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Gerarddm
04-09-2015, 10:35 AM
Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant's Army of the Potomac on this day, bringing to an effective end THE formative influence in U.S. history.

While I harbor zero regard for the Confederacy, one has to applaud Robert E. Lee, whose refusal to consider a prolonged guerilla resistance did much to end the horror and mitigate its consequences. One also has to applaud Grant, whose thoughtful terms of surrender were in keeping with Lincoln's policies.

The situation could have been much different had the Confederate general been, for example, John Bell Hood, and the Union general Philip Sheridan.

John of Phoenix
04-09-2015, 10:45 AM
Or Wm.T. Sherman. (That tank was named for him for a reason.)

CWSmith
04-09-2015, 10:58 AM
Should we include Nathan Bedford Forrest?

Paul Pless
04-09-2015, 12:03 PM
Or Wm.T. Sherman. (That tank was named for him for a reason.)

The young bloods of the South; sons of planters, lawyers about towns, good billiard players and sportsmen, men who never did any work and never will. War suits them. They are splendid riders, first rate shots and utterly reckless. These men must all be killed or employed by us before we can hope for peace....Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman

John of Phoenix
04-09-2015, 12:12 PM
The young bloods of the South; sons of planters, lawyers about towns, good billiard players and sportsmen, men who never did any work and never will. War suits them. They are splendid riders, first rate shots and utterly reckless. These men must all be killed or employed by us before we can hope for peace....Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman

It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.... Sun Tzu

General Sherman seems to have been a student.

leikec
04-09-2015, 01:07 PM
I firmly believe that Robert E Lee was one of the biggest damned fools to ever inhabit the earth, but to his credit he did finally understand in 1865 that the game was up.

Jeff C

peb
04-09-2015, 01:17 PM
I firmly believe that Robert E Lee was one of the biggest damned fools to ever inhabit the earth, but to his credit he did finally understand in 1865 that the game was up.

Jeff C

There is certainly some truth in this. Lee was a very capable general, and a good man. Without him, the confederacy likely would not have lasted as long, with the corresponding result of the war being less destructive. So his foolishness was to fight in the first place, and to keep fighting as long as he did (although once started, I am sure he felt honor bound to continue until defeated).

peb
04-09-2015, 01:17 PM
BTW: who has read Grant's memoirs. That is a great book.

leikec
04-09-2015, 01:22 PM
BTW: who has read Grant's memoirs. That is a great book.

I've read it several times. I think he was wrong about Pap Thomas, and right about almost everything else.

Jeff C

peb
04-09-2015, 01:36 PM
I've read it several times. I think he was wrong about Pap Thomas, and right about almost everything else.

Jeff C

I did not think Grant was overly hard on Thomas, but its been a while since I read it. Thomas has certainly been under-appreciated by historians.

Ted Hoppe
04-09-2015, 01:51 PM
Lee was a superior general but a Virginian first. after the fall of Richmond - it was hard for this Virginian to continue.
It is incredible that the south army was as formidable as they were up to Gettysburg. His victories strung from the Second Manassas to Gettysburg for over a year. His decisions were almost always honorable and the respect that his men had for him speak volumes. If he had chosen to fight a blended guerrilla style war with a mobile large standing army from the beginning - the south might have been more victorious. Lee was to have been speaking out orders to his fallen men at Gettysburg while laying in his death bed and covered in fever 8 years later.

John of Phoenix
04-09-2015, 02:44 PM
We had a wonderful US Park Service guide when we visited Gettysburg. Walking the ground of Pickett's Charge then looking down at it from Cemetery Ridge was an incredibly eerie experience.

SMARTINSEN
04-09-2015, 03:54 PM
An extraordinary general, but first and foremost, Lee was a traitor.