Can Anyone Explain the Eastern Theater for a Western Theater guy?


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#42
But in spite of everything I've never heard anyone who denigrates Grant for the heavy losses suffered by Meade's army then go on to explain what Grant should have done differently to inflict maximum losses on Lee's army and minimum losses on Meade's, even with all of the advantages of 20/20 hindsight.
Right here is part of the problem. It was Meade's Army when things didn't go well.

It was Grant's Army when they did.

Historical "interpretation" is grand, ain't it?
 

John S. Carter

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#43
To sum it up, the Confederacy could have won the ACW in the east, but lost it in the west.
Question; With the force that the CSA had and the limited arsenal ,how could the CSA taken on the forces of the Union army esp. when Grant and Lincoln in '64 changed the strategy of the war to one of duration and maturition {who had the more men to lose} from a wasted strategy of capturing capital or of one general area,being Virginia.Then Grant sending Sherman to make a tour of the Deep South.Due to lack of leadership and the forces that faced Sherman gives him no real credit for his achievement .What he did accomplish was to draw the forces that could have been used against Grant and destruction of supplies ,So, take let the Western army take credit for that ,then that was what was required to bring "Ol' Dixie Down"
 
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#46
Part of the explanation of the eastern theater: Lincoln fired Sigel, Grant was allowed to take away Hunter's command and give it to the meanest, nastiest general he had: Phil Sheridan. Grant took control of Butler's army, but eventually fired Butler, too, and General Terry captured Fort Fisher in about two days, working with Porter's armada. Warren was given two detailed operations to capture and destroy the Weldon railroad. But he was eventually fired too, and Griffin commanded the 5th corp in the final chase. So it seems, that when Grant began insisting on accountability, from Dem generals and Rep generals, the war in the East ended in about 8 1/4 months.
 
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#48
Right here is part of the problem. It was Meade's Army when things didn't go well.

It was Grant's Army when they did.

Historical "interpretation" is grand, ain't it?
No, it was Meade's army because Meade was the commander of the Army of the Potomac. He isn't absolved of his own role and responsibilities just because he's overshadowed by Grant. The newspapers were the ones who called it Grant's army.
 
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#49
The politicians did not mess around with the navy. Its operations were mostly successful. The biggest exception was the attempt to enter Charleston harbor, which DuPont told Fox and Lincoln, would never work. The Western theater proceeded very well, while Grant and Curtis were in charge. When the lawyerly Halleck pretended to be a soldier, things became very cautious. When Grant and Steele, and other professionals took over, things accelerated again. The war in the east was beset by political fear mongering on many occasions. Notably, when General Sedgwick was killed, Burnside went home, Humphreys was substituted for Hancock, Griffin for Warren, the mobile performance of the Army of the Potomac was much better.
Its worth noticing that Pleasanton's and Sheridan's idea of well armed, compact cavalry units, used as mobile infantry, turned out to be the correct tactical method. Which illustrated Sun Tzu's warning, don't fight your enemy too often, they will copy your methods. :D:bounce::byebye:
 

John S. Carter

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#50
To sum it up, the Confederacy could have won the ACW in the east, but lost it in the west.
Question; With the force that the CSA had and the limited arsenal ,how could the CSA taken on the forces of the Union army esp. when Grant and Lincoln in '64 changed the strategy of the war to one of duration and maturition {who had the more men to lose} from a wasted strategy of capturing capital or of one general area,being Virginia.Then Grant sending Sherman to make a tour of the Deep South.Due to lack of leadership and the forces that faced Sherman gives him no real credit for his achievement .What he did accomplish was to draw the forces that could have been used against Grant and destruction of supplies ,So, take let the Western army take credit for that ,then that was what was required to bring "Ol' Dixie Down"
The eastern theater probably demonstrates that the politicians had no idea how to fight and win the war.
 

John S. Carter

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#51
The eastern theater probably demonstrates that the politicians had no idea how to fight and win the war.
Lincoln was a politician but he at least read books on military strategy.The problem was that he had to deal with the political side of war to appease those who desired that the war be fought certain ways as had been fought namely to seize the capital.Then he had to endure eneficent generals who basical fought the same way ,do a battle ,lose a battle,retreat to Washington and request for more men then repeat. Inquiry; How did Lincoln settle on Grant?iIt was not Stanton or Halleck who recommended him.Then Grant was intelligent to bring Sherman and Sheridan.with their little rag 'o muffin army.If Grant had been in the East in '62 would the war have been any different,shorter or would he have had to use the same plans as other generals?,just imagine Grant,Sherman,and Sheridan vs.Lee ,Jackson and Stuart! But the war had to be fought as Fate directed.read Lincoln's second inaugural address.
 
