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Grant's Fall Guy--- "Meade" - General Civil War Talk - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 07:12 pm
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5fish
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Many if not all followers of Civil War history have wonder form time to time why Gen. Grant kept Gen. Meade in charge of the AoP. Historians and history buffs all thought because Gen. Meade did win Gettysburg, he was not afraid to fight, and he was competent general.

I beg to deffer with this insight to why Gen. Grant kept Gen Meade as commander of the AoP. After reading the Official reports about Shiloh where Gen. Grant writes glowing praise on Sherman and ignores Gen, Prentiss, and writes token praise of the other generals who fought to whole the line against the rebels at Shiloh, I believe Gen. Grant kept Gen. Meade on for one purpose only!

GEN. Grant kept GEN. MEADE around to be the scape goat if the Overland Campaign went bad!!!


After reading about how Gen. Grant and Gen. Halleck back stabbed Gen. Lew Wallace, I can see that Gen. Grant was not this naive political person but man who would sacrifice others for his own political gains and ends.

History treats Gen, Grant as a non-political person but think to get ahead an reach the high offices of the military you must be political. The man Gen Grant was not naive at politics or he would have never became the Head of all the armies.

Again Historians have failed to give us an honest image of a man named Grant, just like with Gen. Lee's image...

Why?

Gen. Meade was to be the fall guy if thing went bad against Gen. Lee!!!



 Posted: Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 07:57 pm
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PvtClewell
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5fish writes:History treats Gen, Grant as a non-political person but think to get ahead an reach the high offices of the military you must be political. The man Gen Grant was not naive at politics or he would have never became the Head of all the armies.

Grant was clearly apolitcal. There were times when a jealous Halleck tried to shunt Grant to the background despite Grant's previous success at Donelson, Henry and Shiloh. Grant was made General in Chief because he won battles and for no other reason.

It's a stretch to think that Grant had to climb over the backs of relatively minor subalterns like Prentiss or Wallace to achieve stature. I don't think so.


5fish writes:Again Historians have failed to give us an honest image of a man named Grant, just like with Gen. Lee's image...

Really? What do historians have to gain by presenting an alternative picture of Grant? Especially when the historical evidence, I think, more than suggests otherwise.


5fish writes:Gen. Meade was to be the fall guy if thing went bad against Gen. Lee!!!

One clear example to disprove this is Cold Harbor, a battle which was planned and executed by Meade. Yet Grant, who was trying to manage a line more than seven miles long, took the heat for the debacle, even publicly regretting that the June 3 assault, under his overall command, had been made at all. To me it seems more like a case of Grant protecting Meade instead of blaming him.



 Posted: Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 01:28 pm
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HankC
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5fish wrote: After reading the Official reports about Shiloh where Gen. Grant writes glowing praise on Sherman and ignores Gen, Prentiss, and writes token praise of the other generals who fought to whole the line against the rebels at Shiloh, I believe Gen. Grant kept Gen. Meade on for one purpose only!

GEN. Grant kept GEN. MEADE around to be the scape goat if the Overland Campaign went bad!!!



 
I do not follow how your conclusion follows from your evidence...
 
 
HankC



 Posted: Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 07:43 pm
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David White
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Pvt Clewell:

Grant was clearly apolitcal

That might be too bold a statement. The truth probably lies between your and 5fish's opinions. But Grant knew how and did play the political game. See what he did to McClernand during the Vicksburg Campaign and how many times he did things Lincoln wanted him to do when he didn't want to do them, e.g. send a corps of the AoP to protect DC during Early's Raid.



 Posted: Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 09:31 pm
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David,

Point taken. But I was considering the 'politics' of advancement through the ranks, which I'm pretty sure Grant didn't climb over the backs of others to achieve.

He certainly didn't aspire to any political office during the war.

And, yeah, if Lincoln's my boss, I guess I'd do well to listen to him. :)



 Posted: Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 11:41 pm
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I don't think Meade's being given any credit here, and I think he deserves some. And, for that matter, Grant, too.

Why would you hook yourself up to a weak, wimpy, unskilled general simply to use him as a "fall guy" if things went bad? In the meantime, you're willing to lose battles and men? Meade was no flashy, swashbuckling general, but he was solid, and even Grant knew that. The fact that Grant took credit for the debacle at Cold Harbor speaks volumes.

Pam



 Posted: Sat Apr 4th, 2009 04:43 pm
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5fish
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As pointed out Grant was better at politics then historians give him credit. As President he ended the political career of Senator Sumner after opposing him on buying half an island in the Caribbean.

Grant and Halleck join forces to use Lew Wallace as the "scape goat" for Shiloh.

