Victorious American and Vanquished Virginian
Ever since the end of the Civil War, a mythology of Robert E. In this episode, I explore the research of the late Civil War historian Edward Bonekemper, who wrote many books challenging this thesis. He argues that Grant—far from being a bloodthirsty drunk who won by brute force alone—was the most successful Union or Confederate general of the war. Grant won the war by excelling in three theaters. Written by Edward H. The reader will be left astounded by the level of aggression both generals employed to secure victory for their respective causes, as Bonekemper demonstrates that Grant was a national general whose tactics were consistent with acheiving Union victory, whereas Lee's own priorities constantly undermined the Confederacy's chances of winning the war.
Building on detailed accounts of both generals' major campaigns and battles, this book provides a detailed comparison of the primary military and personal traits of the two men. That analysis supports the preface discussion and the chapter-by-chapter conclusions that Grant did what the North needed to do to win the war: be aggressive, eliminate enemy armies, and do so with minimal casualties , , while Lee was too offensive for the undermanned Confederacy, suffered intolerable casualties , , and allowed his obsession with the Commonwealth of Virginia to obscure the broader interests of the Confederacy.
In addition, readers will find interest in the 18 highly detailed and revealing battle maps, as well as in a comprehensive set of appendices that describes the casualties incurred by each army, battle by battle. Military History at Muhlenberg College. For over 34 years, he served as a U. Coast Guard Reserve.
Grant and Lee: Victorious American and Vanquished Virginian by Edward H. Bonekemper III
He is the Author of How Robert E. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Overview Grant and Lee: Victorious American and Vanquished Virginian is a comprehensive, multi-theater, war-long comparison of the command skills of Ulysses S. About the Author Edward H. Show More.
Average Review. On his own volition, Lee then overextended his army by invading Maryland, splitting his army into five segments, incurring almost 14, casualties on a single day at the Battle of Antietam, and retreating back to Virginia. That Maryland Antietam Campaign cost Lee irreplaceable losses and also lost the Confederacy its last real chance for European intervention on its behalf. In December , Burnside ordered suicidal Union attacks at Fredericksburg, Virginia, that gave Lee a major defensive victory.
By the end of , therefore, both Lee and Grant had won significant victories, but the results of those victories were quite different. In late and early , Grant undertook a number of initiatives aimed at capturing Vicksburg, Mississippi, the last significant Rebel bastion on the Mississippi River. Although stymied at first, he persisted in his efforts and ultimately carried out one of the greatest military campaigns in history.
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While employing three major diversionary feints, Grant moved the bulk of his army down the west bank of the river, conducted a huge amphibious crossing of the river to the Mississippi shore, and headed inland. Although they initially outnumbered Grant in the theater, the befuddled Rebels could not ascertain his movements and whereabouts. After two unsuccessful assaults on Vicksburg itself, Grant settled into a siege. Six weeks later he accepted the surrender of the city and a 28,man army — a surrender regarded by many as the most important of the war.
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In early May , Lee had repelled a Union offensive commanded by Hooker at Chancellorsville, but Rebel frontal assaults on the final days of that battle often ignored by historians cost Lee many casualties. In the ensuing Gettysburg Campaign, Lee committed a series of costly errors, and his army suffered 28, casualties before retreating back to Virginia once again.
As he had done at Fort Donelson, Grant maneuvered so that he would capture a Confederate army as well as a critical place.
Grant and Lee: Victorious American and Vanquished Virginian
Those two armies who surrendered to Grant were the only Civil War armies that surrendered to their opponents before Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox. So Grant had gained control over a wide swath of the western Confederacy and made Confederate armies pay the price for opposing him, while Lee had decimated his own army in a series of strategic and tactical offensives that were unnecessary to the stalemate the Confederacy needed. But Lee did even more damage.
Within days after Longstreet started his ten-day trek, Lee began a series of letters to Davis and Longstreet urging that Longstreet be sent to clear Burnside out of Knoxville and then be promptly returned to Lee. The Lee-generated departure of Longstreet played into the hands of Grant, who had been brought to Chattanooga to save the nearly besieged Army of the Cumberland. Having won the Mississippi Valley and saved the trapped Union army in the Middle Theater, Grant was the obvious choice to be brought east and promoted to general-in-chief. He had won the West and was expected to win the East, the Middle Theater, and the war.
In their well-known head-to-head confrontation in , Grant achieved complete success in less than a year after launching his Overland Campaign on May 4, But he also continued to demonstrate his dexterity and cunning. Thus, Grant won the war in the East in eleven months instead of two. Hood proceeded to go on the offensive, weaken his army, lose Atlanta, and virtually destroy his army in a quixotic foray into Tennessee late in Such an inter-theater transfer was the worst nightmare of Grant and Sherman as they planned and executed their simultaneous campaigns.
But Lee, first a Virginian and second a Confederate, never considered that option. Grant, a national general, won the Mississippi Valley Theater, saved a trapped Union army in the Middle Theater, and won the Eastern Theater with fewer casualties than incurred there by his Union predecessors. Grant won the war and was the greatest general of the war.
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