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 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2011 01:23 am
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csamillerp
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Something that has been perplexing me for a while now is Lee's tendency to order frontal assaults on very strong positions. The major ones would be malvern hill and the pickett pettigrew trimble charge. It has got me thinking that maybe with jackson Lee was just a mediocre offensive commander. I know by me saying that i'll ruffle alot of feathers but i'm also a southerner and I'm not saying Lee was a bad general, whether he was a great offensive commmander or not he still remains one of the greatest generals of all time because of his way to fight a war with limited to no resources and instilling the love of his troops. But i want to know everyones view on this... was lee's only offensive successes possible because of jackson? and if so do you think jackson would have been a better commander?



 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2011 01:40 am
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BobInFla
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Jackson excelled as a Corps-sized Commander. I don't think he would have been  nearly as capable of commanding at a higher level as Lee was with the AoNV.   



 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2011 01:44 am
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csamillerp
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Jackson was never put in command of an army sized command though so it would folly to think that he wouldnt have made a good army commander. is actions and success in the valley shows that he was an excellent commander of a solo force



 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2011 01:50 am
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Hellcat
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I was just looking at BedWell's War is All Hell: A Collection of Civil War Quotations today and kinda had to chuckle at of the quotes in relation to some of what we've recently been discussing. Both in relation to Malvern Hill.

The idea of stealing away in the night from such a position, after such a victory, was Simply galling.

     Capt. William Biddle, aide on McClellan's staff

 

Under normal circumstances the Federal Army should have been destroyed.

     Robert E. Lee

 

I think in relation to this question that might say something. It really sounds like Lee felt like he should have succeeded not only in dislodging McClellan but in destroying his army. And by contrast Biddle sounds like he thought they should have held the position, maybe let Lee try again.

There's also the whole Granny Lee and King of Spades thing when it comes to Lee. It could be possible that his actions offensively could have at times been in response to the ridicule he got early in the war. By Gettysburg the army's opinion of Lee had changed, but it is possible that these nicknames tended to come back to haunt him and he had to prove himself to at least himself. Or that he simply tended to stretch himself at times when he shouldn't have and the nicknames had absolutely nothing to do with it.



 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2011 02:02 am
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BobInFla
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csamillerp wrote: Jackson was never put in command of an army sized command though so it would folly to think that he wouldnt have made a good army commander. is actions and success in the valley shows that he was an excellent commander of a solo force
To suggest Jackson might have been better AoNV commander than Lee is pure speculation.   I think Jackson "army" in the Valley Campaign only numbered  at most 17,000 men. The Army of Norther Virgina numbers' varied from 50,000 to 90,000.  Jackson's  Valley  campaign started with a tactical defeat at Kernstown when faulty intelligence led him to believe he was attacking a small detachment. He had certain advantages in the Valley Campaign (e.g., on friendly territory and interior lines),  not to mention facing pathetic incompetents like Fremont. 

Last edited on Mon Oct 31st, 2011 02:16 am by BobInFla



 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2011 02:30 am
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csamillerp
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the true fact is that jackson was an amazing leader. His troops loved him, he had created almost a legend persona about them. He only had one defeat that i can recall and almost all of his victories were stunning ones. He did have a tendency for aggressive attacks but he also went on the defense when needed. i think the true turning point of the war wasnt gettysburg but was the death of stonewall jackson



 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2011 05:35 am
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Hellcat
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I think the true turning point was Vicksburg.



 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2011 12:43 pm
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Mark
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Jackson didn't understand the political dimensions of the war and he had a nasty habit of never letting his subordinates know what his plans were. He was an excellent commander of an independent force, but he would have been awful in the capacity of Army Commander.

Mark



 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2011 05:21 pm
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BobInFla
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csamillerp wrote: the true fact is that jackson was an amazing leader. His troops loved him,
Jackson was a true eccentric. His secretive nature did not stand him in good stead with his subordinates, who were often not aware of his overall operational intentions until the last minute, and who complained of being left out of key decisions. I doubt if anyone was more revered in the Confeceracy than Rober E. Lee.



 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2011 06:13 pm
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Hellcat
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Actually, until his death Jackson was more loved than Lee.



