tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN August 22, 2014 11:00am-1:01pm EDT
now while this complex that i have described have set in place, and while it was so successful the product of really the hard work of not only of others but george washington rains and george h. burton, john mallett and george washington cunningham and isaac m. st. john and a host of others, while that capacity to produce war material had reached such a point that between july 1, 1864 and january 21 much 1865 it could issue more
than 200,000 complete suits of uniforms to its soldiers in the field just in that time period. i do have to note a few qualifications. it was not always the most perfect system. the southern railroad network as it deteriorated often meant that raw materials and finished products would be delayed in either reaching the factories or reaching the destination points. it also meant that some alternate materials had to be used instead of the preferred all woollen outer garments, the confederates had to reply very
extensively all on what was commonly called jean cloth, a mixture of wool and cotton, what was often called negro cloth. in the antebellum cloth this cloth was used to produce clothing for slaves in the south. in the production of shoes, teen agricultural south had a shortage of leather and could not make two standard infantry footwear that jefferson brogan or jefferson booty. that had been developed in the united states army in the 1850s. the southern style shoe had to produced a little more simply. and after our presentations today if you want to come and look at them more closely i'll have them out in the lobby there. but they also had to use some expedient methods.
in the south with plenty much cotton, why not substitute cotton cloth for some parts of leather items. so shoes that are partly leather and partly canvas is a part leather part canvas shoe as an allele they are one? no. will it put a shoe on a soldier's foot for a time? in the summer of 1863 you would have seen thousands of army of tennessee soldiers wearing these part leather part canvas shoes. accoutrements were done the same way. instead of being made entirely out of leather why not make a combination of leather and painted canvas. part leather part painted canvas set of accoutrements as good as a leather set? no. but 5,000 were in use in the army of tennessee in the fall of 1863.
while alternate materials often could offset some of the difficulties, there were still some problems which were very hard to overcome. one of the greatest difficulties the confederates had in production reliably was in artillery fuses. confederate artillery fuses were notoriously unreliable. alexander would say he felt lucky if he could get one projectile one in mine to explode on target. that's not very good. he did not record how many of the other eight exploded prematurely, or not at all or well beyond the intended target. but we do know one case where many of the projectiles fired had fuses that burned longer than the artillery and that is,
of course, in the artillery bombardment in preparation for that charge on the 3rd day of july at gettysburg. but despite that's caveat, this complex by 1864 was what was keeping southern armies in the field. it was that complex which produced the material that confronted grant and sherman at chattanooga and would confront sherman as he drove into georgia beginning on the 7th day of may. it is also the complex that sherman's men encountered as they advanced south into the empire state of the south that spring. on may 17th, sherman purposely took the industrial city of rome, georgia to knock the industrial facilities at that site out of the war.
six days later troops were sent specifically to the iron works on the river run by what had previously been run by mark cooper then being run by quinby and robinson. and knock them out. as sherman pushed further south of course he'll knock out the textile mills at sweetwater creek and high falls and other points around atlanta and then by his mere presence outside of atlanta in early september cause the destruction of some important facilities and as sherman's advance south also became more threatening. it caused the labor force at many of these facilities in augusta, macon, columbus and other points to be diverted from their production responsibilities and turned at least into temporary soldiers. a machinist handling a rifle and
standing the entrenchments at macon guarding against one of the calvary raids that sherman launched around the greater atlanta region is not a machinist who can turn out a portrait for some piece of military equipment. in the end, as i noted, it is probably sherman's success in disrupting and destroying parts of the military industrial complex that where he had the greatest success in achieving what grant had outlined for him back in those full conversations in march and in that directive of april of 1864. because how many months is it between sherman's arrival in atlanta in september of 1864 or savannah in december of 1864 and the collapse of the south's bid for independence? thank you. [ applause ]
we are featuring highlights during the week. we continue a look at the civil war's atlanta cap. in may 1864, william sherman marched into georgia after a series of battles. the union army seized and later destroyed much of atlanta. coming up we'll hear about the march to the sea through georgia as well as joseph e. johnston who led atlanta. we'll look at weapons manufacturing in central georgia during and after the fall of atlanta. tonight on american history tv, a focus on dlafry and cinema beginning 8:00 eastern with a look at slavery in film since the 1930s. then the movie "lincoln" and its
pr portrayal of the end of slavery. tonight on c-span in primetime, we'll visit important sites in the history of the civil rights movement. saturday night at 8:00, highlights from this year's ideas forum. on sunday, q&a with new york congressman charlie rangel at 8:00 p.m. eastern. tonight at 8:00 on c-span2, "in depth" with reza aslan. saturday ben carson. sunday night lawrence goldstone on the competition between the wright brothers and glenn curtis to be the predominant name in man to flight.
tonight a look at hollywood's portrayal of slavery. next, sherman's 1864 atlanta campaign, including the union siege of the city and march to the sea. with university of west georgia professor keith bohannon. this is part of the gettysburg college civil war institute of the summer conference. it's about an hour. >> before we get started, the
map you see up here is a campaign map on the left side. the inserts there, or the smaller maps indicate the main battles. i know it's probably difficult for those of you in the back of the room to see the small details, and maybe read the print, and so what we did -- or actually, what pete's staff did is include this in your maps and handouts books. so hopefully most of you have this. if you turn to page 9, you'll see this map in there. you might want to refer to this, this is probably a little easier to read. but we'll be making frequent -- or i'll be making frequent reference to this campaign map, which will help us understand the course of the campaign. as general and chief of all union military forces in the
spring of 1864, u.s. grant devised a grand strategy of coordinated offenses by a number of union armies stretching from louisiana all the way to virginia. and as you know already, the two most important of these offensives were those of the army of the potomac, in virginia, and that of william t. sherman, who commanded what was called the military division of the mississippi. grant's orders to sherman for the campaign dated april 4th, 1864, were pretty straightforward. grant told sherman to move against the confederate army of tennessee, commanded by general joseph e. johnston, and to break it up. then get into the interior of the enemy's country as far as you can, inflicting all the damages you can against their war resources. at the same time, sherman was supposed to prevent johnston from detaching elements of his
army to reinforce either lee's army in virginia or confederate forces out in louisiana. that is sherman's objective then in the atlanta campaign. if you look at sherman's record during the civil war, up until the spring of 1864, in many ways it's not that impressive. particularly if you look at his performance on the battle field. if you look at chickasaw bluffs during the vicksburg campaign in december of 1862, or december 1862, if you look at chattanooga and missionary ridge, sherman's, the attacks that sherman has launched in those battles have been piecemeal, they've been rew pulsed. he doesn't have a particularly impressive record on the battlefield. sherman's reputation then today rests primarily on what he did
in 1864 and 1865 to implement grant's grand strategy. sherman targeted not only the army of tennessee, but also the ability of the southern confederacy to wage war. of course, this is part of grant's larger strategy, too. during the campaign in the spring and summer of 1864, the city of atlanta symbolizes the way that the confederacy waged war. the city was a vital rail center in the deep south and was filled with important war industries. factories and mills turning out uniforms and shells. and accoutrements for the confederate army. he sought to demoralize the civilians, to prove to the people the government could no
longer defend them. sherman said, war is cruelty, and you cannot refine it. sherman's an imminently quotable individual, as many of you know. in his letters, they're absolutely superb. i would highly, highly recommend sherman civil war, the selected correspondence of william t. sherman. it's one of the most important edited volumes in many decades. brook simpson, who is on the faculty here is one of the co-editors of that. throughout the atlanta campaign, sherman largely avoided launching frontal attacks against his entrenched opponent. instead, what he repeatedly did was utilize maneuver, flanking movements, to rest the confederates from strong defensive positions. i think sherman's greatness also derives from his mastery of logistics.
