View single post by ole
 Posted: Thu Feb 7th, 2008 06:55 pm
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Joined: Sun Oct 22nd, 2006
Posts: 2031

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Leaving the field seems to have been the equivalent of having been driven off it or whupped to the point that you had to retire from it.

At Gettysburg and Antietam. Lee hung around for a while, most certainly partly because he didn't want the subsequent retreats to look like he had "left the field." At Gettysburg, many agree that he went into the third day (again partly) so as not to retire from the field.

Seems that most officers held the same view -- except when they were truly driven off. That must have been embarrassing!

And I've read the same thing: Grant, during his career from Belmont through Appomattox, lost a smaller percentage of his forces than did Lee during his career from the early days in West Virginia until Appomattox. Given that Grant was rarely on the defensive (he was on the offensive when he got his nasty surprise at Shiloh, but that's picking nits),  and that Lee pushed almost as consistently, the figures can be hard to believe.


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