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


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old August 21st, 2013, 05:18 AM   #1

Belloc's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Mar 2010
From: USA
Posts: 5,022
A General Who Will Fight: The Leadership of Ulysses S. Grant


Just found this, a book review of an analysis of Grant's leadership abilities as opposed to his battlefield performances per se. Viperlord will probably enjoy this.

Michigan War Studies Review - book reviews, literature surveys, original essays, and commentary in the field of military studies
Belloc is offline  
Remove Ads
Old August 21st, 2013, 05:28 AM   #2

Viperlord's Avatar
Scalawag
 
Joined: Aug 2010
From: VA
Posts: 6,451
Blog Entries: 13

Quote:
Originally Posted by Belloc View Post
Just found this, a book review of an analysis of Grant's leadership abilities as opposed to his battlefield performances per se. Viperlord will probably enjoy this.

Michigan War Studies Review - book reviews, literature surveys, original essays, and commentary in the field of military studies
I did indeed, sounds interesting, thanks for posting.
Viperlord is offline  
Old August 21st, 2013, 06:33 AM   #3

Salah's Avatar
Last of the Mohicans
Blog of the Year
 
Joined: Oct 2009
From: Baltimorean-in-exile
Posts: 20,688
Blog Entries: 178

I think one of Grant's only darker sides was his tendency towards cronyism. This trait had mixed results during the War, but is responsible for most of the bad press his presidencies get.
Salah is offline  
Old August 21st, 2013, 06:52 AM   #4
Historian
 
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 6,639

Quote:
Originally Posted by Salah View Post
I think one of Grant's only darker sides was his tendency towards cronyism. This trait had mixed results during the War, but is responsible for most of the bad press his presidencies get.
Presidents, football coaches and corporate CEOs surround themselves with people they know. It is a comfort zone, and cronyism is human nature.

That said, U.S. Grant was a great commanding general, and as good a president as he could be in the circumstances of the times.
pikeshot1600 is offline  
Old August 21st, 2013, 01:06 PM   #5

Underlankers's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 5,138

Quote:
Originally Posted by Salah View Post
I think one of Grant's only darker sides was his tendency towards cronyism. This trait had mixed results during the War, but is responsible for most of the bad press his presidencies get.
Eh, I'm not so sure that *this* is one of his flaws as a military leader. He wasn't a strict cronyist by the standard of say......a McClernand or even a McClellan. If his cronies did not do well, he was perfectly willing to have them sacked.
Underlankers is offline  
Old August 21st, 2013, 05:00 PM   #6
Citizen
 
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 31

Quote:
Originally Posted by Belloc View Post
Just found this, a book review of an analysis of Grant's leadership abilities as opposed to his battlefield performances per se. Viperlord will probably enjoy this.

Michigan War Studies Review - book reviews, literature surveys, original essays, and commentary in the field of military studies
I don't know about Viperlord, but I certainly enjoyed it.
Ossian is offline  
Old August 21st, 2013, 07:14 PM   #7

Viperlord's Avatar
Scalawag
 
Joined: Aug 2010
From: VA
Posts: 6,451
Blog Entries: 13

Well Grant certainly showed favoritism to certain officers; James Wilson, promoted straight from staff work to a field command of an entire cavalry division, comes to mind, as does James McPherson, another Grant staffer. On the other hand, both men clearly did have the military talents to justify their promotion. Sherman was certainly a beneficiary of Grant's favor, as another commander likely wouldn't have placed such faith in Sherman given his 1862 record, and another commander would almost certainly have preferred the senior Thomas to Sherman for overall command in the west. Again though, Sherman certainly proved he had the talents to justify his elevation. Grant had other favorites such as John Logan who proved to be extremely effective as well; Sherman also liked Logan quite a bit, but his bias against political generals interfered in Logan's promotion. And there's also the obvious case of Sheridan. Grant was a very good first-hand judge of military talent, though as his regard for William B. Franklin and skepticism about George Thomas* indicates, he wasn't nearly as good a long-distance judge.

It's not necessarily true that Grant would only back his "cronies" either; as an alternative to the political generals of Lincoln's administration, such as Butler and Sigel, he tried to get Buell and McClellan restored to active service, and Grant loathed Buell.

*In fairness to Grant, he got a stream of reports from Sherman complaining about Thomas, and at Nashville, false reports from John Schofield claiming Thomas was delaying. Grant also loathed William Rosecrans and probably saw Thomas as being part of a Rosecrans clique, which isn't an entirely unfair assessment as Thomas never demonstrated the same loyalty and regard for Grant that he showed to Rosecrans.

Grant also sometimes placed a bit too much weight on his first impressions of someone, such as Baldy Smith, who did some brilliant staff and engineering work at Chattanooga under Grant's eye. That didn't translate into Smith making a good corps commander for the eastern theatre.

Last edited by Viperlord; August 21st, 2013 at 07:18 PM.
Viperlord is offline  
Old August 22nd, 2013, 10:05 AM   #8

Vergil's Avatar
Archivist
 
Joined: Jul 2013
From: Oregon
Posts: 136

Quote:
Originally Posted by Belloc View Post
Just found this, a book review of an analysis of Grant's leadership abilities as opposed to his battlefield performances per se. Viperlord will probably enjoy this.

Michigan War Studies Review - book reviews, literature surveys, original essays, and commentary in the field of military studies
This looks pretty interesting, I added it to my wish list on Amazon and might try to get to it--sometime--still haven't read Guelzo's "Gettysburg" & just started Grant's memoirs for a second read, the first time after Burns' Civil War doc while living in the barracks on Ft Bragg during Bush I. Good lord that was a long time ago.

I did have to quibble with this in the review:

Harry Laver (Southeastern Louisiana Univ.) believes that leadership "is a complex human endeavor, denying easy analysis or simple understanding, and for that very reason, concentrating on a single factor can bring greater comprehension of the whole...

In a sense leadership is easy to analyze and understand; the military services mentor their NCOs and officers on leadership skills as they rise up the rank structure & I've seen guys that aren't geniuses that are great leaders [at least at the platoon to brigade level]. I looked at some pre-Civil War U.S. Army manuals recently and was surprised at how many of the admonitions reflect leadership challenges still addressed today.

Great leadership is I think it's a combination of having the military skills [at the tactical-operational-strategic level; ex. orders are that x,y,z brigades feint here, artillery concentrate there then a,b,c, regiments exploit...ect.] and then executing those leadership skills competently [giving clear guidance, delegating the right tasks, setting an example & a thousand other things].

Grant had both and they are reinforcing; military success breeds confidence in your decision making by your leadership cadre and common soldiers.

Anyway sorry to digress.
Vergil is offline  
Reply

  Historum > Themes in History > War and Military History

Tags
fight, general, grant, leadership, ulysses


Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Ulysses S. Grant Viperlord American History 163 May 14th, 2013 03:58 PM
Ulysses S. Grant at Belmont Viperlord American History 39 March 17th, 2013 01:14 PM
The Decisive General Ulysses S Grant and the American Civil War in 1864 Belloc War and Military History 14 September 19th, 2012 08:04 AM
How would you rate Ulysses S. Grant as a general? Viperlord American History 62 April 12th, 2012 02:51 PM
On Ulysses S. Grant Salah American History 37 June 25th, 2011 07:54 AM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.