Civil War Interactive Discussion Board Home
Home Search search Menu menu Not logged in - Login | Register


Was Lee an Audacious Commander? - Robert E. Lee - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
 Moderated by: javal1 Page:    1  2  Next Page Last Page  
 New Topic   Reply   Printer Friendly 
 Rate Topic 
AuthorPost
 Posted: Wed Aug 13th, 2008 03:13 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
1st Post
5fish
Member


Joined: Sun Jul 13th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 141
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

I bring the following question to this board: 


Was Lee the audacious commander as historians have portrait to be?

The next is what Freeman mention about Lee's audacity.

From Freeman's great biography of Lee:
=====

1. Lee was inspired to audacity. This was, perhaps, his greatest strategical lesson in Mexico, for all the circumstances favored a daring course on the part of his teacher. The nucleus of Scott's army was professional; the forces that opposed them were ill-trained and poorly led. Scott could attempt and could achieve in Mexico what even he, bold as he was, would not have undertaken p296 against an army as well disciplined as his own. Some of his actions were little more than sham battles with ball cartridges, and were, in one sense, about as good schooling as could be devised for a beginner in the practice of strategy. When it is remembered that the son of "Light-Horse Harry" received his practical instruction, in that particular campaign, under as daring a soldier as Scott, and followed that by a study of Napoleon, it will not be surprising that audacity, even to the verge of seeming overconfidence, was the guiding principle of the strategy he employed as the leader of a desperate cause.


I have read other historians talk about Lee's audacity and many mention he had to take risk to win battles because he always had a smaller and less supplied army then his opponent. I think about this and I do not see such an audacious commander as historians have told us.

One can say Chancellorsville was and audacious move and maybe his first strike at Grant in the Wilderness then after those it becomes tougher. Fredericksburg, Sharpsburg, and Gettysburg I am not seeing any audacity just will fought battles.

Do we call Pickett's charge or Malvern Hill assaults audacious acts or something less kind??

I think maybe the audacity of Lee is more folklore then reality.....

An understanding needed.......

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 Posted: Wed Aug 13th, 2008 03:34 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
2nd Post
5fish
Member


Joined: Sun Jul 13th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 141
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Deleted....#%$#...

Last edited on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 01:07 pm by 5fish



 Posted: Wed Aug 13th, 2008 02:05 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
3rd Post
The Iron Duke
Member


Joined: Tue Jul 29th, 2008
Location: Georgia USA
Posts: 333
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Yes I do believe that Lee was a very audacious commander. Did Joe Johnston, Beauregard, AS Johnston, or Bragg throw caution to the wind like Lee did? Lee was extremely aggressive.



____________________
"Cleburne is here!" meant that all was well. -Daniel Harvey Hill


 Posted: Wed Aug 13th, 2008 04:58 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
4th Post
5fish
Member


Joined: Sun Jul 13th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 141
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

The Iron Duke wrote: Yes I do believe that Lee was a very audacious commander. Did Joe Johnston, Beauregard, AS Johnston, or Bragg throw caution to the wind like Lee did? Lee was extremely aggressive.

Does being aggressive mean you are audacious for Hood was aggressive so his he audacious or reckless. Is not audacity more about being a risk taker then being aggressive.

 

A wondering mind...



 Posted: Wed Aug 13th, 2008 07:28 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
5th Post
The Iron Duke
Member


Joined: Tue Jul 29th, 2008
Location: Georgia USA
Posts: 333
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Yes Hood was a very audacious commander as well. He tried to pull a Chancellorsville at Atlanta on July 22nd, 1864.



____________________
"Cleburne is here!" meant that all was well. -Daniel Harvey Hill


 Posted: Thu Aug 14th, 2008 04:13 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
6th Post
5fish
Member


Joined: Sun Jul 13th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 141
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

The Iron Duke wrote: Yes Hood was a very audacious commander as well. He tried to pull a Chancellorsville at Atlanta on July 22nd, 1864.

I agree Hood made a daring Chancellorsville like move but it failed due not to Hood doing but an observant Union General. Hood is not will received by Historians for his aggressiveness unlike Lee who is rewarded for his aggressiveness.

It must be like football all that counts are the W's...



 Posted: Thu Aug 14th, 2008 08:50 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
7th Post
The Iron Duke
Member


Joined: Tue Jul 29th, 2008
Location: Georgia USA
Posts: 333
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Hood was incompetent whereas Lee was not.



____________________
"Cleburne is here!" meant that all was well. -Daniel Harvey Hill


 Posted: Fri Aug 15th, 2008 12:02 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
8th Post
5fish
Member


Joined: Sun Jul 13th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 141
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

The Iron Duke wrote: Hood was incompetent whereas Lee was not.
I completely disagree with your assumption that Hood was incompetent that is another discussion....Hood did much with an inferior force against a superior foe.



