Originally Posted by polishshooter
One of the contributing factors that the South LOST was Robert E. Lee. A stubborn anachronism, fighting a 19th Century "modern" war with 18th Century tactics, always looking for the "mythical" Napoleonic "Decisive Battle" while losing the WAR the entire time and not KNOWING it.
Polish, when Stuart's cavalry rides through Indiana and steals your socks, don't say I didn't warn ya!
Somehow I just knew you would respond that way, which is, of course, a primary reason for setting up this thread in the first place!
Lee was forced to fight what was essentially a defensive war, which was, admitedly, something he was particularly good at. However, Lee was also a highly trained and experienced commander, and was indeed offered full command of the Army of the Potomic before his decision to go South. Yes, Lee was a gambler, but what successful commander is not? Lee was also experienced and astute enough to realize the overwhelming advantage in manpower and materiel the Union possessed. In short, the South--and Lee--had no viable alternative but to gamble on the "big win" if the South had any real chance at all to win. He had to force a conclusion quickly, before the Confederacy was destroyed by "overwhelming numbers and resources," as he later phrased it in General Order No. 9. It was a near fought thing as it was. If Ewell had gotten off his duff on the first day at Gettysburg and taken the heights, or if Longstreet had not piddled along until mid-afternoon to launch his attack on the second day, Lee might well have been dictating terms to Lincoln in the White House.