I make that you have little care for Jackson and more care for some of the more succesful Federal generals towards the end of the war. I don't think Sheridan would have destroyed Jackson, but at the same time I don't think Jackson would have destroyed Sheridan either. By the time Sheridan reached the Valley the war was largely going towards the North's favor and more and more Federal troops were being brought east as the Western Theater was moving east. Sheridan had more forces to throw at Early in the Valley than previous Federal generals had had to throw against Jackson. First Winchester Jackson actually has more than twice Banks' force to play with. Third Winchester Sheridan has more than twice Early's force. Sheridan had the numbers on his side and yet he still approached facing Early in the beginning of the campaign with caution according to Bruce Catton in The Civil War. Catton describes Early on page 226 as
a hard hitter, and although his army was small, it was lean and sinewy, composed of veterans -- altogether, an outfit to be treated with much respect.
Jackson had gained his reputation not just against smaller forces. According to Encyclopedia of the American Civil War Jackson once said the reason he had been succesful was to
Always mystify, mislead and surprise the enemy, if possible; and when you strike and overcome him, never let up in the pursuit so long as your men have the strength to follow; for an army routed, if hotly pursued, becomes panic-stricken, and can then be destroyed by half their number. The other rule is, never fight against heavy odds, if by any possible maneuvering you can hurl you own force on only a part, and that the weakest part, of your enemy and crush it. Such tactics will win every time, and a small army may thus destroy a large one in detail, and repeated victory will make it invincible.
I believe Jackson never faced a force the size Early had to on his own. As a part of the Army of Northern Virginia under Johnston and Lee he did, but as a part of the Army of Northern Virginia he was also working with a large force than he did in the Valley. Against Sheridan towards the end of the war I don't think Jackson could have destroyed Sheridan as his tactics would allow. BUT I think he would have used his tactics against Sheridan and Sheridan would not have destroyed him either. More Sheridan would have likely tied Jackson up in the Valley to keep him from possibly linking with Lee. Not that Jackson would have been willing to give the Valley up to Sheridan.
We have just passed the anniversary date of the beginning of the siege of Yorktown in 1862. At the risk of making a slight departure from the theme of this thread (Which Federal general was General Lee's toughest opponent), I'll present an article about Yorktown written by an author who is definately not a fan of General McClellan.
Most amusing to me was a line written which said that: " McClellan's presence (At Lee's Mills on 16 April) removed any chance that a serious assault might have developed."
Since some of the most heated discussions on this forum involve opinions (Often about scenarios that never took place), perhaps some members will have opinions about the author's: "general" view of the quality of McClellan's generalship.
Hellcat wrote: I make that you have little care for Jackson and more care for some of the more succesful Federal generals towards the end of the war.
Actually, the point I intended to make by posting those quotes was this: just because Grant said that about Jackson doesn't make it so. Just as if Lee said what he is alleged to have said about McClellan--and that's a big if--it doesn't make it so.