Who was the Greatest Civil War General? (poll)

Who was the Greatest Civil War General?

  • Jubal Earl

    Votes: 1 0.4%
  • George Gordon Meade

    Votes: 2 0.7%
  • James Longstreet

    Votes: 15 5.4%
  • George Henry Thomas

    Votes: 6 2.2%
  • Robert E. Lee

    Votes: 90 32.3%
  • Ulysses S. Grant

    Votes: 97 34.8%
  • Philip Sheridan

    Votes: 1 0.4%
  • Nathan Bedford Forrest

    Votes: 18 6.5%
  • Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson

    Votes: 24 8.6%
  • William T. Sherman

    Votes: 14 5.0%
  • Don't Know

    Votes: 11 3.9%

  • Total voters
    279

NathanTowne

Corporal
Joined
Aug 1, 2017
Location
United States
Confederate sympathizers are more motivated to comment about Civil War generals than advocates of the Union cause.
Thomas Jackson has more votes that William Sherman. :smile coffee:

Not to mention those who voted for Forrest.

With that said though, this question points me to only one answer and that is R.E. Lee, regardless of what I may feel about that.

As far as my personal feelings are concerned, I think that it is a tragedy in that many young Americans died because of it, but it is the only answer that I can give to this specific question.
 
Joined
Jun 18, 2017
Location
Philadelphia
Since you all have been discussing the Cracker Line I have a question in regard to another option in this poll Longstreet. How much should Longstreet be blamed for allowing the Cracker Line to be established?
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 18, 2017
Location
Philadelphia
Wasn't Longstreet and his partial corps sent to Knoxville after Chickamauga?

First they participated in the siege of Chattanooga; then, still during the siege, the apparently not-really-stellar performance and of course the army politics stuff led to them being sent to Knoxville.

I found this blogpost earlier that might be of interest. I can't speak to its total accuracy.
http://historyrevived.blogspot.com/2013/11/majorhenry-symonds-united-states.html
 

chucksr

Sergeant
Joined
May 26, 2017
I found this blogpost earlier that might be of interest. I can't speak to its total accuracy.
http://historyrevived.blogspot.com/2013/11/majorhenry-symonds-united-states.html
I had forgotten about that night battle at Wauhatchie but it was so much that Longstreet "lost" that battle as it was Hooker (huge surprise--probably a wonder that everyone didn't die of surprise) winning that battle. From a cursory reading and vague memory, I had the impression that Longstreet wasn't really involved--leaving most of the tactics to his division commanders.
Still, I can see why the above poster would blame Longstreet for the breaking of the cracker line.
 

Billy Yank

First Sergeant
Joined
May 31, 2013
Location
Putnam County, IL
Thomas wasn't in charge, Rosecrans was. And while one can make excuses for Rosecrans not implementing the plan, the fact is Grant was able to implement the plan with the supplies that were on hand, and he did so as soon as he saw the lay of the land, not hesitating at all. Officers and men in the ranks credited Grant, saying when he showed up things started to move.
One can probably give Baldy Smith a little credit, too for coming-up with the plan. But yes, Grant got things moving, definitely.
 

Alex Scotland

Corporal
Joined
Feb 26, 2015
Location
Glasgow, Scotland
I totally agree about Grant's Vicksburg campaign, not to mention his exploits in the early part of the part of the war in capturing Forts Henry & Donelson. However he took heavy losses in the overland campaign when he had far superior numbers of men, horses & equipment so I went for Lee because I think Chancellorsville was the single most impressive victory of the whole war & not many generals would of even contemplated the moves Lee made to beat the Federals.

Just my humble opinion.
 

Will Carry

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 1, 2015
Location
The Tar Heel State.
Confederate sympathizers are more motivated to comment about Civil War generals than advocates of the Union cause.
Thomas Jackson has more votes that William Sherman. :smile coffee:

William Sherman, at least in North Georgia, did not have to take desperate chances or develop ingenious tactics. All he had to do was no make a big blunder. He didn't. He and old Joe fought a good fight but Sherman had too many advantages to be stopped. Marching through Georgia after Atlanta didn't take a man with military genius, only a man with a match. So Sherman didn't have as my chances to show his stuff. I consider Sherman and Grant, Lee and Jackson to be equally dangerous to their enemies.
 