Even with Cold Harbor, the Overland Campaign was obvious successful to anyone observing it. Grant was catching flak for the numbers of dead and wounded but he was perceived as winning against Bobby Lee.

  The problem with my assertion is that the Overland campaign was such a success that Grant never needed a "scape goat."

PvtClewell, you know that Grant's promotion to LT. Gen. was as much a political one as for him winning battles. If he would have said he wanted to be President or was a Democrat he would not have gotten the job...

musing...

 



 Posted: Sat Apr 4th, 2009 05:26 pm
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ole
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One doesn't get to be a Lt. General without some weighty politician carrying the ball.

I just don't see Grant playing that card. He got Lincoln's notice because he won. Consistently. Almost always. He wasn't looking at an office after the war; he just sought to win. Lincoln could see that. And Lincoln let him take the reins because of that simple fact.

Here was a man who prosecuted the war to win it; there was no "I want to be the next president."

Without Washburne, Grant would not have made Brigadier. After that, Grant stood on his own accomplishments. He nurtured the Sherman and Sheridan and McPherson, and cut the legs off McClernand. Not exactly apolitical, but not exactly political either. He made his army HIS army. If you did not want to play his game his way, sayonara. You get to play army in Oregon.

In Grant, I see a simple man with a simple end-game. He was going to kick the crap out of whoever stood in his way to winning. No presidential aspirations, no trophies or medals, just win.

Sherman got his jollies by realizing that he was better than he thought. I wonder, sometimes, if Grant wasn't in the same boat.

Ole



 Posted: Sat Apr 4th, 2009 06:30 pm
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5fish writes'Grant and Halleck join forces to use Lew Wallace as the "scape goat" for Shiloh.'

Grant needed a scapegoat for a victory?

Grant's main displeasure with Lew Wallace is that Wallace and his command took the wrong road at Shiloh, and Wallace himself appeared not to understand the urgency of the move, marching at a leisurely pace. He showed up after 7 p.m. after the first day's fighting was over, taking 10 hours for what should have been a 2-hour march. If I'm Grant, I'm hacked off at Wallace, too.


5fish writes'Even with Cold Harbor, the Overland Campaign was obvious successful to anyone observing it. Grant was catching flak for the numbers of dead and wounded but he was perceived as winning against Bobby Lee.'

Perceived as winning? Lee was constantly outmaneuvered by Grant and ends up caught in a siege. No perception there, I think.

The Overland Campaign was costly, no doubt about that. But by percentage, Lee suffers more casualties (about 50 percent) than Grant (about 45 percent) from the Rapidan to the James. Grant is on the offensive, which inherently incurs more casualties than fighting a defensive action.


5fish writes'PvtClewell, you know that Grant's promotion to LT. Gen. was as much a political one as for him winning battles...'

Excuse me while I turn to a historian, but Jean Edward Smith writes in his biography of Grant that after Chattanooga, "honors descended on Grant. The citizens of Galena and Jo Daviess County subscribed for a diamond-hilted sword with a gold scabbard...'

'...Inevitably legislation was introduced to revive the rank of lieutenant general, last held by George Washington in 1798. The bill was sponsored by Elihu Washburne in the House and James Doolittle of Wisconsin in the Senate and the purpose was to ensure that Grant, for whom the rank was intended, would assume command of the Union military effort. According to Senator Doolittle, Grant had won 17 battles, captured 100,000 prisoners and taken 500 pieces of artillery. 'He has organized victory from the beginning, and I want him in a position where he can organize final victory and bring it to our armies and put an end to the rebellion."'

Politicians are required to revive the rank of lieutenant general, but Grant did not use politics to attain the rank.


5fish writes'If he would have said he wanted to be President or was a Democrat he would not have gotten the job'

Smith writes this:

'...Grant received a letter from the chairman of the Democratic party in Ohio requesting that he permit his name to be placed in nomination (for the presidency). "The question astonishes me," Grant replied. "I do not know of anything I have ever done or said which would indicate that I could be a candidate for any office whatever." Grant said he would continue to do his duty to suppress the rebellion, and would support whatever administration was in power. Recognizing that even a denial on his part might lead to further speculation, Grant asked the Ohio chairman to keep the correspondence private. "But wherever you hear my name mentioned, say you know from me direct that I am not 'in the field.'"


5fish writes'As President he ended the political career of Senator Sumner after opposing him on buying half an island in the Caribbean.'

By the time Grant is elected president, he'd better be political. It's part of the job description. When Sumner opposed Grant's annexation plan for Santo Domingo (which Grant mistakenly thought he had Sumner's support), Sumner was already 80 years old. Sumner actually left the Republican Party to join with the Liberal Republicans in an effort to elect Horace Greely as president, so his career was hardly over. He was still a senator when he died in 1874.