keeping an enormous field army supplied day after day after day, very deep in enemy territory. sherman's army numbered over 100,000 men. it had 28,000 horses. 33,000 mules. imagine trying to supply an army of that size, day after day after day. the only way to do it, of course, was via railroads. sherman, in the months leading up to the campaign, which began in may 1864, had hundreds and hundreds of trains moving down a rail system through kentucky and tennessee, stockpiling supplies in nashville and chattanooga. and chattanooga alone, between the months of march and may of 1864, there are 145 rail cars unloading on a daily basis
there. so he's building supply bases that he'll need as he advances into georgia. during the campaign, he had about 5,000 wagons that were constantly on the move, from the railroad to the army in the field. as richard mcmurray, who is one of the foremost scholars of the campaign writes, and what is one of the best overviews of the campaign, and like some of the other speakers you've heard, i'll throw out some book titles. if you're like me, you love books about the civil war. mcmurray's atlanta 1864 is a very, very, very good overview. if you're looking for one book that gives you an overview, decision in the west by albert castel is also an outstanding book. mcmurray points out that sherman had a couple of big advantages over his opponent at the start of the atlanta campaign. first, sherman had command of a vast department that stretched from the appalachian mountains
in the east all the way to the mississippi river. he had command of the troops within this vast military are division of the mississippi. johnson, on the other hand, commanded a much smaller department. he had no authority, johnson, that is, over the states of alabama and mississippi. he couldn't order troops from those states to join his army fighting in georgia. sherman also had the strong support of his military and civilian superiors. sherman and grant had a very close relationship, and the lincoln administration was also very supportive of sherman's campaigns. lastly, sherman had an army that on average during the campaign was about 40% larger than that of the army of tennessee. the start of the campaign, sherman's three armies numbered around 110,000 men. sherman commanded what i believe tea would be called an army group. but that term didn't exist in the 1860s. the largest of the three separate armies was the army of
the cumberland. which numbered close to 73,000 men at the start of the campaign, commanded by general george h. thomas, a professional soldier, and if you look again at the performance on the battlefield, thomas actually had a far more impressive record than william t. sherman. thomas won the first major military victory in the west up in kentucky in 1862. he had performed superbly at chickamauga, as many of you know. thomas' troops had shattered the confederate lines. thomas was an impressive soldier. some of historians argued thomas would have made a better commander of the federal armies during the atlanta campaign than sherman. but -- but -- thomas did not have a very good working
relationship with ulysses s. grant. brook simpson alluded to this yesterday when talking about the tennessee campaign in 1864. and then thomas also had a reputation as being a very slow, very methodical soldier. and that caused sherman some frustration during the atlanta campaign, actually. so thomas is a very, very important subordinate, but he's an army commander during the campaign under sherman. the second largest of sherman's armies was his old command, sherman's old command, the army of tennessee. it was his favorite army. and it was also the most successful union army of the civil war. a recent book on the army of the tennessee by stephen woodworth is entitled "nothing but
victory." and that army never knew defeat on the battle field. its commander during the atlanta campaign was james b. mcpherson, a west point graduate. he had served on grant's staff earlier in the civil war. and he was a great, great favorite of both grant and sherman. in fact, both men wrote that they could see mcpherson commanding all the union armies. sherman writes a letter during the campaign, i believe that he predicts that something happens to him, something happens to grant, he feels confident that mcpherson can take command of the union armies, and win ultimate victory. the smallest of sherman's armies, which in fact is just a single core, is the army of the ohio. it numbers close to 13,000 men under general john m. skofield,
a west-pointer, and someone who sherman trusts, and who performs very well during the campaign. sherman also had three divisions of cavalry numbering about 8,900 men. although sherman doesn't think very much of his cavalry generals, or that branch of the service. i think you can rightfully criticize sherman for his employment -- his poor employment, really, of cavalry during the atlanta campaign. and he thinks -- he in fact thinks that the confederate cavalry is superior to his. he's particularly worried throughout the campaign about the confederate cavalry out in alabama and mississippi under nathan bedford forrest. the close relationship that existed between sherman and his military and civilian superiors
stood in stark contrast, stark contrast to the relationship between joseph e. johnston and confederate president jefferson davis. the two men did not like each other at all. and this wrangling and strained relationship between the two dated back to the earliest days of the war, when there was wrangling over the issue of rank. which general should be -- should have the highest rank in the confederate army. bob krik has written a superb essay about this, about joe johnson. and so the relationship between the two men is very, very strained during the atlanta campaign, too. in the months prior to the advent of the campaign, so march, april of 1864, jefferson davis had repeatedly asked johnson to go on the defensive.
now, on your maps, if you look in the corner up there, it would be your upper left-hand corner, you can see the red lines on the map up here indicate the confederate positions taken during the campaign. the blue lines are the federal positions. during the first few months of 1864, the confederates are in camp around the town of dalton in extreme northwest georgia. the army had been shattered at the battle of missionary ridge in november of 1863 under braxton bragg. johnson is brought in, and johnson, in some ways, is like george mcclellan, in that he is a superb organizer and motivator of men. johnson rebuilds the army. he boosts the morale of the soldiers. and the confederate soldiers in the army of tennessee love joe johnson, and respect him. they know that he cares about
their welfare. that's really one of johnson's great strong points as a general. but while he's rebuilding the army of tennessee in its winter camps, jefferson davis repeatedly asked johnson to take the offensive against the federals, who were camped not only that far north of dalton in the vicinity of chattanooga, tennessee. so davis wants johnson to march up into east tennessee. but johnson claims his army's outnumbered by the yankees. the army of tennessee doesn't have the adequate supplies, or logistical capability of marching up into east tennessee. now, unfortunately for johnson, the davis administration is getting very different reports concerning the army of tennessee from some of johnson's subordinates. so his core commanders, cavalry commander, they're sending back reports that the army's in great
shape, and should take the offensive. so the davis administration is unsure who to believe. although davis is more inclined to believe the core commanders, i think, than johnson. during the campaign then, up until the time of his removal, one of joe johnson's chief weaknesses is his continual failure, day after day, week after week, to provide davis and his administration with detailed regular reports of what's going on. if you look in the correspondence section of the official records and compare lee's correspondence with davis during the overland campaign with what joe johnson was sending, there's a stark contrast. johnson's wife in late may 1864, suggested to her husband that it might be a good idea for him to keep the government better informed of what his plans are. and johnson says, replied to her that, her suggestion was a judicious one but that, quote, the people in richmond take no interest in any partial affairs
that may occur in this quarter. suggesting obviously that what jefferson davis is really concerned about are events in virginia. johnson's strategy, then, in the spring of 1864, was to remain in a strong defensive position around dalton behind a high ridge line just west of the town called rocky face ridge. you can see it on your maps there. and await an attack by the federals. and when the federals attacked, the confederates would defeat them. johnson would then move probably west into alabama, and then north up into tennessee. johnson's army at its peak strength, a few weeks into the campaign, atlanta campaign when he receives reinforcements, was
about 69,000, close to 70,000 men, divided into three corps, under the command of william j. hardy, john bell hood, and the bishop general polk. polk actually commanded a separate army that was brought called the army of mississippi and it became a corps in johnson's army. johnson also had a cavalry corps that numbered between 7,000 and 8,000 men under the diminutive joseph wheeler. the campaign began in the first week of may of 1864. and sherman's plan, which was actually a plan that george thomas had originally devised, and that sherman adopted, was for -- with some modifications, sherman modified what thomas had envisioned -- but sherman's plan is to have the army of the ohio and the army of the cumberland to demonstrate against the ls1b confederate positions north and west of dalton. so keep johnson's attention
focused in the immediate vicinity of dalton. mcpherson's army then would march west -- south and west of rocky face ridge. and you can see on the map up here, again, in the upper left-hand corner, the movements of the three armies. or you can look on your map there. mcpherson was to march 12 miles south of dalton, but west of rocky face ridge, cross through a narrow passage called snake creek gap. and come out on the eastern side of this ridge line. and then break johnson's supply line, the western and atlantic railroad in the vicinity of dalton. the western atlantic is the supply line for both armies during the atlanta campaign. it was a railroad that stretched from chattanooga, which is in the far upper left-hand corner of your map to atlanta, which is in the bottom center of your
map. so both armies are relying on the western and atlantic. it was a good plan. it was a very good plan. and initially, it unfolded just as sherman hoped it would. on may the 8th, the thomas' troops and schofield at rocky face ridge. mcpherson gets through snake creek gap. which the confederates have left unguarded. they'd been there all winter. one of johnson's -- one of the criticisms you can level at johnson is that even though he had been in camp around dalton for many months, he really hadn't studied the geography very closely south of the town. the confederates certainly knew about snake creek gap, but wheeler didn't have any thickets protecting it.
