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 Post subject: Let's liven this tavern up a little!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 10:34 am 
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Posts: 849
Location: Panhandle of Texas
I've been sitting here sipping some Tennessee moonshine that I liberated from some low life Reb and pondering the discussion that's been going on over at the Armchair General Civil War forums (http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forums/s ... hp?t=68160)about who was the better general. Now I know most of you in here, blue and gray alike, will agree that it was General Grant but I thought you might want to mosey on over there and join in since no one here would argue the point. [:p] Now, I'll be glad to buy a drink for those of you who care to join in. They do take captured CSA paper here don't they???

General Mark Nelms
6/3/IX/AoO
"Blackhawk Brigade"
Union Military Academy Instructor
Union Cabinet Secretary


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:12 am 
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I would say Gen Sherman!

He is sometimes called the first "modern" general for his scorched earth policy.

<b><font color="gold">Ernie Sands
General, Commanding, Army of Ohio
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:55 am 
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Location: Black Mountain, NC
General Rout seems to be a favorite with my troops, but I would go with Sherman.

MG D. Groce
AoP
V Corps
2nd Division
"Into the breach"


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:01 pm 
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Gents

For the Union two great ones little recognized by the passage of time. James H. Wilson and Emory Upton. For the rebs - D. H. Hill of N.Carolina.

Gen Pete
I/I of the "Fighting First" Corps
Army of the Potomac


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 8:01 pm 
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Gen. Sherman. He deserves the accolade of being the first 'modern' general. He seems to be the only individual who fully understood how to apply the forces available to him. It's easy to imagine him still being an able commander 60 years later for the battles of WWI?



Colonel Jim Wilkes.
2nd Brigade, Cavalry Division, XX Corps.
AoC. U.S.A.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 4:06 am 
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Are you kidding me???? 52 people read this and not one person stepped up to argue that Lee was better then Grant!!! The only posts are people thinking that maybe Sherman was better!!!! I'm beginning to think the war is about won and the Union restored. They must be down to drinking milk and tea in those shacks they call taverns in what's left of the Confederacy! [:p]

General Mark Nelms
6/3/IX/AoO
"Blackhawk Brigade"
Union Military Academy Instructor
Union Cabinet Secretary


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 4:31 am 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by nelmsm</i>
<br />Are you kidding me???? 52 people read this and not one person stepped up to argue that Lee was better then Grant!!! The only posts are people thinking that maybe Sherman was better!!!! I'm beginning to think the war is about won and the Union restored. They must be down to drinking milk and tea in those shacks they call taverns in what's left of the Confederacy! [:p]


<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

[:0]

<b><font color="gold">Ernie Sands
General, Commanding, Army of Ohio
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 5:54 am 
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As a true Southerner, I'm amply prejudiced in the fact that General Robert E. Lee was the best General that ever commanded along with being one of the best servants that ever lived. General Grant was one of the luckiest Generals that ever walked the face of the earth. He was absent at Fort Donelson when the successful Confederate breakout began (successful as illustrated by Forrest leaving with his command but unsuccessful because the Confederate command was so inept that they surrendered instead of followed); had the fortune of facing one of the South's most untested and incompetent Generals at Vicksburg; won at Chattanooga only because his men disobeyed his orders and charged instead of retreating; and even though he heavily outnumbered Lee in the East, he was constantly beaten by Lee but Grant didn't have enough sense to retreat or else was so disoriented that he didn't know which direction to go during a retreat.

However, I like to look at Generals the same way that I look at a raise in pay. If they had not existed, what would have happened. The answer is pretty simple. If Grant had not existed, the Confederacy would probably have succeeded. If Lee had not existed, the Confederacy would probably have been squashed in three years or less. I guess that I have to give Grant credit for tenacity if nothing else.

As a true Southerner, if I had to vote for my favorite Union General, it would be Benjamin Butler. God bless his soul, he would probably still be behind his breastworks on that peninsula even though his carcass would long be nothing but bone.


Lt Gen Ned Simms
1/1/VIII/AoS/USA
Blood 'n Guts hisself, a land lovin' pirate. Show me some arty tubes and we'll charge 'em.
VMI Class of '00


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:22 am 
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Robert Edward Lee is the most overrated Military commander to have emerged from any conflict...not just the American civil war. The man himself is now so surrounded with adulation as to be almost a legendary figure. Not doubting the merits of the man's personal qualities, but has ever a general from a defeated side, emerged with such an awesome reputation before or since?

The great roll of Lee's battle honours includes victories won almost invariably against opponents who can at best be described as mediocre. Plus the benefit of being the 'defender' in most of his actions. To be honest, other than Sherman, I don't believe the ACW turned up any truly 'great' Generals.

If loyalty to his state had not been such a decisive influence, what do you think would have happened if Lee HAD accepted command of the Union Armies in 1861? Does anyone really believe that he would have led the Union Army to victory in the east by christmas of that first year? Lee would have found himself frustrated just the same as all the other Union commanders who struggled to lead large Armies of basically conscript troops in ambitious offensive operations.

