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


Jan 28, 2011
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.

Huh, I knew there was a reason I logged back into my account after so may years lol. Jackson was very very good on an operational level. He could get more men into a better position than the enemy quite frequently. Once in battle his actual tactics were sometimes lacking. It's been awhile since I reviewed all my old discussions here on the forum but, if I recall correctly, there was a good post by another member on this or another one of my threads that shows how Jackson poorly deployed his men in several battles. An example of this was at Chancellorsville where Jackson deployed his Corps with the Divisions stacked one behind the other. This was the same formation that Beauregard used at Shiloh and, it lead to the same sort of command and control problems that were encountered in that battle.

It is very similar to how I view General Grant, excellent on an operation level and in the movement of troops like in the Vicksburg campaign but, much less adept at directing his men tactically once battle was joined.

Although to say that Lee didn't have the same sort of confidence in Longstreet as he did in Jackson I think is a bit of a leap. They were different generals who excelled at different roles. Although they were generally both competent in whatever task they were assigned.

Now to check out the forum again. I have a few years to catch up on!