 Posted: Sun Apr 5th, 2009 10:31 pm
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5fish
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PvtClewell

We have discuss Grant's raise to become Commander of all the armies before. I will try to review it for you. After his victories at Vicksburg and Chattanooga, Grant was the most popular soul in the land...His name was being used in some circles as to run for President.

Washburne and other approached Lincoln about revising Lt. Gen. position and promoting Grant to Lt. General. Lincoln was open to the idea but he had some concerns. He wanted to know if Grant had any desire to be President and to see if he was a Democrat or Republican....He truly wanted to know if Grant was a political threat or not.

Lincoln and Grant shared a mutual friend(can't remember the name) and Lincoln sent this mutual friend to talk to Grant and find out what were Grant's desires...The friend came back and told Lincoln, Grant had no desire to President and he was a Republican.

Grant by winning battles put him in position to achieve the honor as Lt. General but it was politics that got him the job....

Grant's record with politically powerful Generals is stellar for he outmaneuvered and dispatched with them all ....Grant also became president even if your are popular it still take political skills become President...He did end Sen. Sumner's power in the Senate,,

For the record Lew Wallace was the "scape goat" for Shiloh... He was young and Halleck and Grant offered him up to save thier skins.. It was Grant that was surprised at Shiloh not Lew Wallace...

It is said Grant was of mind to replace Meade until he meet him...He supposedly like his candor and humility. I think Grant like Meade not being very political which means he could easily outmaneuvered and make him a "Scape goat"....

A musing....

 

 

 

  

 

 



 Posted: Sun Apr 5th, 2009 11:09 pm
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PvtClewell
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5fish,

Sorry, I happen to disagree with all of your premises and thus your conclusions, which I also happen to feel are not supported by the historical record. Witness my previous responses.

We will have to agree to disagree.



 Posted: Mon Apr 6th, 2009 01:54 am
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5fish wrote: PvtClewell

We have discuss Grant's raise to become Commander of all the armies before. I will try to review it for you. After his victories at Vicksburg and Chattanooga, Grant was the most popular soul in the land...His name was being used in some circles as to run for President.

Washburne and other approached Lincoln about revising Lt. Gen. position and promoting Grant to Lt. General. Lincoln was open to the idea but he had some concerns. He wanted to know if Grant had any desire to be President and to see if he was a Democrat or Republican....He truly wanted to know if Grant was a political threat or not.

Lincoln and Grant shared a mutual friend(can't remember the name) and Lincoln sent this mutual friend to talk to Grant and find out what were Grant's desires...The friend came back and told Lincoln, Grant had no desire to President and he was a Republican.

Grant by winning battles put him in position to achieve the honor as Lt. General but it was politics that got him the job....



Correlation does not imply causation. Whoever leads the victorious Union armies was practically assured of gaining such rewards. Similarly, I expect an NCAA men's basketball team to visit the White House in the near future. However, at this moment we do not know who (go Heels) it will be.

It may have been politics that landed Grant the LtGen job, but it wasn't *Grant's* politics...

 

HankC

 



 Posted: Mon Apr 6th, 2009 02:17 pm
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5fish
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I pulled this off another board where I had a similar discussion:


We all know that Charles Dana was planted under Grant's commands in order to report/spy to Stanton.

While looking in the OR's for some thing else, I found this interesting nugget (as so often seems to be the case):


Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON.

Secretary of War.

CITY POINT, VA., July 7, 1864-8 a.m.

(Received 6 p.m.)

A change in the commander of the Army of the Potomac, now seems probable. Grant has great confidence in Meade, and is much attached to him personally, but the almost universal dislike of Meade which prevails among officers of every rank who come in contact with him, and the difficulty of doing business with him felt by every one except Grant himself, so greatly impair his capacities for usefulness and render success under his command so doubtful that Grant seems to be coming to the conviction that he must be relieved. The facts in the matter have come very slowly to my knowledged, and it was not until yesterday that I became certain of some of the most important. I have long known Meade to be a man of the worst possible temper, especially toward his subordinate. I do not think he has a friend in the whole army. No man, no matter what his business or his service, approaches him without being insulted in one way or another, and his own staff officers do not dare to speak to him, unless first spoken to, for fear of either sneers or curses. The latter, however, I have never heard him indulge in very violently but he is said to apply the often without occasion and without reason. At the same time-as far as I am able to ascertain-his generals have lost their confidence in him as a commander. His order for the last series of assaults upon Petersburg, in which he lost 10,000 men without gaining any decisive advantage, was to the effect that he had found it impracticable to secure the co-operation of corps commanders, and therefore each one was to attack on his own account and do the best he could by himself. Consequently each gained some advantage of position, but each exhausted his own strength in so doing, while for the want of a general purpose and a general commander to direct and concentrate the whole it all amounted to nothing but heavy loss to ourselves. Of course there are matters about which I cannot make inquiries, but what I have above reported is the general sense of what I have above reported is the general sense of what seems to be the opinion of fair-minded and zealous officers. For instance, I know that General Wright has said to a confidential friend that all of Meade's attacks have been made without brains and without generalship. The subject came to pretty full discussion at Grant's headquarters last night on occasion of a correspondence between Meade and Wilson. The Richmond Examiner charges Wilson with stealing not only negroes and horses, but silver plate and clothing on his raid, and Meade, taking the statement of the Examiner for truth, reads Wilson a lecture and calls on him for explanations. Wilson denies the charges of robing women and churches, and hopes Meade will not be ready to condemn his command because its operations have excited the ire of the public enemy. This started the conversation in which Grant expressed himself quite frankly as to the general trouble with Meade and his fear that it would become necessary to relieve him. In such event he said it would be necessary to put Hancock in command.

