Did Grant win the Civil War?

jackt62

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Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
Atlanta wasn't sherman's goal. The AoT was.
Interesting observation that may not coincide with what actually played out. In Virginia, Grant clearly instructed Meade to go after the ANV, and not Richmond. Consequently, the AotP's flanking maneuvers were intended to get around Lee's flank in an effort to destroy that army. Yet in Georgia, Sherman's flanking movements around the AoT were a sort of a game of cat and mouse with the end goal of leading the AotT to Atlanta. The biggest proof of this is twofold. 1) The fall of Atlanta (and not the destruction of the AoT which of course was not accomplished by Sherman) was a major blow to the south and was perhaps a key factor in enabling Lincoln to be re-elected. 2) Sherman basically ignored the AoT after besting it in a series of battles around Atlanta; while Hood took the intact AoT in a retrograde movement to derange the W&A RR line and attempt an offensive into Tennessee and beyond, Sherman went in the opposite direction on his March through Georgia.

Clearly, the war in Georgia indicates that sometimes the seizure of an important enemy city was a critical goal for the Union.
 

Pat Answer

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“...somewhere between NY and PA”
Interesting observation that may not coincide with what actually played out. In Virginia, Grant clearly instructed Meade to go after the ANV, and not Richmond. Consequently, the AotP's flanking maneuvers were intended to get around Lee's flank in an effort to destroy that army. Yet in Georgia, Sherman's flanking movements around the AoT were a sort of a game of cat and mouse with the end goal of leading the AotT to Atlanta. The biggest proof of this is twofold. 1) The fall of Atlanta (and not the destruction of the AoT which of course was not accomplished by Sherman) was a major blow to the south and was perhaps a key factor in enabling Lincoln to be re-elected. 2) Sherman basically ignored the AoT after besting it in a series of battles around Atlanta; while Hood took the intact AoT in a retrograde movement to derange the W&A RR line and attempt an offensive into Tennessee and beyond, Sherman went in the opposite direction on his March through Georgia.

Clearly, the war in Georgia indicates that sometimes the seizure of an important enemy city was a critical goal for the Union.

Agreed. As is well known, "no battle plan survives contact with the enemy." As circumstances change, especially in a complicated mix of political and military opportunities and setbacks, smart generals adapt. Sometimes unexpected benefits come from deviations from "the plan."
 

jackt62

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Location
New York City
I'm not sure Grant can be blamed for Hunter, Sigel, and Butler failing to execute their parts of the plan.
No he cannot. Grant was saddled with those mostly political generals, who had already demonstrated a level of mediocrity. But Grant had no choice in the matter. In any case, a field commander is directly responsible for their own operations; while Grant could lay out the overall strategy, it was up to the individuals to carry it out.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Interesting observation that may not coincide with what actually played out. In Virginia, Grant clearly instructed Meade to go after the ANV, and not Richmond. Consequently, the AotP's flanking maneuvers were intended to get around Lee's flank in an effort to destroy that army. Yet in Georgia, Sherman's flanking movements around the AoT were a sort of a game of cat and mouse with the end goal of leading the AotT to Atlanta. The biggest proof of this is twofold. 1) The fall of Atlanta (and not the destruction of the AoT which of course was not accomplished by Sherman) was a major blow to the south and was perhaps a key factor in enabling Lincoln to be re-elected. 2) Sherman basically ignored the AoT after besting it in a series of battles around Atlanta; while Hood took the intact AoT in a retrograde movement to derange the W&A RR line and attempt an offensive into Tennessee and beyond, Sherman went in the opposite direction on his March through Georgia.

Clearly, the war in Georgia indicates that sometimes the seizure of an important enemy city was a critical goal for the Union.
Grant never publicly criticized the President, even in his memoirs. But by August 1, 1864, the US was clearly destroying the economic means of the Confederacy. Sherman tore up the railroads east of Atlanta. Farragut closed Mobile Bay to blockade runners, allowing the US fleet to realign on Wilmington. Warren's force settled on the Weldon RR, and Hill's force was unable to drive them off of it.
Sheridan defeated Early in the valley, then chased away the Confederate rear guard, then began to destroy and consume everything in the valley that was near a usable road.
By the time Sherman captured the last railroad connecting Atlanta, the Confederates were not able to evacuate the locomotives, the rolling stock or the precious artillery ammunition. After Atlanta fell, there was very little mobile artillery left in any of the Confederate armies. They had no way to feed the horses necessary to pull the guns.
 

Leigh Cole

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Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
Monroe, MI
I can't figure this out. If Grant was so bad, why oh why did he win the Civil War? Surely Lee must have had something to do about it?

I just realized that sounds harsh for our Southern friends. Lee was the best general, in a pitched fight? But how did Grant win?

It's like Lee gave it to him on a plate.

I think it was the body count.
I say he definitley did. Here is why. It was not really brilliant tactics in as much as he figured out how to let the South defeat itself. Simply stay close and don't let up. The constant attrition was something the North could afford and the South could not. But he also reorganized the Union army into the worlds most formidable fighting force at that time. He let Sheridan loose with his Cavalry Corps instead of treating the Cavalry as a second rate force. The destruction of the Shenandoah was no small thing. He turned Sherman loose in the west and off he goes and he will figure out the supply issues day by day. But all of these operations were designed to break the will of the people to fight. Some liken it to the American air campaign over Germany in World War 2. It was cruel, indifferent and it wrought much suffering on the homefront which affected the morale of the troops in the field. Grant figured all this out and inside of 18 months, the war was over. That was no coincidence.
 

unionblue

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Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
The American Civil War was a long and violent struggle. In my opinion, the war was a process and Grant had the good fortune to be involved in the process at the end.
Timing is everything they say.

Up until Grant came along, no Union general was taking the long, the strategic view. He saw what needed to be done and Lincoln agreed with him.

Maybe, in your view, he came in late.

In my view, he came just in time.
 
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