James N.

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... So Sherman didn't have as my chances to show his stuff. I consider Sherman and Grant, Lee and Jackson to be equally dangerous to their enemies.
I lost some of what little respect I may have had for Uncle Billy after reading about his absolute blunders in the attempt to capture the northern end of Missionary Ridge and dislodge Pat Cleburne. The very idea that the NPS unit of Chickamauga-Chattanooga NMP there is called the Sherman Reservation in honor of the Yankee who failed utterly to capture it instead of the Cleburne Reservation for the Southerner who successfully defended it is a travesty. If George Thomas' men hadn't successfully carried the center of Missionary Ridge Sherman may have subsequently been seen in an even less favorable light. Sherman's failure to secure his camps at Shiloh/Pittsburg Landing should've drawn down official criticism on his red head, but his friendship and support of Grant seems to have protected him from the calumny he deserved.
 

Will Carry

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 1, 2015
Location
The Tar Heel State.
I lost some of what little respect I may have had for Uncle Billy after reading about his absolute blunders in the attempt to capture the northern end of Missionary Ridge and dislodge Pat Cleburne. The very idea that the NPS unit of Chickamauga-Chattanooga NMP there is called the Sherman Reservation in honor of the Yankee who failed utterly to capture it instead of the Cleburne Reservation for the Southerner who successfully defended it is a travesty. If George Thomas' men hadn't successfully carried the center of Missionary Ridge Sherman may have subsequently been seen in an even less favorable light. Sherman's failure to secure his camps at Shiloh/Pittsburg Landing should've drawn down official criticism on his red head, but his friendship and support of Grant seems to have protected him from the calumny he deserved.

Those Arkansas boy were darned fine fighting men. Cleburne doesn't get the respect he should.
 

David Moore

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Location
Washington, DC
One can probably give Baldy Smith a little credit, too for coming-up with the plan. But yes, Grant got things moving, definitely.

An inquiry about the opening of the Cracker Line was published by the War Dept in 1901.
Neither Smith nor Grant, according to the Board, was due the honor.
Its conclusion about who should receive credit for the plan is on pages 20-21.
https://books.google.com/books?id=UZY-AAAAYAAJ&pg=PA66&dq=report+of+a+board+opening+of+cracker+line&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiaibTI87_ZAhVBneAKHQNDBzcQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=report of a board opening of cracker line&f=false
 
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Billy Yank

First Sergeant
Joined
May 31, 2013
Location
Putnam County, IL
An inquiry about the opening of the Cracker Line was published by the War Dept in 1901.
Neither Smith nor Grant, according to the Board, was due the honor.
Its conclusion about who should receive credit for the plan is on pages 20-21.
https://books.google.com/books?id=UZY-AAAAYAAJ&pg=PA66&dq=report+of+a+board+opening+of+cracker+line&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiaibTI87_ZAhVBneAKHQNDBzcQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=report of a board opening of cracker line&f=false
So then 1Sgt.Moore, we can safely say according to the 1901 inquiry that Rosecrans & Thomas originated the plan, but Baldy Smith & Grant implemented it and got things moving. Is that a correct assessment?
 

David Moore

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 26, 2014
Location
Washington, DC
I'll cite verbatim from the Conclusion of the Board:
"After a diligent search of the official records the board fails to find any evidence that Gen. W. F. Smith was the originator of the plan for the relief of Chattanooga, Tenn., by military operations to be conducted in Lookout Valley, October, 1863. On the contrary, there is abundant evidence in the official records to show that the plan, which contemplated crossings of the Tennessee River at Bridgeport and at the northern end of Lookout Valley, and which was successfully executed by General Thomas October 26 to 28, 1863, was devised and prepared for by General Rosecrans before relinquishing command, and that its execution was begun, under orders issued by General Thomas, the very night (October 19) that General Rosecrans was relieved from command of the Department of the Cumberland and without consultation with General Smith.
There is no evidence to show that General Smith took any part, whether by counsel or by action, in the operations conducted by General Hooker through Lookout Valley from the direction of Bridgeport."

Smith and Grant did carry out the plan but Rosecrans' removal from command by Grant made Rosecrans' participation
difficult :smile:.
I don't think Thomas had much to do with the plan. He was more of a carrier out of plans than an originator of plans.
 
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