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 Posted: Wed Mar 21st, 2007 04:19 pm
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ole
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However, other than his constant will to flank Lee and draw him out into a pitched fight, what was so special about his debut in the east.

Its simplicity. This was the final stage of the war and Lincoln wanted to finish it. Given his druthers, Grant may have approached the task differently, but he did have his CnC's wishes expressed quite clearly. Shall we say, "he complied"?

Grant's (and Lincoln's) strategy was to destroy the ANV and take Richmond. His tactics, hampered by the thick second-growth wilderness, were to never let Lee have the initiative (never let him call the tune); wear down Lee's ability to resist by visiting upon him the loss of irreplaceable manpower; force him back to Richmond where he would be invested and fixed in place; then force either the army of the government to sue for peace.

It took Grant 40 days to fix Lee in Richmond by investing Petersburg (note: it was not a seige). With Lee fixed behind entrenchments, Grant could afford to detach significant numbers of troops for other duties. (Sheridan in the Valley, for one example) He methodically entrenched, enabling a smaller number of troops to fix a position and making available troops to extend his lines across vital railroads. When Sheridan came back, Grant had the numbers again and immediately cut the last of Lee's line of supply. Lee scampered out while he still could, only to be caught a few days later.

Could another General have done as well? Perhaps. Close to probaby. I don't think, certainly. On the surface it looks like something another general could have done. There are so many unseen and unrecognized complexities involved in the generalship required. One glaring factor: could Lincoln have trusted any other general in the way he trusted Grant?

Just some thoughts in hopes of keeping the thread going.

Ole

 

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