Saturday 28 September 2019

Them Crittenden Brothers

George Bibb Crittenden (March 20, 1812) and Thomas Leonidas Crittenden (May 15, 1819) were both sons of Republican politician John J. Crittenden and both of them served as generals in the American War Between The States . . . but on different sides.

George threw in his lot with the Confederacy and was in charge at the Battle of Mill Springs when the Confererates sustained their first significant defeat. Georhe's military career went downhill after that, the slide notably lubricated by dhrink. He was cashiered for dereliction or duty and drunkeness three months later, restored to rank two weeks later and finally resigned his commission in October 1862.

Thomas fought for the Union and rose to be a General in The Army of the Cumberland. During the blame-game following the Battle of Chickamauga - a major Union defeat. Thomas was removed from his command because the overall commander Gen. William Rosecrans needed a scapegoat for his incompetence. Subsequent enquiry restored Thomas and sacked Rosecrans. His son John J. Crittenden III fought and died with Custer at the Little Big Horn in 1876.

Both brothers survived the war which is more than can be said for many who served under them. Success in war is partly luck and partly competence and partly good planning and commissariat.  Being habitually drunk is not an abolute impediment to success as attested by the rise and rise of General, later President, Ulysses S. Grant -- who may, or may not, have been partial to the booze.

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