the right, so as to spare as much force as possible to re‑enforce Thomas.  The left must be held at all hazards‑even if the right is drawn wholly back to the present left.  Be ready to start re‑enforcements to Thomas at a moment's warning: "2

 

The rout of Beatty's brigade sharpened Thomas's anxiety.  As he saw the situation, Confederate units of indeterminate strength had cut communications with Rossville via the La Fayette road and were now threatening to close off the McFarland's Gap road as well.  The loss of both routes of retreat was unthinkable.  Unaware of Rosecrans's designs and despairing of ever seeing Negley, the Virginian at last began to draw on his own reserves to prolong the left, as Colonel Wiley maintained he should have done in the first place.  By now, Cleburne had begun his assault against the center and right of the Kelly field salient Although his lines were holding, Thomas dared not draw off all the reserves from that sector.  He chose, therefore, to leave Willich in support of Johnson and call on Palmer to dispatch Grose's brigade to Baird's support.

Thomas next summoned Brannan's division, which he thought was his mobile reserve.  No one had bothered to tell him that Brannan had moved into the front line opposite the Poe field earlier in the morning, so Thomas assumed the division still lay on the far side of the Snodgrass hill.  He sent the forty‑four year old Mexican War veteran orders to come to the left at once.  Brannan was baffled.  He rode down the line to General Reynolds for advice.  "I am ordered to the left with my division;” Brannan announced.  "That is all very well, but you can't go;” Reynolds rejoined while his own men battled Cleburne's attacking Confederates. "We are now hotly engaged and all that can be expected of us is to fight hard in one place at a time, and Heavens knows we have got our hands full right here for the present"

 

"Oh!  I am not going but who will take the responsibility if there should be a hereafter to this apparent disobedience of orders, for that is what it amounts to?" asked Brannan.

 

"Of course I will take the responsibility," said Reynolds, who was senior.”

 

Therefore, we find that Thomas did know about the reserves and their location, mentioned in Aquila Wiley’s “National Tribune” article.  Then the argument becomes one of timing.  Wiley thinks the reserves should have been put in immediately.  Thomas apparently did not.  Did Thomas have other plans for the reserves in question?  Obviously, he was holding them in place against a mounting threat.  Since he may not have known yet about the appearance on September 20th, at 9:45A.M.  on his left flank of some of Breckenridge’s brigades.  The Confederate attacks, beginning with Cleburne’s move around 10:00A.M., until then initially moved at Thomas’ front.  Thus, Thomas’ actions were in line with Rebel activities.  However, at 10:30A.M. having discovered he now flanked Thomas’ left, Breckenridge aligned his Brigades, and sent them forward.

 

Beatty’s strung out and disorganized Brigade was hit first and easily routed by Breckenridge’s two Rebel Brigades of Stovall and Adams.  Thomas, now attune to the situation on his left and giving up on seeing Negley, began to use his reserves to further refuse his line (to bend his original straight line 90) to protect his flank.  This is the move Wiley, Cozzens and Einolf claimed should have been made earlier.

 

Thomas after graduating 12th in his class at West Point had fought in Florida against the Seminoles.  He fought in Mexico, gaining three Brevet promotions for his valiant conduct there.  He taught artillery, tactics and cavalry at West Point.  He participated in battles in the east at the start of the Civil War.  He fought at Mill Springs, in the West, destroying a Rebel Army as he did later at Nashville.  He fought at Corinth, Perryville, Stones River, the Tullahoma campaign.  He saved the Army of The Cumberland at Chickamauga.  Later he destroyed Hood and the Army Of Tennessee at Nashville.  He prepared his Cavalry for James Wilson to initiate a campaign against Selma and Montgomery and then captured Jefferson Davis.  And a school teacher, a State Department analyst are supporting a political Colonel’s strategic comments who was wounded at Missionary Ridge, discharged six months later and wound up with about two years military experience.  This political colonel, was fighting with Thomas at Missionary Ridge as a Colonel of a Regiment.  In this minor capacity he deigned to instruct the finest strategist the Union Army produced?