so johnson's men are able to march through without a fight. and then when they come out of the eastern end of the gap, very short distance in front of them is the western and atlantic. they see some earth works around the small town of rasaka. clearly there are some confederates there. but mcpherson didn't have any cavalry with him, which was a terrible mistake on the part of the federals. mcpherson becomes worried. he doesn't know how many confederates are in front of him. he's also worried if he continues advancing toward the railroad, that confederates might march down from dalton and strike him in the flank. as he's moving east. so instead of pushing forward, seizing the western and atlantic, cutting johnson's supply line, mcpherson instead pulls his army back to snake creek gap. when johnson learns of this, because the confederates did have a small contingent of cavalry there, johnson orders a retreat, a very well-organized
one, of his troops from the dalton vicinity southward to rasaka. mcpherson had lost enormous opportunity to strike a crippling blow at the confederates. sherman realized this. and he wrote to mcpherson, i regret beyond measure you did not break the railroad. sherman realizes that there's a big opportunity that's been lost here. on may 14th and 15th, the first major battle of the campaign is fought at rasaka. a place that's just recently been opened as a state park. the battlefield's beautifully preserved. both armies are fortified there, during the over land campaign, these armies are constructing log and dirt works.
both armies launch attacks at rasaka that fail. tactically, then, the two-day battle is a draw. but at the operational level, sherman scores a great victory by getting across a river just south of rasaka, and gets one division across at a ferry site, and threatens the western and atlantic, south of versaka and forces johnson to retreat. johnson retreats, and you can look in the middle of your map now. he retreats down to the vicinity of the small town called castle. there he hopes to lay a trap for sherman. the road network is such that sherman ends up dividing his armies as they march south. and johnson's plan was to strike one of these wings of sherman's army at castle as it marched
south. but unfortunately for johnson, john bell hood who's been ordered to launch this attack, doesn't do so. and then in a conference, a night conference that's held between johnson and his corps commanders, hood and polk argue that the army needed to retreat yet again at castle. their line is being infiltrated by artillery. who said what was a point of bitter contention between joe johnson and john bell hood for many, many, many years. each had a very different version of what happened there that's actually really impossible to reconcile. we don't need to go into the details of it now, but the -- johnson's version is that he saw that his corps commanders didn't have any confidence that they
could hold this position, so the army retreated yet again. sherman, at this point, is pretty optimistic about the campaign up to this point. in a wonderfully evocative passage, he writes, this is at the beginning -- this is in mid-may, we are now in motion like a vast hive of bees, and expect to swarm over the chattahoochee in a few days. the chattahoochee was the river flowing from east to west. that would be the last natural barrier between sherman and atlanta. by the beginning of the third week of may, johnson's army was entrenched in a very strong position in the al a toona mountains. you can see it on your map there. just below the etawa river. sherman was very familiar with the alatoona mountains. the geography of this entire section of georgia, he had spent time here in the 1840s, as a young army officer. he had been stationed here. sherman knew that it would be foolish to try and attack
johnson's position in the alatoona mountains. what sherman decides to do instead is execute yet another flanking march. this one would involve some risk, though, because it would -- it would move the union army some miles away from the western and atlantic, about 15 miles away. the objective of this march would be the town of dallas. and you can see it there in the lower left-hand corner of the map, with skofield thomas and mcpherson all taking different routes to get there. it's about 15 miles west of the alatoona position that johnson held, 15 miles west of the railroad. but johnson's cavalry informed him, in pretty timely fashion, of this movement toward dallas. and johnson shifts away from alatoona westward to try and block sherman once again. what ensued then in the final days, the last week of may, and the first couple of days of june, was some intense
skirmishing every day, punctuated by three small battles. two of them involving union attacks against the confederates that failed, and the third -- the failed confederate attack, third hope church, thickets mill and dallas. the fighting in this densely wooded region was such that the soldiers on both sides called it the hell hole. when sherman realized that johnson's lines were pretty strong, along the dallas/new hope/picket's hill line, and that it would be impractical for him to continue south, to go around the western flank of johnson's army, because it would keep the union forces away from the railroad for too long, he decided to shift back eastward toward the western and atlantic.
in fact, for a few days at the very end of may, sherman's army was experiencing some pretty serious supply shortages. they simply had been away from the army too long. even though 5,000 wagons sounds like a lot, with an army of the size of sherman's, it's really not sufficient to supply it day after day that far from the railroad. so both armies shift back over toward the railroad. then the skies open up. and it starts to rain. and it continues to rain over and over and over, day after day, for the first few weeks of june. both armies are nearly immobilized. you can imagine trying to move
enormous wagon trains down mud -- down roads that are knee-deep in mud. you can imagine being in a trench that's maybe full up to your knees in water and mud. hundreds of men on a daily basis in both armies are sent to the rear. they're broken down. physically. and this actually continues throughout the campaign. the campaign is similar to the overland campaign. and the armies are in constant contact. there's constant skirmishing day after day after day. no rest, really, if you're in the trenches on the front line. and that takes an enormous toll on everyone in the armies. sherman becomes frustrated then. the pace of his advance is slowed. he makes a decision to deviate from the strategy that has been successful up until this point. the flanking maneuvers. he writes chief of staff henry
la llack hall ek on june 16th, 1864, i'm now inclined to feign on both e now inclined to feign on both h now inclined to feign on both flanks and consider the confederate line. it may cost us dear, but the results would surpass any attempt to pass around. johnson's army by this time was defending a line eight miles long. sherman's rationale is that there's got to be some weak points in that line. with the element of surprise frontal attacks directed at the center of johnson's line might succeed. and score a great victory. if it doesn't work, sherman could just once again go back to conducting flanking maneuvers. there's also some evidence in both sherman's personal and official correspondence that like a lot of career army officers at the time of the civil war, he felt that fighting for prolonged periods behind earth works could damage the
morale of the men. that it would make them timid in effect. john bell hood is very open about this. he claims that lee feels the same -- felt the same way. so sherman orders attacks. and the resulting battle of kennesaw mountain fought on june the 27th of 1864 was a costly defeat for sherman. the troops that launched the attacks were union soldiers. they suffered about 3,000 casualties. sherman took a lot of heat from the northern press. his men were disheartened.
but if you look at the losses that sherman's army had sustained up to this point in the campaign, clung at kennesaw mountain, they paled in comparison to what was happening in virginia. compare the losses, for instance, in just a single day of fighting in the wilderness, to the 3,000 casualties sustained at kennesaw, and you'll see that sherman is taking a lot of territory and suffering relatively few losses as a result. the only success of the day at kennesaw, that was the phrase that sherman used, didn't occur when the failed attacks against johnson's line. but in a flanking maneuver, launched by skofield's army, against the far southern end of johnson's long line, skofield actually managed to get his troops closer to the
river north of the confederate river line. point he's right on the outskirts of atlanta. sherman had achieved something pretty remarkable by this point he had taken all of northwest georgia. a region that was important in terms of agriculture and industry to the confederacy. he was on the outskirts of atlanta and had an army that was strong in numbers and moral. contrast that to the army of the potomac when it gets to the outskirts of petersburg and the moral of the army is pretty shaky, right? by this point, joe johnson -- excuse me -- by this point jefferson davis has had enough of joe johnson jefferson davis has lost faith in joe johnson's ability to hold the city of atlanta.
