American Generals in the War

David Moore

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#21
The Tullohmah Campaign was brilliant. Chickumungua not so much. On the other hand Rosecrans did a good job in Missouri anticipating General Price's invasion and ensuring adequate resources to counter Price.
Leftyhunter
Do you have any evidence Grant could have done better than Rosecrans from Murfreesboro to Chattanooga? Did Grant have any experience in mountain warfare? How did he do when outnumbered?
 

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David Moore

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#22
had Bragg been a bit more aggressive, he would have wreck Rosecrans during the Tullahoma campaign.
Bragg was outsmarted. He didn’t know where Rosecrans’ main attack was going to come from. Same thing happened in the subsequent Chickamauga Campaign. Don’t geniuses outsmart their opponents?
 

David Moore

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#23
He might be. It may have been about Rosecrans. I have a great memory - it's just not very long. :D If so, he and Cozzens were wrong.
Is there any reason your opinion should be valued over Cozzens’s? Meanwhile you might find this essay of interest. You’ll have to get the book -Gateway to the Confederacy- to read the whole thing.
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Jimklag

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#24
Is there any reason your opinion should be valued over Cozzens’s? Meanwhile you might find this essay of interest. You’ll probably have to get the book -Gateway to the Confederacy- to read the whole thing. https://books.google.com/books/about/Gateway_to_the_Confederacy.html?id=DQM6AwAAQBAJ
1. Yes - to me. There were no geniuses in that war. If Rosecrans was a true genius, all of his operations would have looked like Tullahoma. Unfortunately for old Rosy, Tullahoma was unique among his operations. One well-run campaign doth not a genius make.
2. I have the book.
 

David Moore

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#25
1. Yes - to me. There were no geniuses in that war. If Rosecrans was a true genius, all of his operations would have looked like Tullahoma. Unfortunately for old Rosy, Tullahoma was unique among his operations. One well-run campaign doth not a genius make.
2. I have the book.[/QUOT
Any evidence that Grant could have conducted the Tullshoma or Chickamauga campaigns? Did he have any experience in mountain warfare? How did Grant do when when outnumbered like Rosecrans was at Chickamauga?
Have you read the Dave Powell and Evan Jones essays? Did Grant or any other general show the innovation Rosecrans did?
It is of course fine to have an opinion but it should be based on something other than - opinion.
Thanks for being civil :smile:
 

Jimklag

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#26
Yes. Grant could have conducted those campaigns. Did anyone have experience in mountain warfare before they did it? Lookout Mountain qualifies and Missionary ridge is not bad as hills go. Sherman chased Johnston through 100 miles of north Geaorgia mountains. Grant was never outnumbered and at Chickamauga, Rosecrans was outnumbered 6.5 to 6 and was fighting on the tactical defensive - and personally led the skedaddle back to Chattanooga. Either Thomas or Grant or Sherman or even McClellan would have done better at Chickamauga. I have read David Powell's multi-volume campaign study of Chickamauga. It was very good.
 

David Moore

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#27
Yes. Grant could have conducted those campaigns. Did anyone have experience in mountain warfare before they did it? Lookout Mountain qualifies and Missionary ridge is not bad as hills go. Sherman chased Johnston through 100 miles of north Geaorgia mountains. Grant was never outnumbered and at Chickamauga, Rosecrans was outnumbered 6.5 to 6 and was fighting on the tactical defensive - and personally led the skedaddle back to Chattanooga. Either Thomas or Grant or Sherman or even McClellan would have done better at Chickamauga. I have read David Powell's multi-volume campaign study of Chickamauga. It was very good.
Rosecrans of course fought successfully -against Lee- in mountainous western Virginia in 1861. Much controversy about Grant’s actual role at Missionary Ridge. Who moved faster Sherman in 1864 or Rosecrans in 1863? Who had more troops? Any thoughts on Sherman’s generalship at Kennesaw Mountain?
The “skedaddle” was of course to save the object of the Campaign: Chattanooga. When you say those generals would have done better at Chickamauga what do you mean? How would they have compelled Bragg to evacuate Chattanooga?
Are you saying they would have defeated Bragg? Then what? Have you read Powell’s essay on Rosecrans’ innovations? Any evidence Grant or Sherman did or could have done similar things?
 
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#28
had Bragg been a bit more aggressive, he would have wreck Rosecrans during the Tullahoma campaign.
Lot of ifs in wartime or anything else. We should give Rosecrans credit when credit is due. Not arguing Rosecrans was the best Union general but not all that bad either. Overall more good then bad.
Leftyhunter
 
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#29
I wouldn't be surprised if I am the biggest fan of George Thomas on this website. I consider him the greatest general of the war on either side and the greatest hero among the major figures of the conflict.

