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Civil War question

batten_down

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The opinions and “what if’s” are unending on this topic, but in my opinion, more was done with less by NBF than any other person in any form of command. I personally think the “2nd” and “3rd” places have to go to John Hunt Morgan and John Singleton Mosby. The south’s cavalry commanders were unequaled in the field, capable of tying up, sometimes forcing the complete reversal, of forces over 100x their size. Forrest’s name was feared more than any by war’s end, and for good reason.


Lee whiffed at Gettysburg, but the situation was beyond desperate, and the idea to take the army into the north was reckless and brilliant and was dang near the straw to break the back. If you go, there’s a little gift shop that sells wwjd shirts with stonewall Jackson’s bust on it. He could have made the difference on the knifes edge.

Great post
 

BSK

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BSK you are clearly educated on the war. Greatest military mind, you can only pick one. Who is it, in your opinion?
I spent 20 years of my life living Civil War history. My library of strategic and tactical studies of the war rivals that of the Nashville Public Library. I've visited nearly every Civil War battlefield in the country.

The greatest military commander our country ever produced was Robert E. Lee. Not even debatable. His ability to understand his adversary, what they were going to do, how they would fight, and almost always being one step ahead of them is unrivaled in American History. His greatest weaknesses were being a classic Southern Gentleman, as well as not sharing his plans with any of his subordinate commanders. When he gave orders, he would use phrases such as, "If you feel it is advantageous..." before telling a subordinate what he wanted them to do. Some, like Stonewall Jackson, understood this understatement. Others did not. Lee's strategic maneuvers are still studied at our war colleges. Other country's war colleges study Lee. He is considered one of the world's greatest military minds. His unthinkable victory in the face of sure defeat at Chancellorsville is considered his greatest feat of military action.

Lee did not choose to fight their nor loose Gettysburg. He gave explicit orders to NOT bring on a general engagement at that location. He was going lure Meade into the hills where he would have once again fought an aggressive defensive engagement, and certainly won a short-term victory. The Battle of Gettysburg was lost because Stonewall Jackson had just been killed at Chancellorsville. If he had been alive, he would have understood Lee's command to take Culps Hill and Cemetery Hill on the 2nd day of battle. The new commander of Jackson's Corp was Ewell, who was not used to taking direct commands from Lee and did not understand that when Lee gave the command to take those positions "If practicable..." he meant "Take those positions now!" Ewell did not act because he believed it would have been a tough fight. He was correct. Cemetery Hill would be a tough fight, but Culps Hill on the Union far right flank was almost completely undefended at the time. By not attacking, Ewell missed the opportunity to flank and enfilade the entire Union line along Cemetery Ridge, forcing the Union Army to retire from that field of battle.
 

BSK

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NBF was fantastic at Guerilla tactics. His ability to move substantial forces around the countryside undetected is still studied in our war colleges. He was a fairly good tactician within Brigade to Division-sized battles such as Brice's Crossroads and Parker's Crossroads. His accomplishments at these size engagements are legendary. However, he was not a good commander when put in charge of large infantry forces. But then he was a cavalry commander, so failing at large infantry engagements is certainly excusable.
 

WTM

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probably without a doubt General Forrest. his tactics and organization at Brice’s Crossroads has been studied by generations and is the epitome of the Army’s operations manual. Forrest was a hands on general having over 30 hand to hand combat kills, more than any American General and had 30 or so horses shot from under him. he understood that war meant fighting and fighting meant killing.

even Gen. Sherman once said “Forrest was the most remarkable man our Civil War produced on either side…he had a genius for strategy which was original, and to me incomprehensible.”

i can remember another modern day war plan that was very similar to Brices Crossroads albeit on a grander scale. Can anyone guess which one?
 

batten_down

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I spent 20 years of my life living Civil War history. My library of strategic and tactical studies of the war rivals that of the Nashville Public Library. I've visited nearly every Civil War battlefield in the country.

