View single post by Wrap10
 Posted: Sun Jul 20th, 2008 01:30 pm
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Wrap10
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There would be several commanders from the war that I'd be less than enthusiastic about facing, including some of the one already named here. But if I were to pick just one that I absolutely would not want for an opponent, it would have to be Grant.

It's often said of men such as Forrest, Cleburne, Jackson, or Lee, that they were fearless, relentless, could read their opponent like a book, could adapt their plans to a changing situation, or learned from their mistakes. Grant was all of these things. He was also not the same commander in 1865 that he had been in 1861 or 1862. He grew, learned, and adapted.

As for how Grant may have fared as a Confederate general, it's a good question, even though we can't really answer it. But personally I think he would have done well. After Fort Donelson surrendered, Buckner told Grant that had he, Buckner, been in command, Grant would not have found it so easy to approach the fort in the way that he had. Grant replied that had Buckner been in command, he would not have tried it in the way that he did.

Grant and Buckner were friends in the old army and the exchange may have been partly in jest. But I also think there's truth in it, and that it reflects the kind of commander Grant was. There was more to Grant than the simple, head-down, straight-forward bulldog of legend. He was a thinking general, and did his best to reason his way through whatever situation he faced.

Had he commanded on the southern side, then in my opinion it would have been no different. He would have attempted to adapt his overall approach to the means at hand, and reason his way through to the best of his ability.

If I were up against Grant, I may not have been terrified, but I would have had serious concerns about my long-term prospects as a commander. For every opponent he faced in the war, Grant proved to be the end game. They may have beaten him in a battle on occasion, but none of them ever figured out how to beat him in a campaign.

Grant sent a message to Lincoln at the start of the Overland Campaign that no matter what happened, there would be no turning back. For me, that, in a nutshell, is how you define Grant. Sooner or later, whatever it took, and whoever the opponent, he found a way to win.

Perry

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