MHO Home   Forum Home   Help   Register   Login
 
 
Welcome to MilitaryHistoryOnline.com.
You are not signed in.
The current time is: 10/22/2017 5:17:08 PM
 Civil War Commanders and Units    
AuthorMessage
Page 2 of 3 (Page: 1  2 3 ) 
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Posts: 472

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/10/2016 5:27:44 PM
Steve,

The decision to attack, retreat, disengage and try a different route, are the strategic and the tactical is the how it is done. So on that level I agree with what Rick is saying but what I'm saying is the strategic decisions made didn't give Meade much if any choice on the tactics.

The entire AOP couldn't have cleared the Wilderness on the 4th and if it had tried it would have been strung out so bad that when Ewell came up and attacked he would have sliced through like a hot knife through butter and most of the AOP wouldn't have been within supporting distance. He would have taken out at least 1 Corps gotten into the wagon train and Hill coming up would have hit the lead Corps in their flank and rear as they turned to go after Ewell.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


scoucer
Berlin, Germany
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 1924

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/10/2016 7:19:33 PM

Quote:
Trevor,

But when beaten to the spot by Lee, Grant attacked anyway basically each and every time. Sherman on the other hand when beaten to the spot by Johnston slipped around the flank again without attacking all but twice and one of them was only a recon in force.
--John R. Price


Agreed John. The difference I see is space. Sherman had the space to manouvre. Grant didn´t in N.Virginia. Different geography.
With Grant, I´m reminded of WW1 western Front generals. There´s a sort of "They´re finished, they must be, don´t let them rest, just one more push !"

Trevor
---------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 1924

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/10/2016 7:28:30 PM
Phil,

I think Emory Upton is one of the most under rated soldiers in the US Army. Repeatidly he would be wounded after completing his mission and therefore lose his command.

His real contrabution would be post-war as Commandant of Cadets at West Point after travelling the world as military observer. Upton would be to the Army what Mahan was for the Navy.

Trevor
---------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Moderator
Posts: 408

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/11/2016 8:26:48 AM
John,

Don't agree. The three AoP corps stopped and set up camp around noon of the first day. There was time... The AoP stopped, because there Apparently was concerns about protecting the trains. Certainly, the original plan drawn up by Humphreys had the AoP clearing the Wilderness in one day's march.

Which gets us back to why Wilson did not properly protect the Orange Turnpike. And why two other divisions of cavalry were sent on a wild goose chase.

And yes, you and I have discussed what I view as Wilson's failings.

Steve

Rick Schaus
Capon Springs, WV, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 548

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/11/2016 10:37:31 AM
Meade made the following comment in a13 April 1864 letter to his wife:
”Grant has not given an order, or in the slightest degree interfered with the administration of this army since he arrived, and I doubt if he knows much more about it now than he did before coming here.”

Grant had the US Army to run.
He could not afford to micromanage Meade’s AoP down to the tactical level.
I’m sure that at times he was involved at a more tactical level; however that was the exception and not the rule.
Meade must have had an amount of discretion.

Grant would not have recommended Meade for promotion to MG RA if all he was doing was passing on Grant’s tactical orders to his subordinates.

Quote:
Don't agree. Wilderness. First day...it is Grant that insists that the V corps attack Ewell's corps...meantime, the brigade and divisional commanders at the point of contact realize that if they attack...they will have their flanks in the air. It is Grant that refuses to believe that Ewell's whole corps can be up...and insists that Meade direct the V corps to attack.
Humphreys wrote the plans for the Wilderness Campaign.


On 4 May:
”At a quarter past seven General Meade, while on his way to General Warren's headquarters near the Old Wilderness tavern, received a despatch from that officer informing him that the enemy's infantry was on the pike in some force about two miles from the Wilderness tavern. A few minutes later General Meade was with General Warren, and at once directed him to halt his column and attack the enemy with his whole force.”

And:
”General Grant had been at once informed by General Meade of what was transpiring and soon joined him. After brief conference the two rode forward a short distance, and took position on a knoll in the open ground around Wilderness tavern and the Lacy farm, and on this knoll General Grant and General Meade remained during the battle, with only an occasional brief absence to the nearest troops.”
(Humphreys, The Virginia Campaign of ’64 ‘65)

Quote:
Two huge mistakes in the Wilderness....not sure whose fault,,,,one, two of three cavalry divisions are way to the east, chasing phantoms and not clearing the Orange plank and the Orange turnpike roads. Two, the AoP should never have halted in the Wilderness....should have pushed right through on the 4th....that was the plan...unclear to me who changed it...

The orders for Sheridan with two divisions to move against Stuart came from Meade on 4 May.
According to Rhea, “headquarters” (Meade) made the decision to halt the army in the Wilderness on 4 May.

The halt in the Wilderness was due to the expected slow pace of the army’s trains.
Humphreys commented that the decision to remain in the Wilderness on 4 May was justified.
” It was not practicable, however, to get over all the great trains on the 4th, nor was it expected, as the order of movement shows.”

Walker consider that a mistake.
”The writer of this narrative has never been able to regard this early halt on the 4th of May otherwise than as the first misfortune of the campaign:”
(Walker, History of the 2nd A C)

Quote:
Day two. It is Grant's plan to make the Hancock attack...and to bring up the IX corps on hancock's right flank. Grant simply ignores Burnsides track record for being slow....and ignores the clogged roads that the IX corps would have to travel on to get to where they need to be etc.
Spotsylvannia. All of the major assaults are Grant's "idea". Not just the Angle attack. Most of the various attacks have little to no chance of success...because Grant has separated himself from reality IMO, in terms of where the various ANV units are, how well dug in they are, and the practical likelihood of coordinating the various Federal units.
S.c.
--Steve Clements

Humphreys gave no indication that Hancock's attack was directed by Grant.
---------------
VR, Rick Schaus

"When things go wrong in your command, start searching for the reason in increasingly large circles around your own desk."
-- Gen. Bruce Clarke

Rick Schaus
Capon Springs, WV, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 548

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/11/2016 10:42:38 AM

Quote:
John,
Don't agree. The three AoP corps stopped and set up camp around noon of the first day. There was time... The AoP stopped, because there Apparently was concerns about protecting the trains. Certainly, the original plan drawn up by Humphreys had the AoP clearing the Wilderness in one day's march.

