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About this Page -- This is a discussion on Grant vs. Lee: Who was Better?. within the forum The Pub. Just a debate for the history buffs out there. Between Grant and Lee, who in your opinion was the better ...

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Old 02-19-2011, 01:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Grant vs. Lee: Who was Better?

Just a debate for the history buffs out there.

Between Grant and Lee, who in your opinion was the better commander?
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Old 02-19-2011, 02:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 02-19-2011, 02:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Lee had a better beard.
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Old 02-19-2011, 02:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If Lee had been in charge of the Union army the war would not have lasted nearly as long.
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Old 02-19-2011, 02:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If Lee had been in charge of the Union army the war would not have lasted nearly as long.
The war would have been over in 2 years. Everybody knows Lee did more with less and that's a fact.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Lee was better. He was offered command of the union army before the start of the war and refused and resigned his position as head of West Point. Lee graduated 2nd in his class without a single demerit. Something which will probably never be done again. Grant graduated close to the bottom of his class and was completely out of the army when the war started.

Grant was a smart man, I give him credit, Lee was just in a class by himself.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Lee was a better president.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Lee was an unreal commander, but his age and laissez faire leadership style doomed him at Gettysburg. He was a defensive genius and hated the offensive, but weaponry and tactics dictated that bent.

Grant simply got done what he was told to get done. How do you argue that there were issues with Grant's command ability, strategy or execution.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Everything being equal, grant wouldn't stand a snowball's chance in hell against Lee.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Everything being equal, grant wouldn't stand a snowball's chance in hell against Lee.
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Why? In the Civil War, the guy on the defensive had an enormous advantage. Grant overcame that with a total war approach, which was the strategy he sold to Lincoln. He was the only commander to have any success on the offensive. It's hard for me to believe that people forgive the Gettysburg disaster.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:28 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Even though I never met him, I gotta go with Grant cause he is on the $50 bill.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:36 PM   #12 (permalink)
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If Lee would have had the same resources and manpower grant had, I'd give grant less than a 3% chance at winning a war against Lee. Too bad we can't set that up and see what would happen. Just my 2 cents of course.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:47 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Given equal resources, I see now way Grant could have beaten Lee. Lee outmaneuvered and outfought Grant in Virginia.

Grant must be given credit for recognizing the North's overwhelming advantage in resources and using that to his advantage. And, ultimately, he vanquished Lee.
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Old 02-19-2011, 04:38 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Most of Grant's success I give to Sherman and his demoralization, guerilla style of war he brought to the Western front of the war. Grant's success in the west before he took over control was due to bickering, inept Confederate generals. All in all Grant fits the mold of it is better to be luck than good.

I agree with most who say if it was level playing field. Lee wins, if roles reversed Lee wins in less than 2 years time. IMHO
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Old 02-19-2011, 04:39 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I would say Lee, hands down, for operating as he did and keeping a generally outmanned and equipped army going as long as he did.

He won great victories on the Peninsula, 2nd Manassas, and Chancellorsville, but, looking back through the years, they were against poor competition, but they were great works nonetheless.

Grant, IMO, never won a "Great Victory", in the Austerlitz or Cannae , but he was nothing else other than effective. His Overland Campaign over the Rappahannock and the North Anna was just what the doctor ordered for the time, rather than trying to move an army across the rivers while trying to outflank an army on the other side, as Pope, Burnside, and Hooker had done.

Also, one must note, that Lee had several subordinates who belong in American Valhalla, Longstreet, Stuart, Jackson, John Gordon, Sam Hood(pre Gettysburg wound) and A.P. Hill. Good Sergeants make an inept Lieutenant look good.

Still, I lean towards Lee, he made mistakes, but all commanders do. Had he had Hill's Light Divison at Sharpsburg with the ANVa as opposed to capturing Harper's Ferry, he might well have bagged McClellan there.

Many things went wrong with the invasion of Pennsylvania, starting with the initial plan, and poor coordination, coupled with reorganizing the Army after Jackson's loss. If it were me, of course in retrospect, I'd have asked Davis to pull D.H. Hill from command of Richmond to take command of Jackson's old Corps, and kept the same format, where AP Hill's Divison was almost Corps size and operated often independently.
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