Defend-a-General (Civil War)

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by Guest, Feb 23, 2003.

  1. Guest

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    polishshooter
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    (3/31/01 7:56:46 pm)
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    I decided to start a new thread! Maybe we can do this for other wars too. Vietnam would be fun, but don't get me started on "Dugout Doug."

    Xracer and Obelix, (with very little "stirring" from me! ) were getting into a good "discussion" about "Little Mac", "Fightin' Joe", "Ol Marse Robert," et al.

    I didn't wan't anyone to miss it, especially in the one where I started a boring explanation about this forum.

    That might turn ANYBODY off...

    OK, I LIKE McClellan. He was a first class organizer, tried some "high tech" stuff, like aerial spotting for indirect artillery fire, let Hunt do his magic at Malvern Hill with no interference like other Generals did.

    I don't think ANY Union General at that time was a "fighter," except Grant in the west, and he was drunk at the time.

    He was just as mistaken about the importance of an "Advance on Richmond" as Lee was about an "Advance on Washington." And believed in the old-fashioned mythical "Napoleonic Climactic Battle" just like Lee, too.

    And you're right X, I kinda like Joe Hooker, too, can't figure out why. Maybe it IS the name!

    I've tried to like old Ambrose, though, but I really think his only REAL forte was politics, and he wasn't even that good at that, just good enough to keep getting important assignments even after he screwed up his last one. Like a "bad dream..."

    I think Braxton Bragg was one of the best the South had...

    OK, I'll shut up. Go to it.

    Edited by: polishshooter at: 3/31/01 8:08:24 pm

    obelix2
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    (4/1/01 3:45:57 am)
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    Not much room for controversy. How about this: The best potential generals died too early to tell, eg AS Johnston on one side, Phil Kearny on the other.

    polishshooter
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    (4/1/01 9:47:57 am)
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    The SMARTEST General in the CSA was Hill, I think, who said something like "Give me Confederate Infantry and Yankee Artillery and I'll whip the WORLD..."

    I'm also partial to Sherman, think Custer was a "Boy General" his whole career, and of course, to follow your reasoning, what about "Stonewall"? HE was brilliant.

    I like Meade too, even if he didn't "pursue..."

    obelix2
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    (4/1/01 11:46:59 am)
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    Stonewall mystifies me. He pulls off in the Shenandoah Valley (admittedly with help from Washington, DC) one of history's most brilliant campaigns, rushes his army to Richmond, where it might have been decisive, then sits and prays and sits. A manic-depressive?

    Xracer
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    (4/1/01 12:10:23 pm)
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    obelix.....I've always been struck by the parallel between Stonewall and Montgomery. Brilliant at El Alimain, and spent the rest of the war "pivoting on Caan" or "regrouping".

    One thing you could say about Joe Hooker.....he must've had the happiest troops in the Union Army.

    Xracer
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    (4/1/01 5:17:30 pm)
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    Actually, my favorite Civil War General is..........Jubilation T. Cornpone. Hero of "Cornpone's Retreat", "Cornpone's Disaster", and "Cornpone's Humiliation", his statue stands proud (and covered with a lovely patina of pigeon droppings) in the town square of Dogpatch, USA.

    Celebrated in comic strip, Broadway play (L'il Abner), and song, Cornpone was the one Confederate general about which there was absolutely NO controversy.

    polishshooter
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    (4/1/01 6:55:08 pm)
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    While I firmly intend to get into "Defend-a General War II" some day, let's just say Montgomery was a genius ONLY when he was spoonfed his enemy's EXACT intentions via Ultra intercepts AND was ordered by Churchill not to disregard it!

    He had a tendency to second guess only the correct intelligence...

    But the troops loved him! I almost think there is a better parallel between him and McClellan...

    obelix2
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    (4/1/01 8:07:22 pm)
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    A good part of McClellan's problems in the field came from a tendency to believe what his intelligence service was telling him. Perhaps he should have ignored Pinkerton; but then McClellan never had an Arnhem.

    Bob In St Louis
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    (4/1/01 8:15:47 pm)
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    My son's middle name comes from General Lee - guess where my sympathies lie!
    Support the Dead Party, vote Harry S. Truman for Missouri Senate in 2002!

    polishshooter
    Senior Chief Moderator Staff
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    (4/2/01 9:23:10 am)
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    Montgomery believed "his" sources first, and since any from an outside source came from someone obviously less intelligent than he was he tended to disregard it. Arrogance is common in Generals, but sometimes certain Generals can best be defined in a by two words- "Arrogant A**hole!"

    IMHO (Can you tell I didn't like him?)

