Was it Worth it: Grant Allows Sheridan to Leave AoP to Hunt Stuart

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Bee

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That’s interesting. I searched both of my Grant books hoping to find his thoughts on the raid and found none. I guess it helps to own the right books.

[Edit]. It appears Chernow’s writing answers you OP. Grant does not appear the least bit remiss concerning the loss of his Cavalry during this time frame. In fact Grant applauds Sheridan’s performance.

I’d be courious to read footnotes 67 and 68. His sources would be interesting to learn.
Here they are:

[67] Grant, Memoirs, 2:497

[68] Sheridan, Memoirs, 1:387
*Not sure how reliable a source [68] is :wink:



*Inside joke: Little Phil makes a case that Phil Sheridan was a compulsive liar.
 
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chucksr

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And he only had to use 12,000 to do it, too! :wink:
Sorry, I thought I was responding to a unqualified claim--you know, like, "...on his BEST day..."! "Best day" would include a force of 12,000, 120,000, or 120 in use--right?
 

diane

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Sorry, I thought I was responding to a unqualified claim--you know, like, "...on his BEST day..."! "Best day" would include a force of 12,000, 120,000, or 120 in use--right?
Well, if you want to compare the two cavalrymen, as far as I'm concerned Stuart rode circles around Sheridan. (That's just my opinion, of course. :smile:)
 

chucksr

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Well, if you want to compare the two cavalrymen, as far as I'm concerned Stuart rode circles around Sheridan. (That's just my opinion, of course. :smile:)
Based on the evidence, albeit rather limited in terms of circled "rides" of Sheridan vs Stuart, that would be a hard opinion to support for most folks.
 
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War Horse

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Here they are:

[67] Grant, Memoirs, 2:497

[68] Sheridan, Memoirs, 1:387
*Not sure how reliable a source [68] is :wink:



*Inside joke: Little Phil makes a case that Phil Sheridan was a compulsive liar.
That’s funny. Grant’s Memoirs is one of the books I own and searched. I missed it completely. It’s not the easiest of reads. Chock full of official orders and such.. . .
 
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War Horse

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Based on the evidence, albeit rather limited in terms of circled "rides" of Sheridan vs Stuart, that would be a hard opinion to support for most folks.
It really wouldn’t if you think about it. Sheridan had a distinct advantage. The Confederates were on the decline and the Union was just beginning to understand how to employ their forces. Stuart was the quintessential Cavilier of the war. Sure the Union had able Cavalry offices. Buford, Gregg and so on. They never really utilized them to their fullest worth. Stuart had a firm understanding of his role and Lee allowed him to execute it from the beginning. Sheridan’s flaws, of which there were many, were only overcome by his new numerical superiority. Grant understood how to utilize the man!
 
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Bee

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Here is what Catton had to say about Sheridan's departure:

upload_2017-11-20_19-32-26.png




upload_2017-11-20_19-33-29.png


Bruce Catton, Grant Takes Command, [pp -216-217]
 
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chucksr

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It really wouldn’t if you think about it. Sheridan had a distinct advantage. The Confederates were on the decline and the Union was just beginning to understand how to employ their forces. Stuart was the quintessential Cavilier of the war. Sure the Union had able Cavalry offices. Buford, Gregg and so on. They never really utilized them to their fullest worth. Stuart had a firm understanding of his role and Lee allowed him to execute it from the beginning. Sheridan’s flaws, of which there were many, were only overcome by his new numerical superiority. Grant understood how to utilize the man!
Look, enough of the "quintessential Cavalier" business, besides my not having a clue what "Cavalier" stands for or means, for all the "romance", "dash", "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" line of categorization of Stuart, the fact is that, for whatever reason, Sheridan bested Stuart on their first real mano y mano meeting in Virginia--Stuarts backyard, his "street", his "hood" and to suggest, as above, that Stuart could beat any Union troop leader with his hands behind his back, any time, any place is simply and obviously not correct.
 
