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 Posted: Sun Feb 12th, 2012 12:25 pm
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Old Blu
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I surely would have thought Grant's tactics would have been a major
wanna have at West Point but seeing no one can answer my question they must not have done it. :( But maybe one day I will check out the website furnished.



 Posted: Sun Feb 12th, 2012 12:44 pm
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Texas Defender
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Gettysburger-

  You have correctly stated some of the reasons that the Confederacy lost the war. The Confederacy consisted of eleven states whose people were jealous of their liberties and often mistrusted the national authority. After all, they didn't want to escape an old tyranny (as they saw it) and give birth to a new one. Many were more concerned with what they thought was good for their state than what was in the best interests of their new nation as a whole. Thus, for a nation in crisis, their system had inherent flaws.

  One great disadvantage that the Confederacy had was a serious lack of standardization. You mentioned railroads for example. However, here you missed the mark in stating that most of the railroad miles were in the southern states. Actually, in 1860, only 28% of the miles were in Confederate states. That percentage became less and less as during the war, the northern states added more and more miles and developed a truly efficient railway system, thus increasing their inherent advantage.

  This article gives the raw numbers on railroads (Scroll down to the paragraph beginning: "A widespread belief in a short war").

American Civil War: West's Encyclopedia of American Law (Full Article) from An

  The article also points out the disparity in resources at the command of the two secions. The lack of standardizaion in the south worked against the Confederacy not only in the area of railroads, but also in weapons, ammunition, shipbuilding, and every kind of equipment imaginable. The north had the industrial base (86% of manufacturing establishments in 1860), and expanded it, while the southerners could: "Hardly make a pair of shoes" as General Sherman once said.

  You are on the mark when you mention the importance of control of the Mississippi River. This gave the northerners much greater mobility to move troops and supplies up and down the river and into its tributaries, further increasing their advantage.  Mobility confers the initiative, and this they exploited.

  Often overlooked in my view was the importance of the Battle of New Orleans in early 1862. This introduced blue water federal ships to the river, which acted in concert with the brown water types coming south. The capture of Vicksburg a year later stifled the Confederates and shut off needed natural resources that previously came from west of the river.

  All of this led to the deterioration of the Confederates' position in the western theater and made northern victory there inevitable in my view. This in turn: "Hollowed out" the Confederacy and weakened it to the point where it could no longer maintain the stalemate in the east. Eventually, it ran out of resources, and out of time.



 Posted: Sun Feb 12th, 2012 12:51 pm
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Gettysburger
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Texas. I stand corrected regarding the percentage of railways in the North and South.

My apologies. I truly had the %'s reversed!

Thanks for the correction and the helpful link!

GB.



 Posted: Mon Feb 13th, 2012 01:00 pm
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HankC
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Grant is the right man in that he does not take ‘no’ for an answer. Defeating him 99% of the time is not enough.

At Fort Henry and Donelson he combines with naval units to quickly transport and subdue the forts.

He immediately occupies the Tennessee valley to the falls at Muscle Shoals, denying it to the CSA and using it for his own purposes.

At Vicksburg, he again uses the navy, achieves an 'end-around', into the interior of Mississippi, divides the CSA forces and defeats them in detail.

At Chattanooga, he pushes all projects to completion, moves as many forces to the front as possible and leads the first combined US army group to victory in a combined operation.

In Northern Virginia, the army of the Potomac is reorganized into fewer, larger corps, superfluous ordnance (much of the artillery) is done away with, the supply system is re-organized to provide greater sustenance on longer campaigns and more troops are moved from rear-line duty to the front-line.

Others have commented on how the union won the war in the west. The CSA battled to a stalemate on the roughly 60 mile Virginia front for almost 4 years and lost the ‘western’ front of approximately 1000 miles. This does not include the inability of the CSA to keep sea travel open through the blockade along a 2000-mile coastline.



 Posted: Fri Apr 13th, 2012 01:55 pm
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Wordsmith wrote:
          For historian Williams, it was his far-ranging foresight.  According to Williams, “Grant was fundamentally superior to Lee because he had a modern mind and Lee did not.  Lee was the last of the great old fashioned generals and Grant was the first of the great moderns.”  ."