Which gets us back to why Wilson did not properly protect the Orange Turnpike. And why two other divisions of cavalry were sent on a wild goose chase.
And yes, you and I have discussed what I view as Wilson's failings.
Steve
--Steve Clements

According to Humphreys:
"It was not practicable, however, to get over all the great trains on the 4th, nor was it expected, as the order of movement shows. In fact it was two o'clock in the afternoon of the 5th of May before they had ceased crossing at Ely's Ford, when the wooden bridge there was taken up and moved to Chancellorville; and it was five o'clock in the afternoon of the 5th of May before they had ceased crossing at Culpeper Mine Ford, when the bridge there was taken up and the pontoon train moved one and a half miles from the river. It was in consideration of the fact that it was not practicable in this region to move the great trains along the protected flank of the army simultaneously with the troops, that led to fixing the halting-places of the heads of the infantry columns at Chancellorville and Wilderness tavern, points which they reached early in the day. The troops might have easily continued their march five miles further, the Second Corps to Todd's tavern, the head of the Fifth Corps to Parker's store, and the head of the Sixth Corps to Wilderness tavern; but even that would have left the right too open during the forenoon of the 5th, and it was more judicious to let the troops remain for the night where they had halted, as it made the passage of the trains secure, and the troops would be fresher when meeting the enemy next day, of which there was much probability."
---------------
VR, Rick Schaus

"When things go wrong in your command, start searching for the reason in increasingly large circles around your own desk."
-- Gen. Bruce Clarke

Charlie Richards
Stone Mountain, GA, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Moderator


Posts: 212

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/11/2016 4:07:27 PM

Quote:
Immediate subordinate might be Jackson, or Hancock - Michigan Dave, 7-8, 10:55

Sorry to be late to the party!

Actually, Longstreet was Lee’s second in command, and arguably the best corps commander on either side over the course of the war.

Charlie Richards
Stone Mountain, GA, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Moderator


Posts: 212

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/11/2016 4:14:00 PM

Quote:
Grossly simplified but effective assessment : Grant defeated Lee....does this mean he was the better general ? – Phil Andrade, 7-15, 11:15 a.m.

I would argue that the formula is wrong: the Army of the Potomac, not Grant, defeated the Army of Northern Virginia, not Lee. Choosing between Lee and Grant is like choosing “the best” flavor of ice cream. Perhaps Grant gets the nod from historians [as per Steve Clements’ post] not so much because his side won as because he was fighting on the side of history.

Charlie Richards
Stone Mountain, GA, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Moderator


Posts: 212

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/11/2016 4:25:02 PM

Quote:
When Lee and Grant fought each other, the exchange rate in killed and wounded was dramatically in Lee's favour. – Phil Andrade, 8-5, 2:33 a.m.

But the entire time Grant and Lee confronted each other, Grant Was attacking, so of course his army would absorb higher casualties. I do not think the respective number of casualties is a good metric for comparing the generalship of these two excellent generals.

Charlie Richards
Stone Mountain, GA, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Moderator


Posts: 212

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/11/2016 4:32:55 PM

Quote:
But when beaten to the spot by Lee, Grant attacked anyway basically each and every time. Sherman on the other hand when beaten to the spot by Johnston slipped around the flank again without attacking all but twice and one of them was only a recon in force. - John R. Price, 8-6, 9:26 p.m.

Grant's assignment from Lincoln was to defeat Lee's army. He could only do that by engaging Lee's army in battle.

Sherman's assignment originally was to defeat the Army of Tennessee. He seems to have shifted his objective to capturing Atlanta. Perhaps he was recalling that the Grand Strategy of the Union from the beginning of the war had called for an advance upon Atlanta once Chattanooga was captured. Be that as it may, Grant never lost his focus upon defeating Lee's army.

Charlie Richards
Stone Mountain, GA, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Moderator


Posts: 212

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/11/2016 4:41:24 PM

Quote:
McClellan on the Peninsula and in the Maryland Campaign , Hooker at Chancellorsville and Meade at Gettysburg all inflicted significantly heavier proportionate losses on Lee than they themselves suffered.....so, as an attritionist- in terms of casualties - Grant's performance against Lee was not up to the standard of most of his predecessors. - Phil Andrade, 8-5, 8:25 a.m.

If you follow that argument to its logical conclusion, does that mean that McClellan, Hooker and Meade were all better generals than Grant? I think few people would make that argument, supporting my position that casualty rates are not a good metric.

During the Battles of the Seven Days, Lee was constantly attacking. Generally speaking, the attacking force will incur more casualties than the defending force. At Chancellorsville, Lee was again the attacker. The Battle of Gettysburg is, in many respects, sui generis, but again, as a general proposition Lee was attacking and Meade was defending.

Charlie Richards
Stone Mountain, GA, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Moderator


Posts: 212

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/11/2016 4:53:20 PM

Quote:
Grant's (Meade's) tactics at The Wilderness, at Spotsylvania Court House and at Cold Harbor were unimaginative and highly costly. IMO, the striking power of the AoP had been bled from it by the time that Grant crossed the James. - Steve Clements, 8-6, 2:41 p.m.

I would agree about Cold Harbor, and so would Grant. Otherwise, I disagree. Recall that the Union army in the Wilderness was operating just about at its logistical limits. It was a big gamble to start an offensive there. Hooker took the gamble, opened his campaign brilliantly, then became curiously passive. Grant took the same bold chance, opened his campaign with a very effective offensive movement, and stayed aggressive, even after absorbing the best blow Lee's army could deliver. Unlike all AOP commanders before him, Grant kept moving forward, trying to find a way to attack and destroy his enemy. That is the story of the campaign. Lee's army brilliantly parried each slashing Union attack, but rather than stop and give the enemy pause to regroup, Grant kept his army attacking. I do not believe any other general on either side could have done that.

Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2480

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/11/2016 5:11:40 PM

Quote:

Quote:
McClellan on the Peninsula and in the Maryland Campaign , Hooker at Chancellorsville and Meade at Gettysburg all inflicted significantly heavier proportionate losses on Lee than they themselves suffered.....so, as an attritionist- in terms of casualties - Grant's performance against Lee was not up to the standard of most of his predecessors. - Phil Andrade, 8-5, 8:25 a.m.

If you follow that argument to its logical conclusion, does that mean that McClellan, Hooker and Meade were all better generals than Grant?
--Charlie Richards


You appear to have missed my point....let me state this with diffidence : a retort like that in an online discussion can seem adversarial or harsh, and this is not meant in that way.

What I've been driving at here is the historiography which is replete with accounts suggesting that the arithmetic of the campaign was working in Gant's favour.

This notion I am determined to refute.

But I would not, in a month of Sundays, use that criterion to argue that McClellan and Hooker were better generals than Grant.

Regards, Phil








---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

Charlie Richards
Stone Mountain, GA, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Moderator


Posts: 212

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/11/2016 5:18:28 PM

Quote:
By late summer/early fall, it was clear that Overland (and the fighting south of Petersburg) had done little towards bringing the war to a close, despite simply horrible casualty lists. – Steve Clements, 8-6. 2:41 p.m.


Quote:
I do agree that this is NOT what Grant wanted to do....but I might also argue that this (battle of attrition) is exactly what Grant did end up doing....and that he succeeded in extending the war because of it. And that the war was really won in the west, and not by the AoP and Grant/Meade. – Steve Clements, 8-8, 11:02


Quote:
Agreed that the war was won in the West but Grant came real close to loseing in in the East not militarily but politically in coming damm close to breaking the political will of the North with the long casualty lists of Overland with Richmond seemingly no closer than when the spring began and the ANVA still unconquered. – John R. Price, 8-8, 5:27 p.m.


Quote:
If generalship amounts to striking the right balance between manoeuvre and slaughter, then Grant's Overland Campaign saw a preponderance of slaughter and a tendency to having manoeuvre thwarted. – Phil Andrade, 8-9, 12:04 p.m.

I’m not arguing against the proposition that the war was won in the West. But Grant certainly did not prolong the war.

The North was suffering from war weariness long before Grant began the Overland Campaign, to such an extent that Lincoln believed he would not win re-election. He feared that a Democrat would win the 1864 election, offer peace to the Confederacy, and the war to save the Union would be lost. To that end, he brought Grant east, and gave him the mission of destroying the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia so that the war could be won before Lincoln left office. Lincoln felt a great sense of urgency about pushing the fight. Grant agreed with Lincoln, and did everything within his power to defeat Lee’s army. Grant kept attacking not because he believed in attrition for attrition’s sake, but because he was indomitable in spirit, because he could only hope to gain victory by defeating Lee’s army in battle, and because he knew that was what Lincoln wanted him to do.

BY the time the armies went into trenches in front of Petersburg, Grant’s army was exhausted, true enough. But so was Lee’s army. Perhaps more significantly, Lee and his army had become convinced that they could not win the war on the battlefield, whereas Grant’s army, despite the horrendous losses it had suffered, still believed in Grant’s leadership, and still expected to win the war.

Consider the alternative: how would it have hastened the end of the war if Grant had emulated all his predecessors, had pulled back after the Wilderness, and had allowed Lee and his army respite? My conclusion: that would certainly have prolonged the war, and quite possibly would have lost it for the Union.

Charlie Richards
Stone Mountain, GA, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Moderator


Posts: 212

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/11/2016 5:25:24 PM

Quote:
If Grant didn't plan attrition as at least a fallback plan then why does he stop the POW exchange before Overland starts and refuses to restart it even after he knows about the conditions in Libby and Andersonville and knows the situation is only going to get worse because the Confederacy can't even feed itself?

The exchange of prisoners was stopped when the Confederacy would not offer assurances that captured Union Negro troops would be protected and treated as prisoners of war. They were willing to exchange white captives, but insisted that captured Negro troops, at best, would be returned to slavery in the South. And the Confederacy made no exception for captured Union Negro Troops who had not been slaves before joining Union armies.

I think it would have been pretty shameful for Union armies to have agreed to that sort of arrangement.

Charlie Richards
Stone Mountain, GA, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Moderator


Posts: 212

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/11/2016 5:59:49 PM

Quote:
At Spotsylvania, just before the attack on the "Angle", one of the Union division commanders, that had marched his division thru the night (name escapes me, might have been Barlow), asked that they at least be pointed in the correct direction, or else his command would have to march right around the entire world, and take the Confederates in the rear. - Steve Clements, 8-8. 10:57 a.m.

I query how much of the blame for the anecdotal dysfunction you describe should properly rest with Grant. Grant had to fight with the army he was given, and that sort of dysfunction had plagued the Army of the Potomac throughout the war.

Out west, Grant had molded and shaped the Union Army of the Tennessee into what I believe to have been the most capable, most resourceful, and most lethal army on either side. All armies experience SNAFU's. The best armies find ways to get around the SNAFU's and win battles. The Army of the Tennessee excelled in solving problems quickly, in overcoming whatever obstacles were in its path, and in carrying out the orders of its commander. The fighting men in the Army of the Potomac were as good as any. But the AOP as an organization was not exactly a well-oiled machine. I don't see that as being Grant's fault.

charlie richards
Stone Mountain, GA, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Moderator


Posts: 212

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/11/2016 6:38:25 PM

Quote:
a retort like that in an online discussion can seem adversarial or harsh, and this is not meant in that way.-Phil Andrade, 8-11, 5:11 p.m.

