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Grant versus Lee - U.S. Grant - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Fri Aug 4th, 2006 01:55 am
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James Longstreet
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Hey everyone, I'm new to this site.  But anyway, I think Grant is overrated as a commander and only defeated Lee by brute force, not tactics, any thoughts?

Last edited on Fri Aug 11th, 2006 02:35 am by James Longstreet



 Posted: Fri Aug 4th, 2006 02:03 pm
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HankC
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What is your opinion of Grant at Forts Henry and Donelson, Shiloh, Vicksburg and Chattanooga?

 

HankC



 Posted: Fri Aug 4th, 2006 05:14 pm
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calcav
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As the tactics of both men are still studied at West Point, Sandhurst and Saint-Cyr I could hardly see how either one could be considered over rated.

Tom



 Posted: Fri Aug 4th, 2006 08:03 pm
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burnsideshot
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This sounds like a post I would leave  :P  Seriously, brute force involves tactics as well.  Thats the point in my always linking strategy with tactics.  I simply fail to see how the two can be separated.  I know by definition there is a difference.  No way is Grant overrated.  He salvaged the Union when no one else could do the job.  Sure Lee was outnumbered and had less resources at his disposal, but for Grant to win the war away from the North was quite impressive in itself.  Give the man the credit he deserves.  He knew how to use his team to win.  He crushed Lee...no matter how good of a commander you think either are!

Always learning - Jessie

Last edited on Fri Aug 4th, 2006 08:03 pm by burnsideshot



 Posted: Fri Aug 4th, 2006 09:35 pm
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James Longstreet
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I wasnt saying Grant was a BAD general, I think he was a solid commander.  I was just saying Lee was a better tactician, and maybe history would have been different if Lee had not been out numbered more than two to one.  But then again, a general would be crazy not to take advantage of his numerical superiority; I'm not faulting Garnt on that.  But those Union casulties were staggering when Lee and Grant went head to head.  I mean...Cold Harbor was worse than Pickett's Charge.

Last edited on Fri Aug 4th, 2006 09:48 pm by James Longstreet



 Posted: Sat Aug 5th, 2006 03:00 am
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harp guy
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James Longstreet wrote:I am new also but, I have to disagree--Grant was agood tatical commander and had the strenghth to do what it took--remember by the end lee used trench warfare--you need good tatics as well as strength--overall,i think lee was better though Hey guys, I'm new to this site.  But anyway, I think Grant is overrated as a commander and only defeated Lee by brute force, not tactics, any thoughts?



 Posted: Sun Aug 6th, 2006 05:22 am
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burnsideshot
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Hmm... James Longstreet and harp guy...are you the same person?  Just curious

Your friend - Jessie



 Posted: Mon Aug 7th, 2006 12:42 am
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James Longstreet
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We're not the same person.  And I'm not exactly sure I understand what harp guy is saying...

Last edited on Mon Aug 7th, 2006 12:44 am by James Longstreet



 Posted: Mon Aug 7th, 2006 05:54 pm
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CountyGrey
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Hmmm... I dislike Grant a lot I have to say... not because he is from the north but he didn't put too much of a tactical view on everything... example, brute force at Petersburg, and Vicksburg (I think he was drunk when he won that one though)... where were his main objectives?????



 Posted: Wed Aug 9th, 2006 05:43 am
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harp guy
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my box got messed up when I replied---just ignore the James Longstreet wrote part!



 Posted: Wed Aug 9th, 2006 12:52 pm
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burnsideshot
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With all due respect county...and no intent to offend... I sort of think you are a bit delusional if you think that about Grant.  He did an AMAZING job... you should really acknowledge that.  At Vicksburg, he proved to be both a great tactician and strategist... maybe it didn't appear to be the case as the war drew on...but at that point... he didn't need to use those skills any longer.  Why play with the enemy when you can just overcome them?  Wouldn't that just be taking unnecessary chances?  I'm no military expert, but to me, that is just plain common sense. 