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#52
Unfortunately, I have to agree with most of you Rebel Boys, Grant was overrated as a whole (on an average). Give Bobby Lee the resources both logistically and militarily that Grant had, smh.... Grant, imo, is atoned to a WWI General just keep sending the boys 'Over the Top' until the CSA is literally overpowered. This isn't much of a 'strategy' Per Se....
 

OpnCoronet

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#53
When I became interested in learning about the war on a more detailed level, I tended to focus on the Army of Tennessee's campaigns, and am only now venturing into exploring the Army of Northern Virginia. It's a bit of a culture shock, to be honest. Campaigns being confined to such a relatively small area, the Confederate high command working like a well-oiled machine, Union commanders being defeated, frequent large Confederate forays into Union territory - it's quite a bit to wrap one's head around.
Can some of our Eastern theater experts please try to explain the war in that theater for people like me with a definite "Western" perspective?



Hardly an expert, but, I have a few thoughts on the matter. Campaigns and battles in most wars are dictated by geography, terraine features and, the goals of the opposing gov'ts(or leaders).

In the East, geography and terraine features restricted the area of effective operations East of the Blue Ridge mtns in the West to the Va. Tidewater.

Unlike the West the reivers in the East mostly flowed West to East to the Atlantic, forming natuural defensive barriers to invasion from the north most nonnavigable to most naval vessels. The ground favored the defensive where relatively sammller forces could effectively hold while maneuvering for position elsewhere.

Politically, in a country where a gov't of the masses muust depend upon those masses to form and support mass armies, popular support was necessary, and with the two capitals of the Union and confederacy so close, it was impossible to resist popular demands to both take and defend those capitals, no matter the strategic or tactical importance of doing so, in relation to the War itself.
 

Michael W.

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#55
The Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia fought for 4 years in the State of Virginia (with a couple of side trips to Maryland and Pennsylvania). Grant came East in '64 and by shear attrition, wore the ANV down in manpower until it could no longer sustain itself. The end.
 
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#56
Evening all,
I'm just asking, as this question often used to come in up in discussions here in the UK at reenactment weekends;
Lee and Johnston should have switched positions as commanders as their individual tactics were more suited to each others theater of war. Is that a fair assessment?
 
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#57
Unfortunately, I have to agree with most of you Rebel Boys, Grant was overrated as a whole (on an average). Give Bobby Lee the resources both logistically and militarily that Grant had, smh.... Grant, imo, is atoned to a WWI General just keep sending the boys 'Over the Top' until the CSA is literally overpowered. This isn't much of a 'strategy' Per Se....
Lee was never much different on the offensive than Grant was, in both good and bad aspects. When he attacked he'd throw everything he had into winning, with mixed results. I'm also not convinced that Lee would have focused on effectively using his logistical advantages as much as Grant did when it came to planning strategy. Lee always strikes me as the type who wanted to win the war with an Austerlitz rather than an Appomattox. Grant actually recognized that the ACW armies were practically incapable of destroying each other that way.
 

John S. Carter

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#58
Unfortunately, I have to agree with most of you Rebel Boys, Grant was overrated as a whole (on an average). Give Bobby Lee the resources both logistically and militarily that Grant had, smh.... Grant, imo, is atoned to a WWI General just keep sending the boys 'Over the Top' until the CSA is literally overpowered. This isn't much of a 'strategy' Per Se....
The fact is that if any of the previous generals would have used the same strategy of continuous pressure on the ANV then prehabs the war would have been shorter.This is what Lincoln wanted to happen this became the objective of Grant."To continue to Press".Grant had a staff of officers who shared the goal of continuous pressure on Lee and not to let up.The previous generals would retreat after losing in one battle.There is one accomplishment that these generals did ,was to provide Grant with an army that was tired of no real objective to accomplish and Grant was the general that would have the support of Lincoln as long as Grant's goal was the same as his.Grant had a weapon in Sherman while Lee scraper as empty.This two frontal attacks, with the fall of Vicksburg, marked the end of the Confederate force. That was what makes Grant essential in the END.
 

johan_steele

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#59
In the east neither the ANV or AoP were ever much more than 100 miles from their respective capitals and had short supply lines. They also had all the newspapers.

In the west things were a LOT different and the CS was hemorrhaging territory almost from the beginning. To be brutal about it all the AoP had to do was keep Lee and the ANV's attention and the western armies would gobble up the CS which is in essence what happened.
 
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#60
I guess I’m currently preferential to the logistical aspect of the war. I’m reading Earl J. Hess’ Civil War Logistics: A Study Of Military Transportation.

Very interesting read thus far...
 



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