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  • Massena
    replied
    The essence of military strategy with the overall mission being the destruction of the enemy army, as was exemplified by Napoleon's operations, was to maneuver against the enemy capital in order to get the enemy army to fight. The goal is not the capture of the enemy capital, though that will most likely happen when the enemy defends it and is then defeated.

    That is what Grant did in 1864-1865 with the result being the destruction of the Army of Northern Virginia.

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  • American87
    replied
    Originally posted by McMax View Post


    The South was fighting for a system of chattel slavery





    The South lost because its leaders were out thought and it's soldiers were out fought.

    They fought for a lot of reasons.

    Some of them did fight to protect their constitutional right to own slaves. You know, the Constitution. Remember that?

    And their leaders were outthought to the extent that they couldn't counter attrition. As Grant was hammering away with an abundance of men and material, Lee could do nothing to shift the tide.

    Perhaps Lee's biggest obstacle was being tied to Richmond. Had he been free to maneuver, without suffering the moral loss of the capital, he may have been able to outmaneuver Grant and devise a better strategy.

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  • McMax
    replied
    Originally posted by American87 View Post

    The South was fighting for its rights...

    The South was fighting for a system of chattel slavery


    Originally posted by American87 View Post

    And the South, imo, really did lose because of inadequate supplies...

    The South lost because its leaders were out thought and it's soldiers were out fought.


    Leave a comment:


  • Massena
    replied
    And not all of the Confederate commanders were able. Bragg certainly was not a good commander, and Jackson fouled up continuously during the Seven Days. Hood was terrible as an army commander and had been promoted past his level of competence. And while Beauregard was capable as a second-in-command at Shiloh, he was badly defeated on the second day of the action.

    Both AP Hill and Ewell were erratic at best, and Stuart's foul-up in the Gettysburg campaign is noteworthy.

    Incompetent Union commanders were weeded out one way or the other and the good ones rose to army command-McPherson, Meade, Thomas, Schofield, Sherman and Grant. And for all purposes and intent, Sherman was an army group commander after Grant went east.

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  • D1J1
    replied
    Originally posted by American87 View Post

    Yes, I have to agree on this.

    Southerners had a good high command in many cases. A.S. Johnston was not among these, but he does not represent the Confederacy. But Early, Lee, Jackson, J.E. Johnston, and even John Brown Gordon represented competent leadership.

    Their lack of a navy had severe consequences. Imagine if Lee could cut communications across the Potomoc, or if the South could control the Mississippi, Cumberland, or Tennessee Rivers.

    And the South, imo, really did lose because of inadequate supplies. Lee could barely keep his artillery and wagon trains moving in 1865, because he lacked the horses.
    My bold of your words, again, agreeing. The south, by no stretch of the imagination had the men, material, money or international support to win a war with the north.

    But, the north had to use those advantages correctly. Until Grant and his cadre took over the Union effort those advantages were wasted by many. Pope, Hooker, and McClellan among others spring to mind.

    With Grant, Sherman, Meade, and the rest, the Union found commanders the equal of or better than any the south could offer.

    Regards,
    Dennis
    Last edited by D1J1; 31 May 20, 19:34. Reason: Change equal to, to equal of in the last para.

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  • American87
    replied
    Originally posted by D1J1 View Post

    Actually, in 19th Century America a preponderance of skilled army officers came from the southern states. The tradition of service in the army ran much stronger in their culture than in the north.

    Because of the shipping industry and major seaports in the north, we see just the opposite in the naval service.

    The rebels did not lose so much from a dearth of ability, as you hint, to command their armies, but more so from a lack of means, (human, material, financial and diplomatic) to prosecute a civil war to a successful conclusion.

    The south was never able to counter Union naval superiority. The north, through a slow, painful and bloody process was finally able to create a cadre of leadership that was every bit the equal of any the rebels could field.

    Regards,
    Dennis
    Yes, I have to agree on this.

    Southerners had a good high command in many cases. A.S. Johnston was not among these, but he does not represent the Confederacy. But Early, Lee, Jackson, J.E. Johnston, and even John Brown Gordon represented competent leadership.

    Their lack of a navy had severe consequences. Imagine if Lee could cut communications across the Potomoc, or if the South could control the Mississippi, Cumberland, or Tennessee Rivers.

    And the South, imo, really did lose because of inadequate supplies. Lee could barely keep his artillery and wagon trains moving in 1865, because he lacked the horses.

    Leave a comment:


  • American87
    replied
    Originally posted by Massena View Post

    Please don't involve me in your suppositions.
    o.k.

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  • American87
    replied
    Originally posted by D1J1 View Post

    Correct on McClellan, especially in western Virginia. He was seldom, if ever, directly responsible for any success in the small scale actions fought there. A tremendous organizer, but the ability to lead in battle was not a skill he possessed.

    Regards,
    Dennis
    What do you mean? He planned the operations at the Battle of Rich Mountain.

    Leave a comment:


  • American87
    replied
    Originally posted by Drusus Nero View Post
    I think we can all agree on something then....

    The Confederate
    States of America suffered greatly from a lack of strategic leadertship.

    Grat junior officers, the greatest of great Army commander (three star level)...but...

    When it came to four star decision making, their was a lack of ideas, an intellectual vacuum, as to exactly how to put all this professional talent to the best use, and win the war.