 

Notwithstanding the years of fighting and directing troop movements that Thomas had practiced and learned over the past twenty five years, why would a ‘political’ Colonel, a state department employee and now a history teacher question Thomas’ timing and motives?  He was there, on the spot, reacting in a fashion that prior experience always led him to victory.  He wasn’t about to weaken a front under attack to move troops to a quiet sector.  When that sector became less quiet, Thomas moved.

 

Thomas made no mistakes at Chickamauga.  Only those with an imperfect knowledge of the action and with no military experience would think so.  Expressing opinions of others errors implies knowledge of the error.  In this case, Einolf has no knowledge.  He is just spouting the flawed rationale of an officer who had little knowledge of the situation and less of military tactics.

 

Einolf in trying to deprecate Thomas in the same fashion as Cozzens and Daniels has committed the most obvious fault of not researching his opinion.  This is evident by several other, similar declarations of “Thomas’ errors” throughout his book.

 

Einolf collects and repeats secondary and tertiary sources and his admirers apparently imagine that he is spouting original research indicating unique analysis.

 

There are more accurate history’s on the subject of George H. Thomas.

Fellman, Michael, Citizen Sherman, A life of William Tecumseh Sherman, ISBN 0-679-42966-2 Random House, N. Y.1995

Govan, Gilbert & Livingwood, James, A Different Valor, Joseph E. Johnston, ISBN 0-914427-81-4 Konecky & Konecky, New York 1956

Hebert, Walter H., Fighting Joe Hooker ISBN 0-913419-53-2 Butternut Press Gaithersburg, MD 1987

Hirshson, Stanley P., The White Tecumseh, A Biography of William T. Sherman, ISBN 0-471-17578-1 John M. Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York 1997

Lamers, William M., The Edge of Glory, A Biography of General William S. Rosecrans, ISBN 0-8071- 2396-X Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge 1999

McFeely, William S., Grant, A Biography, ISBN 0-393-01372-3 W. W. Norton & Company New York – London 1981

The best biography of Grant extant. That is only because most of the others are panegyrics that excuse, overlook, rationalize and sometimes stoop to an extremely irresponsible appraisal. Many writers claim Grant wrote all of his orders and reports. We know that is not true because Simon (see below) provides an instant where Grant tells Poe and Wilson to sign his reports since their signature is as good as his. They claim his prose is simple, honest and always correctly written. Simon shows many examples (with misspellings, gramatical errors, etc.) contravening those statements. McFeely does not avoid Grant’s drinking problems, but seems apologetic for mentioning it. He also touches on Grant's son Frederick’s racist attitude and vicious hazing of the first black cadet at West Point. Additionally, he discusses Grant’s wife Julia's gold speculations while he was President which were strictly illegal. He discusses Adam Badeau's and Mark Twain's help in composing his memoirs, which are replete with nonsensical errors.  In all, this portrayal of Grant’s size 10 shoes and size 5 soul is the best yet.

McKinney, Francis F., Education in Violence – The Life of George H. Thomas and the History of the Army of the Cumberland, ISBN 0-9625290-1-X. Americana House, Inc. Chicago Ill. 1991.

The best book on Thomas yet written. It is laudatory in places, but Thomas was Morally as well as Militarily an extraordinary person. Many Grant writers view Thomas as a threat to Grants reputation.  (See Bruce Catton's Review of this book in the section "Catton's Review.")

Scaife, William R., The Campaign For Atlanta ISBN 0-9619508-8-9 William R. Scaife Atlanta, Georgia 1995

This is a sui generis volume that is partially thorough in it’s foundation but lacking in it’s historiography. The author addresses every battle involved in the "Atlanta Campaign" and provides the best maps and battle descriptions I’ve yet seen. He loses a little in his analysis of the motives, activities, strategy and tactics involved.

I wish he had gone into a deeper analysis or rationale of the tactical errors made by both combatants. Sherman’s moves throughout the campaign need the light of a skillful appraisal. In my mind, I see his first mistake of ignoring George Thomas’s plan to send his "Army of the Cumberland" through the gap to cut off the Rebels at Resaca. But instead he sent twenty five percent to accomplish the task, and failing, while using three quarters to create a diversion. There were multiple errors of this sort made by all three (Sherman, Johnston and Hood) commanders during this campaign.

