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The Overland Campaign, Let's Talk About It! Who Had The Advantage And Why?

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by War Horse, Aug 14, 2016.

  1. War Horse

    War Horse Captain Forum Host Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017 Member of the Year

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    I have my opinion! I would love to know what you think. Other than Grant was superior to Lee. Not at all the case in my opinion!
     

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  3. TFSmith121

    TFSmith121 First Sergeant

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    Well, Grant won an offensive campaign waged against Lee in Virginia.

    The same does not hold true for McClellan, Burnside, and Hooker. Pretty significant difference there.

    Best,
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
  4. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Lt. Colonel

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    Grant doesn't have to be better then Lee. Grant has more troops and better logistical support. Confederate troops are already stretched thin by spring of 1864 in Georgia. Wars are not just won on which side as superior leadership but on demographics, industrial production, agricultural production and morale.
    Leftyhunter
     
  5. War Horse

    War Horse Captain Forum Host Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017 Member of the Year

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    True, but why. What was his advantage? Meaning Grant's.
     
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  6. TFSmith121

    TFSmith121 First Sergeant

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    True, but mobilization was not the responsibility of Grant, even as general-in-chief, or Lee.

    Both were combat commanders, in 1864-65 essentially at the de facto army/army group/theater level.

    Grant won on the offensive into rebel territory; Lee lost on the defensive in his own country.

    Best,
     
  7. TFSmith121

    TFSmith121 First Sergeant

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    Grant never surrendered the initiative to Lee, unlike GBM, Burnside, or Hooker.

    Morale is to the physical, as a fairly sucessful combat commander said once.

    Best,
     
  8. War Horse

    War Horse Captain Forum Host Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017 Member of the Year

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    Wow, I didn't expect to get here this quickly. People, simply, People. Lee was strong at the beginning of the campaign. His army was intact. Grant had a distinct advantage that Lee simply could not compete with, reinforcements. I love Grant and equally love Lee. Grant had a distinct advantage IMHO
     
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  9. TFSmith121

    TFSmith121 First Sergeant

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    Grant made the most of the manpower available to him - pulling in the heavy artillery and garrison troops from the Washington defenses, for example - but he did not have the responsibility for mobilization. There's a difference.

    Best,
     
  10. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Lt. Colonel

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    True but as I argued winning a war is dependent on a variety of factors the quality of military leadership being only one.
    Leftyhunter
     
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  11. War Horse

    War Horse Captain Forum Host Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017 Member of the Year

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    Grant had the advantage of being aggressive. His resources where enormous. As Lincoln said after Fredericksburg. We (the Union) could survive a week of Fredericksburg. Lee on the other hand would have his army completely wiped out given the same results day after day. Lincoln knew attrition was the confederacy's true enemy. As Napoleon said, get there first with the most men.
     
  12. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Lt. Colonel

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    Mistakes were certainly made during the Overland Campaign such as Cold Harbor and Union troops being understandably reluctant to take over Petersburg when they an easy chance to do so.
    Leftyhunter
     
  13. Buckeye Bill

    Buckeye Bill 1st Lieutenant

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    My son and I toured all of the battlefields of the Overland Campaign in May. After walking the terrain at the North Anna Battlefield, I have a brand new level of respect for the military tactics and strategies of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The inverted "V" shaped earthworks at the North Anna River area split Federal Lt. Ulysses S. Grant's army into two. In my opinion, this battle gets the least notoriety of the other Overland Campaign battles.

    * The American Civil War student has to visit this venue and walk its brutal terrain.

    Bill

    IMG_20160523_062439.jpg
    IMG_20160510_182947.jpg
    IMG_20160510_162144983.jpg
     
  14. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Lt. Colonel

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    In warfare it's hard to beat demographics. The Union can has you mentioned replace their loss's the Confederacy can not. By spring 1864 the Confederate's manpower pool was exhausted. In contrast the Union has a much bigger population base to recruit from. African American's and immigrants will join the Union Army not the Confederate Army. In addition Unionist guerrillas are wresting control of various areas of the Confederacy. Confederate morale is now lower and more men are deserting.
    Leftyhunter
     
  15. ivanj05

    ivanj05 First Sergeant

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    Grant may have possessed significant advantages in material and manpower, but Lee had advantages of mobility, familiarity with the terrain, and interior lines. As it was, there were several instances where Grant could have won the campaign outright, while Lee not only never regained the strategic initiative but also ended up locked into a siege from which he could not escape.
     
  16. War Horse

    War Horse Captain Forum Host Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017 Member of the Year

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    After what they had recently experienced, do you blame them? I visited Petersburg and the thinly manned Dimmock line. That was certainly a missed opportunity on the part of the Union. It could have ended the war an entire year earlier. Good point.
     
  17. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Lt. Colonel

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    Certainly as I noted mistakes were made in the Overland Campaign as they are in almost every major military offensive. Lee was a great general but not a miracle worker. Lee must of known that if Sherman manages to occupy Atlanta , Sherman's next move will be to slowly march north to Virginia or if Sherman occupies Savannah then Sherman could ship his troops to New Bern, North Carolina and march to Virginia. In essence Lee by Spring of 1864 was between a rock and a hard place.
    Leftyhunter
     
  18. War Horse

    War Horse Captain Forum Host Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017 Member of the Year

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    As he said (Lee) its only a matter of time.
     
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  19. Andersonh1

    Andersonh1 1st Lieutenant

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    Grant was not a superior tactician by any means, but he had the advantage in men and resources. If those had been equal on both sides, Lee would have won, because he won every battle in the Overland campaign. He lost the campaign by being forced to retreat to Petersburg. The moment his army lost the option of mobility, it was only a matter of time, as Lee himself said.

    Grant lost almost as many men during that campaign as Lee had in his entire army when it began. That's astonishing. Grant almost lost the war on the public relations front using the tactics he did, and spending so many lives.
     
  20. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Lt. Colonel

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    Which of course leads to the inevitable question ; if Lee knew he would loose why not throw in the towel?
    Leftyhunter
     
  21. War Horse

    War Horse Captain Forum Host Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017 Member of the Year

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    Which is why he became know as the butcher. He wasn't wrong, he used what he had at his disposal and in the end probably saved more lives than he lost.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016

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