Please Sign In

Please enter a valid username and password
  • Log in with Facebook
» Not a member? Take a moment to register
» Forgot Username or Password

Why Register?
Signing up could earn you gear (click here to learn how)! It also keeps offensive content off our site.

The Great (?) Robert E. Lee

Recent Comments

Categories

Recent Posts

Archives

Syndicate

Google Reader or Homepage
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My AOL

The Gun Nuts
in your Inbox

Enter your email address to get our new post everyday.

July 06, 2011

The Great (?) Robert E. Lee

By David E. Petzal

Since this is the 150th anniversary of the Great Southern Miscalculation, and since everyone had fun yelling at each other and me the last time, here’s another: Was Robert E. Lee truly a great commander, or did he have the good luck to face some of the lamest generals in the history of modern warfare?

I give you:

George B. McClellan, the Virginia Creeper, who could do everything with an army but fight; who actually had Lee’s plans before the Battle of Antietam and could manage no better than a draw.

Joe Hooker, “his hindquarters was where his headquarters were,” he of the loud mouth who imploded at Chancelorsville.

Ambrose Burnside, who brought military incompetence to hitherto undreamed of heights at Fredericksburg.

George Gordon Meade, who was not a bad general, but who won at Gettysburg in large part because Lee screwed up repeatedly and then, with the Confederates routed, when he could probably have destroyed the Army of Northern Virginia, did...nothing.

It’s about as dismal a collection of general officers as you can find. To equal it, you have to go to the British Army in World War I, or the French Army in any war since Napoleon.

On the other hand, I can’t think of any Confederate officer who could have commanded the steadfast loyalty of so many men for so long through so much horror and suffering as Marse Robert.

Your turn.

Comments (94)

Top Rated
All Comments
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Don't forget the drunkard U.S. Grant whose real name was Hiram Ulysses Grant, H.U.G. on his foot locker.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from JettPack wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

It's both. Lee was great, and looked even better facing that opposition which almost always had more soldiers.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Plotner wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

hmm i think he was pretty good. he was on the wrong side though. he lead the marines who took back harpers farry from john brown so i whould say yes

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

That drunkard won. Not saying much for Lee, there.

I don't think Lee was any better or worse than your average field commander. Great? Maybe. Simply lucky? No.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Forgetting about the last time I posted on this subject: It's always been my opinion that most of these gents were awarded positions not because of intelligence but of position in society, money, connections etc.
This is not my thoughts on Lee, or Grant but in general, no pun intended.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I will offer an opinion on Marse Lee later as right now I am attempting to determine if this site is operated by one of Meade's decendents. I just tried to enter a short post of today's bear caused human fatality in YNP, my first post in many days, only to repeatedly receive a "pink" reply that I had exceeded the maximum number of posts for this time period. Let's see if this entry will be allowed...

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Scott in Ohio wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

This topic seems like a blast from the past from DEP's former Letters to the Editor days. Dave, you going on vacation or another trip?! This topic could generate days and days of commentary.

Lee was top of his class at the war college, right? Even as a yankee, I give the man his due respect. The best of his age.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from iron giant wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

The fact that he could do what he did with what he had shows his abilities. Not to mention his ability to lead. Granted he is made to look even better by the people he thought, but regardles he is still great.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Let's see what B.S. the drunkards and ignorami on here can come up with this time around!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I guess it was luck and bad luck for all, but specifically the North was the assault army while the south defended. The North having the abilty to out manufacture the South, including repeating rifles that seemed to help the dynamic of war I would think??
The North's army vastly outnumbered the south, but considering their losses I would call that a draw!Always difficult to assault vs defend. The SOUTH defending their homeland, ofcourse.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

The real genius of that war was Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. Look at what he did in the Shanandoah valley against a superior force. Another great was Nathan Bedford Forrest who rose from Private to General. Lee was very good but really screwed up at Gettysburg with Pickett's charge. He probably learned from that battle . After that he let Grant come to him. All Grant did was keep attacking with a much superior force. In his memoirs Grant said his only regret was that last charge at Cold Harbor. IMS 6000 men shot down in 20 minutes. Compare that to 10 years of war on terrorism less than 5000 dead and the media playing like that is a lot. Don't get me wrong even one American soldier is too many but considering what has happened 5K is not to bad. If the news is correct more people have died in Detroit's gang wars in that time.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from jim in nc wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Granted (get it? Granted? Yuk, yuk. Sorry; couldn't resist) that Lee was up against some turkeys, Grant was a hell of a general, and the charge of drunkenness was bogus.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from gibr22 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I believe that a better question to ask is whether Geogre Thomas - The Rock of Chickamauga was the best General produced by either side.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Ish, I get a lot of those pinks.
The bear attack today was something, is it true people can carry a handgun in parks today as I thought?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I meant to add, 'Why Don't They?'

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Jim in Mo, last year the feds changed the law so that we can pack heat in the National Parks. The old .44 is quite a comfort to have handy but then I always took it everywhere I went in the mountains anyway. It is illegal to shoot a grizzly even in self defense as one has the burden of proof on himself not the bear.
Lee was the son of Light Horse Harry, I beliee first in his class at West Point, had over 30 years of service in the U. S. Army when 1861 rolled around, was quite wealthy, respected, and somewhat famous. He was offered command of armies on both sides. Although often exhibiting brillant offensive and defensive tactics, it certainly did not hurt to have T. J. Jackson, J. E. B. Stuart (forgive the incident at Gettysburg), Ewell, Early, Armistead, Pickett (he denounced th charge named after him prior to the attack), et al in accompaniment. Of course Lee went on to be quite successful after the war as well. Nevertheless, Nathan Bedford Forrest, John Singleton Mosby, and Stuart are far more interesting characters as well as Jeff Thompson "the swamp fox". But then I suppose I am partial to calvarymen.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

jim in nc, In regard to Hiram I believe that pulling the cork and puffing the stogies are fairly well documented. After his presidentcy he died of throat cancer somewhat confirming the addiction to alcohol and tobacco. Damned rough way to go. I have often felt that much of Grant's success in the west resulted from Sheridan's resourcefulness, Sherman's stubourness, adequate supplies (although Forrest burned him out of Holly Springs one eventful evening), good transprtation on both land and water, a decent navy (don't forget Farragut), plus almost unlimited manpower. The southerners lacked almost all of these advantages.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Lee may have been an inept strategist but possesed the most important quality any General could have. His men respected him and followed him into battle.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

One more thing about strategy, can't have too much of it when your entire army is on foot.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from O Garcia wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Joshua Chamberlain was the best. Oops, he was only a colonel, too bad.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

YEP!

THAT TIME AGAIN,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shWyIxnjNAI&feature=share

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Johnny Cash sings Civil War songs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GM80_377AF4&feature=related

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from focusfront wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

1. When people make their lists of best heavyweights ever, they often forget to put undefeated Rocky Marciano on it because he fought "bums." Well, you can only fight the guy they put in front of you. Lee did that.

2. Both Stonewall and Forrest were remarkable. Hard to compare them to Lee because they led hundreds of cavalrymen, not tens of thousands of slow moving infantry.

3. Lee usually managed to put his troops in a place where the Army of the Potomac would have to attack them on Lee's home ground. The two times Lee came north he was defeated.

4. Grant knew that as long as the Army of Virginia was in the field, the war was not over. He moved therefore to destroy that army, using feints towards Richmond only to force Lee to keep his army in front of Grant's. This seems logical in retrospect but Grant was the only Yankee, including Abraham Lincoln, who seemed to realize it at the time. Lee knew it too but there was nothing he could do about it.

5. That said, Lee had roughly half the manpower to draw from that the north had, and only a tiny fraction of the north's manufacturing, yet for a time (1862) was actually winning the war and took three bloody years to lose it. Imagine playing chess with somebody and starting the game with your queen and rooks off the board; that's what Lee had going in.

