Lee is overrated.

thomas aagaard

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If, on the other hand, you're talking about 'self-inflicted' casualties, then Gen. U. S. Grant has to be considered in that negatively rarified air as well.
Lee lost way more men under his command than Grant ever did... even if we include the men lost by the AoP from the time Grant moved east. (and Meade was the army commander)
Lee had massive casualties during the 7 day battles and at Gettysburg... and at Chancellorsville, even if he won a great victory.
Grant only had losses that big at Shiloh... until moving east.
And even if Union forces in north Virginia and later around Richmond lost more men that Lee during the last part of the war Lee still lost more men in total.

But across the war Lee inflicted way more casualties on his enemy than the number of men he lost... some of it by union stupidity. But in other cases it was good CS planning and operational decision making that caused it.
 

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Cold harbour? A direct frontal assault on entrenched rifle wielding soldiers I think Grant understood modern warfare the same as Lee the only difference to all the other Union commanders was Grants one exceptional trait the determination to carry on regardless to see the job done.

In retrospect I think any other Union commander would have given up after the Wilderness campaign it was the fact Grant took a step forward not backwards that finally sealed Lee's fate.
Cold Harbor is one of the most misunderstood battles of the war. Grant set the strategy and said there had to be an attack. Meade was the one who determined the tactics and Meade and his corps commanders dropped the ball. Meade was in charge of the battle. He and his corps commanders didn't even do any reconnaissance of the confederate position prior to the attack.
 

Jamieva

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Lee lost way more men under his command than Grant ever did... even if we include the men lost by the AoP from the time Grant moved east. (and Meade was the army commander)
Lee had massive casualties during the 7 day battles and at Gettysburg... and at Chancellorsville, even if he won a great victory.
Grant only had losses that big at Shiloh... until moving east.
And even if Union forces in north Virginia and later around Richmond lost more men that Lee during the last part of the war Lee still lost more men in total.

But across the war Lee inflicted way more casualties on his enemy than the number of men he lost... some of it by union stupidity. But in other cases it was good CS planning and operational decision making that caused it.
Lee was in more major campaigns/battles than Grant so that would account for some of the disparity pre Overland
 
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You have to considerate the quality of the opposition, could Lee have lasted four years against a first-class European power with the US' manpower numbers and war materiel making capability?
Ok. Another excuse in support of Lee.

Why was Lee great? Is it because he delayed the conclusion of the war? What about other Rebellious leaders who won despite their odds?
 
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Lee was in more major campaigns/battles than Grant so that would account for some of the disparity pre Overland
Ok. When Lee faced Union Generals hold stayed and fought he lost. Please, tell me why Lee was great? Grant may have been in less campaigns, but he won time and time again. Lee, not so.
 
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You and I may have different definitions of "revere," as I have a stronger impression of General Grant than Lee. However, let's look at the war in the east, as a whole.

Prior to Lee being placed in command, the Confederacy had a rather lack-luster leadership team. Hell, they even started to make McClelland look good!

The reason, IMHO, that Lee outlasted the commanders before him was his oftentimes brash nature and understanding of his subordinates' strengths and weaknesses. When he allowed this first attribute to override the second, war took on the impression of a **** Shoot.

Another reason he lasted in command, was simply his ability to make opposing commanders look bad. The Federal Army was rotating through commanders at an alarming rate, not necessarily because of incompetance, but because of their inability to stand the tests of public and political scrutiny.

Face it, much of Lee's success was in his ability to REMAIN in command, whereas his opponents were never given much opportunity to settle into the job before they were defeated and replaced. Had President Lincoln not tired of the military merry-go-round, Grant could have faced a similar fate after Cold Harbor! (For this reason, and a few others, I view Cold Harbor to be the true turning point in the Eastern Theater, as it gave solidity to the Federal Command Structure that they sorely needed.)

I do see Lee as a strong and inspiring commander. I also see him as, at times ruthless. I also feel he was one of the best of his era. Yet I see those very strengths in Grant as well. They were well matched as commanders, and did well with what they had. Fortunately, Grant had considerably more to work with, and the foresight to use all of it as necessary.
Thank you for your insight and a thoughtful response.

Why is it that we love a general for hanging in there vs winning? Lee beat half-hearted Union generals who should have been fired.

I think that we love Lee because of revisionist historians, and not because Lee was great. We are celebrating a guy who REMAINED in command? Would we celebrate that in the work place?

