Were Confederate Generals Better than Union Generals ? (poll)

Were Confederate Generals Better than Union Generals ?

  • Yes

    Votes: 16 26.2%
  • No

    Votes: 23 37.7%
  • They were about equal

    Votes: 22 36.1%

  • Total voters
    61

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Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
7,637
Location
California
#3
Well that depends. Early on in the war there were many incompetent Union generals, which made the Confederate ones look better by comparison.
Ah yes, those Confederate generals who looked so good early in the war...
Bragg, Pillow, Polk, Floyd, Holmes, Huger, Lovell, Crittenden, Van Dorn, Twiggs, GW Smith, Pemberton, Loring ....

:D
 

zburkett

First Sergeant
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#5
Early in the war the Confederates seemed to have the better officer corps, not just generals but the entire office corps.. For some reason as top Generals were killed in the Confederate Army they were hard to replace. The new commanders didn't seem to be quite as good as the old corps. The Union Army seemed to grow new and better commanders. Once the Union Army fired a general they seemed to find someone better to replace them. Whatever we think of Grant & Company, they did know how to win a war.
 

Irishtom29

First Sergeant
Joined
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#6
The United States had a greater number of capable army and corps commanders than the Rebellion did. The Americans had so many capable corps commanders that many have slid into obscurity---Parke, Humphreys, Stanley, Blair and others. Any of those guys would've been a superstar in the Army of Tennessee.

Did the Army of Tennessee ever have even one top shelf corps commander? And of course it never had a top shelf army commander, one can reasonably argue it never had one that was even capable.
 
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Irishtom29

First Sergeant
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#8
Yes by far. At least on the eastern front.
For awhile, no doubt. The team of Lee, Longstreet, Jackson and Stuart was very capable. But I think that by Gettysburg the AoNV no longer had the bulge on the AotP. And at the end of the war the AotP and AotJ had sterling leadership--Meade and Ord commanding the two armies, Sheridan as general tune up guy, Wright, Humphreys, Griffin, Parke, Gibbon and Weitzel commanding corps and a raft of aggressive cavalry generals---man, that was some collection.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
Messages
9,686
#9
I didn't vote. It seems to me that this begs the Lost Cause...or at least some variation from either side. You know what I mean: "One of our boys could whip four or five of your boys"......etc. etc. etc. Ramp that up into "Our Generals were better than your Generals." It didn't matter who bragged the loudest. North and South would have vied for the big bragging rights. I think the South probably bragged the loudest, via the Lost Cause. The North didn't need to brag so loud, for obvious reasons. I don't make mock when I say that. Each side wanted to be the most proud. In my view, each side deserved to be very proud.

Make no mistake about my position: I love the memory of the brave soldiers on both sides equally.
 
Joined
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#10
I can,t say that overall the Confederate generals were better than yankee generals, nor were overall yankee generals better than Confederate Generals................

I think there were some yankee generals who were good Confederate Generals (McClellan)

and

Some Confederate Generals were good yankee generals (Bragg)

But I voted Confederate Generals were better based on just one condition.

Robert E. Lee did more with less than any other general in the War Between The States.

Respectfully,
William
Cannonballs.jpg
 

jackt62

2nd Lieutenant
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#11
I was somewhat surprised by the poll results that show an even distribution as to whether confederate generals were better than northern ones. My general impression is that there were just as many incompetent/ineffective southern ones as northerners. The myth that southern generals were superior seems to be another creation of the "lost cause" movement and is based of course, on the fact that Lee and the ANV outperformed the AOTP in the first years of the war. But that superiority was not consistent throughout all the commands and on all fronts throughout the four years of war.
 
Joined
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#12
I am puzzled by all the "early in the war" statements. Early in the war Van Dorn didnt look so great in Arkansas compare to his opponents. In Louisiana Lovell made Butler look good. Along the Mississippi McCown made Pope look good. Grant looked like a genius compared to Floyd and Pillow at Donelson. At Shiloh/Corinth Beauregard, Polk, etc didnt look so great against Grant/Halleck. In North Carolina, Holmes and Wise made Burnside look good. Even in Virginia Johnston wasnt looking so great

It was only more than a year into the war after Lee launched the 7 days and then took the war north and Bragg stopped Buell's effort to take Chattanooga, that the Confederates started looking better.
 
Joined
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#13
I give a slight edge that the Union had better generals. Shear numbers count as one reason, you had more to pick from. The Confederacy seemed to allow more non-military generals to lead as they formed their own troops. Plus Davis allowed to many of his friends to garnish high ranks opposed to Lincoln allowing it.
The Confederacy did have some outstanding generals but they were fewer and far between than the North.
 

suzenatale

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 25, 2013
Messages
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#14
Id say that Lee was very skilled at the style he chose to use, but it didn't seem to be a very good way to win the war. Wars have been won with worse odds after all.
 

zburkett

First Sergeant
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Orange County, Virginia
#15
A point that seems to be forgotten is the North went into war with an existing army. The South had a few militia units and State Guards. The Southern Army got organized, could move, be supplied and be drilled quickly. The North, in spite of seeming to have the superior Sergeants Corp (if that is what you call it) seemed to have more trouble getting their act together.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Maryland
#16
Here is a question:
If it is fair to judge a General for their ability to choose which ground to fight on, is it fair to judge their ability to choose sides when that is an option? It seems to me to be a type of strategic decision. Is stretching your supply lines too thin substantively different from picking a side that cannot provide supplies? Is picking a side unlikely to win all that different from ordering a cavalry charge that is likely to fail?
 
Joined
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#17
Definitely not an expert but isn't that what "good generalship" is all about? Subsistence, supplies, commissary, detachments, ruses, spies, defeating enemies with unequal forces, defense to offense, cities, fortified places, entrenchments, positions, open fields, types of maneuvers, etc.
You lack a couple of these "good generalship" makes up for strengthening something else.
 
Joined
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#19
I would judge them, for the most part, as equals. Remember that most of the Confederate generals were West Point educated. Many of them from both side had already tasted battle prior to the Civil War. Also a General was only as good as the body of his soldiers as a fighting force
 



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