johnson had repeatedly told the davis administration and politicians who visited his headquarters, the best way to force the federals out of north georgia is to strike the western and atlantic railroad. strike their supply line and end up in tennessee. johnson claimed that his army excuse me, his calvary couldn't do this. johnson con the afford to detach his own calvary from his army because he needed weaver to defend the flanks of the army as it fell back. johns didn't have enough men to stretch the line long enough. what johnson proposed over and over and over was for the davis administration to order the
confederate calvary in alabama and mississippi forrest command to ride east to break sherman's supply line. this would involve stripping the states of alabama and mississippi along with their defenders. and that was something that davis, i think wisely refused to do. alabama and mississippi were pretty important states. stripping those states of their defenders would have opened up the rich agricultural region. they would have opened up important industrial cities like selma, alabama, columbus, georgia, would not have been a smart move. and it's highly debatable too, whether men could have created enough damage to, in the long term for sherman to retreat. sherman was acutely aware his supply line was vulnerable.
he went to some lengths to try to protect it and we can talk about the ways later if you're interested. on july 17th, 1864, jefferson davis makes the extremely controversial decision. it was controversial in the summer of 1864, it's still controversial today, of relieving joe johnson of command. and replacing him with john bell hood. an officer probably all of you know who had gained a reputation in 1862 and 1863 as one of lee's best brigade and division commanders. he had a reputation of being a very bold fighter. he personally sacrificed a lot, you know the nature of his wounds, the loss of a leg the partial use of an arm here in gettysburg.
the message that relieved joe johnson. as you have failed to arrest the advance of the enemy to the vicinity of atlanta, and expressed no confidence that you can defeat or repel him, you are here by relieved. hood takes command and he has a mandate that he has to fight for the city of atlanta. he doesn't have a lot of room to maneuver. and there's some evidence, incidentally, that hood had been angling for this command, sometime prior to getting it. he was an intensely ambitious officer. johnson was then in retrospect. a general who lacked the ability to shape campaigns. throughout his career, he reacted to the moves of his opponents rather than seizing
the initiative, that was clearly the case in the atlanta campaign. the army of tennessee needed but couldn't get robert e. lee. hood, upon taking command immediately ordered attacks, you can see the first of the three main battles that were fought around the city and upper -- the very middle of your map the battle of peach tree creek. his plan was to attack the forces from the north after they crossed peach tree creek but before they could entrench. he devoted two core of his army to the attack his commanders were supposed to send their units forward in echelon. the attacks ended up being uncoordinated. they were not very well managed by the core commanders and after hard fighting, the federals
managed to hold their lines. the confederate casualties numbered about 2,500, while the federals were about 2,100. there is a fine new book on the battle. we're only now getting detailed battle studies of the west, while eastern battles for me, decades. the day after the battle of peach tree creek hood learns that the far left flank of the union troops that are approaching atlanta frat east is vulnerable, it's in the air, and hood decides to try to execute a flanking march to strike this vulnerable portion of sherman's line. order orders a very long flank
march to take place during the night of july 21st. these are men who had already had an exhausting 48 hours beforehand, they fought heavily east of the city on july 21st. hood was asking his men to do something unrealistic in terms of their physical abilities of these exhausted soldiers. hood was also handicapped by having a core commander experienced at that high level of command. none the less the flank march is executed and on july 22nd, the largest battle of the campaign is fought, this is the one immortalized in a circular painting in atlanta. the map in the upper right hand corner gives you some sense of the battle. it was the single bloodiest day of fighting in the last 10 months of the civil war.
some of hardy's troops breakthrough the line, they killed general james p. mcpherson. one of the highest ranking generals to die in the war this is a huge personal blow to sherman, as you can imagine. but at the end of the day, the federals launched counterattacks, retake the portions of their lines that the confederates have seized, and even though many confederates at the time saw this as a victory, because they were counting prisoners and cannons and flags captured. this was an army that cost hood's army.
there's a new book on this battle. called the day dixon died, which is another one i would recommend by gary ethelbard. hood's army lost between 5700 and 6300 men in that single day of fighting. following the battle, sherman decided to change his strategy and reorient his efforts to take the city from the east of atlanta to the west of atlanta with the hopes of cutting the last railroad into the city that led south into atlanta. at the same time, sherman does calvary raids. hood's response to these movements by sending a core out west of atlanta to block the federal movements out there, this is under the troops that hood sends out there under very
inexperienced core commander who is a close friend of hoods. lee gets out to the area where he's supposed to be he thinks the federals out there aren't -- have just arrived, he takes it upon himself to start a battle. he doesn't have any orders to do this, but lee starts launching frontal attacks, throwing one division after another at these federals. the men who have never known defeat, and what happens in the battle is kennesaw mountain in reverse. it's the confederates losing fortified federals. and the casualties are dramatically lopsided. hood's army loses about 3,000 men in these attacks, the federals lose only 600 casualties at ezra church. ezra church is a great victory
for sherman. but the calvary raids were disastrous. they rode into the city, ended up being smashed by joe wheeler and the confederate calvary. this is wheeler's fine heest performance of his career. this lowers sherman's already poor opinion of his calvary and convinces him that calvary can't wreck a railroad. it's going to take more than that. hood had not achieved what he wanted in these three battles and none of them were intended to be frontal attacks against entrenched union soldiers, in
each instance hood was trying to execute a flank attack and they didn't work. but cumulatively, these battles did have the effect of making sherman a little more cautious than he had been. sherman's -- two of sherman's core commanders had been class mads of hood and they knew his reputation, and sherman did too in the first few weeks of august, there's a semisign of atlanta, the city is not completely surrounded. sherman's also trying to get around the city to the west, he's having some problems. sherman's facing the charge of his men in august. he tells hallick in the first week of august he's too impatient for a siege. he's a pretty nervous, anxious individual.
he doesn't want a long drawn out affair like what happened at petersburg, certainly. he decides on a bold plan, sherman decides to abandon the siege lines east and north of atlanta. pull his troops out of the trenches. leave a single core. north of the city toll hold the point where his supply line crosses the chattahoochee river. cut the macon and railroads south of the city. sherman was convinced that calvary raids couldn't do the job. so sherman's infantry men pull out of the trenches, they march around, and in the very last days of august, they reach the macon and western.