I certainly did not intend that, Phil, nor did I interpret your post that way. It would not be an interesting topic if we did not have different perspectives.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Posts: 472

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/11/2016 10:57:38 PM
Steve,

OK the three AOP Corps are out of the Wilderness so JEB goes after the wagons and Ewell and Hill slice in behing the three AOP Corps out of the Wilderness who only have the ammo and food the troops have in their packs and ammo box because they are cut off from base and a whole hell of a lot of their reserves have just gone up in smoke. Burnside might save the day but he's still on the other side of the river not in supporting distance of the trains and I think JEB can delay him until Longstreet comes up because well he's Burnside.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Posts: 472

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/11/2016 11:10:54 PM
Charlie,

But Lee's assignment was defending Richmond and each move around Lee's flank bring the AOP closer to Richmond which make it more likely that Lee will be forced to attack you on ground of your choosing where you can bring all your arty to bear.

Sherman got Hood to attack his dug in troops three different time which defeated the AOT and lead to the fall of Atlanta because the assignment of Johnson and then Hood was to defend Atlanta.

Its the concept that both Grant and Sherman knew what their foes assignment was but Sherman used that knowledge better. I mean it wasn't a secret that ANVA would fight to hold Richmond and the AOT Atlanta.

Was Atlanta really that important from the very beginning of the war? Yes it was a railroad hub but didn't it grow exponentially during the war and become a lot more important by say 63 than it was in 61?
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Posts: 472

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/11/2016 11:19:44 PM
Charlie.

But as I pointed out pulling back and starting again wasn't the only other option. He could have gone around the flank without attacking all the time as Sherman did because basically there wasn't any one point that couldn't be flanked and Lee has got to fight to protect Richmond.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


Phil andrade
London, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Moderator
Posts: 2480

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/12/2016 7:50:25 AM

Quote:

Quote:
a retort like that in an online discussion can seem adversarial or harsh, and this is not meant in that way.-Phil Andrade, 8-11, 5:11 p.m.

I certainly did not intend that, Phil, nor did I interpret your post that way. It would not be an interesting topic if we did not have different perspectives.
--charlie richards


It was my you miss my point that worried me, Charlie.

It's the number of times I've seen that default assessment that attributes greater attritional damage to Lee's forces...almost a kind of throw away line that appears in too many summaries of the Overland Campaign. You know, that consistent refrain ... Grant could better afford these losses than Lee ....it's a cliche that is in serious need of revision, IMHO.

The bloodshed hit the Union army harder, in relative as well as absolute terms ; more than that, I suspect that there was a greater qualitative decline in the blue ranks by the time the two armies had reached impasse.

I know that I must not calibrate my perception of the pros and cons of Grant's fight against Lee solely on the casualty exchange....after all, Lee himself dreaded the outcome based on " mere ciphering "....then it was going to be " a question of time ."

Regards, Phil



---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 1924

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/12/2016 8:43:30 PM
If I remember rightly, Grant didn´t want to invade Virginia but wanted to land in N. Carolina and come up from the South. But Lincoln disagreed.

Or am I getting senile ?

Trevor

---------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Posts: 472

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/12/2016 11:50:22 PM
Charlie,

Can you show examples of captured USCT being returned to slavery? Can you show examples of them not being treated as POW's? Andersonville was color blind and the percentage of white deaths was a hell of a lot higher.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


Rick Schaus
Capon Springs, WV, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 548

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/13/2016 10:29:04 AM

Quote:
If I remember rightly, Grant didn´t want to invade Virginia but wanted to land in N. Carolina and come up from the South. But Lincoln disagreed.
Or am I getting senile ?
Trevor
--scoucer

Trevor,

I haven’t found anything in Grant’s memoirs which made reference to any movement of the AoP by way of NC.
”In my first interview with Mr. Lincoln alone he stated to me that he had never professed to be a military man or to know how campaigns should be conducted, and never wanted to interfere in them: but that procrastination on the part of commanders, and the pressure from the people at the North and Congress, which was always with him, forced him into issuing his series of "Military Orders"—one, two, three, etc. He did not know but they were all wrong, and did know that some of them were. All he wanted or had ever wanted was some one who would take the responsibility and act, and call on him for all the assistance needed, pledging himself to use all the power of the government in rendering such assistance. Assuring him that I would do the best I could with the means at hand, and avoid as far as possible annoying him or the War Department, our first interview ended.”

And:
”On this same visit to Washington I had my last interview with the President before reaching the James River. He had of course become acquainted with the fact that a general movement had been ordered all along the line, and seemed to think it a new feature in war. I explained to him that it was necessary to have a great number of troops to guard and hold the territory we had captured, and to prevent incursions into the Northern States. These troops could perform this service just as well by advancing as by remaining still; and by advancing they would compel the enemy to keep detachments to hold them back, or else lay his own territory open to invasion. His answer was: "Oh, yes! I see that. As we say out West, if a man can't skin he must hold a leg while somebody else does."”


And:
”The criticism has been made by writers on the campaign from the Rapidan to the James River that all the loss of life could have been obviated by moving the army there on transports. Richmond was fortified and intrenched so perfectly that one man inside to defend was more than equal to five outside besieging or assaulting. To get possession of Lee's army was the first great object. With the capture of his army Richmond would necessarily follow. It was better to fight him outside of his stronghold than in it. If the Army of the Potomac had been moved bodily to the James River by water Lee could have moved a part of his forces back to Richmond, called Beauregard from the south to reinforce it, and with the balance moved on to Washington. Then, too, I ordered a move, simultaneous with that of the Army of the Potomac, up the James River by a formidable army already collected at the mouth of the river.”
(Grant, Personal Memoirs Vol. 2)


This may be what you recall:
”As a reinforcement to the Army of the Potomac, or to act in support of it, the 9th army corps, over twenty thousand strong, under General Burnside, had been rendezvoused at Annapolis, Maryland. This was an admirable position for such a reinforcement. The corps could be brought at the last moment as a reinforcement to the Army of the Potomac, or it could be thrown on the sea-coast, south of Norfolk, in Virginia or North Carolina, to operate against Richmond from that direction. In fact Burnside and the War Department both thought the 9th corps was intended for such an expedition up to the last moment.”
(Grant, Personal Memoirs Vol. 2)

---------------
VR, Rick Schaus

"When things go wrong in your command, start searching for the reason in increasingly large circles around your own desk."
-- Gen. Bruce Clarke

Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Moderator
Posts: 408

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/13/2016 11:27:16 AM

Quote:

Quote:
At Spotsylvania, just before the attack on the "Angle", one of the Union division commanders, that had marched his division thru the night (name escapes me, might have been Barlow), asked that they at least be pointed in the correct direction, or else his command would have to march right around the entire world, and take the Confederates in the rear. - Steve Clements, 8-8. 10:57 a.m.

