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Robert E. Lee’s tactics may have been old, but they were not ineffective

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  • I don't know if Lee's tactics were old, but they WERE effective. He lost because Grant had more men, more food, more ammo, and more HORSES haha. Seriously, Lee lost because he didn't have the material to sustain a war effort.

    Plus Chancellorsville.

    He lost W. Virginia but who cares? Some of that had to do with Lee's administration, not his tactical ability.
    All the reasons you cite for Lee losing to Grant were true with every Union commander who came before him as well. That being the case, it must also have something, actually a lot, to do with Grants ability as well.

    Regards,
    Dennis
    Last edited by D1J1; 06 Dec 17, 04:08. Reason: Add quote
    If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

    Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

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    • Originally posted by American87 View Post
      I don't know if Lee's tactics were old, but they WERE effective. He lost because Grant had more men, more food, more ammo, and more HORSES haha. Seriously, Lee lost because he didn't have the material to sustain a war effort.

      Plus Chancellorsville.

      He lost W. Virginia but who cares? Some of that had to do with Lee's administration, not his tactical ability.
      What do you mean, "plus Chancellorsville"? Are you saying that battle is one of the reasons Lee lost?
      "A foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse." Ulysses S. Grant

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      • Originally posted by D1J1 View Post
        All the reasons you cite for Lee losing to Grant were true with every Union commander who came before him as well. That being the case, it must also have something, actually a lot, to do with Grants ability as well.

        Regards,
        Dennis
        Sure, the difference between Grant and former commanders is that he had the balls to use the Northern war machine. It cost him, bigtime. Cold Harbor is only the most prominent example.
        Other commanders were either replaced after losing a battle, or didn't have it in them to start a war of attrition.
        "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

        "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

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        • Originally posted by jonny87kz View Post
          What do you mean, "plus Chancellorsville"? Are you saying that battle is one of the reasons Lee lost?
          I'm saying it's an example of his tactics being effective.
          "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

          "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

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          • Originally posted by American87 View Post
            I'm saying it's an example of his tactics being effective.
            I say it's an example of luck. If Hooker would not have been immobilized for whatever reason, Lee dividing his army in the face of a superior enemy would have been catastrophic.
            "A foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse." Ulysses S. Grant

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            • Originally posted by American87 View Post
              I don't know if Lee's tactics were old, but they WERE effective. He lost because Grant had more men, more food, more ammo, and more HORSES haha. Seriously, Lee lost because he didn't have the material to sustain a war effort.
              Plus Chancellorsville.
              He lost W. Virginia but who cares? Some of that had to do with Lee's administration, not his tactical ability.
              Yes, as a wargamer, there are many ACW strategic-level wargames around and they've all got one thing in common- the Union player will always win because the North has more of everything!
              I'd have thought the Southern politicians would have done their sums before starting the war, that way they'd never have started it knowing it was unwinnable because they couldn't beat the maths!
              No doubt they announced Secession and were keeping their fingers crossed hoping the North would let them get away with it without a shot being fired.
              As it was, they gambled and lost..

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              • Originally posted by jonny87kz View Post
                I say it's an example of luck. If Hooker would not have been immobilized for whatever reason, Lee dividing his army in the face of a superior enemy would have been catastrophic.
                If...

                It would have been interesting if Hooker advanced against Lee's two divisions. Sure they might have retreated, but Hooker would've discoverd Jackson in his rear.
                "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

                "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

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                • Well I'm not really enough of an expert on chancellorsville to get into what ifs, but my impression is that Hooker's delay allowed time for Jackson to make his march. Hooker should have attacked on the morning of May 2. This would not have allowed Jackson to make his march.
                  "A foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse." Ulysses S. Grant

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                  • Originally posted by American87 View Post
                    I'm saying it's an example of his tactics being effective.
                    Actually if old Joe Hooker hadn't retreated the day he did Lee was about to destroy his own army....

