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Which General would you have least liked to face? - General Civil War Talk - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Sun Jul 20th, 2008 07:42 pm
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Captain Crow
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"...clean guns" that's good LOL!



 Posted: Sat Jul 26th, 2008 05:07 am
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Kentucky_Orphan
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Entirely based on the circumstances facing me, the overall situation, and my position, it would vary and without said info it is very difficult to pick which commander I would least care to square off against.

If I was, say, a cavalry commander of a large force attached to one of the larger armies, and my principal duty was too screen that army and gather information, I would not mind in the least to go up against the likes of Sheridan (especially his first few months as commander of cavalry in AoP) and Forrest. Forrest becuase of his limited time in performing such a task, Sheridan because of his woeful lack of understanding of this role in the Overland campaign. I would not like to fight  against either in a pitched battle, however.

If I was in command of an infantry division, I would not care to face off against any number of opposites including Hood, either Hill in ANV, Hooker,  (is it just me or do confederate division commanders recieve more credit than their Federal counterparts), Ewell etc. Notice that those I listed that rose above division command performed unspectacuarly at the highest rank, whether corps or Army, that they achieved.

As an Army commander, major or minor, I would hate to face Lee or Grant regardless of circumstances.

The poster who mentioned Forrest as being over-rated? No offense, but I believe that to be Bull mularky. Forrest faced smaller names because he commanded a smaller force in a smaller theater against smaller forces. To imply that he faced weak competition is absurd. The men he faced off against, in pitched fighting, as often as not had excellent qualifications for their postings.Only after they got their you know what handed to them by a commander with an inferior, numerically and materialy, force can someone  look back and say "Oh, he must have been  facing really bad commanders".



 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 02:47 am
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The Iron Duke
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I would have to agree that Forrest is a good choice simply because the man was so unpredictable.

Robert.



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 Posted: Fri Aug 1st, 2008 02:23 pm
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ole
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Believe you've captured the essence of the discussion, Orphan. It all depends on the context and the circumstances.

ole



 Posted: Sun Aug 10th, 2008 08:27 pm
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TheColoBearer
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Gen.Sherman and Gen.Johnston(the one killed at Shiloh)



 Posted: Wed Aug 13th, 2008 12:48 am
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Wrap10
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Hi ColorBearer,

Just curious, why Albert Sidney Johnston as one of the generals you would least like to face?

Perry



 Posted: Fri Aug 15th, 2008 01:25 am
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TheColoBearer
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Wrap10 wrote: Hi ColorBearer,

Just curious, why Albert Sidney Johnston as one of the generals you would least like to face?

Perry

His use of tactics was unmatched by any other general at the time. The fact that the confederates had the yankee's in the position they were in was of his doing.



 Posted: Fri Aug 15th, 2008 11:34 pm
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Wrap10
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Hi Todd,

I'm not sure I follow. Are you referring to Shiloh? If so, what tactics did Johnston employ that might be considered unmatched by other commanders?

Perry



 Posted: Fri Aug 15th, 2008 11:40 pm
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javal1
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Yea, that confused me as well. Best I recall, ASJ basically shirked his duty and turned the planing over to PGT. Certainly not a bright, shining moment.



 Posted: Sun Aug 17th, 2008 01:45 pm
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Wrap10
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That does seem to be one of the major criticisms leveled at him, is that he seemed to lean so heavily on Beauregard. I think in their respective books, Mcdonough and Daniel pretty much nail him to the wall for this, among other things, Sword and Cunningham somewhat less so.

But as for the tactics employed at Shiloh, I don't really see how they were unique. Generally speaking, the Confederates launched a series of frontal assaults on the various Union positions on the 6th. Granted they did come close to winning the battle that day, but they also came close to making a bloody wreck of their own army in the process. And unfortunately for men on both sides in that war, the frontal assaults at Shiloh weren't unique.

Even the attack that Johnston himself helped lead, where he was mortally wounded, was a giant frontal assault on the Union army's left flank. It eventually became a flank attack, or a giant turning movement, and probably would have even if Johnston had lived and continued to direct it. But it began as a head-on assault that relied on numbers and sheer force, which was pretty much the pattern for the southern army all day.

I think Johnston did well at Shiloh in some respects, and much less so in others. I also think Stacy Allen is probably right about Johnston having a faulty idea of how the Union army was aligned relative to the river, and how far from the landing his own army was. Basically, Allen believes that, due to faulty maps, Johnston envisioned the Union army as facing west instead of southwest, and apparently believed he hit, and turned, Grant's left flank instead of the center when he clobbered Prentiss. And he also thought he was considerably closer to Pittsburg Landing at the start of the battle than was actually the case. I think perhaps by a mile or so, but I can't remember. So he spent most if not all of the battle with an incorrect image in his head of exactly what was taking place. Stacy Allen believes this was a major factor in the battle, and he's probably right.

Perry



 Posted: Sat Aug 30th, 2008 05:48 am
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44th VA INF
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I am a confedrate so if i had to pick a YANKEE GENREAL that i would not want to face it would ''Fighting Joe Hooker''



 Posted: Thu Sep 11th, 2008 06:47 pm
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martymtg
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I'm impressed by the quality of all these last several comments.