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cash

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By the middle of 1864, the Union cavalry had overtaken the confederate cavalry. Stuart and Hampton were good, but so were Gregg and Merritt--and Custer. Sheridan transformed the cavalry into a striking arm, infusing it with an aggressive attitude. The confederate cavalry in the Valley was overmatched by a mile, and the addition of either Stuart's or Hampton's presence would not have changed that. The confederates suffered from a lack of good horse flesh and good fodder for the horses they had. Neither Stuart nor Hampton are going to get work out of a horse the horse was incapable of giving. Whether Stuart was alive or dead, the confederate cavalry was still in the decline and the Union cavalry was still in its ascendancy, and that was not going to change.
 

diane

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By the middle of 1864, the Union cavalry had overtaken the confederate cavalry. Stuart and Hampton were good, but so were Gregg and Merritt--and Custer. Sheridan transformed the cavalry into a striking arm, infusing it with an aggressive attitude. The confederate cavalry in the Valley was overmatched by a mile, and the addition of either Stuart's or Hampton's presence would not have changed that. The confederates suffered from a lack of good horse flesh and good fodder for the horses they had. Neither Stuart nor Hampton are going to get work out of a horse the horse was incapable of giving. Whether Stuart was alive or dead, the confederate cavalry was still in the decline and the Union cavalry was still in its ascendancy, and that was not going to change.
Don't forget Minty!

There - said it nice and concise! That's pretty much what I was babbling about. :D For a while, when the Southern cavalry did begin to decline from the above mentioned causes, Stuart still held a psychological edge - but, after Brandy Station, that went poof. The Union cavalry realized they actually could beat them.
 
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War Horse

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Look, enough of the "quintessential Cavalier" business, besides my not having a clue what "Cavalier" stands for or means, for all the "romance", "dash", "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" line of categorization of Stuart, the fact is that, for whatever reason, Sheridan bested Stuart on their first real mano y mano meeting in Virginia--Stuarts backyard, his "street", his "hood" and to suggest, as above, that Stuart could beat any Union troop leader with his hands behind his back, any time, any place is simply and obviously not correct.
That’s not what I said at all. I simply pointed out that the Union Cavalry was mismanaged from the beginning. Pleasanton never took advantage of the talent he had. As mentioned above, the Union had more than capable Cavalry officers. Other than having an eye for talent Pleasanton was out matched.

By the time Sheridan came along Stuarts Cavalry was most certainly on the decline. He no longer enjoy men such as Pelham, Blackford nor Von Borcke. His mounts were lacking as well. Simply not the same. Lee’s utilization of his Cavalry was superior in the beginning.
 
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Northern Light

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Yes! Grant, like all great generals, could lay an egg every so often and letting Sheridan gallop off into the distance with all the cavalry was one of them. All that worthy accomplished was killing Jeb Stuart. And...that single accomplishment was worth it. Stuart was invaluable to Lee, and irreplaceable. "He never brought me a single piece of bad information," Lee said. Lee was almost psychic in his ability to correctly analyze that accurate information.
Maybe Grant had just had enough of the hyperactive little git whining, "Come on, come on! Let me go get him! Please, please, PLEEEEEEEZZZZZE??????" :frantic::D
 

Northern Light

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In fairness to Sheridan--and my thoughts on him are well-documented--the Appomattox Campaign was his finest hour, even if that finest hour was the direct result of another episode of insubordination by him. Grant ordered him to march to North Carolina--because Sherman had had enough of Kilpatrick and was begging for more cavalry--but Sheridan disobeyed the order and instead marched to Petersburg. He justified it by later writing, "I wanted to be in at the end." Never mind a little thing like disobeying a direct, written order to do so. And for the second time, Grant rewarded his insubordination by giving him an independent command.

Again, in fairness to Sheridan, the pursuit of Lee's army was the one and only time where he showed a killer instinct, and he was ruthless in running the Confederates down.
Is there any documentation of Sherman's reaction to Sheridan's insubordination?
 
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Eric Wittenberg

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Northern Light

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Minty is the star of my forthcoming Chickamauga book, which will be out next summer.
I looked for your books on Barnes and Noble's web site and was amazed by the number you have written! I couldn't decide which one(s) to order first. Maybe I'll have to start in chronological (war) order. By the way, my husband loved "You Stink", which you signed for my sister at the 2016 gathering at Gettysburg.
 

Eric Wittenberg

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I looked for your books on Barnes and Noble's web site and was amazed by the number you have written! I couldn't decide which one(s) to order first. Maybe I'll have to start in chronological (war) order. By the way, my husband loved "You Stink", which you signed for my sister at the 2016 gathering at Gettysburg.
Glad to hear he enjoyed it!

Counting You Stink!, I have 21 books in print, three of which now have second editions. I keep busy. :smile:
 
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