View single post by Kentucky_Orphan
 Posted: Fri Jan 5th, 2007 11:31 pm
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Joined: Wed Dec 20th, 2006
Posts: 125

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This same question has been asked by historians (amateur and profesional) for years. It's interesting, I think, that the answer to this question has changed back and forth among those knowledgeable on the subject from time to time. That is, the majority at one point seems to think Grant was better, at another point Lee was better, then back to Grant and fluctuating as such. Untill very recently it seemed that Grant was underappreciated among todays historians, and now whenever you read an article or a trascript of a roundtable it seems that the majority believe Grant was the superior General.

So who was better? In the scenario you give, with both Generals being completely equal in terms of men and material, I think it is impossible to say DEFINITIVELY, simply because we never saw either general in such a position as this (completely equal forces with each General facing a very competent opponent.)

Lee was always outnumbered, always outgunned and undersupplied. Despite these severe limitations, and because of them, he cunningly assessed the situation, defied military convention (I believe that if you were to be given ths same scenario at OCS as Chancellorsville, then asked to come up with a soultion for the CS forces [of course, this would be without the knowledge we have today that it worked], they would drum you out of the service if your reply was the same as the solution Lee came up with), and won. He was, I believe, the only man North or South who could have done what he did with what he had.

Grant, on the other hand, was very suited to be the General for the army he was in direct command of as well. His mentality was prefect for a commander at the head of a larger, better supplied force. Bring superior force to bear, attrition is your ally...never let up and allow your opponent an opportunity to catch his breath.

So then, who would come out the victor if both were equally matched in regards to forces at their disposal? As I said, it is impossible to say with certainty, but my OPINION is that Lee would come out the victor.

I don't think Lee would have lost any of the audacity or aggresiveness that he had in spades if he were given the force you speak of Homeschool, and Grant would have been in a VERY bad position. Remember, Grant would be the one who HAD to take the offensive (due to the strategic situation) in the circumstances you describe, and having to attack a foe of equal strength during this time period is not a situation any General of the time period would want to be in.

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