                    I mean he was planning on attacking Hooker the next day LLMAO.... would have been a bloodbath along the lines of Franklin

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                    • Originally posted by jonny87kz View Post
                      Well I'm not really enough of an expert on chancellorsville to get into what ifs, but my impression is that Hooker's delay allowed time for Jackson to make his march. Hooker should have attacked on the morning of May 2. This would not have allowed Jackson to make his march.
                      I mean maybe. A lot of things could've happened, and Lee could've devised some tactic to win even if Hooker attacked.
                      "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

                      "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

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                      • Originally posted by Legionnaire66 View Post
                        Actually if old Joe Hooker hadn't retreated the day he did Lee was about to destroy his own army....

                        I mean he was planning on attacking Hooker the next day LLMAO.... would have been a bloodbath along the lines of Franklin
                        What do you mean he was planning to attack Hooker the next day?
                        "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

                        "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

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                        • Originally posted by American87 View Post
                          What do you mean he was planning to attack Hooker the next day?
                          Lee was planning on attacking Hooker's 70,000 man beachhead the day after the night he withdrew (May 6-7?). Hooker's retreat beat him to the punch.

                          If Lee would have attacked Hookers final position he would have been SLAUGHTERED. Like cold harbor slaughtered. He was lucky Hooker didn't give him a chance to destroy himself.

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                          • Originally posted by Poor Old Spike View Post
                            Yes, as a wargamer, there are many ACW strategic-level wargames around and they've all got one thing in common- the Union player will always win because the North has more of everything!
                            I'd have thought the Southern politicians would have done their sums before starting the war, that way they'd never have started it knowing it was unwinnable because they couldn't beat the maths!
                            No doubt they announced Secession and were keeping their fingers crossed hoping the North would let them get away with it without a shot being fired.
                            As it was, they gambled and lost..
                            Funny thing, though, those wargames oft simplify things. For example, the big Confederate mobilization was quicker than the Union counterpart and more concentrated in Virginia, so there was a short window when the Confederates had significantly greater manpower around Washington.

                            For another example of how strategic-level analyses can miss things, take the Seven Days. The Union army was in extreme peril during this period and it would not be too hard to have a day's delay lead to the loss of the entire Army of the Potomac.
                            With that gone, the main defense of the US capital is in the hands of Pope's Army of Virginia, and... well... Pope's Army of Virginia had a major disaster against Lee's main force after getting reinforcements! That puts the Union into crisis mode right there...

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                            • I have a partial explanation for Hooker's mishaps on day 3 of Chancellorsville, even before the cannonball to the head. The previous night, Jackson had been planning to send A.P. Hill's division to cut around Hooker's lines and get between Hooker and his line of retreat, US Ford. This never happened of course, and probably wouldn't have worked due to the presence of Meade and Reynolds' troops between the Rebels and the ford. However, given his increasingly defensive mindset, Hooker feared the possibility; that's why he kept Meade and Reynolds' troops out of the fight, to safeguard his line of retreat. That ground dominated his thinking, not the importance of his position at Hazel Grove or even the crossroads at Chancellorsville proper, etc, which is why he ultimately draws his army back on the ford. Early in the morning, he initially seemed favorable to fighting it out; John Bigelow wrote that he seemed to have recaptured some of his fighting drive, temporarily at least. But even at that moment, he doesn't seem to have had any intention of moving the V and I Corps. Those troops were his insurance, and so he handicapped himself. For that, Jackson's flank attack can probably take some credit for making Hooker fear for his line of retreat, even if the fear was unfounded.
                              "Liberty and Union, now and for ever, one and inseparable!" -Daniel Webster

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                              • Originally posted by Legionnaire66 View Post
                                Lee was planning on attacking Hooker's 70,000 man beachhead the day after the night he withdrew (May 6-7?). Hooker's retreat beat him to the punch.

                                If Lee would have attacked Hookers final position he would have been SLAUGHTERED. Like cold harbor slaughtered. He was lucky Hooker didn't give him a chance to destroy himself.
                                No, he wasn't. Krick speculated that in his 1996 chapter, but in 2002 recanted. New evidence had come to light - Lee's orders to Stuart. These clearly told Stuart not to attack, and are in the latest biography of Stuart.
                                "[T]he worst that could be said of the Peninsula campaign was that thus far it had not been successful. To make it a failure was reserved for the agency of General Halleck." -Emory Upton

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