I query how much of the blame for the anecdotal dysfunction you describe should properly rest with Grant. Grant had to fight with the army he was given, and that sort of dysfunction had plagued the Army of the Potomac throughout the war.

Out west, Grant had molded and shaped the Union Army of the Tennessee into what I believe to have been the most capable, most resourceful, and most lethal army on either side. All armies experience SNAFU's. The best armies find ways to get around the SNAFU's and win battles. The Army of the Tennessee excelled in solving problems quickly, in overcoming whatever obstacles were in its path, and in carrying out the orders of its commander. The fighting men in the Army of the Potomac were as good as any. But the AOP as an organization was not exactly a well-oiled machine. I don't see that as being Grant's fault.

--Charlie Richards


In booneyville, with limited internet access...but here goes.

IMO, much of dysfunction occurs - largely - because Grant's choice of tactics at spotsylvania are not realistic. Post the Wilderness, most of Grant's assaults involved moving divisions or corps from point a to point b, often at night, and often assuming a pace that was unrealistic, IMO.

Fighting out west, GRant had "learned", thru experience, that simply being aggressive was typically sufficient to ensure victory. That it was much more important to move quickly, rather than to wait until all your ducks were in a row. These lessons (IMO) backfired on Grant, when he came east, and had to face the first team. Simply being aggressive, without properly scouting what was to be attacked, didn't work so well in the east.

I do agree that there may well have been something wrong with the AoP at its core....someone was always late, someone always took the wrong turn etc. And yes, Grant had to work with what he was given...but IMO, on numerous occasions, Grant simply expected too much...his plans might have looked simple enough on paper, but he (again, IMO) simply chose to ignore the probability of slippage.

I Am also somewhat suspicious that Grant had difficulty going from managing a 50k or 60 k force, with corps commanders he understood etc., to a 110k army.

Steve

Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Moderator
Posts: 408

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/13/2016 11:31:57 AM

Quote:
Steve,

OK the three AOP Corps are out of the Wilderness so JEB goes after the wagons and Ewell and Hill slice in behing the three AOP Corps out of the Wilderness who only have the ammo and food the troops have in their packs and ammo box because they are cut off from base and a whole hell of a lot of their reserves have just gone up in smoke. Burnside might save the day but he's still on the other side of the river not in supporting distance of the trains and I think JEB can delay him until Longstreet comes up because well he's Burnside.
--John R. Price



Two things...

One, as you pointed out, burnside and his 9th corps were in position to cross the river....and two, the original plan was to clear the Wilderness in one day...not sure who or. What was meant to guard the trains....the 9th corps? The cavalry? But somehow, the original plan got thrown out the window, for no IMO particularly good reason.

Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Moderator
Posts: 408

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/13/2016 11:48:24 AM

Quote:

Quote:
By late summer/early fall, it was clear that Overland (and the fighting south of Petersburg) had done little towards bringing the war to a close, despite simply horrible casualty lists. – Steve Clements, 8-6. 2:41 p.m.


Quote:
I do agree that this is NOT what Grant wanted to do....but I might also argue that this (battle of attrition) is exactly what Grant did end up doing....and that he succeeded in extending the war because of it. And that the war was really won in the west, and not by the AoP and Grant/Meade. – Steve Clements, 8-8, 11:02


Quote:
Agreed that the war was won in the West but Grant came real close to loseing in in the East not militarily but politically in coming damm close to breaking the political will of the North with the long casualty lists of Overland with Richmond seemingly no closer than when the spring began and the ANVA still unconquered. – John R. Price, 8-8, 5:27 p.m.


Quote:
If generalship amounts to striking the right balance between manoeuvre and slaughter, then Grant's Overland Campaign saw a preponderance of slaughter and a tendency to having manoeuvre thwarted. – Phil Andrade, 8-9, 12:04 p.m.

I’m not arguing against the proposition that the war was won in the West. But Grant certainly did not prolong the war.

The North was suffering from war weariness long before Grant began the Overland Campaign, to such an extent that Lincoln believed he would not win re-election. He feared that a Democrat would win the 1864 election, offer peace to the Confederacy, and the war to save the Union would be lost. To that end, he brought Grant east, and gave him the mission of destroying the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia so that the war could be won before Lincoln left office. Lincoln felt a great sense of urgency about pushing the fight. Grant agreed with Lincoln, and did everything within his power to defeat Lee’s army. Grant kept attacking not because he believed in attrition for attrition’s sake, but because he was indomitable in spirit, because he could only hope to gain victory by defeating Lee’s army in battle, and because he knew that was what Lincoln wanted him to do.

BY the time the armies went into trenches in front of Petersburg, Grant’s army was exhausted, true enough. But so was Lee’s army. Perhaps more significantly, Lee and his army had become convinced that they could not win the war on the battlefield, whereas Grant’s army, despite the horrendous losses it had suffered, still believed in Grant’s leadership, and still expected to win the war.

Consider the alternative: how would it have hastened the end of the war if Grant had emulated all his predecessors, had pulled back after the Wilderness, and had allowed Lee and his army respite? My conclusion: that would certainly have prolonged the war, and quite possibly would have lost it for the Union.

--Charlie Richards


Well, I think that one can argue that Grant/Meade mismanaged overland....they certainly mismanaged the opportunity of the war after crossing the James, so I am prepared to argue that Grant and his tactics did extend the war into 1865. IMO, after losing 10k men in the initial Petersburg Ttacks, after losing 50k men in Overland, the armies commanded by Meade were gutted....the AoP became gunshy, it's best and most courageous left behind in Overland graves or Washington hospitals.