hood in the meantime had sent his calvary off to do what johnson had not been willing to do. wheeler sent off on a raid to try to disrupt sherman's supply lines in north georgia and tennessee. it's a spectacular failure, he wrecks his calvary core in the process. the federal trenches north of the city are vacant, what do you think he believes? wheeler's raid's been a success. sherman's retreating to the north. but then he realizes what's going on, and he dispatches two core south to the vicinity of ú÷ jonesboro. you look on the map, you'll see
jonesboro at the very bottom. and the two core sent down there are given the orders to push the army of the tennessee away from the railroad, protect that vital supply line. and on the first day of the battle of jonesboro, the last battle of the campaign, these two core confederate core attacks that are repulsed. in the meantime, hood finds out that the rail lines north of jonesboro have been broken. can you see that on the map with thomas and schofield, and he abandons the city. hood on the night of september 1st, marching the troops in the
city south, to rejoin those who had been at jonesboro. during the evacuation of the city, the confederates discover they've left a large train of munitions in the eastern central portion of atlanta that obviously can't get out. and so they set it on fire. this is 18 boxcars full of explosives. and you can imagine the sound that was heard 15, 20 miles away. this is the scene incidentally that's depicted in gone with the wind when red is in the wagon
trying to get scarlet and the baby out, and there's all the sets burning in the background. i told my kids some of those sets were from the wizard of oz, which was true. they don't care anything about gone with the wind, but they were upset that the sets from the wizard of oz burned in this movie. it's worth pointing out here that the destruction of atlanta cannot be attributed solely to uncle billy sherman, that hood's army in fact began the process with the evacuation and the destruction of the firing of this train. and sherman took it a good bit further just before the march to the sea. on september second, the mayor of atlanta surrendered the city. sherman announced to abraham lincoln, atlanta is ours, and fairly won. sherman also told hallic, i shall not push much further on this raid. it's an interesting word to characterize the campaign. the constant battles since the first week of may exhausted the army and needed rest. atlanta turned into a garrison city. news of the fall of the city, of course, caused great celebration
in the north, it gave a desperately needed boost to the fortunes of the republican party. and here is where we get to the significance of the atlanta campaign, what makes it so important. along with the fall of atlanta. along with the victories won by phil sheridan in the shenandoah valley later in september, helped to boost the confidence of northern voters that the lincoln administration was going to win an ultimate victory, and that the president needed a second term in office. so the fall of atlanta helped to reassure the re-election of lincoln and also offer public affirmation of his war policies, that lincoln gets a popular mandate, as you all know, to continue a war that would end on the basis of both reunion and emancipation, something that wouldn't have been the case if the democrats have won. at the same time, the fall of atlanta helped ensure that u.s. grant would remain as general in chief. and that these two men would be the architects of ultimate union victory in the civil war.
thank you. [ applause ] do we have time for a few questions? oak okay. if y'all want to come up to the mic if anyone has any questions. yes, sir? >> was there any thought to put robert e. lee in charge of all of the confederate armies? >> yes, in fact that ultimately did happen, but it was after the atlanta campaign. and davis did reply. so the question was, if you didn't hear it, was there any thought of putting lee in charge of any confederate armies, that did happen, although it was some months after the atlanta campaign, but davis relied very heavily on lee's advice, not only on matters pertaining to the eastern theater, but also on command members in the west, when davis was considering removing joe johnson from command, he asked lee, who do you think would be a good replacement? lee said that hood was a bold
fighter on the battlefield, but this is paraphrasing, i should know this verbatim, hood said something -- hood is a bold fighter, bold on the battlefield but careless off the battlefield, and i think what he was saying there was that when it comes to administrative responsibilities that hood had some weaknesses. >> two questions. >> let's do one, so other folks have a chance. >> how did sherman come up with the idea for the -- sherman's knots? >> the question is, how did sherman -- come up with the idea for sherman's knots or sherman's bow ties is what they're
sometimes called. what he's asking about are the twisted rails when the union troops would wreck rail lines, the confederates too for this matter, the confederates employed this prior to the atlanta campaign. you get thousands of infantry men to stand next to a rail line, and all at once they would rip up the crossties, separate with hammers the iron rail from the wooden crossties, pile up the wooden crossties in huge heaps and create bonfires, lay the arm rails on the end of the bonfires. when the center of the iron rails turns red-hot, the union soldiers would grab it, i was rereading this the other evening, i wonder if they used gloves? they must have been pretty hot. they take the red-hot rails and
twist them around trees, which would make it extraordinarily difficult for the confederates to straighten out and reuse. there's some good photographs taken of this process downtown. your question is one i really can't answer. my gut feeling is that it wasn't sherman that devised this, but it was something that engineers and soldiers came up with, and it had been employed prior to this time. sherman had wrecked railroads in eastern mississippi in the meridian expedition, but that's a great question. i don't know where it originated. i don't know if we actually know. it became a pretty common procedure.
>> the campaigns in '64. grant and sherman, the war had switched in '61, '62 to capturing capitals and territories in capital cities to capturing manufacturing and supply centers. sherman was marching toward atlanta. marching toward texas to capture their defaults. could you tell us a little bit how important the war effort and the confederate war effort were these depots and supply centers? >> atlanta was absolutely vital. georgia had some of the largest manufacturing centers in the confederacy, not just atlanta but augusta, in the eastern part of the state, had the largest powder mill in the world. there were quarter master depots that produced enormous numbers of un fors for the army. there were foundries that produced cannon. if you look at the rail network
of the deep south, it's evident immediately how important atlanta is for being at the juncture of many railroads. could go on and on about the contractors that were producing pistols and rifle muskets and accoutrements. all different kinds of accoutrements that were really vital. the confederates realized that. by the time the siege takes place in atlanta. the city's value as a center of industry has really declined dramatically, the confederates had evacuated so much of the machinery, and so many of the workers and sent them south to columbus and macon. there's only about 3,000 civilians left in atlanta when sherman seizes the city. and when he takes the city, he
orders the expulsion of all those civilians, which is a fascinating story too. yes, sir? >> you mentions at the beginning of your talk, sherman's mastery of logistics during the campaign. how much of that did he directly oversea, and how much of it was delegated to someone else and who for that matter was it delegated to? >> that's a great question. sherman had pretty capable subordinates that would look after logistical concerns. he had authority over the railroads, this had been a controversial matter in the months leading up to the campaign. he had banned all civilian traffic on the main railroads leading south out of nashville. he had planned for the confederates to try to break the railroads by stockpiling rails and ties at various locations. he had crews as civilians, african-americans who were employed as civilian laborers,
engineering that could very quickly rebuild railroads, particularly bridges. as the confederates retreated. they retreated across several rivers. they would always burn these bridges, and it was truly remarkable how quickly sherman's engineers and laborers could rebuild these huge wooden spans. so that's where the real mastery logistics comes into play. one more question over here. general hood has been undergoing a bit of a re-evaluation recently. it seemed to me that his plans. once he took over as commander of the army of tennessee were
fairly good plans on paper, it's just that his army couldn't execute them for one reason or another. could you comment briefly on hood's generalship as the commander of the army of tennessee? >> sure. hood is -- doesn't -- certainly doesn't have the mastery of logistics that sherman does. that becomes painfully evident during the tennessee campaign in 1864. but hood's operating under some pretty severe handicaps. not only his own physical handicaps, he also has the command structure with a lot of generals who are woefully inexperienced at their division and core level of command. they just -- they don't execute hood's orders, and don't carry out his plans the way he had
envisioned them. i think the other important factor is that hood's plans are just unrealistic given the time constraints that he's working under and the physical conditions of his men. and the hardy's flank march is a prime example of that. hood was asking too much of men that were totally exhausted. that's kind of a short answer, but the renaissance you're talking about -- that's not the right word to use. the re-evaluation of hood's generalship is one that is take ing place -- thank you. tonight on a -- american history tv, a focus on slavery and cinema with a look at depiction of slavery in film since the 1930s. and then the movie "lincoln." and a discussion about the 1939 movie "gone with the wind" and
its depiction of southern society. that's all tonight starting at 8:00 eastern here on c-span3. >> this weekend on american history tv. we take a look back 200 years ago this week. when british military forces set the white house and the capitol on fire. we'll also hear about how british admiral george coburn used washington's waterways to invade and burn the city. >> coburn's idea is to make use of several different waterways in an attack on washington. if the british forces simply sailed up the potomac, everybody would know that washington was the ultimate party. -- target. coburn recommends that the force be split up, one squadron sail
city of alexandria, the main force is going to go up the pawtuxet river into southern maryland. the advantage was that it would shield the ultimate british intention it might mean an attack on washington, it could also mean the british were simply chasing after commodore joshua barney who was the american commander of the chess peak flotilla, who had a flotilla of barges and the rivers flowing into it. he had been trapped in the pawtuxet river, he was further up river than the british, and the british could use barney's presence. barney, by the summer of 1814, had been trapped in the pawtuxet river. he was further up river than the british. the british could use barney's
presence in the pawtuxet river to more or less shield their movement toward the capitol. that's exactly what coburn recommends, and it's what the british commanders general ross and admiral alexander cochran, who's in charge of the entire fleet here in north america, agree to do. >> this weekend, live coverage of a panel of authors and historians as they discuss the 1814 british burning of washington. then more from author steve vogel on how the british utilized washington's waterways during the invasion. that's sunday at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. eastern all here on c-span3. next, the civil war career of confederate general joseph feche.
