Lee is overrated.

diane

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I think that's a perfectly good question for this thread. Our original OP said Lee should have been a regimental commander and that's it. Since Johnston was shot, who then should Davis have selected to fill the vacancy if not Lee?
 

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WJC

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The cause that Lee fought for is white supremacy.
The cause Lee fought for was slavery. If the issue was "white supremacy", there wouldn't have been secession or war, as both sides believed in that.
Regardless of his cause, the question remains: is Lee overrated? As a military leader, I agree with Gary Gallagher: Lee is among the greatest generals our country has produced. As a husband, father and friend, I believe he was an honorable, compassionate gentleman. He is only "overrated" by those who ignore his humanity and set him on a pedestal as the faultless 'Marble Man' .
 

diane

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The cause Lee fought for was slavery. If the issue was "white supremacy", there wouldn't have been secession or war, as both sides believed in that.
Regardless of his cause, the question remains: is Lee overrated? As a military leader, I agree with Gary Gallagher: Lee was among our greatest. As a husband, father and friend, I believe he was an honorable, compassionate gentleman. He is only "overrated" by those who ignore his humanity and set him on a pedestal as the faultless 'Marble Man' .
That 'faultless Marble Man' is really what Lee's problem is and he would have been the last man on earth to buy it, too. There was no such idealization of Grant, and he won that war and the Indian wars, was president, oversaw a good deal of the expansion and modernization of the US - a life full of accomplishment. Yet the guy is frequently all but forgotten except for his corrupt administration. Lee conducted his life in a way that was well done, promoted peace and reconciliation, and died soon enough after the war to become the flawless martyr needed by some.
 
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I think that's a perfectly good question for this thread.
Well that is not the statement in the title. Lee is overrated whether he was in command or not. The question that the op keeps asking is what did lee do to acheive greatness ?
However jamieva has a point. When I joined this forum I would have said Longstreet without hesitation. I hesitate now. I was never aware of his personality problems and character flaws before.
I will stick with ol’ Pete anyway though since it poses many what ifs. Most importantly I think he gets a bad rap as an independent commander. He did not want the command. He wanted braggs command and did not want to split the forces. He did not feel he had the strength for the effort and that both Knoxville and Chattanooga would suffer. Also Sherman arrived with 25000 troops having accomplished at Chattanooga what Longstreet had feared. I would not term it an independent command as his strategy was pre determined by Davis. Lee would not have had that problem.
So lee was not the default pick but was picked by default.
 
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@diane Anyway I only commented to jamieva to ask to ease up on a new member and be a little more respectful. Give him a bit to acclimate to the personalities here.
When I joined I made almost the exact same statement and the resulting attacks were uncalled for and the forum seemed like an unfriendly place with a few great exceptions. I am tired of talking to the same people about the same things to the point that I already know how most folks will reply to most questions or statements. If everybody is in agreement and is always on the same subject, we will have nothing to talk about. So I am glad to have new blood but tired of this subject.
 

diane

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@diane Anyway I only commented to jamieva to ask to ease up on a new member and be a little more respectful. Give him a bit to acclimate to the personalities here.
When I joined I made almost the exact same statement and the resulting attacks were uncalled for and the forum seemed like an unfriendly place with a few great exceptions. I am tired of talking to the same people about the same things to the point that I already know how most folks will reply to most questions or statements. If everybody is in agreement and is always on the same subject, we will have nothing to talk about. So I am glad to have new blood but tired of this subject.
Fair enough, Gene! There's a lot of new people here, so there's less stagnant conversation. But history is history and automatically makes one chew one's cud a lot!

Longstreet is a good choice - he had the experience and grasp. Too often he's judged poorly by his unhappy toe-dip into the western theater, and his 'foot-dragging' at Gettysburg. I can understand both. My choice would be Custis Lee. He was not a seasoned fighter but when he did get a chance, he appeared to have more talent for war than his father. Where attrition worked in favor of the Union - Grant is a prime example - it didn't work at all for the Confederates. When younger men like Custis finally came to the top it was too late.
 

Nytram01

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I think that's a perfectly good question for this thread. Our original OP said Lee should have been a regimental commander and that's it. Since Johnston was shot, who then should Davis have selected to fill the vacancy if not Lee?
Well, that leads to the question of who else would be in line or available.

G.W. Smith actually was Johnston's first replacement but suffered a nervous break down and was replaced by Lee, so that rules him out.

Beauregard going AWOL after Corinth removes the possibility of both him and Bragg, as Bragg replaced Beauregard in command of the Army of Mississippi.

The Lieutenant Generals appointed later that year were - as far as I know, in order of seniority - James Longsteet, Edmund Kirby Smith, Leonidas Polk, Theophilus H. Holmes, William J. Hardee, Thomas J. Jackson and John C. Pemberton.

Of these, at the time of Johnston's wounding;
  • Longstreet is with the ANV and commands a Wing
  • Kirby Smith commands an Army in East Tennessee
  • Polk commands a Corps in the AOM
  • Holmes arrives shortly after Seven Pines and commands a Division
  • Hardee is with the AOM and commands a Corps
  • Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley commanding, defacto, a small Army
  • Pemberton is in South Carolina and Georgia commanding a Department.
Likely Jackson can be ruled out becuase of his on-going work in the Valley, and Polk and Hardee are unlikely to be transferred from the AOM due to the above mentioned change in commander.

Which leaves Kirby Smith, Longstreet, Holmes or Pemberton, with Longstreet the most likely.
 
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I would say, Yes the Confederacy without Robert E Lee loses the war much quicker leading to less loss of life.

And yes the Civil War ended slavery but in your 'what if' it might not of; consider this, a quick mostly bloodless Union victory means there is no need for an Emancipation Proclamation. Therefore a quick Union may have persevered the Union while keeping slavery legal.
another what if.....and yes, we might still be burdenend with "that peculiar institution"....what a contradiction in terms, it would have justified Adolf Hitler's beliefs in "lebensraum" in which millions were not only displaced, but put into forced labor then genocide....glad that "what if" didn't happen and glad you pointed that out to me!!
 

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