Root Beer Lover
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|If we're talking which general was the better general then I don't have any qualms in saying Lee over Grant. If we're talking which general was ultimately more successful, I have to go with Grant over Lee. They met in battle at least fourteen times, of that number Lee won nine battles to Grants five. With fewer men and supplies Lee was still able to defeat Grant at least nine times. But ultimately Grant takes Petersburg, then Richmond falls, and finally Lee ends up surrendering to Grant, three events that prove crucial to the death of the Confederacy.
I'm not trying to deny Grant his due in saying Lee was the better general, but to say Grant was the better general because he ultimately defeated Lee is giving Grant too much due. I believe that the credit due to Grant in the Grant vs. Lee arguement is not that he ultimately defeated Lee but rather it's that he was willing to fight a war of attrition against Lee. As has been said several times, Grant was a bulldog who didn't simply back off and take a breather when he lost to Lee. He kept the pressure up, costing Lee troops and supplies he couldn't afford in the long run. If Grant lost a battle he just changed direction and kept going forward. He wasn't afraid to loose to Lee because he knew that each victory was actually more costly for Lee because he couldn't afford to replace the losses in quite the same way Grant could.