6. So I think it is fair to give Lee as much credit as we can, while acknowledging that Forrest, Th. Jackson, and Grant were also geniuses in their way, and Sherman not half bad.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from jalander1953 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Lee was obviously good enough to keep the Union at bay until Gettysburg. After that, the union won by sheer force of numbers and production of materials for war.
Lee was a great Christian gentleman who lived out his life after the war without bitterness. He was respected by the young men who attended the school he oversaw as well as by just about anyone who knew him.
A great general? Who knows. A great Christian? You can bet your Bible on it.
If you don't have a Bible, you ought to get one and find out just what kind of man Lee was.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from RJ Arena wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

This is a hard one. Lee was complex, against secession, but loyal to his home state, he was a classic tragic figure to say the least. I think he new from the beginning that he could never win, only hope for a draw, and was surprised for the most part that his forces lasted as long and as successful as the were.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from 10527 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

A 150 year old debate still without end in sight.....
Virginia is known as the 'birthplace of Presidents; and for your consideration, it's also produced some of the greatest Generals ever to walk this Earth:

Gen. Thomas J. 'Stonewall' Jackson,
Gen. Turner Ashby (the 'Black Knight of the Confederacy')
Gen. Ed 'Alleghany' Johnson (a barbarian in Gray).

Civil war history buffs, here's a great read:

Old Alleghany: The Life and Wars of Gen. Ed Johnson
by Greg S. Clemmer

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from wingshooter54 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

If you include honor and integrity as the determining factors of what makes a great general, Robert E. Lee stands above the rest. Wars are won or lost sometimes on the smallest of incidents that happen by chance. Lee's destiny was not determined by his ability as a general no more than Yamamoto's was as a naval strategist.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Avon wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Several good, accurate comments here. Lee was the best of his time, evidenced by both sides recruiting him. But Lincoln wasted more than two years trusting inferior officers to do what needed to be done. And Lee was defending his home ground, which always adds strength to the defenders.

But hubris and ego overtook him at Gettysburg; had he followed Longstreet's advice to get his army on high ground between the Federals and Washington, he might well have won the war. But he did not.

Thus, the great conundrum for those who believe God plays an active role in history: Was it God's plan for the States to remain United, even at the cost of sacrificing His most faithful general? Why were Lee, and Jackson, thus "rewarded" for their unquestioning trust?

As for me, I believe it was simply the bumbling, indecisive Lincoln's overwhelming riches in resources that preserved the Union -- and, even with all that, he damn near lost it all. Had it not been for Grant, Sherman, Sheridan and their subordinates, he would have.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from firedog11 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Lee was a great general but he had several flaws one was that once he got into battle he tended to stick to his plan mo matter what, very stubborn note when Longstreet tried to disavow him of trying Pickett's Charge. Lee also had a tendency to place unwavering trust in his subordinates any of which by the time of Gettysburg had been wounded or were ill as was Lee which could have and probably did affect their decisions. Last but not least this was the first industrial war fought with what could be considered modern weapons such a rifled bores for weapons, long range artillery and repeating arms but Lee and the others were still relying on the tactics of the early 1800's. The general who "made" Lee was Stonewall probably the greatest infantry commander on either side who proved he had a grasp for the strategic as well as the tactical.(Sorry Focus you need to check your history source as Stonewall was not a cavalryman. Stonewall's infantry were known as Stonewall's foot calvary.) For an interesting read see "Lost Victories, The Military Genius of Stonewall Jackson." by Bevan Alexander.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from wgiles wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I haven't read any of the other comments yet, but I suspect that some say the same thing. Lee was as great as his generals and until Gettysburg, he had some of the best.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Douglas wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

It was those boys fighting in bare feet and ragged uniforms that made Gen'l Lee the notable commander that he was.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from freeparking wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

"The Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant" was a good read. Grant made good personnel decisions (Sherman), used his strategic advantage, took calculated risks (The March to the Sea) and while he respected Lee, he wasn't intimidated as his predecessors appeared to be by Lee's brilliance.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from PigHunter wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

DEP, I don't see the point in going to this subject again. Can't you find something else of interest about to write about? Maybe something to do with 'Field' & 'Stream'?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Justin D. wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I think if you look at Lee's military career before the civil war you would find the answer to that question. He was a very good at planning and strategy.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clem Snide wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

focus, those are my opinions as well.

Lee's patriotism was the only kind that makes any sense to me: it was love of family and friends and his immediate community (Virgina). The "Union" was (and still is) an abstraction.

Someone said that Lee was on the wrong side. As a retired professional historian, I believe that this is one war where there really was no right side. Union war aims were quite different from what subsequent folklore has assumed.

Milton T. Burton
S.C.V Camp #124,
Tyler, Texas

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Teodoro wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Lee was good at leading, but Grant was good at winning.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from CorieSquared wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Is it just me or does the photo of Robert E. Lee at the top bear a strinking resemblence to a certain gun writer with the initials DEP?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from PSU_Bassboss wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Lee was solid, but it's a stretch to call him 'great'. The great rebel generals were Stonewall Jackson- for innovation and boldness, and John Mosby- a predecessor to modern special forces.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

DEP is a swell guy, but can't hold a candle to Marse Robert.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve in Virginia wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

There's no question that Lee was a great military commander. Like all such leaders, however, his early successes may have clouded his thinking of what he and his army were capable of doing, a problem that culminated with Pickett's charge. Napolean's "start" faded in a similar fashion. Perhaps over time a feeling of invinceability overtakes better judgement.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from s-kfry wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Dear Field and Stream,

I must ask the wisdom in letting your vaunted firearms writing post topics like this one. My concern is that there are still good ol' boys back in the hills fighting for the Confederacy to this day and allowing DEP to reignite the confrontation in these forums is a great risk. Unlike the original conflict, this current battlefield contains contestants of equal numbers, one might argue that in fact the current field of war holds greater sympathy with and numbers of the south. As such, reigniting the blaze may not be in the best interest of this forum, the magazine, or the country at large. In fact, this time, the South might just do it (again) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCKhujch9fo).

Respectfully submitted by a former northerner living in the Rockies with sympathies for the south (forget the west coast).

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clem Snide wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Grant was good at winning because he drew on a population of 23 million as opposed to the South's 5.5 million white people. Grant was good at winning because the North had 90% of the country's industry and sound foreign credit. Grant was good at winning because he had superior troop numbers in practically every encounter. His contribution to the war was that, given such superiority, he realized that all he had to do was to keep hammering away with frontal assaults to wear down the Confederacy.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clem Snide wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Steve wrote: "Perhaps over time a feeling of invinceability overtakes better judgement."

Vietnam? Iraq and Afghanistan?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clem Snide wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

s-krfy, this discussion has remained remarkably civil as compared to many on the same subject I have seen. So take heart: I will not be coming at you with my muzzle-loading Enfield.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

To CorieSquared: See WA MtnHunter's comment and then see an eye doctor. You are in worlds of trouble. Lee was called "the handsomest man in America," while the only person I've been likened to accurately is Rasputin the Mad Monk.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clem Snide wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

No comparison, Dave. Rasputin was much the saner.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Lee realized more than any other Confederate the South would loose a war of attrition. This knowledge forced Lee, and the South, to take long chances. These long chances demanded generalship and cultivated aggressive natures. Gettysburg was the price the South paid for having a Lee.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Clem

I don't think a feeling of invincibility overtook anything in Vietnam. Our comanders were hamstrung by the politicians from the get-go. When you allow the enemy to stage just across the fence and say "Nanny, nanny, noo, noo, you can't touch me" and do nothing, the results are inevitable.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from 1uglymutha wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

every war is the same. the politicians start the wars,tell the generals to go fight them, then hamstring the fighting forces by dictating idiotic policy and strategy. will they ever learn?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from BubbaK wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

An interesting debate, and one that probably will never be resolved. I had family on both sides of the Manson-Nixon line at that time, and have always admired outstanding leaders on both sides (Grant, Lee, Jackson, Stuart, Sherman, Sheridan, Mosby, Custer and others). Lee was at the top of his Academy class, and a military engineer, rather than an infantryman. However, he recognized good leadership and was not afraid to take the suggestions and ideas of his subordinates in formulating his own plans - a difficult concept for less confident men. And while Grant graduated near the bottom of his Academy class, he too looked for good subordinates, despite having a number of political appointees and other amateurs forced on him. Where Lee adopted a flair for good tactical movement and employment of forces, Grant took a larger strategic view that allowed him to grind Lee down. The alcoholism charge against Grant was politically motivated by those who wanted their own man at the top and sought to use scandal to get Lincoln to replace him. To Abe's credit, he didn't fall for the lies, as lies they were proven to be. True, Grant had struggled with alcohol before the war, but had been dry for several years before the conflict, and there have been no verifiable reports I'm aware of that he was drunk at any time during the campaigns (or after for that matter). Yes he died of throat cancer, but that has nothing to do with alcohol.

