A Victor, Not A Butcher: Ulysses S. Grant's Overlooked Military Genius


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Jimklag

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#4
The late Mr. Bonekemper had his heart in the right place, but his book merely repeated what J.F.C. Fuller had done much earlier, and Fuller did it better.
General Fuller's military credentials were certainly better, too. I was given Bonekemper's book for Christmas and was perusing reviews, so I thought I would post the one from the NY Sun. I haven't read it yet, so I withhold my recommendation.
 

cash

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#5
General Fuller's military credentials were certainly better, too. I was given Bonekemper's book for Christmas and was perusing reviews, so I thought I would post the one from the NY Sun. I haven't read it yet, so I withhold my recommendation.
It's a well written book, but Mr. Bonekemper researched it with his conclusion in mind and selected his information to fit his conclusion. Fuller, on the other hand, was persuaded by his research and wrote his book with a conclusion opposite of what he went into it with.
 

Cavalry Charger

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A Victor, Not A Butcher: Ulysses S. Grant's Overlooked Military Genius
by Edward H. (III) Bonekemper
Publisher: Regnery History (September 21, 2010)

Review By MARVIN COHEN NY Sun

https://www.nysun.com/arts/still-underestimating-ulysses-s-grant/6224/
The article gives an interesting summary on some of the books written about Grant, Jim. Helps to point people in the direction of what books to read, or at least what to expect.

Here is a link to Fuller's book which @cash has mentioned, first published in 1929, republished in 1991.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/116937.The_Generalship_of_Ulysses_S_Grant
 

jackt62

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#11
I'm not familiar with this book, but it sounds of interest. I too happen to believe that Grant has gotten the short end of the stick insofar as his historical reputation is concerned, although that has been changing. He was tarred with the "butcher" label early on, and his faulty presidency didn't help his later standing. But his strategic brilliance in concentrating federal armies in-time and his practice of relentless campaigning ultimately won the war.
 

gary

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#12
We've had Bonekemper speak at several CWRTs in the SF Bay Area. I enjoyed his books, but remember it was Bruce Catton who first pointed out that Grant's losses at Cold Harbor II was over a period of three days and not just an hour.
 

Jimklag

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The article gives an interesting summary on some of the books written about Grant, Jim. Helps to point people in the direction of what books to read, or at least what to expect.

Here is a link to Fuller's book which @cash has mentioned, first published in 1929, republished in 1991.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/116937.The_Generalship_of_Ulysses_S_Grant
I have a first edition of Fuller's book. It is one of my library's prize volumes. It is also a good, well researched and well written military biography.
 

cash

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#14
The article gives an interesting summary on some of the books written about Grant, Jim. Helps to point people in the direction of what books to read, or at least what to expect.

Here is a link to Fuller's book which @cash has mentioned, first published in 1929, republished in 1991.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/116937.The_Generalship_of_Ulysses_S_Grant
Actually, the one I was mentioning was this one:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/704305.Grant_and_Lee
 
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#18
I'm not familiar with this book, but it sounds of interest. I too happen to believe that Grant has gotten the short end of the stick insofar as his historical reputation is concerned, although that has been changing. He was tarred with the "butcher" label early on, and his faulty presidency didn't help his later standing. But his strategic brilliance in concentrating federal armies in-time and his practice of relentless campaigning ultimately won the war.
Grant's bad reputation as far as being careless with the lives of his soliders and paying too bloody
of a price for the victories he achieved are largely a product of the Democratic newspapers and those
who were for peace without resolving the issues that began the war in the North. While it is true that
casuallty lists were filled with names in Northern newspapers, the wear and tear on the Army of Northern
Virginia that the constant pressure of Grant's relentless campaign against it was bringing the end of the
war nearer with everyday that it continued. It is a matter of speculation but I believe if General Grant
had been in charge of the Army of the Potomac during the Peninsula Campaign, it could have ended
up with a siege of Richmond and the eventual fall of the capital much eariler than 1865. I do not
believe that Grant would have been driven off the Peninsula given the results of the Seven Days
battles like McClellan was.
 
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#19
The Virginia offensive of 1864 did not produce the results most people anticipated. However Grant was fighting in an unfamiliar theater, with an army he did not create, with an officer corp that resented westerners like Grant, and still executed his superior's operational plan with as much enthusiasm as if it was his own.
Grant's second combined offensive included closing Mobile Bay, and produced decisive political results.
His third offensive included expensive heavy infantry cavalry units, and destroyed the remnants of the Confederacy.
By July 31, 1864 Grant probably did appear to be a butcher. By October 31, 1864 things appeared differently.
 
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#20
The casualties in the Virginia theater were very high in 1864. But they seemed to have had the desired result as the fighting concluded in April of 1865. There was not an additional year of war, which would have been inexcusable butchery.
No General Officer in the history of the U.S. Army has lost as many casualties to an adversary as did U.S. Grant to the Confederate States Army, relative to his own troop strength.

That's not to hate Grant, it's to tell the truth. If it upsets anyone, tough luck.

Was he a butcher? Hmm....
 



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