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What is your opinion on Jackson's Generalship???

Discussion in 'Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson' started by Kiryan, Apr 20, 2016.

  1. highplainsdrifter59

    highplainsdrifter59 Private

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    I guess it is just hard for me to grasp Jackson holding back as much as Ewell did. The circumstances even leading up to Gettysburg may have been different with Jackson still at Lee's side. Would there have been three Corps or still the two? We do know Lee had two new Corp commanders in AP Hill and Ewell with his only trusted Corp commander not yet up in Longstreet.
    The what if's are endless I do think. But my thinking is the entire campaign would have been handled differently with Jackson there.
    But if the same circumstances were presented that day in July, I still feel in my opinion Jackson would have done better because of the three noted reasons I wrote earlier. How much better? He could have taken the hill. How much worse? The left wing of Lee's army would have been all used up.
    Jackson somehow knew and saw things others didn't see to turn the tide in battle.
     
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  3. rpkennedy

    rpkennedy Major

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    Harper's Ferry is entirely on one man: Dixon Miles.

    Ryan
     
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  4. rpkennedy

    rpkennedy Major

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    Except when he didn't. He had several clunkers on his record which can't be ignored. Gettysburg may very well have been one of those.

    Ryan
     
  5. highplainsdrifter59

    highplainsdrifter59 Private

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    If clunkers are the episodes during the Peninsula Battles, yea I guess those were not his shining moments. But still from First Bull Run then the Valley Campaign minus the Peninsula Campaign, I think he served very admirable.
    Let us not forget that Jackson executed at full speed while Lee's army was spread out to hold the day at a creek called Antietam.
    Of course we have 2nd Bull Run then Chancellorville where he did what was needed to gain a victory. Ever general has their black marks beside their names but looking over his resume, I will take him to lead my troops in battle every time. Just hide the lemons!
     
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  6. rpkennedy

    rpkennedy Major

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    Brawner's Farm was a rather poor showing. Fredericksburg was a another lackluster performance. On Antietam, I give him an average. Other than ordering Hood in and rallying the broken pieces of his corps, he wasn't really active. His divisions fought mostly on their own hook and there was no coordination.

    Strategically, Jackson did very well but tactically, he could be subpar.

    Ryan
     
  7. James N.

    James N. Captain Forum Host Civil War Photo Contest
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    Beg to differ - Miles was only following the orders coming from Washington (read: Lincoln and Stanton) and no doubt would cheerfully have gotten the H*ll out of town if given the chance. Miles made a very convenient scapegoat for the administration since he was thoughtful enough to get killed by a shell in the final minutes of the affair.
     
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  8. thomas aagaard

    thomas aagaard Sergeant Major

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    Then why did Lee promote Longstreet first? Clearly he wanted Longstreet to be the senior officer of the two.
     
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  9. highplainsdrifter59

    highplainsdrifter59 Private

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    You're right in Lee wishing to make Longstreet his senior office, but I think Lee both liked Jackson and Longstreet, so Lee just made sure Longstreet appointment was 1 day (October 9th, 1862) before Jackson.
    I think Jackson, was Lee's general that was "High Risk, High Reward" type, Lee could count on Jackson to go and move in an independent command away from the army and be successful. Longstreet was Lee's "Old War Horse", the steady and reliable commander that he could count on to be stable and strong.
    Lee was very lucky to have two different type generals that complimented one another.
     
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  10. James N.

    James N. Captain Forum Host Civil War Photo Contest
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    THAT is a good question - but the answer might lie in something as relatively simple as Politics. For reasons of States Rights, an attempt was made for equal representation among the command structure, but there was already something of a problem brewing in the Confederate command because of the disproportionate number of Virginians with Lee and Joe Johnston in the top echelon. Sidney Johnston was from either Kentucky or Texas, whichever you chose to count; Bragg was a North Carolinian; Cooper from New Jersey (!); and Beauregard from Louisiana, completing the full generals at the time. (Kirby Smith and Hood would come later.) There was also an attempt at diversification among the Lieutenant Generals, and Longstreet representing Georgia was filling a needed slot, whereas Jackson was just another Virginian...
     
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  11. James N.

