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Grant What If - U.S. Grant - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Sun Nov 6th, 2011 05:35 am
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Hellcat
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csamillerp wrote something in pender's General Trading thread that got me to wondering something. The statement in question was

csamillerp wrote:
Also would trade anyone other then Jackson and Lee for Grant since it was him that ended the war for the south.

Well what if Grant had felt he'd had more in common with the South than with the North and despite being a Northerner had gone south at the start of the war to fight for the Southern cause? How would he have fought the war then, would he have done the same things he actually did or would he have done things differently?



 Posted: Sun Nov 6th, 2011 12:21 pm
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pender
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Hellcat, that is a interesting question. I think Grant would have done some of the same things. He is kind of like Stonewall Jackson in that if it had not been for the war these men would have probably lived in obscurity. Except for those studing the war with Mexico. Having said that, I think the Grant we see at the first two years of the war, would be the Grant we would see fighting for the south. Grant during the overland campaign had numerous men and resources, for the south he is not going to have them. And I am not faulting him for using them any general with good sense would. But that brings up another question. What would Lee have done if he had had all them men and resources?

Pender 



 Posted: Sun Nov 6th, 2011 10:21 pm
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Hellcat
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The Lee comment is why you've got an erased from me. I wanted to trade states, see what would have happened if Virginia had never seceded and Lee had accepted command of the army. See if Jackson went south. How Virginia's not seceding would have affected the war. I mean we can see some of that already. No West Virginia, Richmond wouldn't have been the Confederate capital, most of the battles fought in Virginia (if not all) wouldn't have happened. But would Antietam have been a Gettysburg or would that have been some battle in Virginia?

On the Grant what if, I'm thinking he wouldn't have been waging a war of attrition like he did in the actual history. Which I think may be in line with what you said. But would he have believed that the best defense is a good offense and struck hard at his Federal opponents or would he have instead tried to build as strong a defensive position as possible and let his opponents try hitting him to be cut down?

Actually it might have been interesting to see him go up against Halleck as an opposing general instead of as his subordinate. This might have resulted in Buell's having overall command of the West instead of Halleck.



 Posted: Sun Nov 6th, 2011 11:48 pm
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pender
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Hellcat, If the Secession of Virginia does not happen , then the secession of Arkansas, N.C. and Tenn probabaly does not. Though we have this in another what if, there is a strong possibility that if Lincoln does not call for 75,000 troops to put down the rebellion, these four states stay in the union. I believe the secession of these four states is due to Lincoln's proclamation for 75,000 troops. So lets say these four states do not secede, Virginia stays in the union, Lee command's the union army. IMO, the war is over in six months. I base that on Lee vs Johnston, the confederate troops are still just as good, but no great leadership. Also with the four states mentioned still in the union there is fewer men for the south. Less ground to cover for the north. But on the other hand if Virginia had not seceded would Johnston have been in command? He was a Virginian. I do not believe there is no invasion of northern soil without Lee or Jackson. Longstreet is the next best but he is defensive minded. Would he have even had time to show his capabilities and move up in rank against Lee?

Stonewall Jackson, Though I think he would of thought Lincoln's war against the deep south wicked. I do not believe he would lift he's hand against Virginia.

Grant, I do not see Grant being defensive, I think he is still offensive. I do not see him digging in and waiting on the enemy. But in this twilight zone we have going the tables have turned, now Lee has all the resources and men. Lee wins!

Pender 



 Posted: Mon Nov 7th, 2011 02:34 am
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Hellcat
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Twilight zone, best describes all what if situations really.

And here's a thought we haven't seemed to touch on the what if. Grant never going west in this what if. If we say that everything elese happened as it actually did, but Grant instead went south, what's to say he would have gone west? Had he instead been east he might have joined Lee, Jackson, and Longstreet in the Army of Northern Virginia, might have even replaced Jackson as corps commander following Jackson's death.



 Posted: Mon Nov 7th, 2011 10:40 pm
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Cogswell Pepperbox
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The first thought off the top of my head, had Grant "gone South", was that the Confederate War Department did not operate on the meritocracy model to the extent the Federals did ... I don't think Grant would have been given any opportunity of command to grow into the general he historically did.



