This account/essay about the 1864 Battle of Nashville was written by Matt Palmquist, a freelance writer with a great interest in the Civil War. He maintains a twitter account at @CivilWarHumor. He often writes such interesting accounts of Civil War battles that go beyond dry chronologies of military movements and casualties. Unfortunately, reading these long essays on twitter is a PITA. I’ve done the control-c, control-v and slight editing to make it more readable.
I admire George Thomas more than any other general in The Late Unpleasantness. That he defeated Hood at Nashville is no surprise. The numbers were on Thomas’ side. He didn’t just want a victory, his intent was to utterly destroy Hood’s army and remove it from the battlefield for all time. He did just that. Hood’s army was already mortally wounded at Battle of Franklin two weeks earlier. His frontal assault against Union defensive lines at Franklin dwarfed Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg in size and casualties. In addition to over 6,000 killed, wounded and captured, Hood lost 14 generals and 44 regimental commanders in that one fateful charge.
The Battle of Nashville
OTD [15 December] in 1864, as a heavy fog at 4 a.m. masked their movements, George Thomas’s army left its Nashville fortifications and marched out to battle John Hood’s Rebels, dug into their own fieldworks ringing the city. But Thomas almost didn’t get a chance to lead his men that day…
For the past few weeks, an impatient U.S. Grant, newly in charge of all the Union armies, had been urging Thomas from D.C. to ATTACK. Thomas explained he was waiting on cavalry mounts and a break in the weather. But even as Thomas moved out, Grant was moving to replace him. Indeed, Gen. John Logan was already on a train, sent ahead by Grant to relieve Thomas – the famed Rock of Chickamauga! – on the eve of battle. It was an unenviable mission for Logan, but I guess you could say he was caught between a rock (of Chickaumaga) and a hard place. Later, Logan’s wife claimed he heroically dragged his heels, even sending an aide ahead to warn Thomas that he was coming. I picture Logan lingering in a railway bathroom, applying an extra coat of Bedazzling Cream to his ‘stache until … “Oops, I missed the train again. Darn.”
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