johnston, his command of the army in tennessee, and spring and summer of 1864 at the civil war center at kennesaw state university in georgia. this is about 45 minutes. >> thank you. it's always good to get down here -- my mother was born in a house that's about three or four miles south of kennesaw mountain. i've been coming up here all my life. this is the 150th anniversary of the sesquicentennial of the year 1864. crucial year in the civil war, and we're in the process of commemorating what in the 1860s
was probably the most crucial military campaign of the civil war. and it is to coin a phrase all together fitting and proper we should do this. it is especially fitting and proper that those others who are georgians would do this either by birth or by option. i want to give a little background of why it's so important and then get around to offering ideas of the campaign when you think about what happened during the american civil war you've got to remember during the civil war there were three great areas where military operations took place. way over here. the appalachian mountains, and the area right in the middle.
during the course of the civil war from 1861 to 1864 this area in virginia had turned into a bloody stalemate. neither side could win the war, neither side could lose the war in virginia. the army's fought and they essentially remain where they had been. the federal army was too strong to lose. but the federal generals were not smart enough to win. the federal army was not strong enough to win. the war in virginia went into the circular stalemate, i tell my friends from the north, if the war had been limited to virginia it would still be going on. they would be ready to fight the 87th battle of manassas. in the 64th battle of winchester. and the people from north of the mason dixon line would be saying, golly, i hope we can meet lee this summer that old
man has been beating up on us for 152 years. i don't know how he got out of that one. but the war was not limited to virginia more important parts of the war took place in the central railroad area, from the mississippi river to the appalachian mountains. in that area, the first three areas of the war -- they regained control of the mississippi river from the source to the mouth, thus splitting the confederacy in half. if you take confederate definition of what constituted the confederacy, which included missouri, oklahoma, and parts of mexico and arizona. almost in half. if you take a confederate definition of what constituted the confederate.
they also cut the confederates east of the mississippi off from any serious quantities of food and supplies from west of the mississippi risker. the second great strategic objective they achieved was to move the northern frontier of the confederacy from up in kentucky somewhere essentially the ohio river which cuts off most of tennessee from the rest of the confederacy. while the war in virginia was a stalemate, the union armies were moving from victory to victory to success. the area that was known in the jargon of the day. by 1864, the union armies appeared ready to take the next several steps to snuffing out the life of the confederacy and to ensure this happened, president lincoln had taken ulysses s. grant, the man who had opened the mississippi river, who had gained control or secured control of most of tennessee and moved him to command all union armies. grant planned in 1864 five great
military operations to wipe out what was left of the confederacy. one of these would be along the gulf coast, from new orleans moving east against mobile. which was the last significant confederate port on the gulf of mexico. absolutely crucial more for the railroads that ran north through mobile and connected the great bread basket of the confederacy which was not the shenandoah
valley, it was the tom big by river valley. no less a person than jefferson davis said so. he will be our main source for supplies this year. but mobile, the railroads through mobile with a connection between the confederacy in georgia and the carolinas in virginia and the tom bigby valley. one of these campaigns grant planted in mobile. a second would take place. they went up the shenandoah
valley. a third campaign would take place in southeastern virginia, benjamin, the favorite union general would come up there and command a union army moving up the peninsula against the confederate capitol in richmond. those three campaigns were really sort of satellite or auxiliary campaigns, that would support the main efforts. grant himself, lee and the other campaign would march from chattanooga under william t. sherman, every atlanta citizen's favorite union general. grant's plans came early in the spring and summer of 1864. that is why the campaign is so important. the effort against mobile had to be abandoned, very early because confederates won victories on
the red river in louisiana. threatened to attack new orleans. maybe even regain possession or regain control of the mississippi river. union troops that were scheduled to go against mobile, had to be held to protect the federal holdings in louisiana. that was abandoned, the campaign up the shenandoah valley, ran into the union market. they were defeated by the core of cadets from the virginia military institute. with a little help from some confederate army units that happened to be in the area. the third campaign under benning lynn butler came to grief, because as he started up confederate reinforcements rushed up and that left only the two big campaigns grants himself as i said, led the main union
army in virginia, against robert e. lee, and they fought a titanic series of battles against virginia. grant constantly living around the circumference of a circle. you can't get to richmond because lee's army was there between his army and richmond grant's army suffered enormous casualties. the exact number is somewhat in dispute. reasonable estimates put the minimum of 65,000 men. some other estimates, but the number of grant's casualties is
as high as 75,000 or 80,000 no large american army has ever been beaten up like grant's army was beaten up in 1864. grant replaced the bodies with new draftees. but the grand old army of the potomac that fought at malvern hill, antietam was gone. shallow graves in virginia in washington, annapolis, that army was gone. and grant was bogged down in a stalemate at richmond and petersburg. there are historians who maintain that the federal government falsified reports of grant's casualties because they
were so horrific. lee was so secure, that he sent off about 25 or 30% of his army to the shenandoah valley to march north they crossed the potomac. they were in the suburbs of washington, d.c., they burned chambers berg, pennsylvania. this does not sound like a union military success, and it was not. it was so depressing, that everybody was anticipating that lincoln would lose the election of 1864. lincoln himself predicted as late as august that he was going
to be defeated in the election that year. if he had lost. and if the civil war had not ended in union victory, the preservation of the union, just think of what a difference that would have made. not just in the united states but how different would the world have been in the 20th century if the united states had not been there in 1917, let alone the 1940s. it would have been quite different. by mid summer of 1864, there was government, and that was what went on here in north georgia, on the very ground where this university is located. that's why it's so important
that we get an understanding of what happened here in 1864. i'm not going to go into the details of the atlanta campaign, there's a very good book on that which everybody should buy and read. truth be told, i don't care if you read it. but i do want to give you the sort of outline of what happened and some ideas of the man who was the most crucial in that campaign. joseph p. johnston was the most important military figure in the history of the southern confederacy, at least as far as the outcome of the war is concerned. to be sure, robert e. lee has a greater role in confederate military history as it has been written. but as it happened, i think joseph p. johnston was the most
important of confederate generals. he won the first major battle of the war in 1861 at a time when robert e. lee was a desk officer in richmond. johnston commanded a confederate army that was active in the field for two and a half weeks after lee surrendered in 1865. johnston commanded confederate armies in virginia, tennessee, mississippi, georgia, south carolina, and north carolina. in addition, confederate forces in florida, alabama and east louisiana were subject to his orders at one time or another. he commanded the confederate army in the two most important military campaigns in the war vicksburg and atlanta. his quarrel with jefferson davis is a story in and of itself. i thought this was a war for southern independence, but it's just a quarrel between jeff and joe. that quarrel runs like an angry scar through the history of the confederacy and is arguably one of the key reasons for a confederate defeat in the war. johnston is crucial to confederate military history. i've been puzzling around trying to understand this man for longer than i want to think about.
when you were there, just barely for the centennial of the civil war, and this is the sesquicentennial. and i'm worried now because i see the bicentennial looming out there in the difference. i'll leave that up to brian to worry about. johnston is a man i've been trying to understand, and i want to offer a few thoughts about his most important military command which was here in georgia. he was appointed to command the confederate army that would defend atlanta in 1863. president davis did not want to appoint him. by that time he and johnston thoroughly loathed each other.