I would throw W.S. Hancock into the mix, also. He was fearless, tactically sound, and he showed ability to manage in all kinds of situations. Even when his men were under great pressure he seemed to instill a calm in them, and even when under pressured retreat he always maintained order.

If he hadn't been wounded, I believe he'd have assaulted the retreat instead of just watching the remnants of Pickett's troops retire back down the ridge. And I can only wonder how he'd have reacted to Meade's decision to allow the AoNV to slide back over the Potomac unhindered.

Last edited on Thu Sep 11th, 2008 06:48 pm by martymtg



 Posted: Thu Sep 11th, 2008 07:23 pm
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ole
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If he hadn't been wounded, I believe he'd have assaulted the retreat instead of just watching the remnants of Pickett's troops retire back down the ridge. And I can only wonder how he'd have reacted to Meade's decision to allow the AoNV to slide back over the Potomac unhindered.
I don't agree, but there is that possibility.

ole



 Posted: Thu Sep 11th, 2008 10:49 pm
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martymtg
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44th,

'Fighting' Joe Hooker was a misnomer, as Lincoln found out.



 Posted: Sun Sep 14th, 2008 09:00 pm
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Half Moon Tune
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I just discovered this website last night and am glad I did! I have run across many Civil War Forums, but none as good as this one, so Greetings!

cklarson, I do not have the education or experience of a West Point graduate, but I must disagree with this man's opinion of Forrest as being overblown. General Sherman certainly did not have a low opinion of Forrest. Sherman said that there would never be any peace in the west as long as "that devil Forrest is loose!" Sherman saw Forrest as the #1 threat to the Union in his area of operations.

Forrest is the only man I know who entered the Civil War as a private and finished as a general. There was a reason for that. Many historians when asked who the greatest Calvary leader of the Civil War would answer Forrest, rather than JEB Stuart, or Custer, or Phil Sheridan. Forrest has a reputation for a reason, as did General Jackson, whose strategies and tactics are still studied at West Point today. Thank you for letting me be a part of this discussion.

Last edited on Sun Sep 14th, 2008 09:01 pm by Half Moon Tune



 Posted: Sun Sep 14th, 2008 09:23 pm
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Half Moon Tune
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I would have to pick Forrest, but for a Yankee I would chose Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, and I don't mean just becasue of what he accomplished at Gettysberg. In my opinion he is one of the most underrated generals in history. If you have never read his book "The Passing of the Armies" I would encourage you to do so. The man was a great American and a great general who never seemed to lose his head in battle, reguardless of the odds. He was always in the thick of fighting and was wounded several times, one time being sent home to die, but he came back. Many years later when he did die it was from complications caused by his old wounds.

Like many generals, he wsa prometed to the rank of brevet general. With just weeks away from the end of the war, General Grant pushed through a full promotion for General Chamberlain in recognition of all he did for the Northern cause. Grant didn't want the war to end with Chamberlain being just a "brevet" General. When the war was over, Chamberlain was a full fledged general. Truly he was a great American and an example of the American "citizen soldier" at it's best.



 Posted: Sun Sep 14th, 2008 09:37 pm
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Texas Defender
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Half Moon Tune-

  Actually, General Chamberlain's promotion to brigadier general was not a brevet promotion, but was a full rank promotion. It did not come at the end of the war, but in June of 1864. (He was later given a brevet promotion to major general).

  What was unusual about the promotion was that it was made in the field by General Grant. Colonel Chamberlain was badly wounded and his wound was declared mortal by a surgeon.( As it turned out, it took another 50 years for the wound to prove mortal.)

  General Grant made the promotion in the belief that the gallant Chamberlain would soon die , but he actually outlived General Grant by almost 30 years.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Biography

Joshua Chamberlain - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

US Civil War Generals - FAQ This site discusses the battlefield promotion.



 Posted: Sun Sep 14th, 2008 10:07 pm
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Half Moon Tune
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Thank you for that note. Chamberlain mentions it in his book that I referenced earlier and I'll have to go back and find the reference, but he distinctly mentions a promotion pushed through by Grant just days before the end of the war. I have the book at hand and will look for the place. I'll let you know what I find. Thanks again.



 Posted: Sun Sep 14th, 2008 10:22 pm
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Texas Defender
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Half Moon Tune-

  General Chamberlain was promoted to brevet major general (after Five Forks) on 01 April 1865, a week before Appomattox. But he was already a BG, USV at the time.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (1828 - 1914) - Find A Grave Memorial



 Posted: Sun Sep 14th, 2008 10:33 pm
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Half Moon Tune
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General Chamberlain speaks (on page 268-269 of his book) of something he considered a terrible evil, namely the giving out of undeserved brevet promotions in the final days of the war. He mentions that officers who requested could be given a brevet raise of one grade, and he felt this was wrong if the promotion was not deserved. He mentions on page 269 that in the first battle of the last campaign he received "the brevet of Major-General for special service reported by my corps commander, I did not offically accept the latter until we reached Washington"

I have not found the source I was looking for concerning a promotion to a full rank (not a brevet) in the last days of the war. I may be wrong (won't be the first time!) but in things like this I rarely am. A couple of years ago I did a lot of reading concerning General Chamberlain from many different books and sources and it may have come from another source. Then again, I could be all wet, but I don't think so. I'll let you know what I find.



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