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

diane

Retired User
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Location
State of Jefferson
Went with 'killer combo'. Jackson was the kind of general men would follow even if they vowed to kill him after he won the war! But Lee was the man to love.

Tend to agree with Davidmendel - they were like salt and tomatoes, eggs and ham, Grant and Sherman! Think of what Grant would have missed if Forrest had gone ahead and shot Sherman dead at Fallen Timbers. (And, as things turned out, I suppose Forrest thought a lot about that - if only I'd capped him in Tennessee...) It's interesting to look at the war with Sherman being the dead key general - how would it have turned out then? Grant obviously would have soldiered on but would he, too, have said at some point the one general he missed at THAT battle was Sherman?
 

dvrmte

Major
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Location
South Carolina
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.

Funny! Jackson thought the Yankees were in a desperate situation and was fixin to drive them away from the United States Ford. If they wanted to eat, they'd have to attack Jackson. They never did very well in the past attacking him and there's no reason to believe it would go any better then.
 

dvrmte

Major
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Location
South Carolina
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)

I think Jackson felt Hill's troops hadn't yet conformed to his style of discipline. In order to prevent bloodshed between Hill and Longstreet, as well as increase Jackson's command at Gordonsville confronting Pope, Lee sent Hill to Jackson. Of course, right away, Jackson shows him how it's going to be. Hill got pizzed but look how he fought! Chunkin rocks to defend his position at Second Manassas plus launching counterattacks. Had Jackson survived, I believe Hill would've come around and followed Stonewall Jackson's way.:whistling:

 

wilber6150

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Apr 1, 2009
Location
deep in the Mohawk Valley of Central New York
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.
Or he gets killed Reynolds style while attacking or scouting on day one at Gettysburg...
 

wilber6150

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Apr 1, 2009
Location
deep in the Mohawk Valley of Central New York
I think Jackson felt Hill's troops hadn't yet conformed to his style of discipline. In order to prevent bloodshed between Hill and Longstreet, as well as increase Jackson's command at Gordonsville confronting Pope, Lee sent Hill to Jackson. Of course, right away, Jackson shows him how it's going to be. Hill got pizzed but look how he fought! Chunkin rocks to defend his position at Second Manassas plus launching counterattacks. Had Jackson survived, I believe Hill would've come around and followed Stonewall Jackson's way.:whistling:


So Hill's determination to defend his position at all costs down to throwing rocks is because of Jackson?
 

diane

Retired User
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Location
State of Jefferson
Hill would have done that and anything else, Jackson or no Jackson! Little Powell was one [email protected] of a fighter. But he was indeed at his best with Jackson. Lee had ups and downs with him. Ewell and Taylor also worked best with Jackson. Again, though, it was early in the war. After Ewell lost his leg and married, he was a different more cautious man. Taylor did well but, imho, never better than during the Valley campaign. It's hard to determine let alone know. Was it because of being early in the war or because of Jackson?
 

dvrmte

Major
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Location
South Carolina
Hill would have done that and anything else, Jackson or no Jackson! Little Powell was one [email protected] of a fighter. But he was indeed at his best with Jackson. Lee had ups and downs with him. Ewell and Taylor also worked best with Jackson. Again, though, it was early in the war. After Ewell lost his leg and married, he was a different more cautious man. Taylor did well but, imho, never better than during the Valley campaign. It's hard to determine let alone know. Was it because of being early in the war or because of Jackson?

Great post! All we can do is look at what they left us and then speculate.:smile:
 

TerryB

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Location
Nashville TN
Or he gets killed Reynolds style while attacking or scouting on day one at Gettysburg...
KIA for sure. If he survives the war in a defeated South, I guess he goes back to being an instructor at VMI. If he lives through a CS victory, the pressure on him to run for political office might be too much. I just think he would have made a terrible politician.
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2019
Location
The South
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:.

I know this is an old posting, and I'm new here, so forgive me if these points have already been covered.
With respect, I think SouthernRebel is confusing tactics with strategy. Strategy refers to the big picture...How campaigns should be waged and, indeed, how the war should be waged. Lee always had his mind on the big picture. He knew that the South could not fight a lengthy war of attrition with the North, so he made bold and risky moves, which sometimes resulted in failure. Tactics, on the other hand, refers to actual battlefield decisions. Jackson, and to a lesser extent, Lee's other generals, were relied upon to win the battles that would make up Lee's overall strategy. Jackson only lost a single small battle during his time in the war.

When Lee invaded the North, and particularly when he ordered the charge on Little Round Top, it was part of a strategy to demoralize the northern populace and force Lincoln to negotiate for peace. At Gettysburg, I believe he weighed risk vs. reward. It was a highly risky charge, but if it had succeeded, it could very well have ended the war, as Lee could have continued his invasion of the North. Unfortunately for him, by that time he did not have Jackson's council on the tactical situation. In all likelihood, Jackson would have convinced him that the charge would be a failure and he could possibly have come up with alternatives. Lee trusted Jackson's judgment after all. Lee did not have the same confidence in Longstreet. Jackson was something of a savant on the battlefield. For all his bizarre idiosyncrasies, he had a gift for tactics, which is why he so terrified Lincoln. He simply seemed unbeatable. But he needed that powerful relationship with Lee to make it all come together. I am of the belief that had Jackson not been killed in 1863, the war would have gone much differently.
 

Hussar Yeomanry

Sergeant
Joined
Dec 6, 2017
Location
UK
Firstly, welcome from the UK and from the First Bull Run/ Manassas Forum.

Secondly I will be honest. I am going to predict very little response to your question and it's not because people here are unfriendly (quite the opposite) but because a lot of people here avoid threads like this because we've had so many. Now I may be wrong but just thought I would let you know. (Further most of the original contributors to this thread are no longer frequent posters - if they are around at all, 'Diane' and 'TerryB' the only exception that I noticed)

As to what you have written I think at Gettysburg that you have managed to combine the Pickett (Pettigrew/Trimble) Charge and the entirely seperate attack on Little Round Top the day before in to one thing. As to risk v. reward if you look in the Gettysburg Forum you will see much debate on this matter.
 

Irishtom29

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Location
Kent, Washington
Jackson’s getting himself killed was part and parcel with what he was. He was killed and that’s that. Good bye Jackson. So long.

And if he hadn’t been killed it’s possible the butterfly effect would’ve made things worse for the rebellion, not better, because there would’ve been unanticipated events including the reactions of the enemy to those events.
 

diane

Retired User
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Location
State of Jefferson
When we think about Gettysburg with Jackson, there's some things I haven't seen mentioned before that I think are important. When Ewell was rip-roaring aggressive he was great with Jackson - but he was cautious and unsure of himself after his lost leg. Hill was in great health when he went to swinging his fists with Jackson (even though he wanted most of all to swing them at 'that crazy Presbyterian'!) but he was seriously ill at Gettysburg. Jackson had never worked with Longstreet - they may have been able to dissuade Lee from Pickett's Charge...or not. Lee himself was not himself there. So, the Jackson at Gettysburg scenario needs to take into account his subordinates and superiors were not what they had been when he was kicking rears and taking names.
 

Virginia Dave

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Jan 3, 2019
Location
Waynesboro, Virginia
LOL
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:.
I am related to both from different sides of my family, so I will stay neutral in this discussion. LOL
 
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