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

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

  1. James N.

    James N. Captain Forum Host Civil War Photo Contest
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    One particular instance of Jackson being "difficult" and not getting along with either the administration or his subordinates would be the exchange he had in early 1862 with then-Secretary of War Judah Benjamin. Jackson had maneuvered the Federals out of Romney in a brutal winter campaign, then left Brig. Gen. William W. Loring and his small division that had been ordered to assist Jackson to remain there as a garrison. Loring was another of those "difficult' types who resented being left "hanging out" in the wilderness of western Virginia garrisoning Romney while Stonewall took his division back to the relative comforts of Winchester. Loring went over Jackson's head complaining to Benjamin in a letter also signed by his subordinate brigade commanders, one of which was William Taliaferro. Benjamin unwisely sustained Loring, ordering Jackson to recall him from Romney, prompting Jackson to submit a letter of resignation due to interference with his command. Feelings were smoothed over but Jackson lost the service of Loring's command for the time and sorely missed them once the Valley Campaign got underway. Loring was soon transferred to the west where he became an insubordinate thorn in Pemberton's side, and although Taliaferro eventually succeeded to command of Jackson's Division, Stonewall bore him a grudge and never really trusted him.
     
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  3. BillO

    BillO Captain

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    Longstreet was in favor with Davis but feel out of favor when he tried his hand at army politics and was clumsy.
    Lee knew his subordinates pretty well. Longstreet needed gentle prodding and Jackson needed a loose rein.
     
  4. WJC

    WJC First Sergeant

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    It seems to me that, when considering his performance, it is all too easy to fall back to the "Longstreet needed gentle prodding" theme that has been adopted by too many writers.
    Again, the Suffolk Campaign- often used to criticize Longstreet- offers some perspective. Here- as elsewhere- Lee gave Longstreet broad authority: he did not try to micro-manage his efforts. And why should he? Longstreet had shown his aggressiveness, leadership and tactical skills at Manassas, Williamsburg, Seven Pines and the Seven days - virtually every battle in which he had participated (and would continue his excellent performance later). Certainly at Manassas, his performance suffered from restraints placed on him by Johnston and Beauregard, who failed to take advantage of the first and best opportunity to win the war.
    Even at Gettysburg, the battle in which Longstreet is most criticized, the theme seems to be that his command came up to slowly (a claim easily disproved when the march required by his troops is fully appreciated), not that he needed prodding. The closest that such a charge comes to being at all reasonable might be on July 3, 1863.
    But it is worth putting that situation in context. Lee- famous for his secrecy and avoidance of written orders- failed to communicate his full plan to all of his subordinates. Thus Longstreet- who had seen a larger force repulsed the previous day- was rightly concerned about how a similar assault- with fewer troops- could succeed. One has to wonder, though, how much more receptive he would have been had he known that his assault on Cemetery Hill was to be part of a larger plan, with Stuart's 6000 troops attacking from the east and Ewell's troops attacking from the north.
     
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  5. BillO

    BillO Captain

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    I'm sorry but if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck it doesn't really matter how you feel it's a duck.
    I'm surprised you used Seven Pines as an example of Longstreet's sterling qualities. Most admirers of his tend to avoid that mess. Don't misunderstand I don't feel he was a bad general he was, in fact a very good one, but he seems to have become a proxy in some strange political fight.
     
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  6. highplainsdrifter59

    highplainsdrifter59 Private

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    I for one, do not blame Longstreet at Gettysburg. Yes, his Corp did come up late, yes they had to march long and hard. I do think as we now know, the Charge (Pickett's Charge), was at best a hope and a prayer.
    Longstreet was just opposite of Jackson. Jackson was an attacking style general, Longstreet was a good defensive minded general. Both are needed, but try not to make them do things which are not their strong point.
    I would not hesitate to have either general at my disposal on any battle field. They were two different type generals. Ford or Chevrolet type of comparison, both are car makers which one is better, is your choice.
    One big difference was, when shot, one lived one died. Longstreet could dodge a bullet better… :smile:
     
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  7. rpkennedy

    rpkennedy Major

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    For a defensive minded general, Longstreet oversaw some of the most devastating assaults of the war. Second Manassas, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, and the Wilderness. IMO, the defensive minded aspect has been overemphasized.

    Ryan
     
  8. highplainsdrifter59

    highplainsdrifter59 Private

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    Second Manassas, Longstreet came to where Jackson had already started the battle. He wasn't the one who began the battle, he acted on Jackson assault and fall back against Pope.
    Gettysburg, again Longstreet came on the scene and was told what to do. Much to his distaste and not agreeing with Lee, he sent forth his divisions on what we now call, Pickett's Charge.
    Wilderness, I think this was more who was going to survive, Grant was pushing and Longstreet was there to be pushed.
    Longstreet did not just idle sit back and not do anything, but as battles began, he was thrust into the battle from which Lee had ordered him to do so.
    It seems in many ways these battles were thrust upon him to act or react to what was already happening.
     
