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Gary Gallagher on the Seven Days - Other Eastern Theater - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Sun Aug 5th, 2012 06:45 pm
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BHR62
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http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/WarSev

I saw this on CSPAN this morning and thought it was pretty interesting.  He argues the Seven Days battles were the real turning point of the war.  I have never heard of the Seven Days as being mentioned as a turning point before and thought I would share it with you all. 



 Posted: Mon Aug 6th, 2012 12:39 am
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CleburneFan
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Many thanks for that link. I watched Gallagher's entire hour-long presentation and found it fascinating. He has some persuasive arguments for his statement. I understand from what he says that the Seven Days was a significant foundation for what followed and also was the start of Lincoln's plan to emancipate slaves, even before the idea gained traction after Antietam.

I would like to see Gallagher argue his points with a historians who fiercely believe Gettysburg was the true "turning point." That would be a super cool event to witness.

Gallagher does admit that the war had several distinct turning points, such as the fall of Atlanta, for example, but still maintains that the results for both North and South of the Seven Days Battles were so significant that it amounts to the true turning point of the war.

Last edited on Mon Aug 6th, 2012 01:09 am by CleburneFan



 Posted: Mon Aug 6th, 2012 03:41 pm
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BHR62
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You are welcome Cleburne. He is definitely persuasive in his arguments for the Seven Days being a turning point of the war. It would be interesting to see him go up against the Gettyburg-ists.

What he said about Lee was very interesting. How the south didn't think much of him for the first year of the war. It wasn't until Chancellorsville that the Lee of today was embraced by the south.

I thought the what if question about if Grant had been in charge of the Penninsula Campaign was interesting also. The Grant of June 1862 was still coming into his own. I also wondered why McClellen gave up Malvern Hill after inflicting heavy casualties on the Lee's army. Like Gallagher said....McClellen was always looking for the retreat option. Lee and Grant never spoke of it as an option. Lee only retreated as a last resort.

Gallagher also talked a lot about how after New Orleans fell Vicksburg was irrelevant. The south lost any use for the Mississippi when New Orleans fell....which is true. From the Union perspective though....I think Vicksburg still kept the Union from full use of the river. So they had to take it.



 Posted: Mon Aug 6th, 2012 04:53 pm
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Old Blu
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I would take Galager with a grain of salt. He says lots of things that are not correct and
 people get all googleyed over him.



 Posted: Mon Aug 6th, 2012 05:50 pm
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Mark
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Can you be more specific Old Blu? He makes a pretty good case here.

Mark



 Posted: Mon Aug 6th, 2012 07:45 pm
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Old Blu
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Mark wrote: Can you be more specific Old Blu? He makes a pretty good case here.

Mark


His attitude that he is perfect and always right, which he isn't.  Added some name calling within 10 minutes of the talk, and right off the bat during the TV program about Grant and Lee he called Lee a murderer.

No double about his abilities but his overall presentation sucks and I don't believe a word he says.



 Posted: Mon Aug 6th, 2012 10:16 pm
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Mark
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Fair enough Old Blu. I must have missed that reference in Grant and Lee.

Mark



 Posted: Mon Aug 6th, 2012 11:05 pm
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BHR62
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He was talking about how Grant was labeled a butcher by people in the north due to his high casualties. Lee meanwhile sustained heavier casualties but the south accepted it because he gave them victories in fending off the Yankee invaders. Lee and Grant both believed in the offensive meaning there was going to be high casualties. Calling Lee a murderer was said to point out that Grant wasnt a butcher.



 Posted: Tue Aug 7th, 2012 12:07 am
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CleburneFan
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Gotta confess, I really didn't realize until I heard Gallagher say it last night, that Grant's armies suffered "only" 35,000 casualties throughout the entire war, but in contrast Lee's Army of Northern Virginia suffered 95,000 casualties in the three years he led the ANV. I had no idea the difference was so stark. If anything, I would have thought the casualty toll would have been the reverse.

What's more, Lee could ill afford to lose that many men. Gallagher says a soldier who started with Lee in 1862 had a staggering 75% probabilty of becoming a casualty by the end of the war!

I didn't know matters were so dangerous under Lee, but, yes, he did win battles. However, no wonder his army was in such dire staits by April 1865.

Last edited on Tue Aug 7th, 2012 12:08 am by CleburneFan



 Posted: Tue Aug 7th, 2012 12:27 am
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Old Blu
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BHR62 wrote: He was talking about how Grant was labeled a butcher by people in the north due to his high casualties. Lee meanwhile sustained heavier casualties but the south accepted it because he gave them victories in fending off the Yankee invaders. Lee and Grant both believed in the offensive meaning there was going to be high casualties. Calling Lee a murderer was said to point out that Grant wasnt a butcher.
No, that is not it.  Right at the beginning of the movie that is what he called General Lee! A murderer. I didn't watch anymore of it. 

All the writers  I have read about called Grant a butcher but that doesn't matter to Galager.
He shows his biases real slick like.  Matter of fact, I understand Grant himself said he regretted what he did at Cold Harbor.