 Posted: Sat Aug 16th, 2008 01:39 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
9th Post
The Iron Duke
Member


Joined: Tue Jul 29th, 2008
Location: Georgia USA
Posts: 333
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

I'm game if you are...



____________________
"Cleburne is here!" meant that all was well. -Daniel Harvey Hill


 Posted: Thu Aug 21st, 2008 01:10 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
10th Post
5fish
Member


Joined: Sun Jul 13th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 141
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

The Iron Duke wrote: I'm game if you are...

I would like to be game but first beyond Chancellorsville flanking move and maybe the gutties move to mashing into Grant's army at the Wilderness. Where's this audacious Lee?

Would we be saying Lee's audaious if the union had caught wind to Lee's Flanking move at Chancellorsville or just call him a dam fool.

What thoughts...

 

 

 



 Posted: Thu Aug 21st, 2008 04:40 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
11th Post
David White
Member


Joined: Tue Sep 6th, 2005
Location: Texas USA
Posts: 909
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

--Attacking during the 7 Days
--Splitting his forces and going on the offensive in the 2nd Manassas campaign
--Splitting his force three ways in the Antietam Campaign
--Holding his position the day after Antietam
--Opposing Davis on the ground to defend at Fredericksburg because he could not follow up with an offensive
--Chancellorsville Campaign force divided four ways and he is still attacking successfully
--Gettysburg on the offensive north again, on the offensive all three days of the battle (Pickett's Charge may be desperate in hindsight but it was unequivocally audacious)
-- Despite the thrashing of Gettysburg he is still attempting to seize the initiative and attack at Bristoe Station
--Wilderness
--North Anna he tries to do and nearly succeeds at what Davis wouldn’t let him do in December of 1862.
--Ft Stedman

I’m probably missing some things but go ahead, try to call the man not audacious one more time, I dare you! ;)



 Posted: Thu Aug 21st, 2008 11:04 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
12th Post
5fish
Member


Joined: Sun Jul 13th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 141
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

I will only quibble with a few of your points.

Lee's Relationship with Davis lack any audacity in it...

Attacking during the Seven days if I remember right Johnston had retreated as far as one could, plus Johnston attacked first and Lee followup from there...

2nd Masseuses was a classic flanking move nothing usual..

Gettysburg was not about being audacious but taking the advantage of an opportunity which Lee did not create for himself but was created by happenstance..

North Anna was just ingenious..

Ft Stedman is up there with Pickett's charge as fool hearty.

I did agree with Chancellorsville Wilderness, and Sharpsburg only because I have been beaten up over Sharpsburg in the past. I do not thinking staying an extra day counts as audacious even if your army is max out. Think about Lee was facing McClellan, I bet McClellan wanted to retreat as well.

I hope I have dare you well enough to bring you around to my way of thinking. for one is audacious if one wins if not then just foolish...

 

Off to Quibble...

 

 

 

 



 Posted: Thu Aug 21st, 2008 11:39 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
13th Post
Wrap10
Member


Joined: Sat Jul 28th, 2007
Location: Oklahoma USA
Posts: 97
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

5fish wrote: Does being aggressive mean you are audacious for Hood was aggressive so his he audacious or reckless. Is not audacity more about being a risk taker then being aggressive.
Taking risks, being aggressive, being audacious - Personally I think they can be one and the same. For me the question isn't whether Lee was any of these. He clearly was. The question is, did he sometimes cross the line from being aggressive or taking risks, to being reckless? I think he clearly did so on occasion. So I don't question that he was an audacious commander. I just think he tended to overdo it.

Would we be saying Lee's audaious if the union had caught wind to Lee's Flanking move at Chancellorsville or just call him a dam fool.

That's a very good point. But I think we might still call him a little of both. Or at least, we'd probably refer to the battle as either a foolish or daring gamble, made by a very audacious commander. In fact, you might refer to it that way in any case, even though it worked. Lee took calculated risks, there is no question about that to me. But I do sometimes wonder about his calculations.

Perry



 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2008 01:47 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
14th Post
Crazy Delawares
Member


Joined: Fri Feb 22nd, 2008
Location: New Jersey USA
Posts: 143
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

I believe Lee was audacious. I think he had to be. Sure he made mistakes ( my apologies to the members of the Marble Man Club) but, who the heck didn't.



 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2008 02:02 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
15th Post
The Iron Duke
Member


Joined: Tue Jul 29th, 2008
Location: Georgia USA
Posts: 333
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

5fish I was asking if you wanted to discuss Hood. Sorry for the mixup.



____________________
"Cleburne is here!" meant that all was well. -Daniel Harvey Hill


 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2008 01:16 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
16th Post
5fish
Member


Joined: Sun Jul 13th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 141
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

The Iron Duke wrote: 5fish I was asking if you wanted to discuss Hood. Sorry for the mixup.

