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 Post subject: Too quiet in here!
PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:56 pm 
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Location: Panhandle of Texas
Okay, since I could only find a handful of Rebels who would step up to defend that old man Lee and it's gotten quiet again, let's try this topic. I think Stonewall Jackson is possibly the most overrated general the Confederacy produced. Anyone else agree or disagree??? I'm sure that this will get some Rebel fists balled up or some whiskey bottles grabbed by the neck....just make sure there empty first! I'll give my reasoning after some of you other folks have had a chance to respond. [}:)]

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


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:41 am 
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For no real specific reason, Stonewall is my favorite General of the war. Definitely quirky, and I wonder how he was able to rise in the way he did. That alone should indicate some of his value as a leader, in my opinion.

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General Jeff Laub
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 5:02 am 
I don't see Jackson as a superior leader any more than I consider Lee to have been one. They, like others, made mistakes and errors in judgement. I do however, see the opponents that they faced as inferior.

Col. T. Brewster
2nd Ohio Rifles
1st Division
II Corps
AoP


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 5:16 am 
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Well, are you talking absolute or relative?

What I mean is this. As much as we may like to celebrate the generalship of the Civil War, there really weren't any generals in the war who rated much above average when compared to the Generals of Europe or the like. Certainly no Napoleons, Marlboroughs or the like.

However, if you look at him in relation to the other ACW generals, I don't think he's overrated. He was one of the best that either side had to offer. Flawed? Yes. But far less flawed than most others you can name.

If you want to name most overrated, I'd tend to go A.S. Johnston. He's still often seen the way Davis portrayed him, as the best general the CSA had (or at least #2 behind Lee). Why? His operations pre-Shiloh aren't that impressive. He's merely skating by on the tails of an impressive peacetime reputation in an army that rarely formed its regiments together in one place.

Major General Gary McClellan
1st Division, XXIII Corps
AoO,USA


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:15 am 
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My big beef with most ACW generals, especially the Corps Levels (though it relates back to Army commanders too) is that their sense/usage of time was generally poor.

Now, a fair amount of that can be attributed to staffwork, but really, the idea of urgency was lost on way too many of them. Lost Time = Lost Lives.

Now, I'll admit, on that scale, Jackson was one of the best (outside of the 7 Days). Which is why I say, on a relative basis, he was one of the best in the war.

I'd still take Moltke over Lee, or Erzherhog Albrecht.

Major General Gary McClellan
1st Division, XXIII Corps
AoO,USA


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 3:43 am 
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I believe that Jackson was a bit overrated. I recently finished reading the Valley Campaign and see it that the generals he was facing had poor intel and were just to careless of what they were doing. There were many times they had options that would have put Jackson in his place but either did not notice or ignored the chance. Considering he was out numbered and took gambles, he was lucky. I do like his character and command ability.He was respected and earned such by taking such risks.

Col. Charles Babb
COLD STEEL!
6th Brigade,3rd Division
XXIII Corps
Army of the Ohio
"It's a dog eat dog world out there and I am wearing Milk Bone underwear." Norm from Cheers


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 6:19 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 babb35</i>
<br />I believe that Jackson was a bit overrated. I recently finished reading the Valley Campaign and see it that the generals he was facing had poor intel and were just to careless of what they were doing. There were many times they had options that would have put Jackson in his place but either did not notice or ignored the chance. Considering he was out numbered and took gambles, he was lucky. I do like his character and command ability.He was respected and earned such by taking such risks.

Col. Charles Babb
COLD STEEL!
6th Brigade,3rd Division
XXIII Corps
Army of the Ohio
"It's a dog eat dog world out there and I am wearing Milk Bone underwear." Norm from Cheers
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

While some of the generals he faced weren't to great some were relatively compentent. What Jackson did was a study in how to use a small force to confound and confuse an overall larger group of forces trying to converge and trap the smaller force. The writting on the campaign tend to concentrate on the marching and battles fought not the considerable background work in planning that Jackson did to make those occur. Before he started he had the valley mapped out and identified the features he planned to use to isolate the different forces arrayed against him. He used the valley to separate and strike each of his opponents in turn. We criticize the Union generals for not crushing him but forget we have information not available to them because of the success of Jackson's movements. To them all those other converging forces just as well be on the moon. They had to judge whether they could win or lose with the force they had at hand. Jackson's genius was in how he used the valley to keep them from being able to coordinate their forces.

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


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 12:30 am 
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Jackson was good but maybe more then that I think he was lucky also and I think he gets too much credit for it. His performance in the Valley campaign was striking but if not for his intimate knowledge of the terrain and the fact that he might have been facing three of the biggest boobs ever to wear general's stars for the Union he probably would have been severely spanked. His performance in the Seven Days campaign was really nothing short of abysmal. Once again he is lauded for his stand that set up the Battle of Second Bull Run but once again it was against one of the bigger flops the Union ever put in charge of an army. Kudos to his work in the Antietam campaign though, it was well done. Chancellorsville is always lauded as brilliant but if the Union does any scouting at all or Hooker isn't addled, it could easily been turned into a crushing defeat. I will credit Jackson for getting more miles out of his men then just about anyone else on the march but I'm not sure I'm going to credit him with the genius that everyone else does. Good, but not genius. Would have been interesting to have seen how he would have fared against the best the Union had rather then the worst.

