Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > Themes in History > War and Military History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

War and Military History War and Military History Forum - Warfare, Tactics, and Military Technology over the centuries


View Poll Results: Debate and then vote: who was the superior Civil War general?
Ulysses S. Grant (Union) 16 39.02%
Robert E. Lee (Confederates) 25 60.98%
Voters: 41. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old April 10th, 2010, 04:18 PM   #61

deadkenny's Avatar
Scholar
 
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 695
Re: Robert E. Lee vs Ulysses S. Grant


Quote:
Originally Posted by NewModelSoldier View Post
Robert E. Lee was like a Pizza Hut and Ulysses S. Grant was like a Domino's. The debate will rage on.
I think they're both better than that!
deadkenny is offline  
Remove Ads
Old April 10th, 2010, 04:46 PM   #62

oshron's Avatar
Rplegacy Emperor
 
Joined: Jun 2009
From: western Terranova
Posts: 3,322
Re: Robert E. Lee vs Ulysses S. Grant


Quote:
Originally Posted by pikeshot1600 View Post
Well.....you should read all those posts you skipped.
lol, sometimes theres just too much of it for me to really care ill try to look it over some other time, but i stand by my opinion: grant was good, lee was better, but grant was also lucky
oshron is offline  
Old April 10th, 2010, 05:00 PM   #63

avon's Avatar
 
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 13,761
Blog Entries: 2
Re: Robert E. Lee vs Ulysses S. Grant


Quote:
Originally Posted by NewModelSoldier View Post
Robert E. Lee was like a Pizza Hut and Ulysses S. Grant was like a Domino's. The debate will rage on.
And both have, um, certain qualities. I'd sit in at one but phone order from the other. Never vice versa though!

That's where all those boring 'compare and contrast' questions that they made you do in school come in handy. Ever notice that you have to appreciate the qualities of both elements in those questions?
avon is offline  
Old April 13th, 2010, 12:04 AM   #64
Historian
 
Joined: Oct 2009
From: San Diego
Posts: 2,078
Re: Robert E. Lee vs Ulysses S. Grant


Quote:
Originally Posted by sylla1 View Post
Actually, the point here is more or less relevant for any "which-general-was-better?" thread of Historum.

At the risk of overstating the obvious, wars are fought, won & lost by nations and armies, not by heroic commanders in single combat in the Homeric way.

Victory is defined by a plethora of factors, including geography, psychology, diplomacy, resources, sheer numbers and of course mere luck, hardly just the individual performance of the commander in charge.

As an extreme example, please remember that the notable conqueror Hernan Cortes was not even a professional soldier; he was a mediocre commander at best under his own European standards, and we happen to know that because he had a mediocre preformance at the Algiers expedition of 1541.

Any comparison between commanders necessarily implies some degree of abstraction on the personal contribution of the generals in question.


while I agree in principle... in fact the distinction is moot.

Grant Beat Lee Strategically.

Lee was a great tactician.

Grant was not just the guy who had the mostest.... with each and every promotion to command a larger portion of the Union forces, Victory, and gain followed... not just against Lee, but against every commander Grant faced, and against every commander the men he chose to lead armies faced.
Military Success followed Grant wherever he went, and he spread that success by identifying and promoting the men who, like him, understood the modern battlefield and the strategic situation.

Shiloh is Grant's perfect example.
It does not matter that he was badly mauled the first day... he had made provision for reinforcements... and when they arrived he immediately went back on the offensive.


Lee is over rated because he faced timid and uncommitted men.

In the beginning the union command structure was littered with the kind of armchair generals like McClellan, who were very good at polishing brass, but did not have the stomach for hard truths of battle.

That the Union Army Failed to pursue Lee after Gettysburg is a perfect indictment of the vacillating lackluster leadership that the Union was saddled with.


Sorry. No matter what... Grant beats Lee, just as Grant beat every other guy he came up against.

He was tested over 4 years of relentless campaigns.

The men in command at the END of a war are the men that passed that trial of fire.

And if you want to understand how big a deal Grant was... look into the things that Lee had to say about him after the war.
For the few years he lived.... Lee would never suffer another man to insult Grant in the slightest regard.
sculptingman is offline  
Old April 13th, 2010, 12:40 AM   #65

deadkenny's Avatar
Scholar
 
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 695
Re: Robert E. Lee vs Ulysses S. Grant


Quote:
Originally Posted by sculptingman View Post
....Lee is over rated because he faced timid and uncommitted men.....
You mean like Grant?
deadkenny is offline  
Old April 13th, 2010, 01:00 AM   #66

DIVUS IVLIVS's Avatar
Pragmatic Idealist
 
Joined: Mar 2009
From: Virginia
Posts: 2,407
Re: Robert E. Lee vs Ulysses S. Grant


Quote:
Originally Posted by deadkenny View Post
You mean like Grant?
No, I think that Sculptingman refers more to the types that Lee faced up until he had the misfortune to run into Meade at Gettysburg, which pretty much marked the beginning of the end for the AoNV. It could be said that Meade was the first truly quality Union general that Lee ran into - the man undeniably had his faults, and his lack of vigorous activity after Gettysburg was indeed quite terrible, but he would for the rest of the war show himself to be a solid if unspectacular subordinate under Grant,his abilties more lying in his being an able tactician than any sort of strategic genius.
DIVUS IVLIVS is offline  
Old April 13th, 2010, 04:47 AM   #67

deadkenny's Avatar
Scholar
 
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 695
Re: Robert E. Lee vs Ulysses S. Grant


Quote:
Originally Posted by DIVUS IVLIVS View Post
No, I think that Sculptingman refers more to the types that Lee faced up until he had the misfortune to run into Meade at Gettysburg, which pretty much marked the beginning of the end for the AoNV.....
If that is what he meant to say, then perhaps that is what he should have said?

