What did Grant think of the following?

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terchris

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I am new to this message board,so I apologize in advance if I am asking questions that have already been covered.I am trying to catch up on the other threads. So here goes....

I was surprised to read that Grant was very impressed with Gen.Joe Johnston.It got me thinking about how he felt about a few others and I hope you guys can answer the following questions I have.

(1)What did Grant think of Nathan Forrest?Military wise and personally.I have certainly read what Gen.Sherman has said about him!!!

(2)What did Grant think about George McClellan as a General and personally?

(3)I believe Grant did respect Gen.Lee as a soldier,but how did he feel about him overall?I have heard Grant barely mentions Lee in his memoirs.Havn't read them myself so could you shed some light on that?
(4)Finally I have read that Grant especially disliked Jefferson Davis.That would be fairly obvious as to why.I am curious though as to what Grant actually said or wrote about him.Also how did Grant feel about the lenient punishment that Davis received after the war?
Again hope this isn't repeating anything previously discussed here.Thanks in advance!!!
 

oldreb816

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"Lenient punishment?"
Could you please tell me why Jefferson Davis should have been punished at all?
What did he do?
Did he commit treasonous acts?
Did he force any state to secede?
Did he lead any troops into Washington City?
Did he direct any cannonade of any Northern City killing civilians?
Did he lead troops through sovereign states, burning barns, crops, stealing hogs, chickens, killing cows and horses (btw - Wm Sherman did, and he was celebrated as a hero)
Why should Davis have been punished?
And why should neither Davis nor Lee been denied their citizenship until well into (almost the end of) the 20th Century!

I look forward to your answer.

Regards
Ron Goodwin
historian/archivist
17th Mississippi InfantryExpired Image Removed
 

eopfrank

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Ron,

Well Early had marched troops very close to Washington... and Early had threatened civilians in various Pennsylvania towns and asked them for a substantial amount of money or else he would burn the town... and he did burn the towns..

You also asked if Jefferson Davis commit treasonous acts... Obviously he did- whether you agree with the southern cause or not- seceding from the Union, Firing on Fort Sumpter, siezing forts, armouries and most other government property before the Firing on Fort Sumpter are treasonous acts... They , Of course, had to be dealt with... I sure you would have been very suprised if Lincoln said, "let them have it" without a fight...

You had also mentioned the term, 'sovereign states'... The southern states were part of the United States of America- there is no turning back once you part of a Union... And, I guess that is what was settled......

Thanks for the discussion...

-Frank
 
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tamaroa

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Frank, I have to side with Ron on this one. Every point he made was on the mark. Remember this, with hindsight you can imply that the Confederates were traitors, but the same can be said of our colonists who were in fact traitors to the King. They became patriots because they won the war.

No southerner was ever tried or convicted of treason. Regardless of how you feel, there was nothing in the constitution stating that you had to remain in it, never mind the fact that Virginia and other southern states ratified the constitution with proviso's that they can withdraw if the Union does not suit their purpose. Since no one objected to those provisos, then the assumption would be that there was an implicit right to withdraw if the state was being wronged. Again I refer you to the 10th amendment that placed powers in the state that did not specifically reside in the Federal government.

After the war, all bets were off, secession was declared illegal by the court system and no one was charged with treason.

Lee did however, apply for citizenship and it was granted in the general pardon for 1868. Its just that the paperwork was lost and discovered in the archives misplaced in another folder (hey, whoever said bureaucracy would improve in the next century.

Davis should not have been treated the way that he was. However, he bore it well and was not an apologist believing in the Confederacy until his dying day.
 
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terchris

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Actually I don't think Jefferson Davis should have been hung but have read that some thought he should have been.He (Davis)may not have burned any cities but being the president of the Confederate states made him an obvious target for punishment of being a traitor.Didn't Davis also want to try to reform the Confederacy in another location even after Lee had already surrendered his army?If nothing else the Federal government could have seen this as a man they would have to fight again.
Again,in response I do agree Sherman's actions in late 64/early 65 were vicious and in my opinion wrong!I don't think some of the things he did were necessary.No Davis wasn't by far the worst person in the Confederacy in fact I felt like many times certain officers were close to insubordination with him.
 

eopfrank

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Bill,

You are right... It is the old double standard where History is written by the victors- meaning it's only a revolution and you are only a patriot if you win.
But the fact that no southerner was ever tried or convicted of treason fascinates me the most about this war. I mean guys like Lee, Davis, Forrest in any other nation going back to the beginning of time would have been tried and killed for leading armies against the government ( of course if they lost )...

-Frank
 
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iron_brigade

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Frank

I believe one reason that no Confederate military personal faced charges of treason can be found in their surrender terms.Grant started it and others followed suit.The last line of his terms read,"This done,each officer and man will be allowed to return to his home,not to be disturbed by the United States authorities so long as they observe their paroles, and the laws in force where they may reside".I believe this shows that Grant had respect for his adversaries and the country was and is better off for that.
As for the Confederate politicians it was deemed not in the best interests of the country to charge them with treason.

Respectfully
Greg
 
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terchris

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Back to my original questions,does anyone know what Grant thought of the others including Jefferson Davis.
 

blackirish

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From Grant's memoirs:
"Longstreet was an entirely different man. He was brave, honest, intelligent, a very capable soldier, subordinate to this superiors, just and kind to his subordinates, but jealous of his own rights, which he had the courage to maintain. He was never on the lookout for a slight, but saw one as soon as anybody when intentionally given.
It may be that Longstreet was not sent to Knoxville for the reason stated, but because Mr. Davis had an exalted opinion of his own military genius, and thought he saw a chance of "killing two birds with one stone." On several occasions during the war he came to the relief of the Union army by means of his superior military genius.
I speak advisedly when I say Mr. Davis prided himself on his military capacity. He says so himself, virtually, in his answer to the notice of his nomination to the Confederate presidency. Some of his generals have said so in their writings since the downfall of the Confederacy."

On Joseph Johnston:
"My own judgement is that Johnston acted very wisely; he hubanded his men and saved as much of his territory as he could, without fighting decisive battles in which all might be lost. As Sherman advanced, as I have shown, his army became spread out, until, if this had continued, it would have been easy to destroy it in detail. I know that Sherman and I were rejoiced when we heard of the change. Hood was unquestionably a brave, gallant soldier and not destitute of ability; but unfortunately his policy ws to fight the enemy wherever he saw him, without thinking much of the consequences of defeat."

Concerning Forrest in Tennessee:
"Forrest had about 4000 cavalry with him, composed of thouroughly well-disciplined men, who under so able a leader were very effective. Smith's command was nearly double that of Forrest, but not equal, man to man, for the lack of successful experience such as Forrest's men had. The fact is, troops who have fought a few battles and won, and followed up their victories, improve upon what they were before to an extent that can hardly be counted by percentage. The difference in result if often a decisive victory instead of inglorious defeat. This same difference, too, is often due to the way troops are officered, and for that particular kind of warfare which Forrest had carried on neither army could present a more effective officer than he was."
 
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terchris

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Thank you Blackirish!!I need to find those memoirs.I really appreciate the shared knowledge and love this board.I look forward to posting with all of you,
 
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