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


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 1:59 am 
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Jackson is hard to pin down because of the extremes of his performance. In the Valley he was the master. In the Seven Days he was the dullard. Seemingly lost as what to do once out of the area he new. Since he never spoke much about why he was doing things it is difficult to judge what was luck and what was him making his own luck. In the valley only Freemont was a total idiot. Most of the others were relatively good generals (for Yankees[:)]) and went on to perform reasonably well in other thearters of the war. It is unfortunate that Jackson died before Gettysburg so that we could see how he would have performed handling much larger troop movements than before against a more equal foe in strength and leadership.

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


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 4:22 am 
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I always thought that Lee was sick at his two low tides (Malvern Hill and Gettysburg) and that Jackson had gone for days without sleep during the Seven Days. Neither was operating at their full mental and physical capacities during their worst performances.

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: Sat Oct 25, 2008 3:37 pm 
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Well, I say calling General Jackson overrated is a great way to stir up us rebs! Now let me get this straight, he was overrated because of the ineptness of the yankee generals he faced or he was just plain lucky? I say judge him by the performance of his contemporaries and his record against them. Was there any other southern General, besides Lee, that the Union feared more?

FldLt Mark Truitt
Truitt's Brig / 2nd Div
III Corps
Army of Georgia (CSA)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 4:58 am 
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Well, it is interesting to see such a plethora of opinions - most of them well reasoned. The difficulty for me is in making valid comparisons. The circumstances were quite different for Union and Rebel generals. I would submit that Thomas, Sherman, Sheridan, and Grant were the equal of any Rebel general. Each was very successful once he was in a position to make a significant difference. The Rebel generals were in that position earlier than the Union, and had the people available to make such a difference. The Union had to suffer through the dross of McClellans, Hookers, etc. until the younger and better officers got their opportunity. When they were handed the ball, they each ran well with it.

Therefore, I think the judgment has to be that these four Union generals were the equal of any Rebel general officer. In my opinion, Thomas was the best of the entire lot from both sides.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 12:34 pm 
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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 Jim Gleason</i>
<br />Well, it is interesting to see such a plethora of opinions - most of them well reasoned. The difficulty for me is in making valid comparisons. The circumstances were quite different for Union and Rebel generals. I would submit that Thomas, Sherman, Sheridan, and Grant were the equal of any Rebel general. Each was very successful once he was in a position to make a significant difference. The Rebel generals were in that position earlier than the Union, and had the people available to make such a difference. The Union had to suffer through the dross of McClellans, Hookers, etc. until the younger and better officers got their opportunity. When they were handed the ball, they each ran well with it.

Therefore, I think the judgment has to be that these four Union generals were the equal of any Rebel general officer. In my opinion, Thomas was the best of the entire lot from both sides.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

I'll disagree with you on some points.[:D]

Thomas was a good defensive general but lacked the drive of a Sherman or Grant to turn that into being a great general. He would have done very well on the Southern side where being great on defense was more important.

Sherman is hard to say. Once he was above division level he seldom fought and equal or even near equal foe so its hard to judge how good he was. He made no mistakes in his Atlanta campaign but he made no great moves either.

Sheridan never fought anyone in anywhere close to equal terms once above division level. Probably my biggest problem with him was he was a braggard and generally people who have to go around saying how great they are are usually of Pope's calibre.

Grant I rate one step below Lee because he seldom used manueuver as an alternative to killing his own men to achieve the objective. His Vicksburg campaign was his brightest moment but he benefited by being opposed by a general that wasn't up to field command.

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


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:26 am 
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Location: United Kingdom
Gentlemen, if you will forgive a new member butting in... Here's my take on Jackson:

Speed

Jackson's appreciation that speed of march is absolutely crucial to a campaign meant that he outwitted Union oponents time and again. Whilst Union Generals were sitting relaxing believeing that Jackson's army must be a day's march away because that's what the rate of march tables told them, Jackson was busy looting their baggage, surprising union columns on the march, or cutting up their men whilst they were resting in camp. The ability to concentrate your army on the battlefield quicker than the enemy is still crucial and always has been. Jackson realised that the rebel army would always be outnumbered and the only way to even, or to shorten, the odds was to concentrate and fight against a part of the enemy force quicker than the enemy can react.

Leadership

To have a good idea is one thing, to put it into practice is quite another. All commanders have to rely on and motivate their subordinates to actually carry out their orders. Jackson always got what he wanted out of his subordinates and his men. A true leader.

Loyalty

Jackson always carried out orders given to him by Lee to the best of his ability, he had no ambition other than to be as useful to his nation as he possibly could be. This cannot be said of other generals on both sides who had an eye to personal advancement and glory.

On the tactical level Jackson was no great inovater, once the battle was joined his tactics were quite conventional, but then none of the civil war generals can really lay claim to that accolade.

No general wins all his battles, even Napoleon lost on occasions, but Stonewall rarely lost and was never completely bested.

Now, what's this about him being overrated...?

Fld. Lt. James Broadhead
2nd Brigade
1st Infantry Division "The Fianna"
II Corps "The Light Fighters"
Army of Alabama
CSA


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 5:27 am 
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Love reading this! Still nothing to sway me from my thoughts that TJ was my favorite General of the war...

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General Jeff Laub
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ACWGC Cabinet Member
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