C. A. DANA.


So what should we make of this?

Grant opening expressing the idea of removing the man right(Meade) below him. It looks like Meade is dislike by all within the AoP. What better "Fall Guy"? No one will come to Meade defense because no one likes him....

Grant was not going to throw Meade to the wolfs unless he was being pressure from Congress or Lincoln...which never really happen so Meade kept his job.

I think Grant like Meade and thought he was a competent officer but his value to Grant was he was expendable if political pressure was becoming to great..."The Fall Guy"

Grant was talking about removing him over some rebel papers whining about the behavior the the union army...I would not call it a vote of confidence in Meade by Grant...

Something for you all to muse over...

 

 



 Posted: Mon Apr 6th, 2009 02:45 pm
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HankC
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5fish wrote: So what should we make of this?

Grant opening expressing the idea of removing the man right(Meade) below him. It looks like Meade is dislike by all within the AoP. What better "Fall Guy"? No one will come to Meade defense because no one likes him....

Grant was not going to throw Meade to the wolfs unless he was being pressure from Congress or Lincoln...which never really happen so Meade kept his job.

I think Grant like Meade and thought he was a competent officer but his value to Grant was he was expendable if political pressure was becoming to great..."The Fall Guy"

Grant was talking about removing him over some rebel papers whining about the behavior the the union army...I would not call it a vote of confidence in Meade by Grant...

Something for you all to muse over...

 

 


 
"Grant has great confidence in Meade..." sounds more like Grant is resisting the general feeling...
 
 
HankC



 Posted: Mon Apr 6th, 2009 03:56 pm
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HankC wrote: 5fish wrote: So what should we make of this?

Grant opening expressing the idea of removing the man right(Meade) below him. It looks like Meade is dislike by all within the AoP. What better "Fall Guy"? No one will come to Meade defense because no one likes him....

Grant was not going to throw Meade to the wolfs unless he was being pressure from Congress or Lincoln...which never really happen so Meade kept his job.

I think Grant like Meade and thought he was a competent officer but his value to Grant was he was expendable if political pressure was becoming to great..."The Fall Guy"

Grant was talking about removing him over some rebel papers whining about the behavior the the union army...I would not call it a vote of confidence in Meade by Grant...

Something for you all to muse over...

 

 


 
"Grant has great confidence in Meade..." sounds more like Grant is resisting the general feeling...
 
 
HankC


Great confidence on a personal level....later on Grant talks about removing him not over military issues but political one in nature...

I see a little smoke here....

 



 Posted: Mon Apr 6th, 2009 06:40 pm
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HankC
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I think you're reading too much between the lines.

"This started the conversation in which Grant expressed himself quite frankly as to the general trouble with Meade and his fear that it would become necessary to relieve him..."

Sounds like it was more of a converstaion 'starter' which then lead to the 'general trouble' which may make it 'necessary to relieve him'.


HankC



 Posted: Mon Apr 6th, 2009 10:50 pm
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ole
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See some smoke, 5fish? Or toking some?

Meade was a lot like Bragg. His fuse was very short and few, if any, of his subordinates actually liked him. Grant was concerned about this personality ... he put great store into harmony. So Grant was concerned and having a close look at this guy that nobody liked and his capability as the leader of an army.

So Grant goes with the military acumen and not the personality.

That's all there is in Dana's report.

Ole



 Posted: Wed Apr 15th, 2009 02:20 pm
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5fish
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I just like to bring up the point of what I am trying to prove in this thread  is nearly impossible due to the fact it never did happen....I do not know how one can prove what never was....

A muse to ponder....

 



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