One more thing about Lee - he was a God-fearing man, and by all accounts a kind, loving husband and father. He was also an oath-breaker, who betrayed his country and his uniform. So far as I know, the oath of an officer does not include the phrase, "until such time as you deem it inconvenient to obey." If Lee really was insightful enough to oppose sedition, and knew what devestation the war would bring, then how much the worse that he chose to fight his own country, his fellow officers and his former subordinates? How many of his own men did he kill?

What's more, it always amazes me to be confronted with the old saw that if only the South had had more men/materiel/ money/foreign support, etc. it would have won the war. That is a sentiment that is seriously disrespectful to the Union soldiers, both those who lived and those who died. I doubt there were any better soldiers on the ground anywhere in the world at that time than the veteran Union soldiers at Little Round Top under Chamberlain, or the men under Grant who finally cornered Lee at Gettysburg. How remarkable was it that young men from the cities of the North enlisted in vast numbers, many never having held a gun, foraged, etc. or even having seen the South? Yet they were remade into a fighting force that eventually trapped and destroyed a force that was on its own soil, on ground it chose, in fighting positions it had prepared and in many cases on the high ground. No small feat. Moreover, if the resources were so outmatched, one would have thought the Confederates would never have tried to leave: to do so was either hubris, or they actually believed they could beat "unlimited manpower, industrial production capability, etc." I believe Jeff Davis and the South took stock and thought they could win - particularly if they invited the British in.

They thought wrong, thank God. (I'll take shelter now while the rockets of rage, and mortars of madness are fired at me! lol)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

BubbaK, you offer some very valid and astute comments. A few might not be precise but the only one I will refute is by letting you discover the answer to one of your errors. Simply Google "alcohol throat cancer" as the findings apparently will surprise you.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from BubbaK wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Ishawooa, as I enjoy both cigars and alcohol, I'd rather not. And I'm sure we're all duly impressed with your encyclopedic knowledge of... well... everything apparently. However, a man's gotta die of something, and having enjoyed many a fine libation and many a fine smoke would make the passing easier in my view. I'd never heard that alcohol contributes to throat cancer, but I have read that Grant's throat cancer was attributed to the smoking. Makes no difference either way. I suppose you're one of those people who enjoys looking up 1,001 ways to die or something?

But then, some people will find the dark side to anything - "Sure it's roiling hot outside, and I have access to a swimming pool, but the water musses my hair, and what if a freak lightning storm were to arise, or escaped piranha were to sneak into my pool!" lol...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Having very slow response time today, tried to take the gun IQ test and had to wait 30 sec for a response so I quit.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Anyone else?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clem Snide wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

" He was also an oath-breaker, who betrayed his country and his uniform. So far as I know, the oath of an officer does not include the phrase, "until such time as you deem it inconvenient to obey."

Hogwash. He resigned from the army and retired, just as he was entitled to do. Once he left the service, his oath was invalid. Besides, there are higher loyalties. I agree with E.M. Forster when he said, "if I had to choose between my country and my friend, I'd hope I'd have the courage to choose my friend."

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

BubbaK: I am not much into looking up things myself and by far the majority of my answers are spontaneous so you will most likely locate a few errors since I am an old fart with a failing memory. Being orignially from the deep south I have a long interest in the war. Insofar as life and death I have worked in the same hospital for over 25 years so am quite familiar with most phases and types of each activity. Regardless I appreciate your comments but you should learn to accept constructive criticism. BTW I prefer Partagas and Jack Daniels LOL

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tony C. wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I just always thought Southern boys were hell in a fight, whether it was with a rifle, fists or a football. The generals get the credit, but the men make the generals. You gotta remember they were outnumbered like 2 to 1 and still nearly won.

Roll Tide Roll.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tony C. wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I just always thought Southern boys were hell in a fight, whether it was with a rifle, fists or a football. The generals get the credit, but the men make the generals. You gotta remember they were outnumbered like 2 to 1 and still nearly won.

Roll Tide Roll.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Lee could have lead the Union if he wanted to, Virginia left the Union and so did he. In 1861 he was offered the job to lead the entire Union Army by President Lincoln. If he wasn't a great leader why could have he lead either side in the Civil War? The soldiers around him knew him best, and judging by what they would do under his command, he is certainly a great leader. I personally had family on both sides of the war and do not appreciate over-simplified causes to the war that textbook writers had published and fed to us in public schooling, most Southerners didn't own slaves. When is all said and done State governments balance budgets and the federal government borrows and pays back debt on paper money that is not backed by anything and has intrinsic interest built into it by the unaudited privately owned Fed. If anything Americans are more divided than united and we are a pseudo democracy with faces that symbolize power when the strings that they are pulled by leads you to the real power. If you Yankee's don't think he is a great man then tell me who should head up the GOP as a standout leader, if you can't think of a clearcut person then being in the running to command EITHER army in 1861 should indicate the caliber person he was. I met a guy related to him his name is Robert. WPS.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from PigHunter wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

"Poor markmanship and unfamiliarity with weapons had plagued Civil War armies throughout the war, especially those of the North where urbanization had reduced the need for hunting and its attendant skills."
~ E.B. Mann, Field & Stream, September 1983, page 52

http://teachinghistory.org/history-content/ask-a-historian/24420
In the first two years of the Civil War, most judged the Southern cavalry—the horse-borne troopers who could travel far more quickly than their colleagues in the infantry—superior to that of the Union army. In the war’s first months, Confederate cavalry enjoyed a reputation for better horsemanship and more fighting spirit; they boasted the most colorful and well-known cavalry officers of the war’s early months, including the flamboyant J. E. B. Stuart and the daring Nathan Bedford Forrest; and celebrated some noteworthy victories over their Northern counterparts. No less an authority than Union General William Tecumseh described the Confederate cavalry in 1863 as “splendid riders, shots, and utterly reckless . . . the best Cavalry in the world.”

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from CHKILCHII wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Though General Lee was not the best generla of the South he did command alot of respect for leading the entire Confederate Army, In my opinion J.E.B. Stuart was the greatest Confederate General, followed by Stonewall Jackson.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Dave P,
No matter how outrageous it may be I really do think it's time for you to get an avatar!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Zermoid wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Who Cares? He lost, nuff said.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clem Snide wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Zermoid wrote: "Who Cares? He lost, nuff said."

The same could be said of Jesus, could it not? Or could it?

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from BubbaK wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

lol... Don't be confused by my post - I have a great respect for Robert E. Lee's acumen as a military leader. As I wrote above, I had family on both sides, and one of my Rebel relatives was apparently hung as a horsethief when he pulled iron on a Yankee patrol that tried to commandeer his horse after he had given his parole at the end of hostilities. That said, Grant won by relying on the strengths he had at hand, and better employing the assets available to him than did Lee. It's just that simple. I encourage everyone to read his Civil War memoirs, which were hailed as the greatest war memoirs of their day for a very long time. Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain hailed them as the best he'd read, and even his enemies acknowledged their importance. Lee should be duly honored, but Grant should be acknowledged for the strategic excellence he used in defeating Lee.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from BubbaK wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Oh yeah, and I prefer a Montecristo 2 accompanied by either a Guinness or a Jameson's - or both :) JR Cigars makes a good knockoff of the Monte 2, and it's a whole lot cheaper!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from BubbaK wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

And by the way, does it look to anyone else as though on the picture of DEP above, he is wearing a bandage on his forehead? Or is that just me? lol... It's not a criticism, just an observation

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jkstlmax23@yahoo.com wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Lee was actually a very good leader with what resources he had. If he would have listened to General longstreet before the battle of gettysburg the south might of gotten the war won. Grant was decent however very unproffessional at his level of command but didnt quite dish out what he could have.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Sharing a birthdate with General Lee (1/19) and being my namesake, I have to say that if General Lee had been on the other side, the War of Nothern Oppression would have ended much sooner.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clem Snide wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

By the way, Dave: "McClellan" is the way it it spelled. Not McLellan as you had it.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ableskeever wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Lee was a great commander who chose to take the tougher hand in the game. After the War Between the States, America did not see men of that caliber until WWII in my opinion.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

To Jim in MO: I'm not sure what an avatar is in this case, or why I would need one.