IMO, prior to the initial baldy smith.hancock attacks south of Petersburg, the soldiers of the AoP had al ways performed well....albeit they were often poorly led by their generals. Post Overland, the soldiers of the AoP performed poorly, arguably for the first time in the war. WHy? IMO, Cuz the army had been bled dry...the best and the bravest were dead, wounded or mustered out,replaced by bounty men, Washington heavies etc.

As for Lee being exhausted as well...true enuff, but an exhausted man will still fight from behind works...tougher for an "exhausted" man to attack - successfully- said works. Not to mention that Lee was able to send almost a third of his infantry to the gates of Washington....not what Lincoln needed while trying to get re-elected.

I do agree with your point about Grant doggedly persevering post the wilderness....I do have a difficult time imagining Meade doing the same.

Steve

Charlie Richards
Stone Mountain, GA, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Moderator


Posts: 212

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/13/2016 4:15:43 PM

Quote:
Charlie, Can you show examples of captured USCT being returned to slavery? Can you show examples of them not being treated as POW's? - John R. Price, 8-12, 11:50 p.m.

Okay:

Dec. 24, 1862: C.S. President Jefferson Davis issues proclamation branding Union Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler an outlaw, to be hanged immediately upon capture. The same proclamation decrees that white officers of black regiments, and the troops themselves, will be remanded to state governments for trial on charges of servile insurrection.

May 1, 1863: In response to Davis's December 24 proclamation, the Confederate Congress provides that the officers of Negro troops in the Union army should be tried under Confederate law for inciting servile insurrection, and put to death upon conviction; while the Negro troops themselves would be "delivered to the authorities of the State or States in which they shall be captured to be dealt with according to the present or future law of such State or States." Ostensibly, most captured Negro troops would be subject to execution under the laws of the individual states of the Confederacy. However, President Abraham Lincoln threatened that for every Union soldier executed by Confederate authorities, a captured Confederate soldier would be executed by Union authorities. Consequently, the Confederacy did not follow through on the threatened executions.

May 18, 1863: Skirmish near Sherwood, Missouri. Wounded and surrendering Negro Union troops are murdered by Confederate soldiers.

May 25, 1863: Exchange and parole of officers ordered halted by Federal War Department, in retaliation for the action of the Confederate Congress with regard to Negro troops and their officers.

June 7, 1863: Battle of Millikens Bend. Numerous Negro Union soldiers captured by attacking Confederates. Apparently all were reabsorbed into slavery in the Trans-Mississippi theater. Reports of mass hanging of captured Negro Union troops cannot be verified.

June 13, 1863: Hearing of the capture of numerous Negro Union troops in the Battle of Millikens Bend, Confederate Gen. E. Kirby Smith writes to his subordinate, Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor: "I have been unofficially informed that some of your troops have captured negroes in arms. I hope this may not be so, and that your subordinates who may have been in command of capturing parties may have recognized the propriety of giving no quarter to armed negroes and their officers. In this way we may be relieved from a disagreeable dilemma."

June 29, 1863: Battle of Mound Plantation. Texas troops under Kirby Smith capture numbers of Negro Union troops. Many are murdered outright. The others are treated as escaped slaves, not prisoners of war, and are sent into slavery in the Trans Mississippi.

July 18, 1863: Assault on Battery Wagner. Many members of the 54th Massachusetts, a regiment comprised of Freemen from Massachusetts, are captured. They are separated from white captured Union soldiers, and are held in harsh prison conditions by state authorities until December, 1864, when responsibility for them reverted to the Confederate army.

February 20, 1864: Battle of Olustee. After the battle, victorious Confederates murder a significant number of wounded Negro Union troops left on the battlefield.

April 12, 1864: Fort Pillow Massacre.

April 18, 1864: Battle of Poison Spring. Confederates attack under a black flag. Many wounded or captured Negro Union troops are murdered by Confederates.

April 20, 1864: Plymouth, North Carolina, falls to Confederate forces under Brig. Gen. Robert Hoke, with a large number of Federal troops being taken prisoner. In mid-July a survivor of the Federal garrison signs an affidavit averring that the Confederates systematically and brutally murdered all the black Federal troops taken prisoner.

July 30, 1864: Battle of the Crater. Many surrendering Negro Union troops murdered by Confederate troops.

October 13, 1864: Surrender of the Union post at Dalton. A number of captured Negro Union soldiers are murdered by Confederate guards. Those not murdered are either returned to former owners, or pressed into work gangs.


Quote:
Andersonville was color blind and the percentage of white deaths was a hell of a lot higher.

If I recall correctly, there were perhaps as many as 100 African Americans imprisoned at Andersonville. They were segregated, and treated even worse than the white POW's.


Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Moderator
Posts: 408

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/13/2016 6:31:20 PM

Quote:
If I remember rightly, Grant didn´t want to invade Virginia but wanted to land in N. Carolina and come up from the South. But Lincoln disagreed.

Or am I getting senile ?

Trevor


--scoucer


Before he ever got to Washington, that was his thinking...once he got to Washington, he realized that politics dictated an overland campaign (no pun intended).



Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Moderator
Posts: 408

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/13/2016 6:46:09 PM

Quote:

Quote:
Grant's (Meade's) tactics at The Wilderness, at Spotsylvania Court House and at Cold Harbor were unimaginative and highly costly. IMO, the striking power of the AoP had been bled from it by the time that Grant crossed the James. - Steve Clements, 8-6, 2:41 p.m.

I would agree about Cold Harbor, and so would Grant. Otherwise, I disagree. Recall that the Union army in the Wilderness was operating just about at its logistical limits. It was a big gamble to start an offensive there. Hooker took the gamble, opened his campaign brilliantly, then became curiously passive. Grant took the same bold chance, opened his campaign with a very effective offensive movement, and stayed aggressive, even after absorbing the best blow Lee's army could deliver. Unlike all AOP commanders before him, Grant kept moving forward, trying to find a way to attack and destroy his enemy. That is the story of the campaign. Lee's army brilliantly parried each slashing Union attack, but rather than stop and give the enemy pause to regroup, Grant kept his army attacking. The force on them I do not believe any other general on either side could have done that.
--Charlie Richards


(My second attempt at posting from booneyville ...last response got eaten by the cloud-:)

Almost all of the various attacks IMO at spotsylvania were some combination of poorly planned, uncoordinated or badly supported. It wasn't just cold harbour...

