Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Curse of the General

I have begun reading Robert Hicks's A Separate Country.

I could not help but notice that like many of other Civil War generals, the main character, General John Bell Hood, failed in his postwar business. Hood had his money stolen by his business partners. The same fate befell Ulysses S. Grant. Nathan Bedford Forrest failed in his railway venture. General Pemberton, who commanded the Confederate defenses at Vicksburg, could not run his farm successfully. The one exception to this failure at entrepreneurship was P.T. Beauregard.

I once heard a line about cops that could possibly be applied to generals. I once heard it said,"When you've been a cop for this long, you're not fit to do anything else." It is very hard to make the adjustment from being an individual whose words are immediately obeyed to being person who has to attract the obeisance of others. I think what is true for many cops is also true for most generals. Going into business for yourself is often too great a stretch.

Hood should have done what Lee and Joseph Johnston did: work for someone else. Poor Hood suffered the curse of the general.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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