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  9. BillO

    BillO Captain

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    We seem to have veered away from the original question so let me give my usual short answer. The South lost their best chance to win the war at Sharpsburg and they lost their chance for independence when Jackson died.
     
  10. WJC

    WJC First Sergeant

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    Our differences of opinion and perspective is what makes a forum like this interesting and enjoyable.
    As to the "political fight", isn't that exactly what the Lost Cause became? It was only when Longstreet responded to a request for his opinion by a newspaper that he came under fire, partly because he had the audacity to point out some of he thought were Lee's few mistakes, partly because he urged reconciliation and partly because he was a Republican....
     
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  11. rpkennedy

    rpkennedy Major

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    Second Manassas: Longstreet acts as the hammer to Jackson's anvil. Longstreet launched a devastating flank attack that routs the Union forces from the field.

    Gettysburg: Longstreet directs McLaws and Hood in their attack on July 2nd, an attack that destroys one corps and inflicts significant casualties on another.

    Wilderness: Longstreet counterattacks the AotP's Second Corps, stopping them cold. He then moves to the flank and attacks Hancock, rolling his corps up like a rug. If he hadn't been wounded, his attack may not have lost as much steam as it did.

    Ryan
     
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  12. WJC

    WJC First Sergeant

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    That "these battles were thrust upon him to act or react to what was already happening." could be said to apply to the AOV for most of its existence, and certainly for its victories. That they did so well is truly remarkable.
     
  13. highplainsdrifter59

    highplainsdrifter59 Private

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    This is why I think both Jackson and Longstreet complimented one another. I liked the analogy posted above by Ryan, "Hammer and Anvil", that sums up what can happen when you have good generals, which of course let's not forget Lee in the mix.
    The CSA needed Jackson as much as they needed Longstreet. When all is said and done, where were any major victories for the ANV after Jacksons death?
     
  14. GELongstreet

    GELongstreet 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    Just a month after Jackson died there was 2nd Winchester. It was only on division/corps level but the Union losses almost equalled the total losses at 1s Bull Run and the ratios were extremely well for the CSA. And that by Ewell who had just taken over.
     
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  15. Irishtom29

    Irishtom29 Corporal

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    I think at Perryville; Kentucky was more vital than Maryland or even Washington and even in failure Bragg moved the Federals back to Nashville from a position threatening Chattanooga.
     
  16. Jamieva

    Jamieva 2nd Lieutenant Forum Host

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    He did not show up late at Gettysburg. Do a search it's been discussed numerous times here
     
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  17. highplainsdrifter59

    highplainsdrifter59 Private

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    This as you say was only a division/corps battle, the south lost that daring leader who in my opinion brought out fear in the enemy knowing that either they were facing Jackson or the fear of where was Jackson.
    The ANV had two strong generals who the union army had much respect for, Lee and Jackson. Once Jackson was gone they only had the utmost respect for Lee. When Grant came to Washington the whispering amount the generals were, now let's see if Grant can win against the mighty Lee.
    Jackson carried that same respect on the battlefield. I can't remember any notable focus that centered around Longstreet that it did on Jackson. This is why I think Longstreet was the "Old War Horse" that Lee aptly called him. He stood his ground, he fought bravely and was reliable. Where Jackson brought the unexpected to any battle.
     
  18. highplainsdrifter59

    highplainsdrifter59 Private

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    Late in not lolly gagging around, but as Lee had wanted his entire army up before a general engagement. The focus then centered upon Longstreet troops to come into the line. As I mentioned earlier, I do not blame Longstreet for being " late", he was just the trailing Corps that Lee was waiting on to have to bring about a general engagement.
    Plus Longstreet troops when arriving had come off a long, hard march. Then by the 2nd of July, a general engagement had already occurred.
     
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  19. Jamieva

    Jamieva 2nd Lieutenant Forum Host

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    Then dont use the term late it causes a lot of confusion as to what you mean
     
  20. E_just_E

    E_just_E 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

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    Tiny detail here: Stonewall himself and his entourage (of less than 10 people) wintered at the relative comforts of Winchester, where his troops, including their officers were prohibited from entering the town that was guarded by VA militia (against the CS troops, go figure) and they had to camp on fields South of town on the snow.

    Another of the "Do unto your neighbor" hypocrisies, for good ol' Stonewall...
     
  21. GELongstreet

    GELongstreet 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    Also to his own side. Wich apparently was the case with far too many civil war leaders ...
     

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