Robert E. Lee vs. Stonewall Jackson

Was Jackson a better General than Lee

  • Yes

    Votes: 3 7.1%
  • No

    Votes: 15 35.7%
  • Killer Combo, but Lee was still better

    Votes: 24 57.1%

  • Total voters
    42

SouthernRebel772

Sergeant
Joined
Jan 28, 2011
Location
USMC
Okay this has been annoying me for some time, and finally brought to a head when I read a magazine article by a military historian bashing Lee and calling Jackson the greatest of the South's Generals and superior to Lee.
Well I wanted to ask you guys your opinions. The main argument the author had against Lee was his use of frontal assaults. I find this argument lacking in substance. Aside from Gettysburg, as far as I know Lee always tried to maneuver on the enemy's flank to defeat them.

Aside from this I do think the argument has become more discussed recently. For me, While I regard Jackson highly, I just don't think he was of the same caliber as Lee. He was a fine Strategist, but decidedly lacking in the tactical sense.


And this is not biased at all:lee:.
 

dvrmte

Major
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Location
South Carolina
I have avoided this debate but you have brought it upon us.

I guess most would say they needed each other. Lee needed a subordinate to execute his strategies aggressively without having to dictate exactly how he wanted it done.

Neither could have filled the others shoes, Lee was too old for aggressive campaigns and I doubt Jackson could play the politicians as well as Lee could.
 
Joined
Oct 3, 2005
While the two men were fine commanders, Lee had IMO the larger vision, that put him in a class by himself among the Confederates.
 

dvrmte

Major
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Location
South Carolina
Using the benefit of hindsight, I see where Lee, Longstreet and Stuart didn't have the..... I don't know what to call it, that Jackson had.

An example of that is the situation Pope was in following the battle of Cedar Mountain. Jackson is at Gordonsville watching Pope when Lee and the rest of the army join him there on August 15th. Of course, Jackson wants to attack immediately but Longstreet wants to wait for his rations. Jackson offers to bring up his wagons and give him what he needed. Longstreet wants to wait on more men to arrive from Richmond. Stuart doesn't give exact orders to Fitz Lee on when to get there. Fitz arrives late with worn out horses. Lee was almost swayed by Jackson to attack anyway but puts it off another day. Stuart's hat and memos are captured and the plan is foiled. Pope realizes his predicament and moves out of the trap.

Pope was in the fork of the Rapidan and Rappahannock rivers with only one bridge for escape. The plan was for Fitz Lee to close the bridge while Jackson crossed the river and attacked, followed by Longstreet. This would have happened before the III and IV corps arrived to reenforce Pope. Pope at least would have been beaten and been of no consequence for awhile. Lee would have a huge headstart on McClellan and had some time on his hands to prepare for him.
 

Nathanb1

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
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Jackson would never have had the ability to deal with politicians nor the deference Lee was shown--which Lee used to his advantage. Lee didn't quite have the killer instinct of Jackson.....but, as several have said, they--along with Longstreet and Stuart--made an almost unbeatable team once they got rolling.
 

kel1985

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa.
I think that Lee had a better overall vision for the big picture for running an entire army, whereas Jackson excelled at Corps level operations...I think that Lee could have done Jackson's job, but Jackson couldn't have done Lee's. But together they had a synergystic effect upon each other that couldn't be replicated in other combinations.
 

SouthernRebel772

Sergeant
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Jan 28, 2011
Location
USMC
I think that Lee had a better overall vision for the big picture for running an entire army, whereas Jackson excelled at Corps level operations...I think that Lee could have done Jackson's job, but Jackson couldn't have done Lee's. But together they had a synergystic effect upon each other that couldn't be replicated in other combinations.

I think this probably sums up my opinions. Jackson was in my opinion a little erratic in his performances. Though I respect dvrmte's opinion, I have to disagree, I think it was Jackson that was lacking in that certain something that could make him truly great. I think Jackson's killer instinct was apparent, but I think Lee had a just a great if not greater instinct for the same. He simply had control over his emotions for the most part, which I believe made him all the more dangerous.
 

dvrmte

Major
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Location
South Carolina
I think this probably sums up my opinions. Jackson was in my opinion a little erratic in his performances. Though I respect dvrmte's opinion, I have to disagree, I think it was Jackson that was lacking in that certain something that could make him truly great. I think Jackson's killer instinct was apparent, but I think Lee had a just a great if not greater instinct for the same. He simply had control over his emotions for the most part, which I believe made him all the more dangerous.

