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Myth of the kindly General Lee

Discussion in 'Too Hot for Swamp Gas' started by studegator, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. madgator

    madgator GC Hall of Fame

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    A lot more happened to the Army of Northern Virginia during the course of the war than just Stonewall being killed......the confederate cause from the get go was a mission impossible.
     
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  2. ajoseph

    ajoseph Premium Member

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    I totally agree. And, the Union generals were horrible the first phase of the War. I forget his name but the Union General could have ended the War early on if he attacked, but he was incapacitated with indecision and the Confederates were able to retreat and regroup.
     
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  3. madgator

    madgator GC Hall of Fame

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    Both McClellan and Meade were guilty of that.

    Burnside and Hooker were both morons
     
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  4. dangolegators

    dangolegators GC Hall of Fame

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    I don't think people who whip their slaves are saints in their time or any other time.
     
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  5. oragator1

    oragator1 Premium Member

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    Lee was also a beneficiary of gross incompetence by northern generals until Lincoln finally found Grant.
    But he did have some brilliant military wins, regardless of who he was facing, at places like Chancellorsville.
    There is a great line in the civil war series that sums up Lee really well, paraphrasing a tad bit but it essentially said “Lee had a terrible temper that he spent his whole life trying to control”. He was the first man ever to get through West Point without a single demerit, could be incredibly disciplined when he chose to be.
    As for his life, we have had similar threads here, he is a complicated man. Later in life he claimed to agree that slavery was bad and he was happy it was gone. In 1858 he said he would free his salves within five years, but as mentioned in this thread he found a way to keep from freeing some that had promised as much. He fought for the south, but was never a pro slave ideologue, he fought for his state. He was a man of tremendous honor in a lot of ways who fought for the worst possible cause in the end.

    One of or country’s more fascinating figures.
     
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  6. chemgator

    chemgator GC Hall of Fame

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    Lee also won big early in the war because the Union generals were terrible, and the Union soldiers were terrible compared to their southern counterparts. The main advantage the North had was factories for weapons and munitions. Most people in the North came from cities and had little experience with guns. Southerners were more rural, and more likely to have experience both with camping and hunting. The Union generals were so bad that Lincoln started studying warfare to try to figure out what the army should be doing differently. Lincoln was mostly frustrated because his generals would not fight unless the conditions were perfect. They almost backed out of Gettysburg, even though they had nearly perfect defensive positions on and around Cemetery Ridge. Grant proved that he was a fighter, and that got Lincoln's confidence that he had the right man to do the job. The southern advantage in infantry warfare continued right through WWI and WWII, when most of the heroes, like Audie Murphy, came from the south. Northern troops slowly got better as the Civil War continued, but never matched the abilities of the southern troops.

    Lee was not considered the South's top general until the second year of the war. I think the top general was named Anderson. When he was killed, Lee was selected for the top job. You are right, Lee was not quite the same when his top generals were killed. He could have easily won in Gettysburg had not his generals either been reckless, hesitant, or foolhardy at the wrong times. Lee gave orders assuming they would be followed as soon as practical, but his generals were slow to act. Little Round Top was guarded by one unarmed person when the battle started, but Lee's general in charge of taking it took too much time to get there, and it was well-defended by the time he did get there. Ironically, the northern troops from Pennsylvania were universally regarded as cowards as they ran away from battles en masse repeatedly throughout the campaign, even when defending their own state.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
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  7. chemgator

    chemgator GC Hall of Fame

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    The Civil War would have been a lot uglier and nastier had Lee been less of a "gentleman" on the battlefield. The war could easily have devolved into unbridled savagery without Lee insisting that his troops maintain some minimum level of respect for the opponent and the bystanders. It was an ugly war regardless, but it could have been a lot uglier.
     
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  8. Tasselhoff

    Tasselhoff GC Hall of Fame

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    "What difference does it make now?"

    Is it still too soon....
     
  9. 92gator

    92gator GC Hall of Fame

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    I blame Martin Sheen.
     
  10. wrpgator

    wrpgator GC Hall of Fame

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    Chem, not disputing your statement regarding alleged cowardice of Penn troops in Gettysburg campaign, but can you give links / references to back this up? What units / engagements etc?
    btw, I'm not from PA and none of my CW ancestors who fought were from PA, so no axe to grind here. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  11. madgator

    madgator GC Hall of Fame

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    Albert Sidney Johnston
     
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  12. madgator

    madgator GC Hall of Fame

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    Very true.....not to mention his men (the overwhelming majority that is) taking his lead in not engaging in massive and endless guerrilla war tactics after Appomattox and during Reconstruction.
     
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  13. Gatorrick22

    Gatorrick22 GC Hall of Fame

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    The have to erase our past to start "their" new 'collective' future of oppression and entitlements.
     
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  14. GatorNavy

    GatorNavy Tally me banana Moderator VIP Member

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    It was a wounded Joseph E. Johnston who Lee replaced in 1862.
     
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  15. madgator

    madgator GC Hall of Fame

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    Joseph E. Johnson died in 1891...….you're thinking Albert Sidney Johnston

    sorry wait, Johnson was injured correct but Albert Johnston was considered the souths best field general.

    Sorry...got myself confused with the two separate points that got comingled in the conversation
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  16. Gatorrick22

    Gatorrick22 GC Hall of Fame

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    More revisionist history...
     
  17. chemgator

    chemgator GC Hall of Fame

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    It was a side-story from the book Gettysburg, which talks about just about every last detail of that battle imaginable.
     
  18. chemgator

    chemgator GC Hall of Fame

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    There were a lot of generals on both sides. I tried to look up Civil War generals named Anderson, and there were too many of them to keep track of. I must have gotten Johnston crossed up with one of the Andersons.
     
  19. wrpgator

    wrpgator GC Hall of Fame

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    Can you tell me which "Gettysburg" book? There are many such. Author? I question this because if it was "universally regarded" that PA troops were cowards, it would have appeared in more than a sidebar in a single volume. Again, I'm not saying it wasn't a thing. My reading is moderately broad on the subject, and if I missed it, I'd like to fill in this gap in my CW knowledge base. Thanks.
     
  20. chemgator

    chemgator GC Hall of Fame

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    I am fairly certain it was Rod Gragg's Illustrated Gettysburg Reader.