No, I understood but it takes a lot to defend Hood because everyone thinks he is reckless and other less nice thing. I still had a little picking on Lee because his persona is so hihidden in myth. I try to get pass the myth...I bet if Lee had taken over the AoNV in 1864 and tried his risrisk moves with that army. We consider him reckless as well.

 

off...



 Posted: Fri Aug 22nd, 2008 01:28 pm
   PM  Quote  Reply 
17th Post
5fish
Member


Joined: Sun Jul 13th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 141
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Wrap10 wrote: 5fish wrote: Does being aggressive mean you are audacious for Hood was aggressive so his he audacious or reckless. Is not audacity more about being a risk taker then being aggressive.
Taking risks, being aggressive, being audacious - Personally I think they can be one and the same. For me the question isn't whether Lee was any of these. He clearly was. The question is, did he sometimes cross the line from being aggressive or taking risks, to being reckless? I think he clearly did so on occasion. So I don't question that he was an audacious commander. I just think he tended to overdo it.

Would we be saying Lee's audaious if the union had caught wind to Lee's Flanking move at Chancellorsville or just call him a dam fool.

That's a very good point. But I think we might still call him a little of both. Or at least, we'd probably refer to the battle as either a foolish or daring gamble, made by a very audacious commander. In fact, you might refer to it that way in any case, even though it worked. Lee took calculated risks, there is no question about that to me. But I do sometimes wonder about his calculations.

Perry



Thanks,

Insightful, yes, one must wonder where he got his calculation for Pickett's Charge and Ft. Stedman or did he know they where just rolling the dice hoping for providence. I will admit I think Lee was never reckless as one would say.

I think of the first a day at Gettysburg and he held back Anderson Div. in reserve instead of bring him to the field for he lack the man power to push the union troops off the hill. With Anderson Div. brought early to the field he would have had the man power to push the union troops off the hill. If he was audacious he would have used Anderson Div. but instead he played it safe.

Rumbling thoughts..

 



 Posted: Sat Aug 23rd, 2008 12:59 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
18th Post
Wrap10
Member


Joined: Sat Jul 28th, 2007
Location: Oklahoma USA
Posts: 97
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

Hi 5fish,

I see your point, but personally, I don't think each decision a commander made during a battle or campaign has to be risky or daring for that commander to be considered an audacious commander. It's more about the overall pattern, in my opinion. I suppose it's open to interpretation. But in general, I do view Lee as a major-league risk-taker.

Speaking of Gettysburg, one of the long-standing beliefs seems to be that if Lee had pushed Meade's troops off of Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill on the first day, he would have won the battle, and with it, perhaps the war. Assuming he actually was able to capture those positions, he probably does win the battle. But it's a very different battle than the one we know about. And since Meade only had two corps engaged on July 1st, the decisive battle of the campaign will probably take place somewhere else. Perhaps Mine Creek. Or maybe somewhere else. But I don't think the "one day battle of Gettysburg" would have decided the war even if Lee wins it.

Don't know why I had to throw that out there, but out there it is.

Perry



 Posted: Sat Aug 23rd, 2008 01:45 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
19th Post
javal1
Grumpy Geezer


Joined: Thu Sep 1st, 2005
Location: Tennessee USA
Posts: 1503
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

First - great thread. But I wonder if we're just having a problem of semantics here. There are multiple definitions of audacious:

1) invulnerable to fear or intimidation;

2) unrestrained by convention or propriety;

3) disposed to venture or take risks.

5fish, looking back a few posts, you say: "for one is audacious if one wins if not then just foolish...". It's there I tend to disagree, as I see that as redefining the definition of audacious. It seems that perhaps you are not questioning whether Lee was audacious, but rather the wisdom of the audaciousness. The results of any of the three definitions above can certainly be defeat. And even if you deny Lee #1 and #2, I don't see how #3 doesn't apply. Keep up the banter....enjoying it.



 Posted: Sat Aug 23rd, 2008 01:49 am
   PM  Quote  Reply 
20th Post
The Iron Duke
Member


Joined: Tue Jul 29th, 2008
Location: Georgia USA
Posts: 333
Status: 
Offline
Mana: 

  back to top

"No, I understood but it takes a lot to defend Hood because everyone thinks he is reckless and other less nice thing."

Hood's words and actions speak for themselves. That is why it's hard to defend the man.

"I bet if Lee had taken over the AoNV in 1864 and tried his risrisk moves with that army. We consider him reckless as well."

I don't understand what you are saying here.



____________________
"Cleburne is here!" meant that all was well. -Daniel Harvey Hill


 Current time is 02:15 pmPage:    1  2  Next Page Last Page  
Top




UltraBB 1.17 Copyright © 2007-2008 Data 1 Systems
Page processed in 0.3894 seconds (9% database + 91% PHP). 36 queries executed.