The book is one that should be used by persons knowledgeable about the war and the campaign. It contributes much, I wish it would give a little more. Maybe later!

Simon, John Y., Editor, The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, Volumes 1 thru 20 ISBN 0-8093-0507-0 Southern Illinois University Press 1972

The work of a lifetime. Simon is organizing as much of Grants paperwork as possible. This is much more definitive than anything published on the market to date. He includes almost everything pertaining to Grant, including his drinking. So far I believe, he has compiled 25 volumes. Not like reading Shelby Foote or McPherson, but informative.

Stockdale, Paul H., The Death of an Army: The Battle of Nashville & Hood’s Retreat ISBN 0-9631963-0-8 Southern Heritage Press, Murfreesboro, TN 1992

Sunderland, Glenn W., Lightning at Hoover’s Gap Wilder’s Brigade in the Civil War ISBN 498-06795-5 Thomas Yoseloff, Publisher New Jersey 1969

Sword, Wiley, Mountains Touched with Fire, Chattanooga Besieged, 1863, ISBN 0-312-11859-7 St. Martin’s Press New York 1995

Tucker, Glenn, Chickamauga, Bloody Battle in the West, ISBN 0-89029-015-6 Morningside House, Inc. Dayton, OH 1984

Van Horne, Thomas Budd, History of the Army of The Cumberland, Two Volumes Broadfoot Publishing Co. Wilmington, North Carolina. Originally Published 1875

The only text with Thomas’s seal of approval. He jealously guarded his private life and papers and gave only Van Horne access to all of his papers. After his death his wife burned the private papers per his direction. The book is dry reading and tends to elevate Thomas to a standard higher than which Thomas would have been comfortable. This elevation is usually seized on by reviewers as an indication of an elevation of Thomas to heroic proportions he didn't deserve.  He had none of the affectation and desire for notoriety that Grant and Sherman feverishly solicited throughout their life.

Army of the Cumberland and George H. Thomas sources Web Sites

http://www.aotc.net The Mother of all G. H. Thomas and Army of the Cumberland web sites. If it concerns either of the two, it is here.

http://tinyurl.com/38bxtk   The Google Book Search.  This URL leads directly to the Google site that lets you read or download certain books.  This is the site of "My Library."  A collection of books I have or have read.  From here you can conduct searches on your own.

http://tinyurl.com/2rkzy  This is my personal Web Site.  Here, I deal with the career of Major General George Henry Thomas .  It's the one your reading now.

http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/ One of the largest collections of CW documents online, "gateway" site run by Dr. Hoemann of the University of TN at Knoxville.

http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/ Louisiana State University's all-purpose Civil War site, link archive, and search engine, also home of the Civil War Book Review.

http://home.att.net/%7Edmercado/ A comprehensive source on-line about George H. Thomas, unsung architect of the Union victory.

http://www.broadfootpublishing.com/index.html Source of books about the Civil War, including the Broadfoot Supplements to the Official Records which contain many reports omitted in the original Official Records. In addition the site offers "SoldierSearch"  for ordering Civil War records and research.

http://www.guildpress.com/list.htm Another source of Civil War CD’s and other publications. I have this version of the Civil War Official Records. Not user friendly.

http://www.cwipremium.com/ You have to register to enter, but some good info.

http://homepages.dsu.edu/jankej/civilwar/civilwar.htm Jim Janke's enormous collection of Civil War documentation and articles. Parallel to another meta-site on Americana.

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-153517314.html  Pragmatic and skilled leadership: "General George H. Thomas at Stones River."  A very informative article dealing with the outstanding military qualifications of GHT.  From  "Infantry Magazine"  5/1/2006 by Lyons, Marco J.

http://mysite.verizon.net/vzet7og7/  Relatively new site on General Thomas.  A friend of Bob Redmans.

 

 

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More to come.