 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2011 07:12 pm
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BobInFla
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who was more "loved" by his soldiers is a subjective opinion and a rather pointless argument. At most Jackson, had 17,000 men in his army. Lee had anywhere between 50,000 to 90,000. I really doubt if Lee's men loved Jackson more. For the sake of argument, if in Lee's Army of 68,000 only half of them (34,000)  loved Lee and all of Jaclson's 17.000 loved Jackson, who was loved more - Lee whom 34,000 loved or Jackson who was only loved by 17,000? :P Who and why the propaganda-inspired civilians loved and admired  more  as compared to whom and why  the soldiers in the field loved and admired is not the same. The soldiers in the Union Army of the Potomac loved McClellan. So what? No doubt that he cared for his army that he created but stunk as a tactician and battlefield commander.  

Last edited on Mon Oct 31st, 2011 07:13 pm by BobInFla



 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2011 08:19 pm
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HankC
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Not sure I would call it a 'tendency'. Flank attacks and *defending* against frontal assaults were more his forte.

Malvern Hill was a complex plan that fell through, but overall casualties were not so lop-sided as Pickett's Charge.

Gaines Mill was also a frontal assault. It 'succeeded' too late in the day against too small a portion of the AotP...



 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2011 08:34 pm
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BobInFla
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At Gettysburg, Lee kept probing for the weak spot in the Union position. His flanking movements failed. He failed to breakthrough the Union's right flank (Culp's Hill), failed to breakthrough the Union's left flank (Round Tops and Peach Orchard), so he reasoned that the Union center must be the weak spot, thus Pickett's charge.  

Last edited on Mon Oct 31st, 2011 08:35 pm by BobInFla



 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2011 09:38 pm
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csamillerp
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I think everyone knows the story behind pickett's charge bob and i dont think you can call an attack by 12500 troops a probe. I know Lee preferred to attack in directly but occasionally he would chance those seemingly impossible assaults like Pickett's charge. Malvern Hill was a complex assault but so was Pickett's charge, with stuart going around the union lines at precisely the same time as ewell was suppose to break the union left and pickett to break the center. Most complexed plans during the civil war didnt work because of communication. Some of the best victories was due to simple plans. I dont disagree with you that Lee was more revered but you have to remember Jackson had a name for himself when Lee was just a footnote in the civil war



 Posted: Tue Nov 1st, 2011 01:57 am
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Old Blu
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Good response, CSA.



 Posted: Tue Nov 1st, 2011 04:14 am
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BobInFla
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csamillerp wrote:  i dont think you can call an attack by 12500 troops a probe.
agree. By "probe" I meant Lee was in fact always attacking what he hoped were  the Union's "weak spot" at Gettysburg. His two initial attacks were on the Union right and left flanks: Culp's Hill and the Round Tops. Not achieving success there led him to assume that the center must be weak.



 Posted: Tue Nov 1st, 2011 08:13 am
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Cogswell Pepperbox
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Hellcat wrote: I think the true turning point was Vicksburg.
+1



 Posted: Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 03:01 am
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csamillerp
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Lee took an educated guess, but Lee was too brilliant to think his attack would have any success i kind of think maybe pickett's charge was a diversion to draw troops away from the union right flank. Supposedly lee thought the union center was weakened to reinforce the two flanks if that was so why would he start with a large artillery bombardment that took all morning to assemble? The union wasnt blind they had a clear veiw of the confederates on seminary ridge. If Lee had any hope of victory by assaulting the center then why the display of force with 140-160 pieces of artillery and 12500 men moving into position? I think it was a diversion that resorted into a full out attack when ewell attacked culps hill too early. Lee had seen what happens to infantry that crossed opened ground at fredricksburg he had personally seen it at malvern hill and antietam and 2nd manassas, i find it inconcievable to think that Lee was nieve enough to think his troops wouldnt suffer the same fate as those that participated in burnsides attack on marye's hieghts



 Posted: Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 03:03 am
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csamillerp
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oh and by the way thanks old blu



 Posted: Wed Nov 2nd, 2011 04:12 pm
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j harold 587
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The federal lines at Gettysburg were a triangle defense. The fishhook was not mentioned untill the 1880s. The training of the time taught that a commander would strike each leg of the triangle and if no breakthrough was acheived the assault the point as the reasoning was that the center had been weakened to reenforce the legs. The West Point trained commanders in the center were anticipating an assault there as several regiments who were armed with smoothbore muskets had advised their troops to double charge their cartridges in anticipation of an assault. Lee also had received inteligence from the Georgians who had a temporary breakthrough on 07/02.



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