To Clem Snide: Thank you. I stand abashed.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

To Jim in MO: I'm not sure what an avatar is in this case, or why I would need one.

To Clem Snide: Thank you. I stand abashed.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ableskeever wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

David P,
the avatar Jim is referring to is your picture next to your name on your posts.

Mine is the Come and Take it Flag of Gonzales, TX

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jim in nc wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

BubbaK: While Grant certainly had the killer instinct (head straight for Richmond and, every time Lee stops me, slide to the left, build overwhelmingly more forces, and keep doing that til I'm all the way down at Petersburg and Lee's forces are stretched so thin that they crack), I'm not sure that's strategic genius. Headon confrontation with the enemy's main force with everything you can muster is what we also did in Operation Torch (North Africa) and Overlord (Normandy). Maybe Grant established the norm. I don't know

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

One of the problems that hampered the South.
Abe had asked the railroads to "standardize" track gauge to 4'8 1/2" or 56 1/2".
While the North was able to interchange railcars between railroads, the South's inconsistent rail gauge meant off loading and reloading materials to keep them moving.
As the Civil War was the first war that had railroads to move men and materials within yards of a front line was one of the reasons the War was so bloody.

Since I didn't live in the period and never personally "met" R. E. Lee, I read an article once that said his greatest "command" problem was he was a "gentleman" first, then a "commander". The article stated Lee had a tendency of, rather than telling whomever, "Take your men and cover that ravine!", Lee would say, "Somebody needs to cover that ravine."
Basically, had his commands been more forceful, he could have probably won the war.

Bubba

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

To Ableskeever: Thank you. I thought that's what it was, but since my mug is right at the top of every new post, why would I need an avatar?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

ableskeever, IMHO the last great American Generalship display was in the Civil War! Every conflict afterwards was winning by the numbers on a tactical level as well strategic. Too many times this *winning with the numbers* mentality had the USA being defeated.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BaldEagle1938 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Let me say first, that I had two grand-sires who wore the blue. I believe that the Union, at that time, had to be preserved--especially since the issue of chattel slavery drove the Southrons to preserve it by extending into the new territories. So, the grounds for secession were deeply flawed and immoral. (If secession had been based on some moral principles that the federal government was violating, I would uphold the right of secession, just as I approve of our breaking the bounds that we had with Great Britain.)
That said ..., R.E.Lee was a better general than any of those who opposed him or those who served under him. A great army general inspires and makes possible the "brilliance" of T.J.Jackson, J.E.B. Stuart, or James Longstreet. Grant had Sherman and Sheridan.
What Lee did with fewer men who were poorly equipped and poorly fed was just short of miraculous. Check the causality rates during during Grant's final campaign against Lee. Grant won because he was stubborn, winning at frightful cost of Union blood. On another note, could Jackson or Stuart commanded the Army of Northern Virgina as effectively as Lee? Don't think so. As much as I admire generals like these and others like Bradley, Patton, and J.Lawton Collins, they need a commanding general (Eisenhower) that inspires respect and gets them to play as a team. Otherwise, each of these "stars" will attempt to steal the show for themselves. Showboating will loses battles and wars. The great generals mold their subordinate generals into a winning team, inspiring them to win and uniting them in purpose and goals.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

BaldEagle1938: Your views of MacArthur would be interesting to read, I wonder if they are similiar to mine or to my deceased father who served under him and was less than impressed.
BubbaK: I think you are correct concerning the large bandaid on DEP's forehead. Maybe it is covering the bite from one of his big old scopes which is sitting on a big old rifle LOL. BTW what is the name of Grant's memoirs? I would like to buy a copy, you probably mentioned the title but I missed it somehow.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from mike55 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

To ClemSnide: Actually Jesus won a great victory at the cross, for those who accept His free gift of pardon. Check out Isaiah 25:8(KJV), 1Corinthians 15:54-57(KJV) and Ephesians 2:8(KJV). Those three biblical references about say it all.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RylieGipson wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

just bout any general who stood up fa what he beleved in and didnt run like heal was a good general, no matter what side he was on.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tbonzzz wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Undermanned underfunded but still not forgotten Robert E Lee is a hero south of the mason dixon line And an American Hero in my Great State Of Georgia

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I grew up a Yankee and moved to Tennessee 31 years ago. I have mixed emotions, but emotions should not play a part here. Robert E. Lee was the best general that served in the war between the states. That is my humble opinion, and I held it when I lived north of the Mason-Dixon line.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tacrancher wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I believe if Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was alive thoughout the civil war, the "final outcome" would be very different. Also, this country would be a different country today.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Not wanting to debate the "what if's", this would be a different World, not just a different country had the results been different. Any capitulation by the North would have just been a draw and the Southern states would have formed an industrially weaker nation. One might think about what would have been the end result if slavery had continued in a southern nation.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from focusfront wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

As for Grant's drunkenness, the charge was put to Abraham Lincoln that Grant was a drunk, and Lincoln said something like, "If that's true, I'd like to send all my generals a case of whatever Grant is drinking."

On another occasion Lincoln said of Grant, "I can't spare this man. He FIGHTS."

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ohiodeerhunter wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I agree that Lee was a great general-he got much done with lees troops,less well trained troops,and less supplies,including inferior weapons,limited amounts of powder,minie balls,round balls,and balls and grapeshot for cannon.
Stonewall Jackson was a better leader,and better in battle than Lee,in my opinion.( which could be slightly influenced due to my participation in Civil War re-enactments, in which we were 7th Virginia Cavalry,who had served in 1862 with Stonewall Jackson.)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from O Garcia wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Grant's genius was that he grasped that the winning method of waging war was "total war".

The Navy mismatch was also key. The Battle of Hampton Roads was one of the most important, if not the most important, battles of the war.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from milesdigby wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Lee was great because he split his army in front of a much larger force (I think twice). Also lousy because he thought the minute the Union Army fought and took heavy loses that the union would give the Confederates some kind of political solution. After inflicting heavy loses we have to remember he did understand that this thinking was foolhardy. The U.S.A. also had a ton more people ready to fight.

Lee is pumped up due to the "lost cause southerners".

Grant's victories in the west were just incredible "Vicksburg etc" but I never read anything about them in school. It is like the hole battle for the Mississippi River just got forgotten. Course I am a Texan.

Lee was rotten because he fought to keep slavery alive. He was also a traitor to his country. He killed his own countrymen like John Walker Lighn .

Just to be clear if you think that slavery was not a part of the civil war. Please read the speech given by C.S.A. new Vice president. This happen the day after they passed their own constitution which had one difference from ours. It made breaking off from the Union a instant hanging crime! Not kidding.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hobob wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

No offense but what does this have to do with Guns or hunting?? Why sew discord among a group of people only united by their love for outdoor sports? I realize I can tune out but how about an article about firearms?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nesland wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I question if any one commenting hereon are qualified to pass judgement on the Generals or the soilders who fought in the US Civil War.

Back to the purported topic at hand: guns!!!!!!!!!!!

It be a good idea for this site to offer a really nice functioning Civil War replica 50 Cal muzzle loader in one of your contests.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BubbaK wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Hmmm... always makes me suspicious when someone tries to deny another the opportunity to offer an opinion on a topic.