 Posted: Tue Nov 8th, 2011 12:02 am
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pender
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Hellcat wrote: Twilight zone, best describes all what if situations really. And here's a thought we haven't seemed to touch on the what if. Grant never going west in this what if. If we say that everything elese happened as it actually did, but Grant instead went south, what's to say he would have gone west? Had he instead been east he might have joined Lee, Jackson, and Longstreet in the Army of Northern Virginia, might have even replaced Jackson as corps commander following Jackson's death. Hellcat, Now that is a thought! Say the ANV goes to three or four Corp's. before Chancellorsville. Lees Corp Commander's is Jackson, Longstreet, John B. Gordon and Grant. A.P.Hill stays with the Light Division. I moved Gordon up a little faster.

Last edited on Tue Nov 8th, 2011 12:06 am by pender



 Posted: Tue Nov 8th, 2011 09:23 am
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Hellcat
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I have to wonder if that would have been true, Cogswell. By one definition it is leadership based on intellectual criteria. By another it is a system in which folks are chosen to lead based on their achievements. I'm looking at Jackson here. Great general, certainly one of the best the South had in my opinion. But like Grant he wasn't terribly noteable after the Mexican-American War. In 1851 he went on to become a professor at VMI and in 1859 he part of the VMI contengient providing an extra military presence at John Brown's hanging. Those really seem like the highlights of his military career during the period between the two wars. And yet then there's what he became during the war. He started out a colonel and became a general following his operations agains the B&O. He then took his brigade to Bull Run (Manassas) where I'd argue his star really began to rise when Bee said he was standing like a stone wall. By the end of October he was already a Major General. That's a pretty fast rise and it does seem based on his talents.

Grant was no Jackson. I'm not saying that he was. But I am saying that there was at least one Confederate General who may be argued was able to grow in the way they did based on their talents during the war.

I can't say I've really paid much attention to Gordon, pender, so I don't know enough there to really agree or disagree with you.



 Posted: Tue Nov 8th, 2011 05:53 pm
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Cogswell Pepperbox
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This same "what if" could be applied to Genrl Sherman, as well ...



 Posted: Tue Nov 8th, 2011 08:05 pm
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Grant goes to the South then the war probably ends in a Confederate victory. He was the only Yank General not intimidated by General Lee.

If Lee had accepted Lincoln's offer of overall command in 1861....the war is over within 2 years. Even if Virginia secession still goes thru it would be over sooner. Lee would've been the perfect Union general. He hit hard....took risks...and was relentless. He would have had the resources of the North to support his army in the field...don't see how he couldn't have ended the war much sooner than it did.



 Posted: Tue Nov 8th, 2011 08:43 pm
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fedreb
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If Johnston had not been wounded at Seven Pines would Lee have ever commanded an Army in the field or would he have been destined to sit behind his Richmond desk, lost to history as one of Jeff Davis's advisers?



 Posted: Wed Nov 9th, 2011 12:30 am
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Technically it could be asked about many of the generals, but at the time it was asked Grant was who came to mind.

Fedreb, I don't think Lee would have been forgotten to history, but I do think he'd have been seen largely as a failure in the war. Cheat Mountain Lee looses and the press blames him for Confederate setbacks. Lee then becomes the Commander of the Department of SC, Georgia, and Florida. Ft. Pulaski falls Lee is again blamed for Confederate setbacks. Never mind that the defenses he strengthed and added kept Federal forces out of Savannah and may have freed up troops to join one of the armies in the field to deal with the Federal armies. Had he not returned to Richmond and been with Davis on the battlefield so that he could end up taking over for Johnston when Seven Pines occured, Lee would more likely end up being more of a footnote in the war for his early actions. His actions in Mexico, time as Superintendent of West Point, and his commanding the forces at Harper's Ferry would have probably been viewed as the highlights of his military career.



 Posted: Wed Nov 9th, 2011 08:06 am
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Yes, "lost to history" was a bad choice of words. Lee, ill at the time if I recall, was badly let down by his subordinates and atrocious weather in the WV mountain campaign. On the other side, the Union victory was won for McClellan by his subodinates while he was in his usual place, miles from any action. Lee was sent South, McClellan was handed command of the AoP. Fortunes of war.

