Saturday, March 28, 2020

George H Thomas 125 Years -- March 28, 2020

150 years ago today, on 28-March-1870, General George Thomas, USA died. This post is adapted from a 2013 item about General Thomas:

I recently read a wonderful essay by Lt Col Robert Bateman: The Meaning of Oaths and a Forgotten Man.  He talks about how Robert E Lee "was a traitor who should have been executed."  This is because Lee and other Regular Army officers who had sworn to protect and defend the United States should be regarded as traitorous opportunists who had violated their oaths and given up their honor.  He points to the example of George Henry Thomas of Virginia, a Regular Army officer who thought long and hard and when Virginia seceded and decided that "my oath of allegiance to the Federal government always came uppermost."

Colonel Bateman points out that Lee is idolized even though he killed tens of thousands of American soldiers, while Thomas, who remained loyal to his country and earned the nicknames "The Rock of Chickamauga" and "The Sledge of Nashville" by being one of the most effective generals on either side, is largely ignored except by historians.

General Thomas and his men stood fast at Chickamauga, preventing a Union defeat from turning into a rout.  Thomas destroyed Confederate General John Bell Hood's army at Nashville.  He continued to serve his country during Reconstruction. General George Henry Thomas died while serving as Commandant of the Presidio of San Francisco. 

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