You ain't the first to disagree with me.:smile:

Jackson is often criticized about how he handled his subordinates, like A. P. Hill, but compare Hill's performance while under Jackson with how he performed under Lee.

The problem with the comparison of the two is the early death of Jackson, just as he reached his zenith.
 

dvrmte

Major
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Location
South Carolina
The crazy?

I have a limited vocabulary probably due to lack of education, but I just don't see anyone with the push(lack of better word) that Jackson had. Yes, he went off half cocked now and then but that push was the difference. You can't always wait for everything to be just right. As long as you strike first and keep up the momentum, you maintain the initiative.

Cedar Mountain is a favorite battle of those that wish to criticize Jackson. Who'd have thought Banks would have attacked first, without supports? But Jackson reformed his lines and crushed Banks with Hill's counterattack.
 

K Hale

Colonel
Annual Winner
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Aug 10, 2009
Location
Texas
I have a limited vocabulary probably due to lack of education, but I just don't see anyone with the push(lack of better word) that Jackson had. Yes, he went off half cocked now and then but that push was the difference. You can't always wait for everything to be just right. As long as you strike first and keep up the momentum, you maintain the initiative.

Cedar Mountain is a favorite battle of those that wish to criticize Jackson. Who'd have thought Banks would have attacked first, without supports? But Jackson reformed his lines and crushed Banks with Hill's counterattack.
Hey, Jackson was the man, I am definitely a fan of his. But if you grouped him with the other three and then asked what he had that they didn't... well... :smile:
 

dvrmte

Major
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Location
South Carolina
Hey, Jackson was the man, I am definitely a fan of his. But if you grouped him with the other three and then asked what he had that they didn't... well... :smile:

Well I voted "killer combo" just because Jackson's abilities beyond leading a small army are unknown.
 

Zosofancmr

Private
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Dec 4, 2011
Location
Puyallup, WA
Lee had the confidence of the Government and the overall tactical wherewithal to know how to deal with primadona generals that were in his command. Jackson was a superb leader of troops, Lee was one of a kind in managing his subordinates.
 

kel1985

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa.
You ain't the first to disagree with me.:smile:

Jackson is often criticized about how he handled his subordinates, like A. P. Hill, but compare Hill's performance while under Jackson with how he performed under Lee.

The problem with the comparison of the two is the early death of Jackson, just as he reached his zenith.

Great point on Hill under Jackson vs under Lee!
Do you think it was because Jackson tended to micromanage his subordinates (for lack of a better word) more than Lee did?

(all things being equal, I am a huge fan of Jackson though)
 

TerryB

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Location
Nashville TN
This is the sort of stuff I expect from Winston Groom, but here goes: Say Jackson survives the war, maybe even helped win it. At some point does he degenerate into an Elvis-like Vegas lounge act? His legend as it stands could only be enhanced by one of two things: 1) he dies leading the crucial charge at Gettysburg (whatever that might have been) and forever after, the "WHAT IF?" scenarios are spun around how Lee lost the war right then and there. Or....2) his grand maneuver or attack wins the battle and he ultimately outlives his legend. Kind of like Sitting Bull signing autographs for a dollar a piece in Cody's Wild West Show. Tragedy loves folly and, to me, Jackson's folly of riding out to recon in the dark, is a thousand times worse than Custer riding into thousands of better armed Plains Indians in broad daylight with eyes wide open.
 

whitworth

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 18, 2005
Like comparing apples to oranges. Each had their competency, but Lee was in sole command and Jackson commanded less troops, used for different purposes. In the end both lost out to Yankees. I've thought that both Jackson and A.S. Johnston were lost in battle, because both knew their armies were in desperate situations, and not anyway near victory.
 
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