View single post by PvtClewell
 Posted: Tue Mar 18th, 2008 06:04 pm
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Joined: Wed Jun 13th, 2007
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 420

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That's a very nice post, HankC.

Allow me to add that I think the great generals displayed qualities of resolve, a courage of conviction, an ability to inspire and maintain the confidence of their men, and showed an ability to successfully adjust their plans in the fog of war. Most good plans almost always go awry under fire and a good commander finds ways to adjust.

Grant, Sherman, Lee, Cleburne, Jackson, Forrest immediately come to mind. I might reserve judgment on Longstreet, Meade, Thomas and Sheridan, who I think could be borderline great. That's off the top of my bald head and I'll hate myself later for neglecting others.

Joanie, you might have to explain to me why your respect for Grant dwindles. Isn't he the consummate soldier? He forced the surrender of three Confederate armies totaling about 89,000 troops. He was successful in two different theatres demanding two different types of warefare.

I think your comparison of Grant to Genghis Khan is too severe. In the preface of Jean Edward Smith's biography on Grant, Smith writes: 'Grant made victory look easy. The clarity of his conception and the simplicity of his execution imparted a new dimension to military strategy. Grant ignored Southern cities, rail junctions and other strategic points (me: hardly a Genghis Khan) and concentrated on destroying the enemy army. His systematic deployment of overwhelming force not only led to victory in 1865, but established the strategic doctrine that became the basis for American triumphs in two world wars and more recently in the Persian Gulf. Grant's personal contribution demands recognition.'

You don't have to accept that overview, but I think it's accurate. In fact, I think Grant would have been exactly the kind of commander the Confederacy could have used. I think he's kind of like Patton — fast, mobile, hard-hitting.

Apparently, the debate is engaged.

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