    The idea of war as a method of perpetrating the Southern Way of Life was the wrong course of action.

    Robert E Lee could not change that.
    Lee reminds me of Hannibal Barca, or the Greek commander Phyrus…..or Manstein without Manstein's co-operation in war crimes...

    And the South? Their decision to go to war reminds me very much of Japan's decision to go to war on December 7th, 1941.

    Over before it began...

    Drusus
    I'm glad you agree that A.S. Johnston was, perhaps, the worst general in the war. Maybe the worst in U.S. History. If you read global history, you know he was probably one of the worst field commanders of all time.

    I disagree that the Southern high command lacked a grand strategy or at least a military strategy for winning the war. It's all well-docoumented. Lee, for one, wanted an offensive-defensive strategy, and J.E. Johnston wanted a conservative, defensive strategy.

    You could weigh the merits of their strategies, but they definitely exited.

    And while it is one thing to consider the Southern cause a "Lost Cause," it is demeaning to their manhood and self-respect to write such things. The South was fighting for its rights. It's kind of personal. You don't read much about immigrants in the South, who are trying to get citizenship status there. That type of bond already existed in the North. The Southernors were, in nearly all essential ways, unfit for the job they took on. Except Lee and some Virginians. But that's neither here nor there. What's important is that the South did the manly thing by looking after Southerners and doing its job.
    Last edited by American87; 31 May 20, 16:45.

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  • D1J1
    replied
    Originally posted by Drusus Nero View Post
    I think we can all agree on something then....

    The Confederate
    States of America suffered greatly from a lack of strategic leadertship.

    Grat junior officers, the greatest of great Army commander (three star level)...but...

    When it came to four star decision making, their was a lack of ideas, an intellectual vacuum, as to exactly how to put all this professional talent to the best use, and win the war.


    Drusus
    Actually, in 19th Century America a preponderance of skilled army officers came from the southern states. The tradition of service in the army ran much stronger in their culture than in the north.

    Because of the shipping industry and major seaports in the north, we see just the opposite in the naval service.

    The rebels did not lose so much from a dearth of ability, as you hint, to command their armies, but more so from a lack of means, (human, material, financial and diplomatic) to prosecute a civil war to a successful conclusion.

    The south was never able to counter Union naval superiority. The north, through a slow, painful and bloody process was finally able to create a cadre of leadership that was every bit the equal of any the rebels could field.

    Regards,
    Dennis

    Leave a comment:


  • Massena
    replied

    Originally posted by Drusus Nero View Post
    ASJ was given a task that any commander would have failed at.


    Perhaps, but we don't know if he even would have won at Shiloh if he had lived. And there were other commanders in history that, when faced with a supposedly impossible situation, succeeded. A good look at the Eastern Romans might be a place to begin...

    Not all 'hopeless' military tasks are impossible.

    Leave a comment:


  • D1J1
    replied
    Originally posted by Massena View Post

    It should be noted, as it has been in past threads on the subject, that McClellan excelled as an organizer and trainer, but was an abject failure as an army commander.

    That evaluation cannot be said of Johnston as he was killed in his first battle as an army commander. At least he led from the front, where McClellan did not. And most of the battles that the Army of the Potomac fought with McClellan as the commander, were fought in the absence of McClellan from the field or if he was present, he was present merely as an observer.

    Comparing the two, Johnston was the better soldier and I would suggest that if he had survived Shiloh he would have matured and grown as an army commander. But that is just supposition, but it is a logical one as Johnston was a soldier whereas McClellan was a 'personality boy' and a politician in uniform.

    Union General Edwin V Sumner was another senior officer who had been a regimental commander and who became a competent corps commander through experience. To my mind he is the northern equivalent to Johnston and Sumner commanded the II Corps and never lost 'a gun or a color.'

    Both Sumner and Johnston had combat experience before the Civil War and both had been department commanders as well as regimental commanders. Johnston was a brevet brigadier general in the prewar army.
    Correct on McClellan, especially in western Virginia. He was seldom, if ever, directly responsible for any success in the small scale actions fought there. A tremendous organizer, but the ability to lead in battle was not a skill he possessed.

    Regards,
    Dennis

    Leave a comment:


  • Massena
    replied
    Originally posted by Drusus Nero View Post

    Over before it began...

    Drusus
    Except for the numbers of dead and wounded...

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  • Drusus Nero
    replied
    I think we can all agree on something then....

    The Confederate
    States of America suffered greatly from a lack of strategic leadertship.

    Grat junior officers, the greatest of great Army commander (three star level)...but...

    When it came to four star decision making, their was a lack of ideas, an intellectual vacuum, as to exactly how to put all this professional talent to the best use, and win the war.

    The idea of war as a method of perpetrating the Southern Way of Life was the wrong course of action.

    Robert E Lee could not change that.
    Lee reminds me of Hannibal Barca, or the Greek commander Phyrus…..or Manstein without Manstein's co-operation in war crimes...

    And the South? Their decision to go to war reminds me very much of Japan's decision to go to war on December 7th, 1941.

    Over before it began...

    Drusus

    Leave a comment:


  • Massena
    replied
    Originally posted by American87 View Post
    Both Massena and I could do better.
    Please don't involve me in your suppositions.

    Leave a comment:

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