---- Wordsmith


I have read this comment before, and I have to disagree with it. Lee didn't have the men or material to "slug it out in a death grip struggle of annihilation ". He had to concentrate his forces against the weakest elements of the Army of the Potomac. He couldn't fight the Army of the Potomac on a broad front. Lee avoided for almost 2 years before Gettysburg the raw power of a superior force delivery a knockout blow. Lee couldn't lock into a continious battle with the Union Army.

Lee know what was going on in the battle field, and came very close to winning the Civil War for the South. Lee took the least of what he had in men & material and made the most of it. Lee would not be so Victorious, if he was "old fashion" in his thinking. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't he say to his troops after the ANV surrender at Appomattox that it was "the superiority in numbers of men & equipment of the Union Army that defeated the ANV??

Last edited on Fri Apr 13th, 2012 06:13 pm by ebg



 Posted: Fri Apr 13th, 2012 09:07 pm
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Old Blu
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Grant was rattled at the Wilderness.  General Lee got under his skin bad and beat him even though he had a 3-1 man advantage.  That ain't too smart and it was worse when he backed off.  So that would make General Lee a genius!

Grant didn't beat General lee until he had a 5-1 man advantage and still didn't beat that little army.  General Lee saw it was futile to continue against those odds and did the right thing by giving up.

Any general could have done the same thing as Grant.



 Posted: Tue Apr 17th, 2012 07:10 pm
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Just because an army has superior manpower numbers and equipment doesn't mean its a slam dunk. Grant still had to lead it into combat and make good decisions in the heat of battle. He was marching in hostile territory and was the one going on the offensive against Lee. Lee had pummeled every Union commander that had gone on the offensive against him before Grant. Grant was fighting in the minds of his soldiers against those defeats also. I have to go with the guy that got it done in the end. He was the best in the results area. That is what it all comes down to...results.



 Posted: Tue Apr 17th, 2012 08:01 pm
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HankC
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Grant did not start with a 5-1 advantage - in May 1864, it wasn't yet even 2-1.
 
the key is to use your advantages and exploit the opponent's disadvantages and continue to do so.
 
having more men and material does not guarantee success. Shucks, Eisenhower was apprehensive on June 5, 1944...



 Posted: Wed Apr 18th, 2012 01:14 am
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Mark
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Well said Hank!

Mark



 Posted: Tue Apr 24th, 2012 02:02 am
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JG6789
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Old Blu wrote:
Grant was rattled at the Wilderness.  General Lee got under his skin bad and beat him even though he had a 3-1 man advantage.

I have to assume you refer to the old story that has Grant breaking down and crying on the night of May 6th, recounted most famously by Shelby Foote. Unfortunately, that story is an utter falsehood.

As to who was rattled in the Wilderness, I would say it was Lee when, on the morning of the 6th, he attempted to personally organize a countercharge. And he would do the same thing twice more over the course of the next week.



 Posted: Tue Apr 24th, 2012 02:49 am
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JG6789
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Texas Defender wrote:
If there was a visionary of modern warfare among the northern generals, then that man was General Sherman, not General Grant. It was he who conceived the idea of the March, which was considered a risky scheme at that time.

People tend to forget that Sherman was a doubter in the early stages of the Vicksburg campaign. He advised Grant against severing his lines of communication and driving toward Jackson. By the end, though, he understood it: “Until this moment I never thought your expedition a success. I could never see the end clearly until now. But this is a campaign. This is a success if we never take the town” (Sherman to Grant on May 18th, 1863). He applied the lessons he learned from Grant there to his march to the sea.


General Sherman was very admiring of Grant, but considered himself superior in knowledge and intellect. He said:
"I'm a darn sight smarter than Grant; I know a great deal more about war, military histories, strategy and grand tactics than he does; I know more about organization, supply, and administration and about everything else than he does...."


Yeah. He was kind of arrogant, wasn’t he?



 Posted: Tue Apr 24th, 2012 02:58 am
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JG6789
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Texas Defender wrote:
What General Grant was was a fighter, a brawler...Grant had no strategy beyond using the north's advantages in manpower and equipment to wear down his opponents in a war of attrition.

I don't think this is even close.



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 Posted: Tue Apr 24th, 2012 02:01 pm
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HankC
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a 'war of attrition' hardly describes Grant.
 
no other officer in the war was as mobile as he.
 
each of his campaigns was a lesson in how *not* to stand still...



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 Posted: Tue Apr 24th, 2012 02:39 pm
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Texas Defender
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  In the Eastern Theater, facing the Army of Northern Virginia, General Grant understood that it was his objective to wear down and defeat General Lee's army, not to gain territory or capture Richmond. This is why he said to General Meade: "Wherever Lee goes, there you will go also."