Colonel Jim Wilkes.
2nd Brigade, Cavalry Division, XX Corps.
AoC. U.S.A.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 1:36 pm 
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I disagree. Lee had a number of attributes that would have made him the ideal commander for the AoP. One being the ability to work with Civilian Leaders, mainly the President. He probably wouldn't have gone out and won any First Manassas. But the likes of Joe Johnston and Beauregard wouldn't have stopped him from taking Richmond in 1862.

Whether Lee was of the caliber of the great commanders (Napoleon, Caesar, Alexander) is highly questionable. He simply never commander on that scale or had the resources to demonstrate those kind of abilities. But amoung American generals he probably is the best we ever placed in the field. That is not the same as being the best in every situation. But if you consider the situation he was in, the authority he had, the people he commanded and the odds against him he probably did better than any other American general would have done.

Grant was as someone said earlier tenacious. He recognized the fundamental weaknesses of the South and advantage of the North and applied them relentlessly. But as a General he wasted his men's lives needlessly. He repeatedly substituted brute force for tactics. If he had role reversal, commanded a small army like the ANV and had met Lee with the AoP he would have been wiped out. He never learned how to use cavalry.

Sherman is harder to judge. When he was in overall command he seldom faced an equal foe. He did better than Grant though at the tactical handling of an army as shown by his Atlanta campaign. As to inventing total war, maybe, but I don't thing it was a new concept at that time. He just applied it long after it would have affected the outcome in any way other than really pissing the South off. If anything he could have triggered a backlash that would have made the Civil War degrade into a guerrilla war that could have lasted for another half century.

Jackson was probably the best tactical general of the period but his inability to handle subordinates limited him to a secondary role. Under a leader like Lee he shined. Anyone else would have probably canned him.

LG. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
1/1/III AoM (CSA)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 1:48 pm 
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Longstreet.

If Lee would have listened to him at critical points, things <i>might</i> have turned out different. It depends on hoe you rate the Generals though. If all things were considered equal- supply, troop numbers, etc- Longstreet would be my pick.

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">
As Lee considered surrender, Longstreet advised him of his belief that Grant would treat them fairly, but as Lee rode toward Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, Longstreet said, "General, if he does not give us good terms, come back and let us fight it out."
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Lt. Bill Stokes
3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, I Corps
Army of Alabama


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:13 am 
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I think we should give serious consideration to Gen. George H. Thomas. He is much maligned, but I think he was the best we produced.
Jim Gleason LG 4-2-I AoP


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:08 am 
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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="3" face="book antiqua" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by KWhitehead</i>
<br />Grant was as someone said earlier tenacious. He recognized the fundamental weaknesses of the South and advantage of the North and applied them relentlessly. But as a General he wasted his men's lives needlessly. He repeatedly substituted brute force for tactics. If he had role reversal, commanded a small army like the ANV and had met Lee with the AoP he would have been wiped out. He never learned how to use cavalry.



LG. Kennon Whitehead
Chatham Grays
1/1/III AoM (CSA)
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Please Please the same Johnny Reb propaganda.[;)] McClellan, and Burnside, and Hooker and numerous others wasted lives needlessly. How many years did the war go on in the East with high casualty lists
and nothing to show for it. Quite simply if Grant had commanded at Sharpsburg the ANV would have died in place-by Grant's use of 'brute force'. But that is conjecture.[:D]
But what is a fact is that the man who had a need to preserve his 'smaller' army, on more than one occasion '<i>substituted brute force for tactics</i>' and threw his troops into frontal assaults relying on his superior troops to win the day. Malvern Hill, Picket's Charge-shall we go on.[}:)]
As for the conjecture of swapping Lee and Grant it is hard to predict what would have happened. At the time Grant took command the AOP was a battleax-capable of doing a lot of damage but hard to wield. Ponderous, slow to move and react-incapable of traveling light or reacting quickly-in otherwords McClellan trained.[:I] It is hard to see Lee wielding it like he did the ANV. [:)]JMHO



Brig. Gen. Phil Driscoll
1st Brigade/1st Division/VCorps/AoP


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:49 am 
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Location: USA
At the Army level - Sherman, Longstreet, Lee, Grant all up there.

At lower levels - Gibbon, Kearney, DH Hill, Sheridan, Hood - all put together some elite units.

I also think the nuances of the Western Theater were more challenging for commanders there - territory, forces, supply, trasportation, etc. all made it a more tactical theater, but not as much credit goes to the folks who fought out there.

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General Jeff Laub
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:29 pm 
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Location: Australia
I agree with Jim Gleason re Pap Thomas. He was a consistent winner who understood logistics like few others and could fight defensively and offensively with equal aplomb.He saved the Union army at Chickamauga, won the battle of Chattanooga, commanded half of Sherman's force in the Atlanta campaign and won the most comprehensive victory of the war at Nashville.

A southerner fighting for the North I thought you guys would have made him a national hero in the post bellum days.

The one thing that he, Grant, Lee, Jackson, Sherman and Sheridan all shared was a willingness to fight. Their refusal to give up ground caused countless casualties but ultimately won the biggest victories.

As for combat officers and lower commanders both sides produced a myriad of great warriors - Gordon, Upton, Sedgewick, Porter, D. H. Hill, Cleburne, Govan ...the list goes on and on.

The most overrated A. P. Hill - he was as useless as tits on a bull when the pressure was on. Perhaps the syphylis had something to do with it.

cheers/Dale Blair


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