Other Rebellious leaders won their conflicts. Lee didn't. We say that Lee was great because he delayed the culmination of the South's effort. I say a general is great because they adapt and win.
 
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Lee was in more major campaigns/battles than Grant so that would account for some of the disparity pre Overland
As you are one who understands warfare, why does this matter?

Are saying that Lee was more experienced, or are you saying that because Lee saw more combat that his record would be not as stellar as Grant?
 
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Is this the same Longstreet who was beaten by Burnside at Knoxville? I seem to recall Longstreet had major issues when lead-in an independent command.
Leftyhunter
You know y’all get awful snippy and sarcastic. I did not say Longstreet should command. I am talking about his discussions with lee over how the 63 invasion should be conducted. He was at odds with lee over strategy and thought he had a promise not to fight a major battle but move east dragging Meade away from Virginia and at the same time threaten dc and Baltimore. When I said read about it I assumed you already knew what I was talking about, I wasn’t being trying to be a jerk.
Now this is where I came in when I joined a few yrs ago and nothing has changed and I don’t expect it to so I am done with this topic. Please don’t post a reply that requires an answer because I can’t resist.
So praise Lee to high heaven all you want and I will let it go if you don’t ask or tell me something on this op.
I thought you and I were ok and mostly on the same page.
 

diane

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Lee lost way more men under his command than Grant ever did... even if we include the men lost by the AoP from the time Grant moved east. (and Meade was the army commander)
Lee had massive casualties during the 7 day battles and at Gettysburg... and at Chancellorsville, even if he won a great victory.
Grant only had losses that big at Shiloh... until moving east.
And even if Union forces in north Virginia and later around Richmond lost more men that Lee during the last part of the war Lee still lost more men in total.

But across the war Lee inflicted way more casualties on his enemy than the number of men he lost... some of it by union stupidity. But in other cases it was good CS planning and operational decision making that caused it.
That's it. Lee was one of the most aggressive commanders America produced, and also one of the most ruthless. Many of his victories were Pyrrhic. Grant was equally so but his victories were not as costly as Lee's were - another win like that and we're toast! It's also very true Grant was fighting differently in the West - many said, well, you're great out here but wait until you meet Bobby Lee. I don't think Lee surprised Grant - they were a match. Lee once said if the Union kept changing commanders they would eventually get one he didn't understand. They didn't get one he didn't understand, but they got one who knew how to beat him.
 
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Lee also fought more major battles than any other General of course he was going to lose a ton of men.

Grant had fought one major battle at Shiloh , Lee was constantly fighting major battles from mid 1862 to mid 1863.

I don't get the Lee lost more men scenario what should he have done or what could he have done that meant the loss of less men?.

Lee won battles at a time when the South was losing heavily in the west and he did it on a shoestring budget which is impressive to say the least.

For everyone who says Lee fought against inferior commanders the same could be said of Grant in the west you can only beat what's put in front of you.

I'm a big fan of both Grant and Lee but given the choice of an open field with equal numbers and equipment I'm pretty sure imo that Lee would beat Grant , Lee's men would storm the gates of hell for him I doubt Grants would?
 

CSA Today

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No, he would not have won without the Fench. Other Rebellious leaders won. Lee did not. What is the point?
Other factors caused the lost not Lee generalship or as Brian Pohanka put it:
The South lost because it had inferior resources in every aspect of military personnel and equipment. That's an old-fashioned answer. Lots of people will be scornful of it. But a ratio of twenty-one million to seven million in population comes out the same any way you look at it.
The basic problem was numbers. Give Abraham Lincoln seven million men and give Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee twenty-one million, and cognitive dissonance doesn't matter, European recognition doesn't matter, the Emancipation Proclamation and ripple effect don't matter. Twenty-one to seven is a very different thing than seven-to twenty
thing than seven to twenty-one.
 