The greatest military commander our country ever produced was Robert E. Lee. Not even debatable. His ability to understand his adversary, what they were going to do, how they would fight, and almost always being one step ahead of them is unrivaled in American History. His greatest weaknesses were being a classic Southern Gentleman, as well as not sharing his plans with any of his subordinate commanders. When he gave orders, he would use phrases such as, "If you feel it is advantageous..." before telling a subordinate what he wanted them to do. Some, like Stonewall Jackson, understood this understatement. Others did not. Lee's strategic maneuvers are still studied at our war colleges. Other country's war colleges study Lee. He is considered one of the world's greatest military minds. His unthinkable victory in the face of sure defeat at Chancellorsville is considered his greatest feat of military action.

Lee did not choose to fight their nor loose Gettysburg. He gave explicit orders to NOT bring on a general engagement at that location. He was going lure Meade into the hills where he would have once again fought an aggressive defensive engagement, and certainly won a short-term victory. The Battle of Gettysburg was lost because Stonewall Jackson had just been killed at Chancellorsville. If he had been alive, he would have understood Lee's command to take Culps Hill and Cemetery Hill on the 2nd day of battle. The new commander of Jackson's Corp was Ewell, who was not used to taking direct commands from Lee and did not understand that when Lee gave the command to take those positions "If practicable..." he meant "Take those positions now!" Ewell did not act because he believed it would have been a tough fight. He was correct. Cemetery Hill would be a tough fight, but Culps Hill on the Union far right flank was almost completely undefended at the time. By not attacking, Ewell missed the opportunity to flank and enfilade the entire Union line along Cemetery Ridge, forcing the Union Army to retire from that field of battle.

I’m glad I pressed you further. Thanks for responding, great post.
 

BSK

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While I agree, it’s hard to see these three names together. The West’s only real requirement was to exist, and Hardee said it best when speaking of Cleburne that no enemy attacked or attacking broke his line sparing one time, where a monument marks his grave. Bragg single handedly wrecked the army and, even more so, needlessly killed more commanders than ever before or after for no gain
Bragg's leadership, in the end, proved disastrous. But his ideas - his strategic vison - was good. He often put the Western Army in the right position, but then would lose his nerve at the last minute. Best estimates are he suffered from severe anxiety disorder. On the eve of battle, he would often become so sick he was bedridden during the battles.
 

Specializedjon

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Let me ask you a question then was Schwarzkopf a better general than MacArthur. We didn't win Korea which he was in charge of?
Whoa, whoa....I'm a MacArthur 🤣 (Grandad was a cousin)...Mom's maiden name, my middle name. But, that being said, Schwarzkopf was a surgeon during the Gulf War.

To answer your Civil War question, with a question....imagine all of them North and South on the same side. Too bad they were fighting against each other. Keep talking and teaching history. It's being erased right in front of us. Just sad.
 

Wobblyshot1

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In the Western Theater, Cleburne was the South's best Brigade and Division Commander. Hardee was pretty good as a Corp Commander. And although he was ultimately a dismal failure, Bragg was actually a good strategist. Unfortunately, he suffered severe anxiety, and once the battle was joined, he would become desperately ill and lose his nerve.

I don' believe Bragg was very popular with his rank and file soldiers. Somewhere I've read it said that he could "snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" and "bully for Bragg he's he## on retreat.
 

Urban_Hunter

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Bragg's leadership, in the end, proved disastrous. But his ideas - his strategic vison - was good. He often put the Western Army in the right position, but then would lose his nerve at the last minute. Best estimates are he suffered from severe anxiety disorder. On the eve of battle, he would often become so sick he was bedridden during the battles.
Guess his undoing is the best example, having split the enemy into two isolated pockets primed for annihilation only to sleep on them slipping away right under his nose... the next day refusing to take responsibility and sending his best assets to pay the price.
 

Urban_Hunter

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To answer your Civil War question, with a question....imagine all of them North and South on the same side. Too bad they were fighting against each other. Keep talking and teaching history. It's being erased right in front of us. Just sad.

They were, barely two decades earlier, many civil war commanders were shoulder to shoulder at “The Halls of Montezuma” as Grant recalled.

Grant, Jackson, Lee, McClellan, Picket, Johnston, Meade, etc, etc all rubbed shoulders in the war, many coming from Westpoint together
 

Specializedjon

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They were, barely two decades earlier, many civil war commanders were shoulder to shoulder at “The Halls of Montezuma” as Grant recalled.