Anyway, Ishawooa- the title of the memoirs may not be the most imaginative, but it is descriptive! "Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant". You can check with Barnes & Noble for it - they carry it in their essential reading collection.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shootthebreeze51 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I have to politely disagree with DEP on a couple of points regarding Gettysburg. Few of the major battles of the Civil War were one sided affairs with the losing army completely routed. Gettysburg was no different. Although the Army of Northern Virginia was certainly defeated, it withdrew from the field in good order and was still a dangerous force to be reckoned with, especially under the command of competent officers such as Lee and his subordinates. On the other hand, Meade's Army of the Potomac had been badly mauled in the battle and was in little better shape than the southerners for pursuing and finishing off their enemy. Neither army had the capability or the stomach for more vigorous campaigning for some time to come. This was, after all, the largest battle in American history, and afterward both sides badly needed rest, reinforcements, and refitting. It is telling that after July 3rd, 1863, even though the two forces remained in relatively close proximity to each other, there were no more major engagements between these two armies for the rest of 1863 and until the opening of Grant's Overland Campaign in the spring of 1864.
Just prior to Gettysburg, Lee was flushed with success and perhaps became overconfident. By his own admission he thought that his men could accomplish anything. Perhaps Lees's greatest mistake was continuing the attack at Gettysburg, especially the third day's assault. Many years ago I read an interview with a historian whose name I cannot remember now. He listed many of Lee's mistakes and failings. The interviewer then asked him whether in retrospect he thought that the South would have been better off without Lee in command. His answer was: "Yes. Because without Lee the South would have lost the war two years earlier. Reconstruction would have started and ended that much sooner and the nation would have been spared much of the national tragedy that resulted from the war lasting as long as it actually did." A pretty good tribute to the abilities of one commander, given the strenght of the forces arrayed against him.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from focusfront wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

1. When people make their lists of best heavyweights ever, they often forget to put undefeated Rocky Marciano on it because he fought "bums." Well, you can only fight the guy they put in front of you. Lee did that.

2. Both Stonewall and Forrest were remarkable. Hard to compare them to Lee because they led hundreds of cavalrymen, not tens of thousands of slow moving infantry.

3. Lee usually managed to put his troops in a place where the Army of the Potomac would have to attack them on Lee's home ground. The two times Lee came north he was defeated.

4. Grant knew that as long as the Army of Virginia was in the field, the war was not over. He moved therefore to destroy that army, using feints towards Richmond only to force Lee to keep his army in front of Grant's. This seems logical in retrospect but Grant was the only Yankee, including Abraham Lincoln, who seemed to realize it at the time. Lee knew it too but there was nothing he could do about it.

5. That said, Lee had roughly half the manpower to draw from that the north had, and only a tiny fraction of the north's manufacturing, yet for a time (1862) was actually winning the war and took three bloody years to lose it. Imagine playing chess with somebody and starting the game with your queen and rooks off the board; that's what Lee had going in.

6. So I think it is fair to give Lee as much credit as we can, while acknowledging that Forrest, Th. Jackson, and Grant were also geniuses in their way, and Sherman not half bad.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from Scott in Ohio wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

This topic seems like a blast from the past from DEP's former Letters to the Editor days. Dave, you going on vacation or another trip?! This topic could generate days and days of commentary.

Lee was top of his class at the war college, right? Even as a yankee, I give the man his due respect. The best of his age.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

The real genius of that war was Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. Look at what he did in the Shanandoah valley against a superior force. Another great was Nathan Bedford Forrest who rose from Private to General. Lee was very good but really screwed up at Gettysburg with Pickett's charge. He probably learned from that battle . After that he let Grant come to him. All Grant did was keep attacking with a much superior force. In his memoirs Grant said his only regret was that last charge at Cold Harbor. IMS 6000 men shot down in 20 minutes. Compare that to 10 years of war on terrorism less than 5000 dead and the media playing like that is a lot. Don't get me wrong even one American soldier is too many but considering what has happened 5K is not to bad. If the news is correct more people have died in Detroit's gang wars in that time.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Lee may have been an inept strategist but possesed the most important quality any General could have. His men respected him and followed him into battle.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from RJ Arena wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

This is a hard one. Lee was complex, against secession, but loyal to his home state, he was a classic tragic figure to say the least. I think he new from the beginning that he could never win, only hope for a draw, and was surprised for the most part that his forces lasted as long and as successful as the were.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Forgetting about the last time I posted on this subject: It's always been my opinion that most of these gents were awarded positions not because of intelligence but of position in society, money, connections etc.
This is not my thoughts on Lee, or Grant but in general, no pun intended.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I will offer an opinion on Marse Lee later as right now I am attempting to determine if this site is operated by one of Meade's decendents. I just tried to enter a short post of today's bear caused human fatality in YNP, my first post in many days, only to repeatedly receive a "pink" reply that I had exceeded the maximum number of posts for this time period. Let's see if this entry will be allowed...

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from iron giant wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

The fact that he could do what he did with what he had shows his abilities. Not to mention his ability to lead. Granted he is made to look even better by the people he thought, but regardles he is still great.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I guess it was luck and bad luck for all, but specifically the North was the assault army while the south defended. The North having the abilty to out manufacture the South, including repeating rifles that seemed to help the dynamic of war I would think??
The North's army vastly outnumbered the south, but considering their losses I would call that a draw!Always difficult to assault vs defend. The SOUTH defending their homeland, ofcourse.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Jim in Mo, last year the feds changed the law so that we can pack heat in the National Parks. The old .44 is quite a comfort to have handy but then I always took it everywhere I went in the mountains anyway. It is illegal to shoot a grizzly even in self defense as one has the burden of proof on himself not the bear.
Lee was the son of Light Horse Harry, I beliee first in his class at West Point, had over 30 years of service in the U. S. Army when 1861 rolled around, was quite wealthy, respected, and somewhat famous. He was offered command of armies on both sides. Although often exhibiting brillant offensive and defensive tactics, it certainly did not hurt to have T. J. Jackson, J. E. B. Stuart (forgive the incident at Gettysburg), Ewell, Early, Armistead, Pickett (he denounced th charge named after him prior to the attack), et al in accompaniment. Of course Lee went on to be quite successful after the war as well. Nevertheless, Nathan Bedford Forrest, John Singleton Mosby, and Stuart are far more interesting characters as well as Jeff Thompson "the swamp fox". But then I suppose I am partial to calvarymen.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from firedog11 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Lee was a great general but he had several flaws one was that once he got into battle he tended to stick to his plan mo matter what, very stubborn note when Longstreet tried to disavow him of trying Pickett's Charge. Lee also had a tendency to place unwavering trust in his subordinates any of which by the time of Gettysburg had been wounded or were ill as was Lee which could have and probably did affect their decisions. Last but not least this was the first industrial war fought with what could be considered modern weapons such a rifled bores for weapons, long range artillery and repeating arms but Lee and the others were still relying on the tactics of the early 1800's. The general who "made" Lee was Stonewall probably the greatest infantry commander on either side who proved he had a grasp for the strategic as well as the tactical.(Sorry Focus you need to check your history source as Stonewall was not a cavalryman. Stonewall's infantry were known as Stonewall's foot calvary.) For an interesting read see "Lost Victories, The Military Genius of Stonewall Jackson." by Bevan Alexander.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

To CorieSquared: See WA MtnHunter's comment and then see an eye doctor. You are in worlds of trouble. Lee was called "the handsomest man in America," while the only person I've been likened to accurately is Rasputin the Mad Monk.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Clem

I don't think a feeling of invincibility overtook anything in Vietnam. Our comanders were hamstrung by the politicians from the get-go. When you allow the enemy to stage just across the fence and say "Nanny, nanny, noo, noo, you can't touch me" and do nothing, the results are inevitable.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tony C. wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I just always thought Southern boys were hell in a fight, whether it was with a rifle, fists or a football. The generals get the credit, but the men make the generals. You gotta remember they were outnumbered like 2 to 1 and still nearly won.