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You know y’all get awful snippy and sarcastic. I did not say Longstreet should command. I am talking about his discussions with lee over how the 63 invasion should be conducted. He was at odds with lee over strategy and thought he had a promise not to fight a major battle but move east dragging Meade away from Virginia and at the same time threaten dc and Baltimore. When I said read about it I assumed you already knew what I was talking about, I wasn’t being trying to be a jerk.
Now this is where I came in when I joined a few yrs ago and nothing has changed and I don’t expect it to so I am done with this topic. Please don’t post a reply that requires an answer because I can’t resist.
So praise Lee to high heaven all you want and I will let it go if you don’t ask or tell me something on this op.
I thought you and I were ok and mostly on the same page.
Gene,
I was just trying to use a bit of humor to illustrate a point. It's one thing to discuss strategy it's quite another to implement it.
Has Von Moltke said based on two different translations " no plan survives contact with the enemy" or " no plan survives the first shot".
All military plans have a high risk factor for failure.
I don't praise Lee because I detest what he fought for.
I do acknowledge he performed as well has he could based on the inherent weakness of the Confederacy in terms of demographics and logistics.
We are basically on the same page.
Leftyhunter
 
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Other factors caused the lost not Lee generalship or as Brian Pohanka put it:
The South lost because it had inferior resources in every aspect of military personnel and equipment. That's an old-fashioned answer. Lots of people will be scornful of it. But a ratio of twenty-one million to seven million in population comes out the same any way you look at it.
The basic problem was numbers. Give Abraham Lincoln seven million men and give Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee twenty-one million, and cognitive dissonance doesn't matter, European recognition doesn't matter, the Emancipation Proclamation and ripple effect don't matter. Twenty-one to seven is a very different thing than seven-to twenty
thing than seven to twenty-one.
Add to that disparity in numbers approximately three million of the seven million Southerners are heavily oppressed and many if those are willing to fight for the Union or flee to Union forces.
Approximately 750k to one million white men enlisted in the Confederate Army either voluntarily or by conscription. Approximately ( @U.S. Grant you might enjoy this book " Lincoln's Loyalists Union Soldiers from the Confederacy" Richard Current North East University Press) 104 k Southern white men many of whom were former Confederate soldiers enlisted in the Union Army.
Thus figure does not include Unionist guerrillas and home guards.
Leftyhunter
 
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Lee also fought more major battles than any other General of course he was going to lose a ton of men.

Grant had fought one major battle at Shiloh , Lee was constantly fighting major battles from mid 1862 to mid 1863.

I don't get the Lee lost more men scenario what should he have done or what could he have done that meant the loss of less men?.

Lee won battles at a time when the South was losing heavily in the west and he did it on a shoestring budget which is impressive to say the least.

For everyone who says Lee fought against inferior commanders the same could be said of Grant in the west you can only beat what's put in front of you.

I'm a big fan of both Grant and Lee but given the choice of an open field with equal numbers and equipment I'm pretty sure imo that Lee would beat Grant , Lee's men would storm the gates of hell for him I doubt Grants would?
Didn't Grant also lead men in to battle at Belmont, Missouri , Champion Hill, Vicksburg , Ft. Donaldson and Henry? I might of let off a few other battles.
Grants men fought hard and well during the battles of the Overland Campaign. They suffered heavy loss's but in the end the prevailed.
Leftyhunter
 
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Thank you for your insight and a thoughtful response.

Why is it that we love a general for hanging in there vs winning? Lee beat half-hearted Union generals who should have been fired.

I think that we love Lee because of revisionist historians, and not because Lee was great. We are celebrating a guy who REMAINED in command? Would we celebrate that in the work place?

Other Rebellious leaders won their conflicts. Lee didn't. We say that Lee was great because he delayed the culmination of the South's effort. I say a general is great because they adapt and win.
We have to examine individually why various rebellious movements are successful vs the Confederacy that was not. Each secessionist or rebellious movement has many similarities and many differences.
The cause that Lee fought for is white supremacy. That cause did not die after the Civil War. Every political cause needs its heroes.
Leftyhunter
 

CSA Today

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Add to that disparity in numbers approximately three million of the seven million Southerners are heavily oppressed and many if those are willing to fight for the Union or flee to Union forces.
Approximately 750k to one million white men enlisted in the Confederate Army either voluntarily or by conscription. Approximately ( @U.S. Grant you might enjoy this book " Lincoln's Loyalists Union Soldiers from the Confederacy" Richard Current North East University Press) 104 k Southern white men many of whom were former Confederate soldiers enlisted in the Union Army.
Thus figure does not include Unionist guerrillas and home guards.
Leftyhunter
I doubt your statistics for Southern white unionists if you mean the eleven Confederate States. Michael Honey from your ”War within the Confederacy” thread had the numbers about right: “In the eleven Confederate states 48,072 whites joined the Union army”
www.ncgenweb.us/ncuv/honey1.htm
Another source: http://www.civil-war.net/pages/troops_furnished_losses.html
 

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