Side bar The Generalship of Robert E. Lee, Part Seven

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ErnieMac

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As I see things the Confederacy had three hopes of gaining its independence.
  1. Intervention by Britain and France.
  2. Decisive defeat of the Federal armies on the battlefield.
  3. Prolongation of the conflict to the point where the Union would give up.
The dominoes fell one by one. By the end of 1862 it was rather apparent that European intervention wasn't going to happen. By the end of 1863 the opportunities of inflicting a catastrophic defeat on Federal troops had faded. The only significant Confederate offensive after that time was Hood's Tennessee Campaign, which didn't work out well (No, I don't consider Price's 1864 raid as significant). All that was left was Northern loss of will and that hope ended in November 1864. Lee's strategies offered hope, if nothing else, until that time. IMO it was as well a thought out strategy as possible and, had the Confederacy been able to find someone approaching Lee's ability in the West, might have worked.
 

leftyhunter

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Lee and his army remained in Virginia during the period you spoke of (which was his job). He could only transfer so many forces without compromising the ANV with the AOP in front of him. The troops under Longstreet’s Corps who transferred West were transferred under command of Bragg. Furthermore, Lee did not become general in chief of the Confederate forces until Jan 31, 1865.

You consistently criticize the Confederate rebellion as short term as opposed to other civil wars throughout history. Now you criticize Lee for prolonging the war. The goal of war is to fight for victory, rather than capitulate during adversity.
True I was just pointing out that Lee could only do so much . I have posted many times that Lee did the best he could with what he had. I have in the past also said that Lee realized that like all conventional wars the Civil War could only be won on the offense.
I was just pointing out that sometimes we seem to think that Lee and Lee alone could of ensured Confederate victory resulting in an independent Confederate nation. No one General could of done that.
Victory or defeat in war is due to a,wide variety of factors.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

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Agree, but prolonging a war is a good strategy to keep from losing.
It it works. It certainly worked in the case of such conflicts as the American Revolutionary War, Vietnam , Algeria and Rhodesia. However unlike the Confederacy the above conflicts were won with vast,amounts of direct foreign assistance both material and diplomatic.
Almost all Civil War 's involve the intervention of foreign nations well above just selling weapons and providing trade.
Davis was,well aware of that but couldn't establish vital diplomatic recognition of Confederate independence.
Leftyhunter
 
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Lost Cause

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True I was just pointing out that Lee could only do so much . I have posted many times that Lee did the best he could with what he had. I have in the past also said that Lee realized that like all conventional wars the Civil War could only be won on the offense.
I was just pointing out that sometimes we seem to think that Lee and Lee alone could of ensured Confederate victory resulting in an independent Confederate nation. No one General could of done that.
Victory or defeat in war is due to a,wide variety of factors.
Leftyhunter
Agreed.
 

jackt62

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Whether one agrees with General Lee's strategy or not, the big problem is that the southern confederacy's leadership could never agree on a unified war strategy. So in addition to Lee's offensive/defense, there was also the Fabian strategy employed by Joe Johnston (in which territory is given up to draw the enemy's communication away from its base and expose itself to unfavorable defensive positions), and a third "cordon" strategy favored by Jeff Davis and A.S. Johnston, in which a defensive perimeter is established across ones territory. By employing all three strategies, which are often inconsistent with each other, and at various times, the confederacy could not develop a coherent means of ensuring its independence.
 

leftyhunter

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Whether one agrees with General Lee's strategy or not, the big problem is that the southern confederacy's leadership could never agree on a unified war strategy. So in addition to Lee's offensive/defense, there was also the Fabian strategy employed by Joe Johnston (in which territory is given up to draw the enemy's communication away from its base and expose itself to unfavorable defensive positions), and a third "cordon" strategy favored by Jeff Davis and A.S. Johnston, in which a defensive perimeter is established across ones territory. By employing all three strategies, which are often inconsistent with each other, and at various times, the confederacy could not develop a coherent means of ensuring its independence.
To make matters worse in 1861 Davis divided what is know known as West Virginia into three seperate commands with Lee being the chief General advisor but not commander.
Maybe not a good idea.
The second major problem is that President Davis acknowledged that the Confederacy lacked the manpower to defend it's ports. At the same time the economy of the Confederacy plus military supplies depends on maritime shipping.
How to extract a happy ending from this scenario is quite a challenge.
Leftyhunter
 
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jackt62

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To make matters worse in 1861 Davis divided what is know known as West Virginia into three seperate commands with Lee being the chief General advisor but not commander.
Maybe not a good idea.
The second major problem is that President Davis acknowledged that the Confederacy lacked the manpower to defend it's ports. At the same time the economy of the Confederacy plus military supplies depends on maritime shipping.
How to extract a happy ending from this scenario is quite a challenge.
Leftyhunter
And to further compound southern problems, the north at least by 1864 finally understood that having a unified command and strategy once Grant took over, was a winning combination.
 
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