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

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old July 15th, 2017, 01:52 PM   #11
Lecturer
 
Joined: Jun 2017
From: USA
Posts: 422

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scaeva View Post
Scott, Grant, and Sherman* in that order.

Sherman was a mediocre tactician, but I think he was also one of the best strategists the United States produced, and a superb logistician.
Sherman was just a martinet, there was nothing good about him strategically or tactically.

Grant is OK but hardly one of the top US generals just the best of a bad lot when it came to northern generals in the civil war. If he's even the best from that limited group (almost all the officers went with the south). Scott is not even worth mention.

Last edited by Bophis; July 15th, 2017 at 01:55 PM.
Bophis is offline  
Remove Ads
Old July 15th, 2017, 01:55 PM   #12

Lord Oda Nobunaga's Avatar
General Without Peer
 
Joined: Jan 2015
From: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 4,808
Blog Entries: 32

In my opinion Douglas MacArthur was the most talented, also very brilliant. Unfortunately that did not translate all that well when it actually came to waging war.
Lord Oda Nobunaga is online now  
Old July 15th, 2017, 01:57 PM   #13

Viperlord's Avatar
Tilting at Windmills
 
Joined: Aug 2010
From: VA
Posts: 7,893
Blog Entries: 22

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bophis
(almost all the officers went with the south)
This isn't even remotely true. About a fourth of the officers active at the time went with the South.
Viperlord is offline  
Old July 15th, 2017, 01:58 PM   #14
Lecturer
 
Joined: Jun 2017
From: USA
Posts: 422

All the good ones I should say.
Bophis is offline  
Old July 15th, 2017, 02:04 PM   #15

Viperlord's Avatar
Tilting at Windmills
 
Joined: Aug 2010
From: VA
Posts: 7,893
Blog Entries: 22

Also not even remotely true. Looking at the whole war, not just Virginia, the Union had far more generals who were successful in roles of independent and higher command than the Confederates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bophis
Sherman was just a martinet, there was nothing good about him strategically or tactically.
Sherman was never considered a martinet. His troops were very fond of him.
Viperlord is offline  
Old July 15th, 2017, 03:01 PM   #16

Edric Streona's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Feb 2016
From: Japan
Posts: 3,511

Washington is the greatest. Tactically average but such tenacity and spirit. His victories won independence.

Andrew Jackson?
Stonewall Jackson?
Robert Lee?
Pershing?
Edric Streona is offline  
Old July 15th, 2017, 06:46 PM   #17

Sam-Nary's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Jun 2012
From: At present SD, USA
Posts: 6,523

I voted based on the potential to claim the spot...

Though if it was only to be one, I'd tend to lean in Eisenhower's direction. It wasn't so much about his military planning but in his ability to hold the Western Allies together.

Coalitions don't always function well. And you can see that in WWI in that France and Britain rarely fought together in a way that was easily coordinated. Joffre had to get the British government to order Sir John French even fight on the Marne in 1914 and more often than not the cooperation between the two was more to keep their attacks in a way that they didn't attack in such ways their lines didn't pull themselves apart.

Napoleon was famous for commenting on liking facing coalitions because they didn't agree necessarily and he could then pick them apart one by one...

So, clearly, keeping a coalition together and focused isn't easy. And the Western Allies had plenty of factors and egos that weren't going to be easily sated. There was Patton, there was Montgomery, and there was De Gaulle... ALL with their own ideas of glory and strategy. Dealing with ALL of them would require a great deal of diplomacy that other possible greatest American generals didn't necessarily have. Marshall and MacArthur really didn't and I'd tend to think that Scott wouldn't have been able to handle a similar situation. The one possible would be Grant... but I would hold Eisenhower's ability to hold the Allies together and focused on a single goal as the prime reason. As he he DID deal with a situation that most other generals couldn't have coordinated...
Sam-Nary is offline  
Old July 15th, 2017, 07:09 PM   #18

Scaeva's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 5,270

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bophis View Post
Sherman was just a martinet, there was nothing good about him strategically or tactically.

Grant is OK but hardly one of the top US generals just the best of a bad lot when it came to northern generals in the civil war. If he's even the best from that limited group (almost all the officers went with the south). Scott is not even worth mention.
The Duke of Wellington called Scott the greatest soldier of the age. While that praise was a bit overblown (Wellington himself was the greatest living soldier of the age), he apparently thought highly of Scott's abilities and not without reason. His campaign to Vera Cruz was brilliant, and he never lost a battle during it, and despite being outnumbered at Cerro Gordo.

Grant is the only civil war general to have destroyed three enemy armies, he was the victor at arguably the most decisive battle of the war (Vicksburg) and he did what no other Union general before him had been able to do, destroying the Army of Northern Virginia.

Your characterization of Sherman as a martinet could not be further from the truth. He was, as Viperlord pointed out, absolutely beloved by his troops. The British military historian and theorist B.H. Liddell Hart considered Sherman a brilliant strategist and master of maneuver warfare. Like the Duke of Wellington I would assume he also knew his trade.
Scaeva is online now  
Old July 15th, 2017, 08:33 PM   #19

RomesFinest's Avatar
Archivist
 
Joined: Aug 2012
From: United States
Posts: 189

Top 10 American generals imo

1. Ulysses S. Grant
2. Winfield Scott
3. Robert E. Lee
4. Mathew Ridgeway
5. William T. Sherman
6. Lucian K. Truscott
7. John J. Pershing
8. George H. Thomas
9. Omar N. Bradley
10. Thomas J. (Stonewal) Jackson
RomesFinest is offline  
Old July 15th, 2017, 08:38 PM   #20
Historian
 
Joined: Jun 2017
From: Connecticut
Posts: 2,011

Ironically the best two American generals IMO might be traitors in Robert Lee and Benedict Arnold. Jackson and Longstreet also should be up there IMO. Among USA generals I'd have to put Washington, Taylor and Scott at the top of the list. Washington because his retreat at from Long Island and his attacks at Trenton and Princeton were brilliant gambles that saved the revolution. Taylor and Scott because they were fighting a larger force. Later on in US history the US has had the overwhelming advantage in most conflicts and it's been harder and harder to see brilliance on the battlefield when the outcome is never really in doubt.
Emperor of Wurttemburg 43 is offline  
Reply

  Historum > Themes in History > War and Military History

Tags
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.