Open to your thoughts - Jessie :)



 Posted: Wed Aug 9th, 2006 02:30 pm
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calcav
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CountyGrey,

I am very confused with your post and not sure how to reply.  he didn't put too much of a tactical view on everything... ..example, brute force at Petersburg, and Vicksburg

...Brute force at Petersburg? Are you confusing Petersburg with the Overland Campaign (Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor)?  At Petersburg Grant forced Lee into trench warfare and prevented him from excercising the tactical mobility which he was known for. With an ecomomy of force Grant held his line while extending his flank to a point where his adversary was unable to counter.

And Vicksburg? Vicksburg is nothing less than a tactical masterpiece. Grant used diversions (Grierson and Streight) to remove virtually all of the enemy cavalry from the theatre (including Forrest), diversionary infantry attacks at Hayne's Bluff and Drumgould's Bluff, combined operations with the inland river flotilla, an amphibious invasion, landing in an enemy's rear while cut off from communications and suppiles. While the Confederates had more forces in the theatre, Grant was able to use mobility and diversions to fight with superior numbers at Port Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, Champion's Hill and the Big Black River. When a direct assault on Vicksburg itself was unsuccsessful he switched to siege operations which are ultimatley successful.

Please tell me of another campaign which contains so many tactical elements. Not bad for a "drunk". If I misunderstood your post please let me know.

Tom



 Posted: Wed Aug 9th, 2006 11:20 pm
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James Longstreet
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Y'all praise Grant for his aggressiveness and for being such a brilliant general, but he overwhelmingly outnumbered Lee, more than two to one.  With those odds, Grant couldnt have possibly been defeated by Lee.  But there's more factors than just numbers.  Lee's troops were starving, many of them barefoot, and had inferior weapons.  Very inferior weapons; like squirrel rifles and shotguns.  I think Shelby Foote was correct when he said that the South had no chance in winning the Civil War.  The North's industrial strength was enormous, I mean the South's ENTIRE economy was based on agriculture.  I dont think Grant shouldve been credited as being such a great general as he now is, I think he should even be criticized for his bloody defeats against Lee, like Cold Harbor.  I mean it took Grant a 10 month siege to wear down Lee's scrawny army.  If the odds were reversed, with Lee outnumbering Grant two to one, I doubt Grant would last half as long as Lee did.

--Casey

Last edited on Wed Aug 9th, 2006 11:22 pm by James Longstreet



 Posted: Thu Aug 10th, 2006 02:26 am
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burnsideshot
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And ah, I think maybe the South should have been intelligent enough to consider such elements of warfare with the North (as being outnumbered) before they decided to secede!  Just my opinion though.  Grant just won the war...and face it... a LOT of Southerners still don't like that fact.



 Posted: Thu Aug 10th, 2006 02:48 am
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James Longstreet
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My argument is not about who won the War, the argument is that Lee was not only superior to Grant, but to any other commander the North could produce.  I am biased towards the South, because I am from the South.  But, Grant didnt really defeat Lee.  Lee defeated Lee at Gettysburg, and never had the strength to launch another major offensive.  Still, Lee was the greatest military genius of the War(Stonewall Jackson or N.B. Forrest being the second).  Grant just finished off a dimenished army; an army which had already drained its nation's economy of resources, and was slowly detiorating.  Every man the North lost was quickly replaced.  Every man the South lost was never replaced.  I guess what it amounts to is that the South had better commanders, but nothing else in its pocession was superior to what the North had at its disposal.

--Casey

Last edited on Thu Aug 10th, 2006 04:43 pm by James Longstreet



 Posted: Thu Aug 10th, 2006 05:03 pm
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David White
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Lee defeated Lee

Grant nor Lee ever decisively defeated Grant, Checkmate!

Last edited on Thu Aug 10th, 2006 05:04 pm by David White



 Posted: Thu Aug 10th, 2006 05:16 pm
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James Longstreet
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Then what do you call Cold Harbor?  And Grant would've been destroyed at Shiloh if Buell had not arrived at the last minute.  Grant did not win Shiloh, Buell did.  I'm disapointed in a Texan who sides with the Yankees.