Roll Tide Roll.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from BaldEagle1938 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Let me say first, that I had two grand-sires who wore the blue. I believe that the Union, at that time, had to be preserved--especially since the issue of chattel slavery drove the Southrons to preserve it by extending into the new territories. So, the grounds for secession were deeply flawed and immoral. (If secession had been based on some moral principles that the federal government was violating, I would uphold the right of secession, just as I approve of our breaking the bounds that we had with Great Britain.)
That said ..., R.E.Lee was a better general than any of those who opposed him or those who served under him. A great army general inspires and makes possible the "brilliance" of T.J.Jackson, J.E.B. Stuart, or James Longstreet. Grant had Sherman and Sheridan.
What Lee did with fewer men who were poorly equipped and poorly fed was just short of miraculous. Check the causality rates during during Grant's final campaign against Lee. Grant won because he was stubborn, winning at frightful cost of Union blood. On another note, could Jackson or Stuart commanded the Army of Northern Virgina as effectively as Lee? Don't think so. As much as I admire generals like these and others like Bradley, Patton, and J.Lawton Collins, they need a commanding general (Eisenhower) that inspires respect and gets them to play as a team. Otherwise, each of these "stars" will attempt to steal the show for themselves. Showboating will loses battles and wars. The great generals mold their subordinate generals into a winning team, inspiring them to win and uniting them in purpose and goals.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Don't forget the drunkard U.S. Grant whose real name was Hiram Ulysses Grant, H.U.G. on his foot locker.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from JettPack wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

It's both. Lee was great, and looked even better facing that opposition which almost always had more soldiers.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Let's see what B.S. the drunkards and ignorami on here can come up with this time around!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jim in nc wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Granted (get it? Granted? Yuk, yuk. Sorry; couldn't resist) that Lee was up against some turkeys, Grant was a hell of a general, and the charge of drunkenness was bogus.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from gibr22 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I believe that a better question to ask is whether Geogre Thomas - The Rock of Chickamauga was the best General produced by either side.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

jim in nc, In regard to Hiram I believe that pulling the cork and puffing the stogies are fairly well documented. After his presidentcy he died of throat cancer somewhat confirming the addiction to alcohol and tobacco. Damned rough way to go. I have often felt that much of Grant's success in the west resulted from Sheridan's resourcefulness, Sherman's stubourness, adequate supplies (although Forrest burned him out of Holly Springs one eventful evening), good transprtation on both land and water, a decent navy (don't forget Farragut), plus almost unlimited manpower. The southerners lacked almost all of these advantages.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

One more thing about strategy, can't have too much of it when your entire army is on foot.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jalander1953 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Lee was obviously good enough to keep the Union at bay until Gettysburg. After that, the union won by sheer force of numbers and production of materials for war.
Lee was a great Christian gentleman who lived out his life after the war without bitterness. He was respected by the young men who attended the school he oversaw as well as by just about anyone who knew him.
A great general? Who knows. A great Christian? You can bet your Bible on it.
If you don't have a Bible, you ought to get one and find out just what kind of man Lee was.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 10527 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

A 150 year old debate still without end in sight.....
Virginia is known as the 'birthplace of Presidents; and for your consideration, it's also produced some of the greatest Generals ever to walk this Earth:

Gen. Thomas J. 'Stonewall' Jackson,
Gen. Turner Ashby (the 'Black Knight of the Confederacy')
Gen. Ed 'Alleghany' Johnson (a barbarian in Gray).

Civil war history buffs, here's a great read:

Old Alleghany: The Life and Wars of Gen. Ed Johnson
by Greg S. Clemmer

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from wingshooter54 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

If you include honor and integrity as the determining factors of what makes a great general, Robert E. Lee stands above the rest. Wars are won or lost sometimes on the smallest of incidents that happen by chance. Lee's destiny was not determined by his ability as a general no more than Yamamoto's was as a naval strategist.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Avon wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Several good, accurate comments here. Lee was the best of his time, evidenced by both sides recruiting him. But Lincoln wasted more than two years trusting inferior officers to do what needed to be done. And Lee was defending his home ground, which always adds strength to the defenders.

But hubris and ego overtook him at Gettysburg; had he followed Longstreet's advice to get his army on high ground between the Federals and Washington, he might well have won the war. But he did not.

Thus, the great conundrum for those who believe God plays an active role in history: Was it God's plan for the States to remain United, even at the cost of sacrificing His most faithful general? Why were Lee, and Jackson, thus "rewarded" for their unquestioning trust?

As for me, I believe it was simply the bumbling, indecisive Lincoln's overwhelming riches in resources that preserved the Union -- and, even with all that, he damn near lost it all. Had it not been for Grant, Sherman, Sheridan and their subordinates, he would have.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Douglas wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

It was those boys fighting in bare feet and ragged uniforms that made Gen'l Lee the notable commander that he was.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from freeparking wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

"The Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant" was a good read. Grant made good personnel decisions (Sherman), used his strategic advantage, took calculated risks (The March to the Sea) and while he respected Lee, he wasn't intimidated as his predecessors appeared to be by Lee's brilliance.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clem Snide wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

focus, those are my opinions as well.

Lee's patriotism was the only kind that makes any sense to me: it was love of family and friends and his immediate community (Virgina). The "Union" was (and still is) an abstraction.

Someone said that Lee was on the wrong side. As a retired professional historian, I believe that this is one war where there really was no right side. Union war aims were quite different from what subsequent folklore has assumed.

Milton T. Burton
S.C.V Camp #124,
Tyler, Texas

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from s-kfry wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Dear Field and Stream,

I must ask the wisdom in letting your vaunted firearms writing post topics like this one. My concern is that there are still good ol' boys back in the hills fighting for the Confederacy to this day and allowing DEP to reignite the confrontation in these forums is a great risk. Unlike the original conflict, this current battlefield contains contestants of equal numbers, one might argue that in fact the current field of war holds greater sympathy with and numbers of the south. As such, reigniting the blaze may not be in the best interest of this forum, the magazine, or the country at large. In fact, this time, the South might just do it (again) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCKhujch9fo).

Respectfully submitted by a former northerner living in the Rockies with sympathies for the south (forget the west coast).

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clem Snide wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Steve wrote: "Perhaps over time a feeling of invinceability overtakes better judgement."

Vietnam? Iraq and Afghanistan?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clem Snide wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

No comparison, Dave. Rasputin was much the saner.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from 1uglymutha wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

every war is the same. the politicians start the wars,tell the generals to go fight them, then hamstring the fighting forces by dictating idiotic policy and strategy. will they ever learn?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clem Snide wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

" He was also an oath-breaker, who betrayed his country and his uniform. So far as I know, the oath of an officer does not include the phrase, "until such time as you deem it inconvenient to obey."

Hogwash. He resigned from the army and retired, just as he was entitled to do. Once he left the service, his oath was invalid. Besides, there are higher loyalties. I agree with E.M. Forster when he said, "if I had to choose between my country and my friend, I'd hope I'd have the courage to choose my friend."

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from PigHunter wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

"Poor markmanship and unfamiliarity with weapons had plagued Civil War armies throughout the war, especially those of the North where urbanization had reduced the need for hunting and its attendant skills."
~ E.B. Mann, Field & Stream, September 1983, page 52

http://teachinghistory.org/history-content/ask-a-historian/24420
In the first two years of the Civil War, most judged the Southern cavalry—the horse-borne troopers who could travel far more quickly than their colleagues in the infantry—superior to that of the Union army. In the war’s first months, Confederate cavalry enjoyed a reputation for better horsemanship and more fighting spirit; they boasted the most colorful and well-known cavalry officers of the war’s early months, including the flamboyant J. E. B. Stuart and the daring Nathan Bedford Forrest; and celebrated some noteworthy victories over their Northern counterparts. No less an authority than Union General William Tecumseh described the Confederate cavalry in 1863 as “splendid riders, shots, and utterly reckless . . . the best Cavalry in the world.”

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from BubbaK wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

lol... Don't be confused by my post - I have a great respect for Robert E. Lee's acumen as a military leader. As I wrote above, I had family on both sides, and one of my Rebel relatives was apparently hung as a horsethief when he pulled iron on a Yankee patrol that tried to commandeer his horse after he had given his parole at the end of hostilities. That said, Grant won by relying on the strengths he had at hand, and better employing the assets available to him than did Lee. It's just that simple. I encourage everyone to read his Civil War memoirs, which were hailed as the greatest war memoirs of their day for a very long time. Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain hailed them as the best he'd read, and even his enemies acknowledged their importance. Lee should be duly honored, but Grant should be acknowledged for the strategic excellence he used in defeating Lee.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Not wanting to debate the "what if's", this would be a different World, not just a different country had the results been different. Any capitulation by the North would have just been a draw and the Southern states would have formed an industrially weaker nation. One might think about what would have been the end result if slavery had continued in a southern nation.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Plotner wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

hmm i think he was pretty good. he was on the wrong side though. he lead the marines who took back harpers farry from john brown so i whould say yes

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

That drunkard won. Not saying much for Lee, there.

I don't think Lee was any better or worse than your average field commander. Great? Maybe. Simply lucky? No.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Ish, I get a lot of those pinks.
The bear attack today was something, is it true people can carry a handgun in parks today as I thought?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

YEP!