  General Grant when faced with an entrenched enemy, continually maneuvered to force General Lee to counter his movements. He learned at Cold Harbor that the ANV still had considerable defensive strength. He then resumed his previous methods.

  In this campaign, Grant continually tried to flank Lee rather than making frontal attacks. (Cold Harbor was the exception). The purpose was to use the AOP's great superiority to grind down the ANV until it could no longer resist effectively. Because Grant used mobility to try to improve his position relative to the ANV in no way changes the fact that his objective was to keep the pressure on General Lee in order to attrit the ANV's power until it could no longer effectively oppose him.


Attrition warfare - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  Reading here:  "...Ulysses S. Grant pushed the Confederate Army continually, in spite of losses, confident that the Union's supplies and manpower would overwhelm the Confederacy, even if the casualty rate was unfavorable; this indeed proved to be the case."


Petersburg  : The Wearing Down of Lee's Army ...

 

Last edited on Tue Apr 24th, 2012 04:49 pm by Texas Defender



 Posted: Tue Apr 24th, 2012 05:36 pm
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Savez wrote:
So you don't think Grant used the advantages in manpower and equipment to wear down his opponents in a war of attrition? I would say that is pretty close to what he did everywhere he went...To say that what Texas Defender wrote is "not even close" is simply ignoring historical fact.

No. Grant in the West repeatedly maneuvered his opponents into untenable positions. During the Vicksburg campaign in particular, there were several occasions where the Confederates had more people in the vicinity than the Federals, but Grant’s mobility kept them on their heels, unable to combine against him. Contrary to what you assert, I think this is what the historical record shows.



 Posted: Tue Apr 24th, 2012 06:18 pm
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JG6789
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Texas Defender wrote:
In the Eastern Theater, facing the Army of Northern Virginia, General Grant understood that it was his objective to wear down and defeat General Lee's army…The purpose was to use the AOP's great superiority to grind down the ANV until it could no longer resist effectively…Because Grant used mobility to try to improve his position relative to the ANV in no way changes the fact that his objective was to keep the pressure on General Lee in order to attrit the ANV's power until it could no longer effectively oppose him.

Grant, of course, was General in Chief in the spring of 1864, not the commander of the Army of the Potomac, so his strategic thinking involved every Federal army. The plan of campaign ultimately settled on was not his first choice (see Grant’s letters to Halleck, Jan 15, 1864 and Jan 19, 1864). In particular, he advised “an abandonment of all previously attempted lines to Richmond.” Instead, Grant wanted to completely turn Lee by operating from the coast of the Carolinas. Political considerations intervened, however.

Initially Grant hoped that Lee might be maneuvered into a battle in the open, but with the failure of generals Siegel, Butler, and Banks he recognized that this was unlikely. If that could not be done, at least the Army of the Potomac might, by keeping the pressure on, keep Lee from dispatching reinforcements to other commands. But he wasn’t after a battle of attrition; if he had been he would not have needed to leave the lines at Spotsylvania. That place would have done just as well as any other for a battle of attrition.



 Posted: Tue Apr 24th, 2012 06:42 pm
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  I am well aware of what General Grant's position was in the spring of 1864. But he was traveling with the AOP and was, in effect, commanding the AOP. That is why I mentioned his instructions to General Meade.

  In the East, General Grant's objective was the DESTRUCTION of the ANV. It wasn't to keep it from dispatching reinforcements to other commands. The entire campaign conducted in the closing stages of the war was attrition warfare. It wasn't a single battle. Grant continued to maneuver to negate the natural advantages defenders would have in prepared positions.



 Posted: Tue Apr 24th, 2012 06:46 pm
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Texas Defender wrote:
The purpose was to use the AOP's great superiority

Oh, and by the way, this is one of the great Civil War canards. General A.A. Humphreys made the case after the fact that the Army of the Potomac received only 12,000 effective replacements in the first six weeks of the campaign to offset battle casualties and thirty-six regiments of veteran infantry that mustered out of the service over the same period. Because of the defeat of Siegel and Butler Lee actually received a similar number (7,000 plus from Beauregard after May 16th and 2,500 plus from Breckinridge after May 15th). To be sure, there were more to come for the Federals, but from the Rapidan to Petersburg this is about how things stood.



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