I must re-read Hunter Lesser's "Rebels at the Gate"

Last edited on Wed Nov 9th, 2011 08:07 am by fedreb



 Posted: Sat Dec 3rd, 2011 04:20 am
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csamillerp
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Pender i have always thought that Gordon was one of Lee's best corp commanders, he had alot in common with jackson... what if he HAD been made Corp commander when Jackson died? I think the confederates would have faired better at Gettysburg.

If lee had took Lincoln's offer i think he would have played the same role as Grant did in his overland campaign but with maybe less casualties. He would have realized that his strength was in his numbers and his resources and would also have his brillance of indirect assaults. Grant i'm not sure how he would have commanded if he had less men and fewer resources, would he have been like lee?

the ultimate fight IMO would be Longstreet against Lee. Lee being the aggressive commander he was and Longstreet being the master of defense. Would it be Cold harbor for Lee?

Last edited on Sat Dec 3rd, 2011 04:21 am by csamillerp



 Posted: Sat Dec 3rd, 2011 11:53 am
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pender
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csamillerp wrote: Pender i have always thought that Gordon was one of Lee's best corp commanders, he had alot in common with jackson... what if he HAD been made Corp commander when Jackson died? I think the confederates would have faired better at Gettysburg.

If lee had took Lincoln's offer i think he would have played the same role as Grant did in his overland campaign but with maybe less casualties. He would have realized that his strength was in his numbers and his resources and would also have his brillance of indirect assaults. Grant i'm not sure how he would have commanded if he had less men and fewer resources, would he have been like lee?

the ultimate fight IMO would be Longstreet against Lee. Lee being the aggressive commander he was and Longstreet being the master of defense. Would it be Cold harbor for Lee?


csamillerp, Gordon was one of the CSA General's that had to prove himself. He was kind of like Forrest in the fact that he had no previous military training. That I believe is one reason for his slow climb to Corp. Command. His preformance at Sharpsburg and the Wilderness are great. He told Early at Cedar Creek what would happen if he did not stay on the defensive after the union route, Early did not listen and they were routed. Gordon was one of the few rays of hope for the Confederacy in 64 and 65. Yes I think Gordon would have done better than Ewell at Gettysburg, but at what extent I am not certain. When we all consider Ewell and Hill's promotion to Corp. Command after the death of Gen. Jackson, I think we too would have had great expectations for these two. Both were very instrumental to Jackson's victories.

The thing that makes Lee in command of the AotP intriguing is the fact it was offered to him. What makes the Confederate army special? IMO, it is Robert E. Lee. Before Lee takes command the Union army is at the gates of Richmond, they will not return for two years after horrendous warfare that brings on the modern warfare as we know today. As I have said before on this board if Lee does not take command in 62 the confederate capital is in Union hands 1862. If Lee is in command of the Union army I believe the Confederate capital falls even sooner. Heck, if McClellan can push Joe Johnston to the gates of the capital imagine what Lee could have done.

Lee vs Longstreet, I would say no it would not be Cold Harbor for Lee. But knowing how Lee sent his troops through the fields of Gettysburg, I will say could be. The only thing that bothers me about Longstreet is the question, would he be good at the head of an army? I always thought he would have been the best choice for command in the west instead of Hood. The down side with Longstreet is the Knoxville campaign, and he was up against Burnside. Did Lee's guidance make him great too?

Pender

 

Last edited on Sat Dec 3rd, 2011 03:51 pm by pender



 Posted: Sun Dec 4th, 2011 03:37 am
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csamillerp
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Thats a good point Pender, but Knoxville was Longstreets 1st independent command. Also i think the weather played a big role in longstreets loss at knoxville. When he ordered the suprise attack at dawn he didnt take in consideration the frost on the ground so that when his troops tried to climb up the walls of the fort they couldnt get a footing. If he had kept to his original plans he probably would have taken fort sanders, the artillery bombardment would have blasted most of the frost from the side of the fort. Another thing to think about is this... Longstreet preferred to defend. His defenses at Fredericksburg was amazing.



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