But I wouldn't use the term "genius" to describe him. Genius is a very overused word, for true genius is extremely, extremely rare. Of the major military figures in history, I would probably only rank Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Napoleon Bonaparte as true geniuses.
One poster years ago commented on the battle of Nashville that Thomas had an excellent grasp of the obvious. That is not the worse trait of a military commander.
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#30
No mention of Iuka and Corinth? Oh that’s right Grant doesn’t actually need to be in a battle to be declared the winner of the battle. And of Course just because he was at a battle that went badly doesn’t mean he was responsible. This is not a mere general he’s a Roman god. :smile:

There is a quote ascribed to Thomas in which he calls Rosecrans “ a better general.” Thomas and Rosecrans weren’t rivals. It could be argued that both were targets or victims of Grant (really in Garfield’s words political leaders in Washington)
I overlooked those two battles big deal. I am defending your main man Rosecrans. I never put Grant on a pedestal but Grant has the equivalent of three Superbowl rings and love Grant or hate him no one other general can claim three field armies surrendering to him.
Leftyhunter
 

Norm53

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#31
I watched the massively entertaining Burns documentary on the ACW (for the third time) and without doubt my favourite contributor was Shelby Foote. For years I have hung on his description of Abraham Lincoln and Nathan B Forrest as both deserving the accolade of "genius". With the rider that "we are a young country...". But on reflection Forrest as a racist braggart (thirty kills? who counts dead men...apparent from psychopaths or fantasists?). In Europe, even the most decorated soldier (I exclude the fantasists of Special Forces or snipers) will not claim a "kill" except on a one-to-one fight, a life-or-death experience. Lincoln saved lives, Forrest...

The more I read of ACW history the less I feel the term "genius" is applicable. The opponents in many cases knew each other very well, were fighting over familiar continental territory in many cases (No cultural. climactical battles in India, Burma, Indo-China, China, South Africa, Algeria.....etc). Observers yes, with an engagement against Pirates in North Africa, Mexicans or native Americans not withstanding, but without any evidence of the assimilation of application or innovation. Weapons became better without the input of the ACW armies who largely appropriated them without consideration their practical use. Stonewall Jackson and Grant seem to agree running at the enemy screaming while being shot to pieces is an idea/good idea/ plan/ good plan/ strategy...

The fact that Jackson was shot by his own men may have lengthened the war....he would have charged like a loon for several months afterward until...devoid of limbs like a Monty Python Knight fallen from his horse. To the relief of his ragged army. Grant evidently had the plan than hitting someone on the head will eventually produce brain damage - Golly it's brilliant! God only knows what thinking was behind Lee's tactical plan to beat a Federal Army on just patriotism and making a loud noise. After all courage, which they had in abundance, and ignorance....which they had...combined with the ability to shoot a defenceless rodent... The aristocrats of the CSA seem to assume these were skills for the battlefield. The sad thing for the length of the war was that they worked. For a while.

Uniforms were largely those of French design, weapons were those used by European Armies and appropriated without any real imagination. Genius requires original thought and American Generals had to wait until 1943 to see that, and even then casualty figures among G.Is show some callous political judgements. If Montgomery had killed as many people as Clark, Patton, "Lightning Joe" Collins and the rest then he would have be arranging paperclips in Whitehall... thank God for FDR and Churchill as heads of state....and Hitler being a nutcase.....

Discuss :smile:
Can you please tell me the point of this diatribic post?

Norm
 
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#32
Do you have any evidence Grant could have done better than Rosecrans from Murfreesboro to Chattanooga? Did Grant have any experience in mountain warfare? How did he do when outnumbered?
I didn't even mention Grant so I am not comparing Grant to Rosecrans. I was merely pointing out that overall Rosecrans was an effective general. I also pointed out pretty much all generals have good days and bad days with some exceptions to the rule. I never understood why some of my friends rag on old Rosey but overall he is a good general.
Leftyhunter
 

Norm53

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#33
I wouldn't be surprised if I am the biggest fan of George Thomas on this website. I consider him the greatest general of the war on either side and the greatest hero among the major figures of the conflict.

But I wouldn't use the term "genius" to describe him. Genius is a very overused word, for true genius is extremely, extremely rare. Of the major military figures in history, I would probably only rank Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Napoleon Bonaparte as true geniuses.
I would like you to make a case for Thomas being "the greatest general of the war on either side and the greatest hero among the major figures of the conflict". Can you do that or not?

Norm
 

Jimklag

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#34
Rosecrans of course fought successfully -against Lee- in mountainous western Virginia in 1861. Much controversy about Grant’s actual role at Missionary Ridge. Who moved faster Sherman in 1864 or Rosecrans in 1863? Who had more troops? Any thoughts on Sherman’s generalship at Kennesaw Mountain?
The “skedaddle” was of course to save the object of the Campaign: Chattanooga. When you say those generals would have done better at Chickamauga what do you mean? How would they have compelled Bragg to evacuate Chattanooga?
Are you saying they would have defeated Bragg? Then what? Have you read Powell’s essay on Rosecrans’ innovations? Any evidence Grant or Sherman did or could have done similar things?
Sherman at Kennesaw Mountain was a mistake of impatience that he never repeated. No one will ever accuse Rosecrans of impatience. As far as Chickamauga goes, Rosecrans should have won and the other three I mentioned would have won.
 
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Norm53

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#38
I think his goal is to entertain himself by causing outrage. That’s cool; he’s not nearly the most outrageous person around here—we have so many screwballs around here he’s barely making a ripple, which must be disappointing.
I'd like an expansion of your point, but I'm afraid that our friendly monitor would not approve of it.

Norm
 

Norm53

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#40
Powerful reasons, but his competition is stiff: Grant, Lee, Forrest ... (I'm sure other CWT vets can add a few more.) Thomas maybe "never lost a major battle", but just which major battles did he win?

Norm
Mills Springs where Thomas was outnumbered. The battle of Nashville. Thomas led with support from General Granger the battle of Snod Grass Hill where Thomas gathered remnants of various AoC regiments that bravely withstood determined Confederate attacks allowing the bulk of the AoC to seek safety in Chattanooga. Keep in mind for most of the ACW Thomas served has a subordinate general to Rosecrans but most definitely led from the front. It is sheer dumb luck that he did get blown away.
Leftyhunter
 



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