And the wilderness was not much better...as I noted previously, on the 5th, Grant pushed the 5th corps to attack ewell, refusing to believe that the force on the orange turnpike could actually be more than just a brigade sent out to slow the AoP down. Instead, Ewell was there with his entire corps.

And the II corps attack, the next morning, assumed burnsides presence at a certain unrealistic hour....yes Burnside was his usual slow self, but Grant had Burnside moving over roads clogged with wagons and artillery etc. And then attacking down what amounted to a cow path.

And no one talks about North Anna...but Grant got himself into a very precarious position....fortunately for Meade/Grant, Lee was bed ridden. And with Longstreet wounded, and Lee having little/no faith in Ewell or Hill...Lee couldn't or wouldn't do anything.

Okay, I would like to go on, but this iPads auto correct is killing me....posting on a laptop is a LOT easier-:)

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 1924

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/13/2016 7:19:17 PM

Quote:

Quote:
If I remember rightly, Grant didn´t want to invade Virginia but wanted to land in N. Carolina and come up from the South. But Lincoln disagreed.

Or am I getting senile ?

Trevor--scoucer


Before he ever got to Washington, that was his thinking...once he got to Washington, he realized that politics dictated an overland campaign (no pun intended).--Steve Clements


Thank you Steve. I remember now where I read it. McPherson`s Battle Cry of Freedom. It´s irritating when one remembers reading something but can´t remember where and have no idea where to start looking.

Trevor
---------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

scoucer
Berlin, Germany
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major
Posts: 1924

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/13/2016 7:24:02 PM

Quote:


Was Atlanta really that important from the very beginning of the war? Yes it was a railroad hub but didn't it grow exponentially during the war and become a lot more important by say 63 than it was in 61?
--John R. Price


That´s right John. It had become a major industrial centre particularly for war production. If I remember rightly, it´s population had increased three_fold.

Trevor
---------------
`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie

Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Posts: 472

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/13/2016 9:55:46 PM
Charlie,

First all of your examples haven't been proven and I believe all but 2 have been proven false including Pillow. Plus it was Indian troops that were involved at Sherwood Mizzu and it was retaliation for a similar incident inflicted on them earlier.

Second I guess Grant didn't get the War Department directive of May 25, 1863 because he paroled a significant percentage of the officers and men captured at Vicksburg. And If I'm not mistaken exchanges continued until the beginning of 1864.(see the combined reports of the Exchange Commission)

I believe there were more than 100. Those captured at Pillow ended up at Andersonville and would have accounted for the large majority of the 100 if your right and only 5 of them didn't survive the war.

Also "harsh prison condition" would IMO fit the description of every POW camp North or South. Elmira, Old Capital Prison, Camp Douglas, Rock Island and Johnson's Island to name a few were no walks in the park.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2773

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/14/2016 9:13:31 AM

Quote:

Quote:
Charlie, Can you show examples of captured USCT being returned to slavery? Can you show examples of them not being treated as POW's? - John R. Price, 8-12, 11:50 p.m.

Okay:

Dec. 24, 1862: C.S. President Jefferson Davis issues proclamation branding Union Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler an outlaw, to be hanged immediately upon capture. The same proclamation decrees that white officers of black regiments, and the troops themselves, will be remanded to state governments for trial on charges of servile insurrection.

May 1, 1863: In response to Davis's December 24 proclamation, the Confederate Congress provides that the officers of Negro troops in the Union army should be tried under Confederate law for inciting servile insurrection, and put to death upon conviction; while the Negro troops themselves would be "delivered to the authorities of the State or States in which they shall be captured to be dealt with according to the present or future law of such State or States." Ostensibly, most captured Negro troops would be subject to execution under the laws of the individual states of the Confederacy. However, President Abraham Lincoln threatened that for every Union soldier executed by Confederate authorities, a captured Confederate soldier would be executed by Union authorities. Consequently, the Confederacy did not follow through on the threatened executions.

May 18, 1863: Skirmish near Sherwood, Missouri. Wounded and surrendering Negro Union troops are murdered by Confederate soldiers.

May 25, 1863: Exchange and parole of officers ordered halted by Federal War Department, in retaliation for the action of the Confederate Congress with regard to Negro troops and their officers.

June 7, 1863: Battle of Millikens Bend. Numerous Negro Union soldiers captured by attacking Confederates. Apparently all were reabsorbed into slavery in the Trans-Mississippi theater. Reports of mass hanging of captured Negro Union troops cannot be verified.

June 13, 1863: Hearing of the capture of numerous Negro Union troops in the Battle of Millikens Bend, Confederate Gen. E. Kirby Smith writes to his subordinate, Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor: "I have been unofficially informed that some of your troops have captured negroes in arms. I hope this may not be so, and that your subordinates who may have been in command of capturing parties may have recognized the propriety of giving no quarter to armed negroes and their officers. In this way we may be relieved from a disagreeable dilemma."

June 29, 1863: Battle of Mound Plantation. Texas troops under Kirby Smith capture numbers of Negro Union troops. Many are murdered outright. The others are treated as escaped slaves, not prisoners of war, and are sent into slavery in the Trans Mississippi.

July 18, 1863: Assault on Battery Wagner. Many members of the 54th Massachusetts, a regiment comprised of Freemen from Massachusetts, are captured. They are separated from white captured Union soldiers, and are held in harsh prison conditions by state authorities until December, 1864, when responsibility for them reverted to the Confederate army.

February 20, 1864: Battle of Olustee. After the battle, victorious Confederates murder a significant number of wounded Negro Union troops left on the battlefield.

April 12, 1864: Fort Pillow Massacre.

April 18, 1864: Battle of Poison Spring. Confederates attack under a black flag. Many wounded or captured Negro Union troops are murdered by Confederates.

April 20, 1864: Plymouth, North Carolina, falls to Confederate forces under Brig. Gen. Robert Hoke, with a large number of Federal troops being taken prisoner. In mid-July a survivor of the Federal garrison signs an affidavit averring that the Confederates systematically and brutally murdered all the black Federal troops taken prisoner.