    Someday I will regale you with my opinion of the other "Mac."

    obelix2
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    (4/7/01 2:58:05 pm)
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    The topic is doomed to burial unless I say something truly outrageous. Best CW general: Nathan Bedford Forrest, commander of the force that slaughtered Black soldiers at Fort Pillow and one of the charter members of the KKK.
  2. Zepher6

    Zepher6 Member

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    Most generals are eaten up by their own "inflated egos." Then they're captivated by the power they acquire. Those two qualities, more often than not, ensnare the individual, leaving them less than successful on the field of battle. The only test of success on the field of battle is VICTORY!!!!! That is achieved by CRUSHING and DESTROYING the enemy. Battles of that nature are long gone. The VICTORIOUS MIND SET is no longer an acceptable way of thinking, and thus real victory will always be elusive. To quote the second in command to General Maximus in the movie Gladiator, "a people should know when they're conquered."
    The next problem area with which generals have to deal is; seeking good council and following it from subordinates. This, in my opinion, was one of Gen. Lee's problems. If their subordinates prove to be less than stellar, they fail to eliminate them from command, on the spot if nessessary.
    The biggest problem of all however is having to contend with half-assed, idiotic, meddling politicians. That in itself is a battlefield where, again, the cards are stacked against them. Good generals must have (1) wisdom, (2) strength, and strength of his own convictions, (3) courage; especially the courage TO SAY NO to the politicians, and the COURAGE TO RESIGN!!!!!
  3. dbcooper

    dbcooper Well-Known Member

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    you just resurrected an 11 year old thread dude
  4. Zepher6

    Zepher6 Member

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    Is that a no, no here??? If so, what is the cut off date for responses??
  5. dbcooper

    dbcooper Well-Known Member

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    not a no no just a why? why? :D
  6. Zepher6

    Zepher6 Member

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    Cause I started from the rear of the posting list. Sometimes it's interesting to work ones way backwards. Then again, it may be some old repressed Jewish gene that's trying to burst forth and assert itself.
  7. jim brady

    jim brady Well-Known Member

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    Yup, it's an OLD thread - but a COOL old thread!

    Two things - one is that I think they called General Mac Aurthur "Bug Out Doug" for when he left the Phillipines for Austrailia when the Japanese were about to take control. Second was that I wasn't even born yet - but from what my elders told me his wife loaded a cargo plane with household goods for evacuation - when that plane could have evacuated soldiers.

    Back to the old topic - my personal favorite Civil War figure was Colonel (Later General) Chamberlin. He was the Union hero at Gettysburg, and was later severly wounded - but this man could fight and never seemed to loose his nerve. General Thomas would have to be my second pick. The Confederacy had a great number of outstanding Generals - the top two of course would have to be Generals Lee and Jackson.
  8. Zepher6

    Zepher6 Member

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    Gen. Lee was a good gen. however, he had a couple of bad leadership faults, both of which came to the forefront at Gettysburg. (1) He failed to take into account the failed tactics of previous battle scenarios at which he was the victor, thus he doomed his troops to the same failures his enemy had made. Case in point: Fredricksburg/making a frontal attack on a fixed stone wall fortification, without flanking forces (very stupid.) (2) Lee's second failure was not taking into account the advise of his proven battle commanders; Bragg, Longstreet, Armistead, Pickett. They all wanted to incorporate flanking movements. (3) Disregarded or failed to know how, a subordinate would function under fire when given an order. Case in point: Gen. Ewell. He was Stonewall's replacement. Lee knew from past battles how Ewell would respond in the attach mode. Ewell followed orders precisely. When ordered to achieve an objective, he accomplished that objective. He was like a bull dog. Rarely if ever did Ewell pursue the enemy or develop the battle field beyond his issued orders. This can be seen in his attach on Winchester,Va.
    When given the order to assault Culp's Hill, Lee's orders were vague at best, boiling down to; take the hill , if it's not to much trouble.(my paraphrase.) Had Lee said, "Take that hill period!!! Ewell would have taken the hill. Unfortunately, darkness was setting in, and Ewell decided to fight the next day.
    Had Culp's hill been taken, Lee, would have been victorious, For the North's entire defensive line would have been exposed to artillery fire lengthwise and the south's problem of over firing the target would have been negated.
    (4) Lee was to soft with his subordinates. Generals Harry Heath, and Jeb. Stuart should have been relieved on the spot for failing to obey orders and dereliction of duty respectively. Heath launched an attach, when ordered not to do so. Stuart was out and about trying to out class the "Boy General Custer" instead of screening for the infantry.
  9. jim brady

    jim brady Well-Known Member

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    You are correct on all points. General Lee was NOT a 'micro-manager'. I also agree that Generals Heath and Stuart's actions were the primary reasons why the Confederacy lost at Gettysburg. The third reason Lee lost that battle was that he was over confident in his own forces and was too stuborn to not fight the Union forces on their terms.

    General Heath ignored Orders, while Stuart failed in his primary duty of screening and scouting for the Confederate Army because of his quest for personal glory, Lee was left ingnorant of the dispostion and description of the Union forces he was about to engage.

    The war had gone on for a long time by the time of Gettysburg. I have often wondered if General Lee had simply lost any real hope of victory by then. It is only speculation on my part, but I've wondered if by the time of the battle that General Lee had decided "all-or-nothing" in this fight, and that it was time to wind down. The war lasted another year and a half, but that was only because of the stubborness and determination on the part of the Southern military.

    As far as the second half of General Stuart's failure, I doubt if General Stuart was even aware of a Custer. It was pure luck on Custer's part - and his disreguard for his own Federal Cavalry - that resulted in Custer holding Stuart from attacking the Union line from the rear. Custer was no Spartan Leonidas, but in his fanatic charges against the Confederate Cavalry the results were the same - he faced a superior force in a manner that prevented the superior force from deploying in strength.

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