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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: Sun Sep 10th, 2006 01:05 am
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Shadowrebel
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smawsom44,

I respect your opinion and your right to it. By the Wilderness Lee was on the downside of his ability to fight. Grant faced Lee when a series of Union commanders, bad as they may have been, had worn the South down. Grant had easier pickin's compared to the other commanders.

Grant being at Chancellorsville vs Lee and Jackson would have made no difference as the Union army at the time was not as good as the Confederate army fighting wise. Grant was not at Chancellorsville because he was not deemed to be good enough to command the army, he ultimitely prove to be good enough. I do not see where Grant took "risks" at Vicksburg. The Confederates had to fortify Vicksburg and did not have the man power to mount much of an offensive, especially with the commanders they had.

Regard,

Shadowrebel



 Posted: Mon Sep 11th, 2006 03:44 pm
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David White
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Double post sorry

Last edited on Mon Sep 11th, 2006 03:45 pm by David White



 Posted: Mon Sep 11th, 2006 03:45 pm
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David White
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ShadowReb:

Do you see the risk Lee took at Chacellorsville?  If you do, Vicksburg was very similar in that regard.  Lee and Grant were both outnumbered had the two wings of the opponent's armies acted in concert and aggressively the risk taken by Lee/ Grant could have been disastrous.  Instead the opponent acted like a stunned duck instead, due to the audacity of Lee/Grant.

 



 Posted: Tue Sep 12th, 2006 12:37 am
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Shadowrebel
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David,

I realize the risk Lee took at Chancellorsville. Grant at Vicksburg never face a force the size Lee did. He was not outnumber nearly as badly as Lee. Vicksburg had to be held, by order of Davis. The Confederate forces at Vicksburg never united and were not the same threat. The campaign lasted longer beginning in 1862 and ending July 4, 1863. Grant was never at risk the way Lee was.

Lee and Grant were both outnumbered had the two wings of the opponent's armies acted in concert and aggressively the risk taken by Lee/ Grant could have been disastrous

Theoretically, you are right.

Regards,

Shadowrebel



 Posted: Tue Sep 12th, 2006 01:12 am
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COOK_R_S
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In some ways a larger force is more difficult to control.  Add on the political and otherwise cumbersome nature of the aotp, and you have part of Grant's problem in Virginia. (same for previous commanders).   On the other hand, Davis gave Lee a lot of power to streamline and customize the aonv,  which included getting rid of dead wood. 

But by the same token, the confederacy was unable/unwilling to go for broke in it's prosecution of the war.  (sort of like the U.S. in 2 or 3 wars I could mention).  Lee knew that, and told Davis that a situation like Petersburg was pretty much inevitable as the aonv was ground down by union numbers and desertion by southern troops.    Grant knew that too.  A reb officer told Lee that Grant was a butcher, and Lee's response was "General Grant knows exactly what he is doing."

 



 Posted: Tue Sep 12th, 2006 05:28 am
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smawson44
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Shadowrebel:

I believe that you have some good points, and admittedly it is hard to compare the two commanders because there greatest successes came when they were fighting each other, and when they finally did face off Lee's army was a mere shadow of what it once was.  I am just trying to make the point that Grant should not be considered an overrated commander.  After all, his early successes came when the Union most needed victories.  Also it wasn’t just Grant who defeated Lee; it was the army that he had sculpted.  I think it would be hard to deny the contributions that he made to the army of the Potomac, including revitalizing the Cavalry arm, instilling an offensive mindset, and finally making it into the army that, after Petersburg, kept up a tireless pursuit which finally ended the war.

Also Grants move at Vicksburg was risky.  He had failed on all other tries, and he did not know that Pemberton wasn’t going to throw his whole force at him, while Johnston was always a danger in the rear.  If he hadn’t captured Vicksburg, he undoubtedly would have been removed from command.  Those are all risks worth noting



 Posted: Tue Sep 12th, 2006 11:36 pm
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James Longstreet
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COOK_R_S, I really don't believe having great numbers on your side is a disadvantage, especially when your opponent is so small and ragged it cannot afford to supply its soldiers with adequate foot wear and rifles, as Lee's army was.



 Posted: Wed Sep 13th, 2006 01:55 pm
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HankC
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Interestingly enough, there is no evidence that the CSA was ever short of arms and  ammunition. Josiah Gorgas may be the best Ordnance chief of any army, any country and any time...

 

HankC



 Posted: Thu Sep 14th, 2006 01:30 am
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James Longstreet
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Wow, I didn't know that, HankC.  I always thought they were mostly self-supplied, armed with squirrel rifles and such.



 Posted: Mon Aug 20th, 2012 01:59 am
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JG6789
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bump.



 Posted: Wed Oct 24th, 2012 07:20 pm
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Darryl
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I see alot of bantering here about tactics and little about strategy and logistics. First of all Strategy is the plan of action or policy in warfare, business or politics. Tactics are the execution of that strategy. In other words the action to those plans. Logistics, ah the down fall of many an amatuer armchair general. There's a saying among professional military people. "Amatuers discuss strategy, professionals talk Logistics."
Grant was an outstanding tactian, strategist and he knew how to run an army on the logistical side. Whether Lee had had equal numbers of troops and similar weapons, Grant still would have beat him. Lee fought for the most part of the early years, a spadoric group of commanders who did not follow thorugh with their plans. Grant developed a winning strategy in the west and applied it in the east. Yes Grant caused alot of casualities, but he did something that no Union general had done to Lee before. He came at him again and again, every day for three weeks straight! Unless you have the support you need you are not going to hold an enemy for long. Grant had forces constantly moving around Lee. Grant was the first American general to have an operational plan to go with the strategy. Before its okay we fight a battle, what did we accomplish what do we do next? Most of the CW generals on both sides couldn't grasp the concept what next? Grant did. Lee told Davis, if Grant pinned him down to a defensive position it was over. He knew.As for Petersburg Grant knew if he could take the vital rail and supply depot at Ptersburg he could cut Lee off and get where he wanted him, to protect Richmond.
As one of the other posters said this is being studied at St Cyr, West Point and other military academies. I have studied the war for over 35 years and have been deep into the study of Tactics and Stategy and Logistics. Though not perfect, Grant conducted a campaign, Overland, in the modern sense for the first time. And used a plan of Operations to keep the overall goal in sight.



 Posted: Sat Feb 9th, 2013 12:14 pm
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BHR62
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When you got the best general on both sides going against each other it isn't going to be pretty. The Army of the Potomac was damaged every bit as bad in the Wilderness as it had been at Chancellorsville. But Grant didn't back down and retreat like all other Union generals previously had done when they were hit hard. Grant kept on the move to the left and constantly attacked. Hell Lee even gave Grant props. I believe they were equals slugging it out. I don't see how Grant isn't as great a general as Lee.



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