Discussion 3_Analysis of the Generalship of Lee_Grant and Sherman.docx

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Analysis of the Generalship of Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, and William Tecumseh ShermanJesus H. CorderoMILH510: Studies in U.S. Military HistoryDr. Jon MikolashekMarch 15, 2021
Cordero 2Before I begin to write my analysis of the generalship of Lee, Grant, and Sherman, I wanted to write the first words that came into my mind about each man. I want to see if my understanding of these men is shared by anyone else before I begin reading and diving into the differing perspectives provided by historians and other writers. 1. Lee – Tactician 2. Grant – Strategist 3. Sherman – WarriorThere are few figures in American history are more paradoxical, acrimonious, or indefinable than Robert E. Lee. He will forever be the hesitant and unfortunate leader of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia during the “War between the States” if you’re from the South or the “American Civil War” if you are from the North. Lee died five years after the end of the Civil War in 1870 at age 63 in his treasured Virginia. According to Millet “No general surpassed him in audacity and aggressiveness.” [1] During his leadership of the Confederate Army his audacity and aggressiveness served him well before the Battle of Gettysburg. During the battle of Seven Days from June 25 – July 1, 1862, Lee shredded the Union Army, led by General McClellan, with constant attacks. His aggressiveness continued during his victory against General Pope’s Federalist troops at Battle of Second Manassas. During the month of September 1862, he suffered tactical and strategic defeats at South Mountain and Antietam engaging McClellan. His next two major engagements at Fredericksburg against General Burnside and Chancellorsville against General Hooker. The tactics Lee used during his victory at Chancellorsville are studied by militaries around the world and is the high point of Lee’s generalship up this point in the Civil War. [2]
Cordero 3In July 1863 at the Battle of Gettysburg Lee’s audacity and aggressiveness was his undoing. “Dedicated to winning a battle of annihilation, he sometimes imprudently continued attacking beyond and reasonable prospect of success.” [3] The bravery of Pickets three charges against the Union Army’s front defensive line only wasted brave men. He apologized to his men claiming it was all his fault and he attempted to resign his commission but was denied by Confederate President Jefferson Davis. After his defeat at Gettysburg Lee was a changed man and his generalship changed from aggressive action to a defensive posture to prolong the war in the hope of a political resolution of Peace. His defensive tactics to negate the Northern army’s superior numbers and conduct a war of attrition may have been successful had President Lincoln sent anyone else to fight Lee other than Ulysses S. Grant. [4]Ulysses S. Grant was promoted to Lieutenant General in 1864 and led the Union Army tovictory and thereby ending the American Civil War in 1865. Grant and Lee could be no more different as both men and generals.

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