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: Who was the greatest general in American military history?
George Washington 13 21.67%
Nathaniel Greene 3 5.00%
Winfield Scott 13 21.67%
Zachary Taylor 1 1.67%
Ulysses S. Grant 22 36.67%
Robert E. Lee 16 26.67%
William T. Sherman 3 5.00%
John J. Pershing 2 3.33%
Douglas MacArthur 5 8.33%
George C. Marshall 10 16.67%
Dwight D. Eisenhower 13 21.67%
Omar Bradley 5 8.33%
George S. Patton 4 6.67%
Matthew Ridgway 6 10.00%
Other 3 5.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 60. You may not vote on this poll

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old July 28th, 2017, 12:29 PM   #141

Comet's Avatar
Jedi Master
Joined: Aug 2006
From: IA
Posts: 8,689
Blog Entries: 1

Originally Posted by macon View Post
I have no idea who are you to demand something from me. I don't read your support to your claims, I easily rebuffed your list with clear reasoning while you don't want to admit it.
Why the hell are you even here if you refuse to look at someone else's argument? It looks as if you don't really want to stay on our site.
Comet is offline  
Remove Ads
Old July 28th, 2017, 12:53 PM   #142

Viperlord's Avatar
Tilting at Windmills
Joined: Aug 2010
From: VA
Posts: 7,861
Blog Entries: 22

Per the same wiki list that macon claims to draw his facts from, some sample ACW battles.

Battle of Antietam

Union army: 87,164
Union losses: (2,108 killed 9,549 wounded 753 captured/missing)

Confederate army: 38,000
Confederate losses: 10,316 (1,567 killed 7,752 wounded 1,018 captured/missing)


Battle of Shiloh

Union army: 63,000 (eventually; 45,000 in the first day's fighting)
Union losses: 13,047 (1,754 killed 8,408 wounded; 2,885 captured/missing)

Confederate army: 44,699 (I used Eicher's figure from the notes next to the casualty number on wiki, as the 40,000 number is lower than what I've usually read)
Confederate losses: 10,699 (1,728 killed; 8,012 wounded; 959 captured/missing)


Note: Per the work of Cunningham, author of one of the seminal books on the battle, the actual casualties are likely closer to 14,000 Union, 12,000 Confederate, as the official figures are likely a bit low

Stones River

Union army: 43,400
Union losses: 12,906 (1,677 killed 7,543 wounded 3,686 captured/missing)

Confederate army: 35,000
Confederate losses: 11,739 (1,294 killed 7,945 wounded 2,500 captured/missing)



Union army: 133,868
Union losses: 17,287 (1,606 killed 9,762 wounded 5,919 captured/missing)

Confederate army: 60,298
Confederate losses: 13,303 (1,665 killed 9,081 wounded 2,018 captured/missing)


Battle of the Wilderness

Union army: 124,232
Union losses: 17,666 (2,246 killed, 12,037 wounded, 3,383 captured/missing)

Confederate army: 64,000
Confederate losses: 11,033(1,477 killed, 7,866 wounded, 1,690 captured/missing)


As you can see, the dominant casualty figure was usually wounded, as opposed to the two European battles macon cited, in which prisoners predominated. By his argument, the relatively high percentage of combat casualties in major ACW battles would actually make them more intense and demanding. With the exception of a few late war Union victories like Five Forks and Sayler's Creek, most Civil War battles were bloody slugfests. Just eyeballing it, but pretty sure the magic math won't make these battles' casualty rates sink below 5%.... (And i left out a few bloodbaths like Chickamauga, Gettysburg, and Spotsylvania too)
Viperlord is offline  
Old July 28th, 2017, 01:38 PM   #143

Viperlord's Avatar
Tilting at Windmills
Joined: Aug 2010
From: VA
Posts: 7,861
Blog Entries: 22