Grant, Jackson, Lee, McClellan, Picket, Johnston, Meade, etc, etc all rubbed shoulders in the war, many coming from Westpoint together
That's right. Forgot about that. I'd love to be a fly on the wall after a bottle or two of whiskey amongst those chaps.
 

Jon54

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I’ve read several books on Shiloh. The general consensus was that if Sidney Johnston hadn’t been killed at the end of the 1st day, Grant would have been pushed into the river
 

Crow Terminator

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I’ve been to every battlefield national park except for Vicksburg, and been to a lot of battle sites that aren’t NP service. I’ve actually metal detected the farms that the Brandy Station battle was on. The Battlefield Trust actually just bought some of those farms to preserve them. That’s probably the biggest one I have hunted. It is the largest calvary battle in this hemisphere. I also have a friend that owns a large portion of the Cedar Mountain battlefield. I’ve hunted the sites in North GA as well, some of the Rocky Face Ridge battle sites, Resaca, Dallas, New Hope Church. In Tennessee I’ve hunted a lot but mostly camps here. I have hunted private property on Missionary Ridge in Chattanooga and some farms in the Murfreesboro and Christiana areas. In all I guess I have spent the better portion of 30 years studying and researching the movements of troops, camp life, etc. I got out of it a couple years ago. I had a collection that would top most any museum you would see. I would take weeks off every year to go relic hunting out of state.

Modern development killed more and more sites, along with landowners growing tired of people wanting to metal detect their property. It got harder and harder to find places to go and I got into other things. I sold off the bulk of my collection and kept a few things. Virginia farms are awesome...nowhere in Tennessee have I ever walked multiple farms where the owner has 3,000-4,000 acres. I’ve hunted 4 up there that were that big. It’s a neat subject. BSK was always more into the WHY they moved here or there. My part of the study was more focused on the WHERE they moved, what route they took, where they crossed rivers, camped, etc.
 

7mm08

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In a river hopefully!
Sherman or Grant.

All the aforementioned ones were on the losing side of the war ;)

Grant’s tactics would not be popular today. A lot of his success came from utilizing manpower and throwing men into the meat grinder...outlasting the enemy. Sherman’s tactics would not be popular either but it was effective at breaking the backbone of the south.
Sherman should have been hung for war crimes!!! His men raped, murdered, and pillaged across the South.
 

TheLBLman

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They were, barely two decades earlier, many civil war commanders were shoulder to shoulder at “The Halls of Montezuma” as Grant recalled.

Grant, Jackson, Lee, McClellan, Picket, Johnston, Meade, etc, etc all rubbed shoulders in the war, many coming from Westpoint together
So true.

In the early part of this war of northern aggression, Grant visited his friend Jack Hinson in Stewart County, TN, dined with the Hinsons, slept in their home, at least twice.

What's so significant about this?
Jack Hinson would later become the man the Union placed the highest bounty for his head, dead or alive. Hinson killed more Union officers than any other single person, yet was a personal friend of Grant's.

I’ve read several books on Shiloh. The general consensus was that if Sidney Johnston hadn’t been killed at the end of the 1st day, Grant would have been pushed into the river

I have this question:

If Union gun boats hadn't gotten lucky (mainly due to weather) when they were able to take Ft. Henry, February 6, 1862 on the Tennessee River, Stewart County, Tennessee, would the Battle of Shiloh have been fought?

The taking of Ft. Henry was the first important victory for the Union and Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in the Western Theater. It's my belief Grant was, prior to this surprise victory, about to recommend to Lincoln that the Union cease their promulgating of this war, i.e. the Union had lost, prior to February 6, 1862.

But that surprise overtaking of Ft. Henry, followed immediately by the overtaking of nearby Ft. Donelson, immediately opened up supply routes to the South via both the Tennessee & Cumberland Rivers, giving the Union a new sense of hope.
 

BlackBelt

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Don't know if he was in the War of Northern Aggression or not but The General from the General Insurance commercials seems to be pretty effective.

Besides that, Forrest and Sherman seemed to be the most effective in their positions.
 
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