Last edited on Tue Aug 7th, 2012 12:32 am by Old Blu



 Posted: Tue Aug 7th, 2012 01:05 am
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Texas Defender
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Old Blu-

  I believe that the quote from General Grant's memoirs is: "I have always regretted the last assault at Cold Harbor was ever made."

  One person on the Union side who called General Grant a butcher at the time was Mary Lincoln. She complained to her  husband that Grant was: "A butcher," and that he was: "Unfit to command an army," and that he would: "Depopulate the north." I don't know if Mr. Lincoln made a reply to his wife on the matter, but my guess is that he was thinking again what he had said to General Grant's detractors years before, which was: "I can't spare the man. He fights."



 Posted: Tue Aug 7th, 2012 01:35 am
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BHR62
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Grant wasn't anymore a butcher than Lee was. It was just the nature of that war. There was no way to wage it without heavy casualties. To label Grant a butcher while letting Lee off the hook isn't right.



 Posted: Tue Aug 7th, 2012 02:10 am
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Old Blu
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BHR62 wrote: Grant wasn't anymore a butcher than Lee was. It was just the nature of that war. There was no way to wage it without heavy casualties. To label Grant a butcher while letting Lee off the hook isn't right.

Or vic-a-versa as Galager does.



 Posted: Tue Aug 7th, 2012 10:54 am
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BHR62
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Grant's critics in the North and just about everyone south of the Mason-Dixon line in 1862 thought of him as a butcher. Yet Lee who's army suffered heavier casualties throughout the war is a Saint to the south and some in the north. Some historians accuse Grant of being a butcher while glorifying Lee in godlike status. Just nice to see one point out that if Grant was a butcher/murderer then so was Lee.



 Posted: Tue Aug 7th, 2012 12:45 pm
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CleburneFan
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Just my two cents. Both Grant and Lee were military men leading soldiers in a war. At that time in history, the way war was fought with the technology of the times, casualties were extremely heavy and expected to be. In contrast, Joseph E Johnston who sought to avoid heavy casualties by retreating was demonized for hs philosophy of warfare.

The real butchers of history were the ones who, in addition to the massive losses of their own military and their enemies, were the ones who also ruthlessly slaughtered thousands upon thousands of civilians including women and children.

Neither Grant nor Lee ever came anywhere near such levels of atrocities as were perpetrated in ancient times or even as recently as World War Two or even under the Pol Pot regime on Cambodia.

Last edited on Tue Aug 7th, 2012 12:46 pm by CleburneFan



 Posted: Wed Aug 8th, 2012 05:23 pm
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JG6789
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Old Blu wrote: All the writers  I have read about called Grant a butcher

 

You're apparently not reading the right writers...



 Posted: Wed Aug 8th, 2012 07:36 pm
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pender
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CleburneFan wrote: Gotta confess, I really didn't realize until I heard Gallagher say it last night, that Grant's armies suffered "only" 35,000 casualties throughout the entire war, but in contrast Lee's Army of Northern Virginia suffered 95,000 casualties in the three years he led the ANV.
How does Gallagher figure Grant had "only" 35,000 casualties throughout the entire war?

At the Wilderness, Spotsylvania and North Anna (only three battles) alone he had 56,150 casualties.

I am not arguing that Grant was a butcher. I think Grant and Lee were both good Generals. But for Gary Gallagher to say this is absurd.

 



 Posted: Wed Aug 8th, 2012 09:23 pm
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JG6789
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pender wrote: How does Gallagher figure Grant had "only" 35,000 casualties throughout the entire war?

I think he meant "killed", not "casualties".

 

At the Wilderness, Spotsylvania and North Anna (only three battles) alone he had 56,150 casualties.

Which sources are you using for that? Most modern students would put the figure at under 40,000. 56,000 might be too high for the entire Overland Campaign.



 Posted: Wed Aug 8th, 2012 11:56 pm
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pender
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JG6789 wrote: pender wrote: How does Gallagher figure Grant had "only" 35,000 casualties throughout the entire war?

I think he meant "killed", not "casualties".

 

At the Wilderness, Spotsylvania and North Anna (only three battles) alone he had 56,150 casualties.

Which sources are you using for that? Most modern students would put the figure at under 40,000. 56,000 might be too high for the entire Overland Campaign.


 

JG6789, I used the list on this site for the Wilderness and Spotsylvania. http://americancivilwar.com/cwstats.html

For North Anna just used Wiki.

As you know not every one gives the exact casualty numbers. But even with Victor, Bonekember, Eicher, Foote and Rhea you come up with Union casualty numbers for the Union in those three battles at around 38,000.

I have found that Hellcat is an excellent source at casualty figures, maybe he will see this post and work his magic.;)

 


 



 Posted: Thu Aug 9th, 2012 12:16 am
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pender
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My bad, just figured out what I done. If you will look at the link I posted and add Cold Harbor and Petersburg to the Wilderness and Spotsylvania you will come up with the number 56,150. My apologies, the number should have been 38,623 for the three battles named above. Was a long day at work.



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