July 30, 1864: Battle of the Crater. Many surrendering Negro Union troops murdered by Confederate troops.

October 13, 1864: Surrender of the Union post at Dalton. A number of captured Negro Union soldiers are murdered by Confederate guards. Those not murdered are either returned to former owners, or pressed into work gangs.


Quote:
Andersonville was color blind and the percentage of white deaths was a hell of a lot higher.

If I recall correctly, there were perhaps as many as 100 African Americans imprisoned at Andersonville. They were segregated, and treated even worse than the white POW's.

--Charlie Richards




Charlie,

I think you are much more right on this, than wrong!

MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

charlie richards
Stone Mountain, GA, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Moderator


Posts: 212

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/14/2016 10:14:29 AM

Quote:
I believe all but 2 have been proven false including Pillow. - John R. Price, 8-13, 9:55 p.m.

They have not been proven false. Neoconfederates and other white supremacist groups persist in trying to expunge slavery and racism from the record of the Confederacy. You always make me uncomfortable when your argument moves close to theirs.

You have previously stated your full argument concerning Fort Pillow. I will not be "waving the bloody shirt" about Fort Pillow, and certainly there was a lot of propanda generated around it. However, the actual facts show conclusively that a massacre occurred. Your argument is not fact based, and is far outside the mainstream.


Quote:
Second I guess Grant didn't get the War Department directive of May 25, 1863 because he paroled a significant percentage of the officers and men captured at Vicksburg. And If I'm not mistaken exchanges continued until the beginning of 1864.(see the combined reports of the Exchange Commission), Ibid.

Nevertheless, the official policies I cited above continued in effect. (And, of course, parole is different than exchange.) The Confederacy changed its official position in early 1865, when the decision was made to enlist Negro troops in Confederate armies. At that point, the Confederacy had to officially concede that a Negro soldier was, at least militarily, the equal of a white soldier. For most of the war such an admission would have been anathema to the Confederacy. The notion that a Negro captive could be exchanged on an equal basis for a white captive implied a human equality that was contrary to the fundamental basis of slavery in the Confederacy.

Over the course of the war, of course, there were numerous deviations from official policy, and on both sides. In 1864, unofficial Confederate policy was more frequently at variance with official policy. As the Confederates encountered more United States Colored Troops in combat, and as more United States Colored Troops were captured as a consequence, a significant number of them were treated as prisoners of war and sent to prisoner of war camps. That does not change the fact that the official Confederate policy was that captured Union Negro troops would not be treated as prisoners of war, and would not be exchanged as prisoners of war. Many captured Union Negro troops were, in fact, treated as escaped slaves and sent into slavery rather than being held as POW's.

I launched off into this off-topic debate because you argued that it was Grant who decided that there would not be exchanges of POW's. That is not accurate.

Here is a very good article on the subject of captured Union Negro troops: [Read More]

Charlie Richards
Stone Mountain, GA, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Moderator


Posts: 212

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/14/2016 10:53:43 AM

Quote:
Charlie, I think you are much more right on this, than wrong! - Michigan Dave, 8-14, 9:13 a.m.


Thanks, Dave. But you don't have to take my word for it. A good resource and a good starting point for learning more about the contributions of African-American soldiers to the Union war effort (a seriously under-studied subject) is the book Like Men of War: Black Troops in the Civil War, 1862-1865 by Noah Andre Trudeau (Castle Books, 1998).

Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Moderator
Posts: 408

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/14/2016 10:15:32 PM

Quote:

Quote:
When Lee and Grant fought each other, the exchange rate in killed and wounded was dramatically in Lee's favour. – Phil Andrade, 8-5, 2:33 a.m.

But the entire time Grant and Lee confronted each other, Grant Was attacking, so of course his army would absorb higher casualties. I do not think the respective number of casualties is a good metric for comparing the generalship of these two excellent generals.

--Charlie Richards


Generally true during Overland. However, in The Wilderness, Lee was also on the offensive....although arguably not to the same degree as Grant. But the disparity in casualties at The Wilderness is quite sizeable....to a degree that would suggest that the disparity cannot simply be explained away by saying that Grant was on the offensive

Steve

charlie richards
Stone Mountain, GA, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Moderator


Posts: 212

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/14/2016 11:08:50 PM

Quote:
to a degree that would suggest that the disparity cannot simply be explained away by saying that Grant was on the offensive

I don't see anything to charge against Grant in that. Maybe we should give credit to Lee and Longstreet. Grant's first head on collision with the A-team. Old Pete and First Corps unexpectedly on your flank - big trouble!

Steve Clements
Toronto, ON, Canada
top 20
E-7 Sgt First Class
Moderator
Posts: 408

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/14/2016 11:39:48 PM

Quote:

Quote:
to a degree that would suggest that the disparity cannot simply be explained away by saying that Grant was on the offensive

I don't see anything to charge against Grant in that. Maybe we should give credit to Lee and Longstreet. Grant's first head on collision with the A-team. Old Pete and First Corps unexpectedly on your flank - big trouble!
--charlie richards


Well, Grant took 18k casualties, vs. a generally agreed upon 11k for Lee. I believe that the official figure (for Union casulaties) is 17,666....but Rhea has argued the the AoP casualties were deliberately understated....

Given that Lee did not just sit back and let Grant come at him i.e. Lee's tactics were also pretty aggressive during The Wilderness......the disparity in casualties remains somewhat hard to understand.....maybe the ANV enlisted men were just better fighters...in the type of fighting that took place in the wilderness.

Yes, Longstreet's flank attack did roll up Hancock's line....but it was only - I believe - four brigades....and could do only so much damage.

Steve

charlie richards
Stone Mountain, GA, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Moderator


Posts: 212

Re: Ranking the greatest CW generals
Posted on: 8/15/2016 10:06:34 PM
ONLY four brigades?!!

 Civil War Commanders and Units    
Page 2 of 3 (Page: 1  2 3 ) 
 Forum Ads from Google