As I've already pointed out, Lee did face Grant during a lengthy campaign. The results were battles such as Wilderness, Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor. Otherwise Sculptingman's argument amounts to little more than 'The USA defeated the CSA so Grant is better Lee'. I do not accept that argument.
deadkenny is offline  
Old April 13th, 2010, 05:05 AM   #68

DIVUS IVLIVS's Avatar
Pragmatic Idealist
 
Joined: Mar 2009
From: Virginia
Posts: 2,407
Re: Robert E. Lee vs Ulysses S. Grant


Quote:
Otherwise Sculptingman's argument amounts to little more than 'The USA defeated the CSA so Grant is better Lee'.
If that is what Sculptingman had meant to be the main thrust of his argument then perhaps that is what he should have made clear was the main thrust of his argument?

I think that what he was saying actually ran alongside the more specific lines of "Grant defeated Lee in two campaigns, the overland campaign and the Appotomax campaign, Grant had superior resources but Lee was in a superior position, Grant defeated Lee because he outperformed him as a strategist and tactician, Grant outperformed Lee, Grant was better than Lee". Or something along those lines.

Your argument seems to be that "Lee managed to draw Grant into some highly costly but inconclusive actions that nonetheless fitted into Grant's overall strategy (with the exception of Cold Harbor, which was Grant's worst moment in the Civil War), therefore, despite the fact that Grant's maneuvering and his overall strategy showed a far more sophisticated grasp of warfare than Lee possessed, Lee must have been better than Grant". I do not accept that argument either.

Back on what was originally quoted, I think that we both know that Sculptingman was referring to the generals that Lee faced prior to Gettysburg, which was when his greatest victories were all achieved.
DIVUS IVLIVS is offline  
Old April 13th, 2010, 05:57 AM   #69

deadkenny's Avatar
Scholar
 
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 695
Re: Robert E. Lee vs Ulysses S. Grant


Your 'paraphrasing' of Sculpt's argument seems much more convincing. Perhaps he should hire you as his ghost writer.

Regarding the rest, we've been over it. Grant outnumbered Lee by 2-1, was much better supplied, yet in each case failed to outmanoeuvre Lee and eventually 'bulldozed' him out of his positions, suffering much heavier losses (almost 2-1). Even the otherwise highly 'pro-Grant' Fuller agrees regarding Grant's 'tactical failings' (did you read the brief paragraph from Fuller I posted?). Even Grant himself admits as much regarding Vicksburg and Cold Harbor, in his own memoirs.

p.s. I just noticed that you've changed your avatar. Does this mean you're going to start arguing in favour of Lee? Then I have to start arguing in favour of Grant?
deadkenny is offline  
Old April 13th, 2010, 09:25 AM   #70
Historian
 
Joined: Oct 2009
From: San Diego
Posts: 2,078
Re: Robert E. Lee vs Ulysses S. Grant


Quote:
Originally Posted by deadkenny View Post
You mean like Grant?
Is that supposed to be an argument?

Lincoln was replacing Generals all thru the Civil war, until he gave it all to Grant.

Even after Victories, the early Union commanders would sit and lick their wounds.

Contrast that to Grant at Cold Harbor.
He was savaged at Cold Harbor... and STILL he advanced his line the very next day.

Lee, and the others all suffered from the "glorious battle" delusion.... they thought war was all about the battle.

Grant and Sherman understood, when no one else did, that any individual battle is meaningless in the larger scheme. It is the OBJECTIVE that matters and the objective is to prevent your enemy from acting, and keep him REacting. You keep pressing him, and pursuing him, do not give him a moment's respite, until he is cornered, or worn to the point of ineffectiveness.

It was not Wellington that defeated Napleon at Waterloo... it was the decade of relentless battles and the attrition of long term war that set Napoleon up for that eventual failure.

What Grant did in the swamps along the mississippi is what REAL war is all about.

You can lose every single battle and still win a war.

The General who understands that is the better general.

They guy who will be setting terms of surrender at the end.


Sherman and Grant, between them, invented modern warfare.
What they did is what has been copied by every successful campaigner on earth ever since.
sculptingman is offline  
Reply

  Historum > Themes in History > War and Military History

Tags
grant, lee, robert, ulysses


Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Grant vs Lee Gustav II Adolph American History 91 December 30th, 2012 10:20 AM
Ulysses S. Grant letters found in museum archives diddyriddick American History 4 February 18th, 2010 09:21 AM
US Grant usgrant New Users 8 December 6th, 2006 08:00 AM
Grant and Lee Lab-rat American History 2 August 14th, 2006 11:01 AM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.