THAT TIME AGAIN,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shWyIxnjNAI&feature=share

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Johnny Cash sings Civil War songs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GM80_377AF4&feature=related

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from wgiles wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I haven't read any of the other comments yet, but I suspect that some say the same thing. Lee was as great as his generals and until Gettysburg, he had some of the best.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Justin D. wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I think if you look at Lee's military career before the civil war you would find the answer to that question. He was a very good at planning and strategy.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Teodoro wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Lee was good at leading, but Grant was good at winning.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from CorieSquared wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Is it just me or does the photo of Robert E. Lee at the top bear a strinking resemblence to a certain gun writer with the initials DEP?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from PSU_Bassboss wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Lee was solid, but it's a stretch to call him 'great'. The great rebel generals were Stonewall Jackson- for innovation and boldness, and John Mosby- a predecessor to modern special forces.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

DEP is a swell guy, but can't hold a candle to Marse Robert.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve in Virginia wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

There's no question that Lee was a great military commander. Like all such leaders, however, his early successes may have clouded his thinking of what he and his army were capable of doing, a problem that culminated with Pickett's charge. Napolean's "start" faded in a similar fashion. Perhaps over time a feeling of invinceability overtakes better judgement.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clem Snide wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Grant was good at winning because he drew on a population of 23 million as opposed to the South's 5.5 million white people. Grant was good at winning because the North had 90% of the country's industry and sound foreign credit. Grant was good at winning because he had superior troop numbers in practically every encounter. His contribution to the war was that, given such superiority, he realized that all he had to do was to keep hammering away with frontal assaults to wear down the Confederacy.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clem Snide wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

s-krfy, this discussion has remained remarkably civil as compared to many on the same subject I have seen. So take heart: I will not be coming at you with my muzzle-loading Enfield.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Lee realized more than any other Confederate the South would loose a war of attrition. This knowledge forced Lee, and the South, to take long chances. These long chances demanded generalship and cultivated aggressive natures. Gettysburg was the price the South paid for having a Lee.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from BubbaK wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

An interesting debate, and one that probably will never be resolved. I had family on both sides of the Manson-Nixon line at that time, and have always admired outstanding leaders on both sides (Grant, Lee, Jackson, Stuart, Sherman, Sheridan, Mosby, Custer and others). Lee was at the top of his Academy class, and a military engineer, rather than an infantryman. However, he recognized good leadership and was not afraid to take the suggestions and ideas of his subordinates in formulating his own plans - a difficult concept for less confident men. And while Grant graduated near the bottom of his Academy class, he too looked for good subordinates, despite having a number of political appointees and other amateurs forced on him. Where Lee adopted a flair for good tactical movement and employment of forces, Grant took a larger strategic view that allowed him to grind Lee down. The alcoholism charge against Grant was politically motivated by those who wanted their own man at the top and sought to use scandal to get Lincoln to replace him. To Abe's credit, he didn't fall for the lies, as lies they were proven to be. True, Grant had struggled with alcohol before the war, but had been dry for several years before the conflict, and there have been no verifiable reports I'm aware of that he was drunk at any time during the campaigns (or after for that matter). Yes he died of throat cancer, but that has nothing to do with alcohol.

One more thing about Lee - he was a God-fearing man, and by all accounts a kind, loving husband and father. He was also an oath-breaker, who betrayed his country and his uniform. So far as I know, the oath of an officer does not include the phrase, "until such time as you deem it inconvenient to obey." If Lee really was insightful enough to oppose sedition, and knew what devestation the war would bring, then how much the worse that he chose to fight his own country, his fellow officers and his former subordinates? How many of his own men did he kill?

What's more, it always amazes me to be confronted with the old saw that if only the South had had more men/materiel/ money/foreign support, etc. it would have won the war. That is a sentiment that is seriously disrespectful to the Union soldiers, both those who lived and those who died. I doubt there were any better soldiers on the ground anywhere in the world at that time than the veteran Union soldiers at Little Round Top under Chamberlain, or the men under Grant who finally cornered Lee at Gettysburg. How remarkable was it that young men from the cities of the North enlisted in vast numbers, many never having held a gun, foraged, etc. or even having seen the South? Yet they were remade into a fighting force that eventually trapped and destroyed a force that was on its own soil, on ground it chose, in fighting positions it had prepared and in many cases on the high ground. No small feat. Moreover, if the resources were so outmatched, one would have thought the Confederates would never have tried to leave: to do so was either hubris, or they actually believed they could beat "unlimited manpower, industrial production capability, etc." I believe Jeff Davis and the South took stock and thought they could win - particularly if they invited the British in.

They thought wrong, thank God. (I'll take shelter now while the rockets of rage, and mortars of madness are fired at me! lol)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

BubbaK, you offer some very valid and astute comments. A few might not be precise but the only one I will refute is by letting you discover the answer to one of your errors. Simply Google "alcohol throat cancer" as the findings apparently will surprise you.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tony C. wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I just always thought Southern boys were hell in a fight, whether it was with a rifle, fists or a football. The generals get the credit, but the men make the generals. You gotta remember they were outnumbered like 2 to 1 and still nearly won.

Roll Tide Roll.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Lee could have lead the Union if he wanted to, Virginia left the Union and so did he. In 1861 he was offered the job to lead the entire Union Army by President Lincoln. If he wasn't a great leader why could have he lead either side in the Civil War? The soldiers around him knew him best, and judging by what they would do under his command, he is certainly a great leader. I personally had family on both sides of the war and do not appreciate over-simplified causes to the war that textbook writers had published and fed to us in public schooling, most Southerners didn't own slaves. When is all said and done State governments balance budgets and the federal government borrows and pays back debt on paper money that is not backed by anything and has intrinsic interest built into it by the unaudited privately owned Fed. If anything Americans are more divided than united and we are a pseudo democracy with faces that symbolize power when the strings that they are pulled by leads you to the real power. If you Yankee's don't think he is a great man then tell me who should head up the GOP as a standout leader, if you can't think of a clearcut person then being in the running to command EITHER army in 1861 should indicate the caliber person he was. I met a guy related to him his name is Robert. WPS.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from CHKILCHII wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Though General Lee was not the best generla of the South he did command alot of respect for leading the entire Confederate Army, In my opinion J.E.B. Stuart was the greatest Confederate General, followed by Stonewall Jackson.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Dave P,
No matter how outrageous it may be I really do think it's time for you to get an avatar!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from BubbaK wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Oh yeah, and I prefer a Montecristo 2 accompanied by either a Guinness or a Jameson's - or both :) JR Cigars makes a good knockoff of the Monte 2, and it's a whole lot cheaper!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from BubbaK wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

And by the way, does it look to anyone else as though on the picture of DEP above, he is wearing a bandage on his forehead? Or is that just me? lol... It's not a criticism, just an observation

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jkstlmax23@yahoo.com wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Lee was actually a very good leader with what resources he had. If he would have listened to General longstreet before the battle of gettysburg the south might of gotten the war won. Grant was decent however very unproffessional at his level of command but didnt quite dish out what he could have.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Sharing a birthdate with General Lee (1/19) and being my namesake, I have to say that if General Lee had been on the other side, the War of Nothern Oppression would have ended much sooner.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ableskeever wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Lee was a great commander who chose to take the tougher hand in the game. After the War Between the States, America did not see men of that caliber until WWII in my opinion.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

To Jim in MO: I'm not sure what an avatar is in this case, or why I would need one.

To Clem Snide: Thank you. I stand abashed.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

To Jim in MO: I'm not sure what an avatar is in this case, or why I would need one.

To Clem Snide: Thank you. I stand abashed.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ableskeever wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

David P,
the avatar Jim is referring to is your picture next to your name on your posts.

Mine is the Come and Take it Flag of Gonzales, TX

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jim in nc wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

BubbaK: While Grant certainly had the killer instinct (head straight for Richmond and, every time Lee stops me, slide to the left, build overwhelmingly more forces, and keep doing that til I'm all the way down at Petersburg and Lee's forces are stretched so thin that they crack), I'm not sure that's strategic genius. Headon confrontation with the enemy's main force with everything you can muster is what we also did in Operation Torch (North Africa) and Overlord (Normandy). Maybe Grant established the norm. I don't know

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

One of the problems that hampered the South.
Abe had asked the railroads to "standardize" track gauge to 4'8 1/2" or 56 1/2".
While the North was able to interchange railcars between railroads, the South's inconsistent rail gauge meant off loading and reloading materials to keep them moving.
As the Civil War was the first war that had railroads to move men and materials within yards of a front line was one of the reasons the War was so bloody.

