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Who's the better General? - Robert E. Lee - The Participants of the War - Mikitary & Civilian - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Tue Jan 9th, 2007 06:26 am
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Kentucky_Orphan
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Ole-

but it is profitable only in that it stimulates thinking and discussion. There is no conclusion.

Of course, there is no way to definitively say which was the better (as I said in my first post on this subject as well, LOL), but debating subjects that have no apparent definitve answer are the only subjecs that can be debated intelligently. I've enjoyed reading other posters opinions on this subject, ESPECIALLY those that disagree with me. If everyone had said Lee was the superior General, I probably would have played the "devils advocate" and chosen Grant as the better of the two.

 


 



 Posted: Wed Jan 10th, 2007 05:43 pm
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younglobo
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Ok this discussion is stimulating IMO Lee is the better strategist some of his battleplans are genius Grant was also a great Gen but, just beat Lee with superior forces but if they are equal HMM... that is a fight for one of them new history channel computer battle generations ... I would not want to see the outcome due to the losses of life. They are both superb Gen. but to say better well, one would usually sway with where your loyalties lie.  Comparing the to great Generals is like a musical Comparison of emm..... Elvis and Clapton both music greats but for different reasons.

THE FOLLOWING ARE TOTALLY OFF TOPIC BEWARE

 

Missouri, which just barely qualifies as southern (my favorite of all the states I've lived in, by the way),

Ole... As a Missourian you wound me sir!! Our fine state not southern???? Have you been to southern MO and I am talking south of Branson you are offered sweet tea vs. regular at a resturant can you get more southern than that? LOL :P

ESPECIALLY those that disagree with me. If everyone had said Lee was the superior General, I probably would have played the "devils advocate" and chosen Grant as the better of the two.


Kentucky.... You are a true debater  you debate just to be onery and the fun of it LOL are you related to my wife LOL:cool:


LOL sorry for bein a smarty must be the caffine high

 



 Posted: Wed Jan 10th, 2007 10:37 pm
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Johan Steele
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Both Generals were absolutely brilliant; giants among men when compared to most of their contemporaries.

Just to brush the surface.

Lee @ 2nd Manasas... as brilliant as they get.  Chanclorsville; while succesful I believe Luck was on his side.  Hooker blinked and lost.  Antietum & Gettysburg... not his finest hours by any means.  1864... whooo boy, everything that could go wrong did and he still did his best to work his magic.  I believe his greatest contribution to the survival of the ANV was the denial to the US Arty suitable terrain to bring to bear their overwhelming arty superiority.

Grant @ Henry Donelson... knew what need to be done and did it scooping up a CS Army in the process.  Shiloh... stood his ground and luck saved his keester.  Vicksburg campaign.. the most decisive of the War IMHO  Brilliant from start to finish.  Stiemied, blocked etc but never stopped in the end the CS was split in two.  1864... stiemied repeatedly and he never took his eyes off the prize.  Brilliant strategy in that he never took his eyes off the prize.

In the end it was a beautiful CHess match w/ Lee blocking several attacks but never evading that checkmate. 

 



 Posted: Thu Jan 11th, 2007 01:17 pm
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Widow
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Kentucky Orphan, re chess and poker players

Actually, it was Edward G. Longacre's book The Commanders of Chancellorsville: The Gentleman versus the Rogue in which Longacre created an analogy to compare the two personalities.  Longacre asserted that Robert E. Lee's thinking was like a chess player, while Joseph Hooker was more like a poker player.

It was just an author's device to illustrate the differences between the two men.  I don't think Lee ever held a card in his life.  And Grant wasn't mentioned in Longacre's book.

Patty



 Posted: Fri Jan 12th, 2007 04:52 am
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Kentucky_Orphan
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Widow-

I realize it is just an illustration by the author, my post was simply that I believe that the illustration should be reversed in regards to their conducting of battles and campaigns. I did, however, mistake in my post Grant for Hooker. Sorry about that. I just glanced at your statement and it inspired me to write what I did regarding Grant and Lee, I guess.

I still stand by my statement regarding Grant and Lee, however. While both illustrations could be applied to Lee and Grant, I believe that if poker and chess (with only one attached to each man) must be used as descriptions for their command styles, then poker should be attached to Lee and chess to Grant.

Maybe I misunderstand still though, and it is meant to be entirely a description of their personalities and not so much their command styles?



 Posted: Fri Jan 12th, 2007 03:48 pm
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ole
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Orphan:

I'll mostly go along with your observation that Grant was the chess player and Lee was the poker player, but not in relation to their personalities. From the beginning, Grant was focused on the moves (and countermoves) leading to the end game: capitulation of CSA armies. Lee played his hands skillfully (sometimes betting more than he could afford) and won more than a few pots, but he didn't have the wherewithall to compete in the no-limit game.

Ole



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 Posted: Mon Jan 15th, 2007 01:14 pm
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Regina
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I'm responding to the original question on this thread.  I think that when you measure both Lee's and Grant's strengths and weaknesses as Generals, they truly are matched and it is not possible to say one was better than the other.  Grant won a surrender from Lee because of the unbalanced amount of men, provisions, money, etc.  Well, if not for that, would the war have ever ended?  I don't think there would have been a civilized country left !  

 And JDC Duncan said "who would you rather have your daughter date?" implying Lee would be the better choice.  From the letters each man wrote to their wives, and the wives to them, Grant had a better marriage and was more in love with his wife, at least in my opinion.  I was surprised to find this out while reading biographies on them.

Also, Lee was born into wealth and privilege, and Grant quite the opposite.  Makes the story very interesting.  Makes me wonder a little if things would have been different at all if they had more similar upbringings.

Fascinating men and a fascinating time, to say the least.
 



 Posted: Mon Jan 15th, 2007 02:52 pm
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David White
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If marrying your daughter is the criteria of a great general than Nathan Bedford Forrest and Dan Sickles would be horrible generals... Well maybe he is on to something with Sickles ;).



 Posted: Mon Jan 15th, 2007 03:46 pm
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ole
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As my daughter has no inherited wealth, I'm not sure Lee would be interested. I much appreciated Regina's post -- Grant was the hands-on husband and father.

I cheerfully accept JDC's position of better general (as opposed to better man). I can disagree, but must give way to an honestly dissenting opinion.

Regina: I may be incorrect here, but it was my understanding that Lee inherited a highly regarded name and his father's debts.

Ole

 



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 Posted: Fri Jan 19th, 2007 03:02 pm
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Widow
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JDC,

Can you imagine Lee with a cigar, sitting on a tree stump, whittling stick after stick?

Can you imagine Grant handling all the paperwork that Lee had to do for lack of adequate staff?

Differences in personalities and styles.  Results similar.

Patty



 Posted: Fri Mar 28th, 2008 11:13 pm
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cody6397
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It depends, if Grant was drunk then he wouldnt stand a chance LOL, But if they had the same number of troops i think Grant would win, He was such a relentless general and i think Lee would retreat



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