Originally Posted by nuclearguy165 View Post
That is true but his leadership was still indispensable in keeping his army, and with it, the Revolution alive. He didn't need to win many conventional battles to win this kind of war, as it was not an entirely conventional war by contemporary Western standards. What he needed to do was be able to keep his conventional army as a force-in-being. Through both his overall leadership and the successes he did win, he ultimately succeeded in the required goal. I would say that makes a good general.
I agree entirely that Washington in the bigger picture is a very good general, but I'd also say we've had better.
Viperlord is offline  
Old July 28th, 2017, 01:42 PM   #144

nuclearguy165's Avatar
Snake's Eye
Joined: Nov 2011
From: Ohio, USA
Posts: 4,496

Originally Posted by Viperlord View Post
I agree entirely that Washington in the bigger picture is a very good general, but I'd also say we've had better.
I wouldn't say he was our very best either and I would at least put Grant and Scott ahead of him. I think he was among our better and most important generals though.
nuclearguy165 is online now  
Old July 28th, 2017, 03:23 PM   #145
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 5,122

Originally Posted by Viperlord View Post
I agree entirely that Washington in the bigger picture is a very good general, but I'd also say we've had better.
This is my view. If you are going to vote for greatest general, you could go with say Scott, Grant, and Andrew Jackson, who consistently had spectacular successes, rather than Washington who lost most of his battles but won the war.
betgo is offline  
Old July 28th, 2017, 05:11 PM   #146

Scaeva's Avatar
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 5,240

Originally Posted by macon View Post
I demonstrated that European battles have been more decisive, troops better trained and committed, casualties higher and some battles have even decided something: whole armies were forced to surrender or ceased to be a fighting force. There were always elites of fanatics willing to fight until enormous casualties: even half and more and able to stop a vastly superior forces while defending a position or forcing a breakthrough at a key time and place.
Casualties in battles between European powers haven't always been higher than those involving American troops. As an example, the British army suffered more casualties at Bunker Hill than it did against the French at either the Plains of Abraham or Carillon.

There also isn't necessarily a link between a high number casualties and a battle's impact on world history. The battle of the Plains of Abraham is one of the most decisive battles in world history, certainly the most decisive in the history of what is now Canada..and the total killed for both the United Kingdom and France did not exceed 200 men. Britain only lost 58 men killed. The Plains of Abraham also had more of an impact on world history than Bunker Hill, despite the butcher's bill being higher in the latter.

By modern standards the casualties were low, but then 18th Century armies were also very small by modern standards, as they existed in an era before large scale industrialization and mass conscription. That was even more so the case in the Americas, which compared to the 19th or 20th Centuries was not densely populated and had large stretches of wilderness. Large armies prior to the mid 19th Century would have had problems keeping themselves fed and supplied in the Americas. That includes the armies of major European powers, who were just as reliant on local farms as colonial or native armies.

It also is worth pointing out that some of the most celebrated battles in European history also had a small number of participants and an equally small number of men killed. At Thermopylae there were only 300 Spartans and around 7,000 other Greeks. William the Conqueror probably had no more than 10,000 at Hastings, and perhaps as low as 7,000. The Battle of Camarón, perhaps the most legendary battle in the French Foreign Legion's storied history..involved less than one hundred legionairres. Rorke's Drift? Less than 200 British soldiers, of which 17 were killed. Small battles becoming celebrated events in a country's military history isn't something unique to the United States.

Last edited by Scaeva; July 28th, 2017 at 05:28 PM.
Scaeva is online now  
Old July 30th, 2017, 12:17 AM   #147
Joined: Nov 2015
From: Bye, bye
Posts: 1,631
Blog Entries: 1

For me :
1/ Scott . The best strategist ("strategy of the anaconda").
2/Ike. The best manager .
3/Marshall as strategist and Grant, Lee, Patton as fighters.
What about the excellent admirals of the USN?
phil1904 is offline  
Old August 1st, 2017, 07:29 PM   #148

Viperlord's Avatar
Tilting at Windmills
Joined: Aug 2010
From: VA
Posts: 7,861
Blog Entries: 22

For an "other" honorable mention, I'd put forward Lightning Joe Collins. He was the best American corps commander in the Second World War, serving successfully in the Pacific and in Europe, and he was particularly superb during the breakout from Normandy in Operation Cobra, which he helped plan, and in destroying a German panzer division with an aggressive counterattack during the Ardennes. Collins was a large part of the reason behind most of the First Army's successes.
Viperlord is offline  

  Historum > Themes in History > War and Military History

american, general

Search tags for this page
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Greatest Medieval General? Haardrada Medieval and Byzantine History 71 July 22nd, 2017 09:28 AM
Greatest General in American History? red4tribe American History 352 March 2nd, 2013 02:09 PM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.