--Casey

Last edited on Thu Aug 10th, 2006 05:24 pm by James Longstreet



 Posted: Thu Aug 10th, 2006 06:43 pm
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David White
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Longstreet:

Cold Harbor was a defeat for Grant all right, just as Malvern Hill, Gettysburg, the Mule Shoe and Ft. Stedman were for Lee, just to name one from each year he was in command of the ANV.  But maybe I should have bolded "decisive" for you.  None of Lee’s victories were ultimately decisive.  That is not true of Grant however; he had a string of decisive victories at Ft. Donelson, Vicksburg, Chattanooga and Appomattox.  Grant got knocked down at Cold Harbor no doubt but he got back up and whipped Bobby Lee. 

He also had more grit and determination than Lee, you never heard Grant whining after a loss about maybe I need to be relieved for the good of the country, like Lee did after Gettysburg.  He was determined to achieve victory and he did.  And cut the “Butcher Grant” rants because Lee bled the ANV dry with his “butcher’s bill” of 1862-3, incurring far too many losses than he could afford and gaining absolutely nothing after paying the devil’s extortionate  bill.

Buell had very little to do with saving Grant's bacon at Shiloh the AOT did it on their own, Buell's addition only kept Shiloh from becoming stalemate and allowed the battle to be turned into yet another Union victory.

I am non-partisan actually, but do insist on accuracy.

Last edited on Thu Aug 10th, 2006 10:02 pm by David White



 Posted: Thu Aug 10th, 2006 08:36 pm
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calcav
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And Grant would've been destroyed at Shiloh if Buell had not arrived at the last minute.  Grant did not win Shiloh, Buell did
 

Longstreet,

Is this statement merely your opinion or can you back it up with some hard facts? If you have not already done so I would encourage you to read Shiloh: Bloody April by Wiley Sword, Shiloh:The Battle That Changed the Civil War by Larry J. Daniel and the Blue & Gray Shiloh issue with the text by park historian Stacy D. Allen. These three men wrote definitive studies of the battle and all three disagree with your statement. If they are not to be trusted then a sit down with the Official Records is in order. If all else fails come here to Shiloh and I will give you a tour that may open your eyes.

All the best,

Tom



 Posted: Fri Aug 11th, 2006 12:02 am
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James Longstreet
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I have been to Shiloh, and read Shelby Foote's book about the battle.  That's how I was led to believe what I posted earlier.  Maybe I was wrong, but I earnestly was not aware that there was a different opinion of the battle's course.  As for Mr. White's statements, I didn't think Fort Donelson, though important, was not a HUGE battle of the Civil War.  And I disagree with the statement that none of Lee's victories were decisive.  And if we're talking decisive, where does Ft. Stedman and Mule Shoe come in?  He kept the war going for as long as it did, and cost the Union thousands of lives.  And Grant WAS a butcher--around 90,000 Yankee boys down from the Wilderness to Petersburg compared to around 40,000 rebels.  So I will continue to rant.  Feel free to correct my math if necessary.  You're right, Grant was determined; he was determined to destroy the Rebels at Cold Harbor and repeatedly flung doomed assaults at Lee's well entrenched men, resulting in 12,000 Union casulties and 1,500 Confederate.  Sound like Burnside at Fredricksburg to anyone?  Anyway, what I'm saying is, he repeated the basic prinicpal, hurling men at Lee's thin lines, at Spotsylvania Courthouse--only it worked that time.  Grant exercised a very simple strategy:  A war of attrition.  He couldn't beat Lee tactically, so he just pinned him against the wall and gradually wore him down.  Grant had troops to waste; Lee did not.  It worked, but Grant paid dearly.

By the way, thanks for the suggestions, Tom.

--Casey

Last edited on Fri Aug 11th, 2006 12:07 am by James Longstreet



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