    James N. Captain Forum Host Civil War Photo Contest
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    Since we're still comparing the two, I want to be certain to mention that at Second Manassas Lee may well have been a bit put out or impatient with Old Pete because it took him a full day to get ready for his attack on Pope's flank! Jackson began the battle at Brawner's Farm on August 28, fighting from about 4PM until after dark, then stood the entire following day receiving Pope's attacks. Longstreet began to arrive around noon but instead of "pitching in" as Lee wished (or may have wished) he chose to wait until all his troops had arrived on the field which wasn't completed until dark or later. The next day, August 30, he again chose to wait - wisely and fortunately, as it turned out - until Porter's V Corps was fully occupied in yet another attack on Jackson's line. The result was a beautiful counterattack by Longstreet, but it could easily have gone awry if stupid Pope had only realized his danger - and there was plenty of evidence if he had only been looking for it! As it was, it may have miscarried anyway because it put the battle in the last half of the day and it sputtered out in the twilight. Two days later Jackson attempted to outflank Pope from his position at Chantilly but was halted more by a violent rainstorm than Federal resistance; a day earlier, there would have been no downpour to hamper the pursuit.
     
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  12. rpkennedy

    rpkennedy Major

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    I think that it had to do with personalities. Longstreet at least could get along with the administration while Jackson is apt to do what he thought best, all other considerations be danged. In the end, Lee could trust Longstreet with command of the Army and all that that entails, a little more than he did Jackson.

    Ryan
     
  13. WJC

    WJC Private

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    Interesting perspective. I don't recall anywhere reading that Jackson did not "get along with the administration." He- like Longstreet- certainly seems to have gotten along very well with Lee. Do you mean Davis and the 'Richmond establishment'?
    I'd like to learn more. What is your source? Thanks.
     
  14. rpkennedy

    rpkennedy Major

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    I was referring to Davis and the government, yes. It's all speculation since Lee never commented on why he preferred Longstreet to Jackson but one has to assume that, having worked with both for the better part of a year, Lee saw something in the two men that forged his opinion. My opinion is that Jackson's personality and his difficulty in getting along with others had something to do with it.

    Ryan
     
  15. WJC

    WJC Private

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    Thanks for your response....
     
  16. thomas aagaard

    thomas aagaard Sergeant Major

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    That is my personal belief. (so not something I got any great sources for)
    In case Lee got killed Longstreet would take over and I think Lee found Longstreet the better option when he made the decision after the 7 day battles in 1862. (since he made sure that Longstreet was promoted before Jackson)
     
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  17. SharonS

    SharonS Private

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    I wonder if Jackson's unpredictability--so useful in the Shenandoah campaign and a few other times--made Lee a little reluctant to see him in anything larger than corps command. To be fair, though, Lee could be unpredictable on the battlefield as well.
     
  18. rpkennedy

    rpkennedy Major

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    I personally don't believe that it was his unpredictability. As army commander, one needed tact with both subordinates and superiors as well as the ability to cooperate with those same people. Neither of those abilities were Jackson's strong suit; he was far too rigid in his personal dealings with many people (certainly not all since he did get along with certain individuals like Richard Ewell and D.H. Hill). Again, that's just my read of the man.

    Ryan
     
  19. highplainsdrifter59

    highplainsdrifter59 Private

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    I think this is the most feasible answer. Lee may have thought Jackson was a little too quick to judge and dismiss a general. Jackson did have a habit of doing such things. All in all I think both were very good generals, just different type personalities.
     
  20. NedBaldwin

    NedBaldwin Captain

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    In October 1862, Lee wrote to Davis about promotions. Regarding Longstreet and Jackson, the letter said:
    In reference to commanders of corps with the rank of lieutenant-general, of which you request my opinion, I can confidently recommend Generals Longstreet and jackson, in this army. My opinion of the merits of General Jackson has been greatly enhanced during this expedition. He is true, honest, and brave; has a single eye to the good of the service, and spares no exertion to accomplish his object.
    To me it is interesting that (1) he does not include any explanation about Longstreet, but (2) he feels the need to insert a comment about his opinion o f Jackson has improved.
     
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  21. James N.

    James N. Captain Forum Host Civil War Photo Contest
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    Possibly because Davis was probably already personally familiar with Longstreet since he had been commanding troops outside Richmond at least since the Battle of Williamsburg in May. On the other hand, Davis apparently had a only a brief run-in with Jackson the evening of First Manassas when much was on his mind. As I recall, Lee had to re-introduce him to Jackson when they again met on the Peninsula.
     
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