johnston convinced himself that davis was trying to destroy his military reputation davis had convinced himself that johnston was not competent but he had no choice because there was no one else he could appoint to that post. all the other high ranking generals were either failures or unable to exercise command in the field or in the case of robert e. lee, couldn't be moved from we was. davis had no choice. much against his wishes, in december 1863. he picked joe johnston from obscurity. he was command of the bayous of mississippi, he had no choice, johnston was in command. the union army that was opposing johnston was based in
chattanooga, and when sherman moved into north georgia in 1864, he confronted johnston in his fortifications. and the campaign began and followed a pattern johnston's idea of a perfect battle was to take up a strong position, fortify it, and sit in it. hoping that sherman would attack it, in that case, johnston's fortified men would be able to repulse the attack and win the victory sherman however had made up his mind based on earlier experience, that attacks in the civil war were not likely to work, and it was better to do something else. the pattern of the campaign was set, one general didn't want to fight at all, the other general
didn't want to fight unless it was perfect conditions, which never exist. so sherman -- johnston would take up his position, fortified it, sherman would march up in front of it, they would skirmish for a few days, she weren would say, this is too strong, his army would march out, usually to the west, around johnston, and come in behind him, south of him, to threaten the railroad because the railroad from atlanta to dalton or to johnston's army was the lifeline of that army. when johnston discovered this, he would retreat 10 or 15 miles, take up a strong position, fortify it, sit in it and the whole process would repeat itself. dallas, kennesaw mountain to someone in a, to the
chattahoochee river. the confederate government was going bonkers with this because the area into which johnston was retreating was the -- by that time, by 1864, the industrial and agricultural heartland of the confederacy, johnston's retreat exposed all of that area. remember what i said earlier about the tom bigby valley in alabama? jefferson davis was alarmed that sherman would stock his advance at the chattahoochee river, wouldn't try to go beyond but would turn instead and go
southwest and then south along the chattahoochee river, down to apalachicola, florida. that would cut every railroad between the tom bigby valley and the confederate army in virginia, and it was a very real possibility. as far as i know sherman never seriously considered it, but the federal government did not know that, and johnston, without telling his government much about what he was doing, had retreated into the heartland of the confederacy, opening up this possibility that his retreat would enable sherman to cut off the supplies from the tom bigby valley, enable him to cut off selma, alabama. which they had turned into a great munitions complex. johnston's retreat threatened the loss of all of that. therefore in mid july july 17th, davis is thinking about removing johnston, he's sent him a
telegram, i wish to hear from you so specifically as will enable me to anticipate events, what you are planning to do and johnston sent back a response that was so vague, that it was meaningless. the enemy outnumbers me, my flans depend on the actions of the enemy, we're trying to put atlanta into condition to be held for a few days by the georgia militia, johnston had earlier represented that the confederate government move the prisoners at andersonville, about 120 miles south of atlanta. did that mean that johnston was about to abandon atlanta and retreat back into south georgia?
that would be even worse. davis, therefore, on july 17th, sent a telegram removing joe johnston from command of the army. over the next 10 days, hood fought three battles with sherman outside atlanta peach tree creek, atlanta and every one of them the confederates attacked, they did not achieve great victories, but they brought sherman's advance to a halt. in late july and august, hood's calvary wrecked sherman's calvary in several battles south of atlanta. it appeared as mid-august came that sherman had been bogged down outside atlanta just like grant was bogged down outside richmond and petersburg. if that remained the case without the victory, faced with all the enormous casualties. that grant had interred in
virginia, lincoln might well be doomed in the november election. but at the very end of august, sherman took most of his army, and marched out on a wide circle around atlanta, came in 15 or 20 miles south of atlanta. cut the railroad to macon and hood was forced to evacuate atlanta. that was when scarlett and rhett and prissy and melanie had to get in that wagon and atlanta was burning and they had to flee the city. hood had failed, lincoln had the great victory he needed. lincoln's re-election was assured there would be no compromise with slavery, there would be no compromise with is a
significance. that was the atlanta campaign. what did it mean? why did it turn out like it did? almost immediately, confederates who had been involved in the atlanta campaign began casting blame on each other. johnston was the first to strike. when he was removed from command, he had gone south to macon, and he was in macon for several months working on his official report of his campaign. which he finished and sent off to richmond, and in that report he set forth and interpretation of his campaign that he had never waivered from for the rest of his life. he could do only what he did. his strategy had been to fight on the defensive inflict
casualties, punish sherman, weaken sherman. and then as sherman's army got near atlanta. that army weakened by these casualties would fall prey to johnston's successful counterattack. johnston believed his strategy had worked. he also believed that jefferson davis had deliberately withheld resources, so that johnston would fail. davis didn't care anything about the confederacy. all he cared about was embarrassing joe johnston. this was johnston's basic approach. it wasn't long after that, early the next year, when hood submitted his report, which was a total reverse of johnston. johnston had not been heavily outnumbered. he had chosen to retreat, to abandon these strong positions in north georgia. he had lost some 22,000 men. johnston claimed he had lost only about 10,000. johnston's army had been demoralized.
johnston had passed up many opportunities to strike at the enemy, and the army was so weakened in numbers and moral that not even hood could win success when he replaced johnston. these two views of the campaign which for simplicity's sake will call the johnston interpretation and the hood interpretation echoed from that point down to this. but for most of that time, joseph e. johnston's view of the campaign had prevailed. it became the popularly accepted view of how the campaign in georgia had unfolded that year. johnston owed this success or his interpretation owed this success to several factors. for one thing, hood had failed. you could not deny that the confederate's lost atlanta when hood was in command.
they had not lost atlanta when johnston was in command. kind of hard to disguise that fact. hood was reduced to arguing but i held it longer than johnston would have. you know, this is sort of like but i did not inhale. [ laughter ] for another reason, johnston had a great reputation as a soldier when the war began. one he deserved after three decades of distinguished service in the u.s. army. he was experienced. he had been in no less than five branches of the army. the artillery, the engineers, the infantry, the cavalry, the r(t&háhp &hc% he was a brave man as his wounds inflicted by mexicans, indians and yankees all showed.k:lú ld8
hood did not have the experience and reputation and the respect that johnston had at the beginning of the war. hood, as i said, had lost atlanta -- johnston had not suffered a visible battlefield defeat, so you are reduced the argument well he was going to be defeated, if he had remained in command. johnston also prevailed becausef his critics were in disrepute immediately after the war. jefferson davis was just reviled in the last years of the confederacy. he was the failed leader of the lost cause. and had the federal authorities not arrested him, put him in a cell at for the monroe and clamped him in irons and made a martyr out of him, he would have been denounced through much of southern history. they turned him into the man who was persecuted for the white south but made him a hero.
even so post war confederates did not like to air their dirty linen in pub and most them did not do so. johnston was also praised in the writings of his federal opponents. william t. sherman had good things to say about johnston in his memoirs published in 1875. u.s. grant had good things to say about johnston. i mean, after all, grant said, i worried more when joe johnston was in command in front of my army than when robert e. lee was. i don't know if grant actually said that or not, but if he did, that alone should take his reputation down many notches. because among other things, johnston almost never commanded troops in front of grant's army. only for a few weeks in january and february 1864 did johnston command troops in front of grant and those troops that time sat in their winter quarters and had
snowball battles with each other. i don't know why grant was so worried. johnston's men are attacking with snowballs. we have to worry about that. johnston benefited from a lot of the early writing about the war. one of the early prolific historians was edward a. pollard, a richmond journalist who absolutely hated jefferson davis and pollard was writing mean, almost as furiously as brian does here. just books vomiting out of edward a. pollard. in which he denounced jefferson davis in very harsh terms especially for his treatment of joe johnston and it's interesting to sit down with pollard's books because a lot of it sounds an awful like joe johnston. i had some pretty good indications that he and johnston
spent good time talking. he wrote vile things about jefferson davis in his treatment about joe johnston. even some of the northern writers wrote stuff about it. and his main source for writing about the atlanta campaign was edward a. pollard. and greeley said he got his information from johnston, so he knows it must be correct. this would not be the critical thinking one would like among historical writers. johnston also benefited by his early biographers. johnston died in 1891.
he had two quick biographies. one of them by badly t., who a dear good friend of his and military subordinate, who confessed in his induction that i love joe johnston and the other ones by his kinsman robert hughes and for 50 or 60 years those were the only two biographies of joe johnston that were available. hood didn't have a biography at all until the middle of the 20th century. johnston benefits from all of these things. he also benefited from trends in civil war writing. the overemphasis on virginia meant that people writing about the war in georgia and atlanta didn't have much to work with and didn't spend a lot of time trying to describe it. they grabbed quickly available sources. people like pollard and greeley and foot and others.
these sources for writing the history of johnston's army are widely scattered. you could write a history of the confederate army of virginia, robert e. lee's army and never go more than 150 miles from richmond. that would take you to raleigh, durham, chapel hill, to the south and washington and baltimore to the north. and you couple that with the charlottesville and the material in richmond itself, there's no point in going elsewhere to write a history of the confederate army in virginia. you want to write a history of the confederate army in tennessee, you have to go all over the map from austin, to tallahassee, to raleigh, to nashville, to baton rouge, to little rock, to san marino to
new york. that stuff was so scattered. we're getting collections now and published information on the confederate army on the west so it won't be quite as bad in the future as it has been in the past. but the result of all of this this was that joe johnston's view of the atlanta campaign was almost completely accepted for decades in the 20th century. the fact you grow up in atlanta as i did in the 1930s and 1940s, that's what you hear. joe johnston was just the greatest thing since grits. if he had been left alone, if that idiot jefferson davis had not removed him from command he would have defeated sherman outside atlanta. he would have driven sherman back to chattanooga. he would have flanked him on to nashville. he would have forced him to retreat to louisville and pursued him across the ohio river back up to illinois, acro across the great lakes.
the army would have been drowned in hudson bay after which joe johnston would have turned and marched on washington and forced abraham lincoln to acknowledge the independence of the confederates. joe johnston was just great he got into books and movies, and it's very difficult to get people to understand that what they see and movies and on television is just not necessarily so. i had an interesting experience along these lines one time, was there a movie in the late '50s called on the beach. one or two of you look like you might be old enough to remember that, but it's a movie set in australia in the aftermath of world war ii, tand the soviet union and they killed everybody on earth except the people in australia and those blokes are down there drinking beer singing
waltzing matilda and awaiting theed aio active cloud that will wipe them out, too. and this became a pilot movie for a whole genre of films like this on wiping out all life on earth. there was one when i was teaching at north carolina state. i think it was a made for tv movie called "the day after," the same thing except they're in indiana or kansas or south dakota or somewhere and they're dying of radiation. i had students come up and see me and talk to me about that and they say what was it like growing up in the 1950s? i said what do you mean what was it like? all you worried about was being wiped out, your life snuffed out in some kind of atomic blast. go off to school in the morning thinking you'll never see your family again. some of you remember this? you practiced getting under your desk in home room in case the rugs dropped a hydrogen bomb on the school?
the students say what was it like thinking about that all of the time. i have no earthly idea. i didn't think about that. what did you think about? i thought about a massive rupture of the cosmic continuum out on the other side of the big dipper and as a result of that a gigantic killer asteroid was jarred out of its normal orbit around the star alpha centuri sent careening off of a trajectory that in 1955 brought it it hurdling into the solar system where it bounced off the planet pollute owe. it was a planet in 195 5, it ricocheted earlier bringing dust and debris and when all will that had settled down, there were only 12 people left on
ear earth. only 12 people left on earth. who were they, you ask? elizabeth taylor. natalie wood, jane russell, susan hayward, marilyn monroe, kim novak, ava gardner, audrey hepburn, gina lolobrigida, jane mansfield and myself. [ applause ] that's what i thought about when i was in high school. but you put this into movies and television about johnston being such a great general and hood being such a bad guy and people -- it's got to be true. i saw it in a movie kind of thing.
you could ignore what hood wrote. i mean, after all, by that time hood was this pathetic creature in the history books. ambitious, not just normally ambitious, but unscrupulously ambitious. a liar, incompetent, addicted to drugs because of his amputated leg, trying to prove himself a man because he was engaged to the beautiful coketish preston. a man hopping around on one foot trying to impress buck preston. you could ignore hood. the problem is i found out in decades of research, the problem with ignoring hood is the facts get in the way. facts are strange things, and when you get beyond this rather superficial stuff that people like pollard and greeley and
some of the others have written and get down to looking at the facts, things begin to look quite different from what they were originally in your mind. we don't have time to get into all of this, but let me give you one example. in the beginning of the campaign in his mem oirs, his army numbered about 43,000 men. on may 1st at and fear dalton in northwestern georgia, but this is a fact that in the official records, there is a document dated april 30th, the day before in which johnston himself reported to the confederate government that he had 55,000 men present for duty. i don't know what happened to those 12,000 men on the night of april 30th, may 1st, mass des ergz.
maybe the raid why active atomic cloud wiped out 12,000 of johnston's men or the question of casualties. johnston had his medical director. johnston lost according to his medical director 9,972 men, killed and wounded in his infantry and artillery in may and june and historians had taken that up and said johnston lost 9,972 and they ignored those qualifications. di killed and wounded, infantry and artillery, may and june. what about prisoners. what about men lost to sickness during the retreat? one time johnston said he was losing 300 men a day to sickness. what about deserters? hood said johnston lost 12,760 men. you might have reasonable estimates in the cavalry, in the first two weeks of july which included the evacuation of ken
saw mountain and the retreat across the chattahoochee river when there were a lot of des ergzs. you make reasonable estimates for a number of prisoners you wind up pretty close to the 22,760 men that hood had spes tied. what i'm getting at in all of this is if you get to all of the facts johnston begins to look a lot less brilliant. hood tends to look a lot better and a lot of the writing in the atlanta campaign in the last 20 or 30 years has been moving in that direction. so that the view of the campaign that a lot of us were given or read about when we were growing up is changing, and it turns out that joseph e. johnston is not regarded now by aró>pk>os3 lot as the greatest thing since grits. he was regarded as a general who
retreated into the very heart of the confederacy. it is true he did not lose any great battles in 1864 or any other time, but it is also true that his retreat into the atlanta area was a political and logistical disaster for the confederacy, and johnston's once-exalted reputation has begun to come down. why do i call this the general in the jar? many years ago the folks at the dallas-ft. worth round table are were kind enough to invite me to come and speak. i was speaking on the atlanta campaign and there's a gentleman in that roundtable whose hobby is making little figures about yay high about civil war people. you had a speaker named jefferson davis and he'd make a figure of jefferson davis like
this and he would mount that figure on a wooden disk, a circular disk and put a glass bell jar over it it and present it to the speaker. it's a nice gesture. so he had seen i was speaking on the atlanta campaign, and he was certain that i was going to tell him what a great general joseph e. johnston was, so when i finished my talk they introduced him and he got up to give me this little figure of joe johnston that he had made. he had a rather sheepish look on his face and he said, would you like me to take this and -- and make one of hood? what are you going to on do? saw off one of the legs? i mean, that's what the doctor did. but it's a wonderful little thing. anybody interested in the civil war would like