Saturday, July 18, 2009

Joseph Johnston-A Great Civil War Commander?

Today in 1864, John Bell Hood replaced Joseph Johnston as commander of the Army of Tennessee.

Will someone explain to me why Joseph Johnston was considered a great commander? The man only seemed to know how to retreat. During McClellan's Peninsular Campaign, he withdrew until the Federals were within eight miles of Richmond. When he finally launched his attack at Seven Pines, the results turned inconclusive. When he became head of the Army of Tennessee, his failure to reinforce Pemberton in Vicksburg was a direct cause of the city's fall. The loss of Vicksburg might have been forestalled if Johnston had attacked Grant from behind. Finally, his relentless withdrawal before Sherman showed his lack of fitness for command.

Perhaps I'm missing something here. Maybe someone out there can enlighten me but I do not see the attraction or ability of this man. He has a name because he was part of crucial events. However, he failed to perform when those tests arrived.

I'm curious to see what you out there think.

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