Since I didn't live in the period and never personally "met" R. E. Lee, I read an article once that said his greatest "command" problem was he was a "gentleman" first, then a "commander". The article stated Lee had a tendency of, rather than telling whomever, "Take your men and cover that ravine!", Lee would say, "Somebody needs to cover that ravine."
Basically, had his commands been more forceful, he could have probably won the war.

Bubba

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

To Ableskeever: Thank you. I thought that's what it was, but since my mug is right at the top of every new post, why would I need an avatar?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

BaldEagle1938: Your views of MacArthur would be interesting to read, I wonder if they are similiar to mine or to my deceased father who served under him and was less than impressed.
BubbaK: I think you are correct concerning the large bandaid on DEP's forehead. Maybe it is covering the bite from one of his big old scopes which is sitting on a big old rifle LOL. BTW what is the name of Grant's memoirs? I would like to buy a copy, you probably mentioned the title but I missed it somehow.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I meant to add, 'Why Don't They?'

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from O Garcia wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Joshua Chamberlain was the best. Oops, he was only a colonel, too bad.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from PigHunter wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

DEP, I don't see the point in going to this subject again. Can't you find something else of interest about to write about? Maybe something to do with 'Field' & 'Stream'?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BubbaK wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Ishawooa, as I enjoy both cigars and alcohol, I'd rather not. And I'm sure we're all duly impressed with your encyclopedic knowledge of... well... everything apparently. However, a man's gotta die of something, and having enjoyed many a fine libation and many a fine smoke would make the passing easier in my view. I'd never heard that alcohol contributes to throat cancer, but I have read that Grant's throat cancer was attributed to the smoking. Makes no difference either way. I suppose you're one of those people who enjoys looking up 1,001 ways to die or something?

But then, some people will find the dark side to anything - "Sure it's roiling hot outside, and I have access to a swimming pool, but the water musses my hair, and what if a freak lightning storm were to arise, or escaped piranha were to sneak into my pool!" lol...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Having very slow response time today, tried to take the gun IQ test and had to wait 30 sec for a response so I quit.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Anyone else?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

BubbaK: I am not much into looking up things myself and by far the majority of my answers are spontaneous so you will most likely locate a few errors since I am an old fart with a failing memory. Being orignially from the deep south I have a long interest in the war. Insofar as life and death I have worked in the same hospital for over 25 years so am quite familiar with most phases and types of each activity. Regardless I appreciate your comments but you should learn to accept constructive criticism. BTW I prefer Partagas and Jack Daniels LOL

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

ableskeever, IMHO the last great American Generalship display was in the Civil War! Every conflict afterwards was winning by the numbers on a tactical level as well strategic. Too many times this *winning with the numbers* mentality had the USA being defeated.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from mike55 wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

To ClemSnide: Actually Jesus won a great victory at the cross, for those who accept His free gift of pardon. Check out Isaiah 25:8(KJV), 1Corinthians 15:54-57(KJV) and Ephesians 2:8(KJV). Those three biblical references about say it all.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RylieGipson wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

just bout any general who stood up fa what he beleved in and didnt run like heal was a good general, no matter what side he was on.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tbonzzz wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Undermanned underfunded but still not forgotten Robert E Lee is a hero south of the mason dixon line And an American Hero in my Great State Of Georgia

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I grew up a Yankee and moved to Tennessee 31 years ago. I have mixed emotions, but emotions should not play a part here. Robert E. Lee was the best general that served in the war between the states. That is my humble opinion, and I held it when I lived north of the Mason-Dixon line.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tacrancher wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I believe if Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was alive thoughout the civil war, the "final outcome" would be very different. Also, this country would be a different country today.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from focusfront wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

As for Grant's drunkenness, the charge was put to Abraham Lincoln that Grant was a drunk, and Lincoln said something like, "If that's true, I'd like to send all my generals a case of whatever Grant is drinking."

On another occasion Lincoln said of Grant, "I can't spare this man. He FIGHTS."

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ohiodeerhunter wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

I agree that Lee was a great general-he got much done with lees troops,less well trained troops,and less supplies,including inferior weapons,limited amounts of powder,minie balls,round balls,and balls and grapeshot for cannon.
Stonewall Jackson was a better leader,and better in battle than Lee,in my opinion.( which could be slightly influenced due to my participation in Civil War re-enactments, in which we were 7th Virginia Cavalry,who had served in 1862 with Stonewall Jackson.)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from O Garcia wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Grant's genius was that he grasped that the winning method of waging war was "total war".

The Navy mismatch was also key. The Battle of Hampton Roads was one of the most important, if not the most important, battles of the war.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hobob wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

No offense but what does this have to do with Guns or hunting?? Why sew discord among a group of people only united by their love for outdoor sports? I realize I can tune out but how about an article about firearms?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nesland wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I question if any one commenting hereon are qualified to pass judgement on the Generals or the soilders who fought in the US Civil War.

Back to the purported topic at hand: guns!!!!!!!!!!!

It be a good idea for this site to offer a really nice functioning Civil War replica 50 Cal muzzle loader in one of your contests.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BubbaK wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Hmmm... always makes me suspicious when someone tries to deny another the opportunity to offer an opinion on a topic.

Anyway, Ishawooa- the title of the memoirs may not be the most imaginative, but it is descriptive! "Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant". You can check with Barnes & Noble for it - they carry it in their essential reading collection.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shootthebreeze51 wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

I have to politely disagree with DEP on a couple of points regarding Gettysburg. Few of the major battles of the Civil War were one sided affairs with the losing army completely routed. Gettysburg was no different. Although the Army of Northern Virginia was certainly defeated, it withdrew from the field in good order and was still a dangerous force to be reckoned with, especially under the command of competent officers such as Lee and his subordinates. On the other hand, Meade's Army of the Potomac had been badly mauled in the battle and was in little better shape than the southerners for pursuing and finishing off their enemy. Neither army had the capability or the stomach for more vigorous campaigning for some time to come. This was, after all, the largest battle in American history, and afterward both sides badly needed rest, reinforcements, and refitting. It is telling that after July 3rd, 1863, even though the two forces remained in relatively close proximity to each other, there were no more major engagements between these two armies for the rest of 1863 and until the opening of Grant's Overland Campaign in the spring of 1864.
Just prior to Gettysburg, Lee was flushed with success and perhaps became overconfident. By his own admission he thought that his men could accomplish anything. Perhaps Lees's greatest mistake was continuing the attack at Gettysburg, especially the third day's assault. Many years ago I read an interview with a historian whose name I cannot remember now. He listed many of Lee's mistakes and failings. The interviewer then asked him whether in retrospect he thought that the South would have been better off without Lee in command. His answer was: "Yes. Because without Lee the South would have lost the war two years earlier. Reconstruction would have started and ended that much sooner and the nation would have been spared much of the national tragedy that resulted from the war lasting as long as it actually did." A pretty good tribute to the abilities of one commander, given the strenght of the forces arrayed against him.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clem Snide wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

By the way, Dave: "McClellan" is the way it it spelled. Not McLellan as you had it.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from milesdigby wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

Lee was great because he split his army in front of a much larger force (I think twice). Also lousy because he thought the minute the Union Army fought and took heavy loses that the union would give the Confederates some kind of political solution. After inflicting heavy loses we have to remember he did understand that this thinking was foolhardy. The U.S.A. also had a ton more people ready to fight.

Lee is pumped up due to the "lost cause southerners".

Grant's victories in the west were just incredible "Vicksburg etc" but I never read anything about them in school. It is like the hole battle for the Mississippi River just got forgotten. Course I am a Texan.

Lee was rotten because he fought to keep slavery alive. He was also a traitor to his country. He killed his own countrymen like John Walker Lighn .

Just to be clear if you think that slavery was not a part of the civil war. Please read the speech given by C.S.A. new Vice president. This happen the day after they passed their own constitution which had one difference from ours. It made breaking off from the Union a instant hanging crime! Not kidding.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Zermoid wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Who Cares? He lost, nuff said.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clem Snide wrote 2 years 40 weeks ago

Zermoid wrote: "Who Cares? He lost, nuff said."

The same could be said of Jesus, could it not? Or could it?

-2 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment