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Grant focused on number of casualties while Lee focused on territory gained. Of course, Lincoln eventually landed on Ulysses S. Grant and put him in charge, which I believe turned the war to the Union's favor. During the first fourteen months that Lee commanded the Army of Northern Virginia (through the retreat from Gettysburg), he took the strategic and tactical offensive so often with his undermanned army that he lost 98,000 men while inflicting 120,000 casualties on his Union opponents. Northern victory affirmed the correctness of aggressiveness of Grant’s war strategy. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 1982. Their Union counterparts were unhappy with the war continuing, but they were generally sure of ultimate victory, well fed, well supplied and increasingly well led. But remembering that Lieutenant General John Pemberton’s forces had been badly beaten twice in prior days, and knowing that Union forces were brimming with confidence, Grant probably succumbed to the attacks just like other generals would have.19 While events at Vicksburg remain little known outside the community of Civil War scholars, they bear comparison with another campaign that is much better known to Americans generally. While many Northerners were in the military for brief periods of time (many of them serving twice or more), most Southern military personnel were compelled to stay for the duration. More relevantly, the North had 4,070,000 men of fighting age (15 to 40), and the South had only 1,140,000 white men of fighting age. Thus, the period from Shiloh to Cornith (April to November 1862) probably convinced Grant that, unlike Halleck, he could not effectively command from the rear; the same period also taught him the value of tempo, since the battles at Donelson, Shiloh and Iuka were won by moving quickly and decisively. Ironically, Lee’s aggressiveness caused high, intolerable Southern casualties and played a major role in the decline of Southern morale and willingness to continue the war. Ulysses S. Grant battled throat cancer in the last year of his life…finishing his memoirs shortly before he died and ensuring financial security for his family. After Ft. Donelson, February 1862, Grant seldom got involved with tactical decisions. While many view Grant as a butcher,8especially after the Battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor, Grant used maneuver to place his forces in optimum positions to attack his Confederate opponents. Grant's weakness is roughly the same as his strength. Unlike most Union generals, who were reticent about taking advantage of the North’s numerical superiority and unwilling to invade the Confederacy that had to be conquered, Grant knew what had to be done and did it. On March 20, 1864, two of the Union's most celebrated generals, Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman, holed up in a parlor of the Burnet House, an elegant hotel at … .”. Furthermore, he realized that the opposing commander probably feared him as much as he feared the enemy. He went to West Point in 1839, but with no military ambition. But Grant’s failure to closely supervise subordinates would cost him again in his next battle as an army commander – Shiloh. 10 Emory M. Thomas, Robert E. Lee: A Biography (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1995), 246. 5 United States Marine Corps, Warfighting (New York: Doubleday,1994), 27-30. In order to win the war, the . Wert, Jeffry D. General James Longstreet, The Confederacy’s Most Controversial Soldier. He was a beloved commander in the field. The Union army was encouraged to live off the land. But the frontal attack occurred only after Grant had stretched Bragg’s defenses on both flanks, thereby weakening the Confederate middle. Activities at the strategic level reflect national policy objectives, and military strategy reflects the application of military power to meet national policy objectives. On the downside, Grant’s war strategy of aggressiveness caused him to focus so much on what he intended to do to the enemy that he at times became vulnerable to enemy surprises. Grant worked as a firewood peddler, real estate salesman and as a farmer near St. Louis, before becoming a clerk in his family's tannery and leather store in Galenta, Illinois. Moving then from Spotsylvania to Cold Harbor, Grant again gained a headstart, only to have the Confederates seize the better position through the initiative and skill of Lee’s subordinates as compared to Grant’s. . Far from being the uncaring slaughterer of men, Grant, again and again, displayed his feelings about the contributions of the ordinary soldier. Grant had stolen the march from The Wilderness to Spotsylvania Courthouse, only to have the Army of the Potomac renew its claim to always arriving an hour late, though in this case Phil Sheridan cavalry did not prove its mettle. Despite his role as, in the words of Frederick Question 25 options: He continuously circled around General Robert E. Lee to keep him surrounded. Bragg and Hooker, the vanquished commanders at Missionary Ridge and Chancellorsville respectively, were both poorly served even though operationally each, particularly Hooker, had a good plan. Grant had a plan to end the war by November. Had Lee not squandered Rebel resources during the three preceding years, the Confederacy’s 1864 opportunity for victory might have been realized. In 1860, with the election of Lincoln, the Southern states seceded. Writing in 1898, Charles Dana, Assistant Secretary of War during the Civil War, analyzed this facet of Grant’s Overland Campaign: “There are still many persons who bitterly accuse Grant of butchery in this campaign. On his way, he ordered reinforcements to Sherman’s aid. Having been promoted to Lieutenant General in March 1864, Grant became the champion of the North. At the time the Union army took positions surrounding the fort, the Confederate commander had as many men as Grant – and the Confederates were probably better armed! Grant used maneuver extensively, and, until late in the war, always sought to win the battle outright by capturing the enemy force intact. Grant starte… Fuller concluded, “Unlike Grant, [Lee] did not create a strategy in spite of his Government; instead, by his restless audacity, he ruined such strategy as his Government created.” Loading... Critical to Grant’s success and Union victory in the war was that Grant early in the war recognized the need to focus, and thereafter stayed focused, on defeating, capturing, or destroying opposing armies. The romantic glorification of the Army of Northern Virginia by generations of Lost Cause writers has obscured this truth.”. Twice during the war, Lee went into the North on strategic offensives with scant chance of success, lost tens of thousands of irreplaceable officers and men in the disasters of Antietam and Gettysburg, and inevitably was compelled to retreat. Moreover, Grant used his superiority in numbers to maintain a constantly high tempo of operations. . July 9, 2018. Ulysses S. Grant achieved greatness, but not without struggles. By the time Sheridan gained a significant victory on Lee’s right flank in March 1865 at Five Forks, Lee’s army was so badly thinned that it collapsed under the weight of a general Union offensive all along the line. While Grant failed to find his enemy (who fled,) he learned the first of many battlefield lessons as a commander - he learned to control his fear. Though Sherman was tasked to organize the Union defensive position around Pittsburg Landing, he failed to recognize the many signals that a Confederate attack was imminent. Grant was ranked38th in 1994 and 1996, but ranked 21st in 2018. I have directed General W. H. L. Wallace, commanding Second Division temporarily, to re-enforce General L. Wallace in case of an attack with his entire division, although I look for nothing of the kind, but it is best to be prepared. When opportunities became apparent, and subordinate leaders took aggressive action, both Grant and Lee changed their plans to reflect the tactical situation. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1943. Grant focused on number of casualties while But for these experiences, it is problematic if Grant would have seen the necessity for being in the field with the army during the Vicksburg campaign, or more importantly, during the Army of the Potomac’s epic struggle against Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. They faced incessant Union operations that had Lee scrambling, unable to seize the initiative. In their thought-provoking book, Attack and Die: Civil War Military Tactics and the Southern Heritage, Gordon McWhiney and Perry D. Jamieson provided some astounding numbers related to Grant’s major battles and campaigns. Grant’s aggressiveness was consistent with the North’s superior manpower and its need to proactively win the war, while Lee’s was inconsistent with the South’s inferior manpower and its need only for a deadlock. Jackson himself usually dictated both the operations and the tactics used. North had to conquer the South while the South could win by outlasting its adversary. As a matter of fact, Grant’s war strategy lost fewer men in his successful effort to take Richmond and end the war than his predecessors lost in making the same attempt and failing.” Dana examined the specific casualties suffered by Union troops in the East under Grant’s predecessors and then under Grant. He retreated often to regroup and wait for reinforcements In short, Grant’s war strategy, aggressiveness won the war while Lee’s lost it. © HistoryOnTheNet 2000-2019. The primary point of all these statistics is that the South was greatly outnumbered and could not afford to squander its resource s by engaging in a war of attrition. It also had the interior lines and was able to move its troops from place to place over shorter distances via a complex of well-placed railroads. December 15, 2020. The Union army was encouraged to live off the land. United States Marine Corps. Warfighting. One of his early Civil War assignments took then Colonel Grant’s regiment against Confederates in Missouri. Grant’s plans featured outstanding use of maneuver and a high tempo of operations.25. Grant realized that his place was in the field with the principal Union army in the East, the Army of the Potomac. But Grant had placed his army in a position to capture the entire opposing force, and capture (most of) it he did. First, Grant understood that war could not be a seasonal activity. Both benefited from the initiative and daring of subordinates. 21Both Grant and Lee placed their men in a way that permitted victory; then, neither stuck to a preconceived operational plan. On three occasions during the campaign from The Wilderness to Petersburg, Grant had out-maneuvered Lee, and in one of those cases he had completely fooled the Southern leader. But none of the tactical innovations had nearly the effect on future wars as two of Grant’s innovations – innovations as surely credited to Grant as greatness is to Robert E. Lee. He carried out his Belmont diversion in the vicinity of enemy forces several times his own. Historical assessmentsof Grant's presidency have improved over time. (For tactics, he appears to give the nod to George H. Thomas on the Union side.) During each major battle in the critical and decisive phase of the war from June 1862 through July 1863, Lee was losing an average 19 percent of his men while his manpower-rich enemies were suffering casualties at a tolerable 13 percent. and find homework help for other Ulysses S. Grant's Presidency questions at eNotes General Ulysses Grant's success at Vicksburg delivered the Mississippi River to the Union. He had to, because he had made a mistake and permitted subordinates, particularly Sherman, too much latitude. New York: The Library of America, 1990. He managed to keep moving to the left, finally stretching the Confederate line defending Richmond so thin, a breakthrough was finally possible. Grant evolved as a leader as the war progressed, and he achieved a degree of strategic and operational competence unmatched by any other Civil War general. Ulysses S. Grant (1822 - 1885) was born in Ohio into Tanning/Farming family. General George Meade was to lead the Union's massive Army of the Potomac against … Like Washington, Grant’s battlefield performance was the only factor standing between the United States continuing as one, indivisible nation. It's been noted that there isn't all that great a difference between strategy and tactics, and I still think Lee was ahead of Grant as far as the fighting of the immediate battle/situation. c. recruiting dissatisfied southerners. Cleaves, Freeman. Rock of Chickamauga: The Life of George H. Thomas. However, the rapidity that marked Grant’s advance to Ft. Henry remained a constant when, only eight days later, he attacked Ft. Donelson. They were also complex, brilliant and inspirational figures who helped define American history. If you have trouble accessing this page and need to request an alternate format contact ehistory@osu.edu. During the whole siege of the Petersburg/Richmond area from June 1864 until March 1865, Lee’s front was continuously weakened as the Southerner witnessed Grant’s repeated attacks on both flanks. July 9, 2018. A historian of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey, he is a publisher of popular history, a podcaster, and online course creator. It is one thing to drive the rebels from the south bank of the Potomac, or even to occupy Richmond, but another to reduce and hold in permanent subjection a tract of country nearly as large as Russia in Europe. Ulysses S. Grant served as U.S. general and commander of the Union armies during the late years of the American Civil War, later becoming the 18th U.S. president. This author has made the best estimate of the casualties and, at the end of that appendix, created a table of best estimates of those casualties for the entire war. Scott Michael Rank, Ph.D., is the editor of History on the Net and host of the History Unplugged podcast. Second, they determined that, in his eight major campaigns and battles of 1864–5 (when he was determined to defeat or destroy Lee’s army as quickly as possible), he commanded a cumulative total of 400,942 soldiers and that 70,620 of them (18 percent) were either killed or wounded. Ulysses S. Grant. Get it as … Historian James M. McPherson put it succinctly: “The South could ‘win’ the war by not losing; the North could win only by winning.” Concurring with that analysis was Southern historian Bell I. Wiley, who said: “ . New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993. Strategically, operationally and tactically Vicksburg was as stunning a victory as any of the entire war, and it was gained by the dramatic use of increased tempo and maneuver. Controlling fear and confidence go hand in hand, and after this non-battle Grant always exhibited confidence in battle. Still, at this stage of the war (late 1862), Grant was not able to implement a faster operational tempo since his superior, Halleck, seemed genetically incapable of thinking in terms of speed and movement. Lee’s army’s 1862–3 casualties made possible Grant’s successful 1864 campaign of adhesion to Lee’s army. the North also faced a greater task. However, his career was far from a steady stream of success. How many more lives must be sacrificed to the vindictiveness of a few unprincipled men! For a complete account of that period in Grant’s generalship, see Earl S. Miers, The Web of Victory: Grant at Vicksburg (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1984). OR, 17, pt. But at the end of the first day, his thoughts were only of victory. It consisted of a huge, 750,000-square mile territory which the Federals would have to invade and conquer. Sherman surely did when in 1862 he published as part of a General Order, "…All officers of this command must now study their books; ignorance of duty must no longer be pleaded. After spending nearly six months trying various schemes to place his men in a position to surround Vicksburg, Grant decided on a fast tempo campaign of maneuver. The North had 22 million people, while the South had only nine million, of whom 3.5 million were slaves. The capture of Ft. Henry, February 1862, first brought fame to Grant, although it was the Navy who won the battle before Grant’s army troops could get into action. Lee and his men had no time to rest, and Lee had no troops free to support other Confederate armies. Ulysses S. Grant was one of the greatest generals in American history. Grant would ensure in the future that escape would be more difficult. Grant’s old friend, Confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet, for example, made such decisions repeatedly during battles such as Chickamauga and the Wilderness.26 But Grant’s realm was primarily at the operational level and above. A Southern victory was not out of the question. The president officially appointed Ulysses S. Grant as Lieutenant General of the United States army on March 10, 1864. Clearly Grant was a military genius, or at least particularly gifted, with respect to strategy. McWhiney and Jamieson also tallied those Civil War battles in which either side incurred the heaviest percentage of losses suffered by one side during the entire war. At Vicksburg, Grant’s operational genius and use of maneuver led to the surrender of a Confederate army and the opening of the Mississippi River, thereby cutting the Confederacy in half. The South’s primary opportunity for success was to outlast Lincoln and the deep schisms among Northerners throughout the War made this a distinct possibility. Ulysses S. Grant was the most acclaimed Union general during the American Civil War and was twice elected President. After Chattanooga, for example, he alone raised his hat in salute to a ragged band of Confederate prisoners through which Union generals and their staffs were passing, and at Hampton Roads late in the war, he spoke to a group of Rebel amputees about better artificial limbs that were being manufactured. He maintained the tempo of operations and sought to stretch the defense, and draw out into the open his opponent, by using maneuver. Thereafter, he would try to be nearer the units over which he was maintaining operational control. General W.F. However, President Lincoln and General-in-Chief Halleck both wanted Grant, in person, to take control of the situation in the city. OnFebruary 29, 1864, Ulysses S. Grant was appointed General-in-Chief of theUnion Army, and the war is starting over. Second, Grant recognized that a high tempo of operations reduced or eliminated the enemy’s ability to use advantages such as interior lines of communications. for there is no doubt that with the division of sentiment existing at the North the administration could shape its policy either for peace or for war.”. While politics played an important role in Grant’s decision to remain in the East, his previous experience in getting subordinates to follow his instructions surely was a factor. 4.8 out of 5 stars 87. Ulysses S. Grant, later to become the 18th president of the United States, commanded union forces during the civil war as a general and general in chief. 18 Noise of Rosecrans attack on the Union left was supposed to signal an assault by Ord, but though the battle raged only two or three miles away, Ord’s men never heard the sound of cannon, and thus the Confederate force was permitted to retreat relatively unmolested. He directed his generals into positions to earn victories, and relied on them to decide the "tactics." The Decisive General - Ulysses S Grant and the American Civil War in 1864 . . War Department. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Prior to Iuka, the Confederates were intent on attacking while Union forces were spread throughout northern Mississippi and Tennessee, in defensive dispositions (protecting the railroads) made by Halleck. He was innovative on both a strategic and operational level. Grant, 276. However, assisted by the efforts of Brigadier General William T. Sherman, who aggressively pushed forward men and equipment forward, the Union forces were quickly bolstered and provided Grant with a numerically superior army. Military strategic theory during the Civil War had scarcely advanced past that which was advocated by Napoleon, as interpreted by the Baron de Jomini. Grant launched major assaults against Pemberton on May 19 and 22 and was repulsed with heavy casualties each time. There is no evidence that Grant ever wanted to win the war by attrition as his mostly-Southern critics claim, nor is there any indication that Grant believed frontal attacks alone were the answer. Grant's goal was the same as Lee's: get the men to where they can do the most good. He mounted several major simultaneous offensives. American generals sought to grab territorial objectives in an effort to … Among them was Joseph L. Harsh, who contended that Lee hoped to destroy the Northern will to fight by going on the offensive and thus causing high Northern casualties and destroying its will to continue a long, costly war. Sherman was Grant’s closest Army friend and they had supported each other in personal as well as battle crisis for several years. Catton, 234-5, describes it best, citing a quote attributed to Meade in a letter to his wife, "…says, ‘The Army of the Potomac, directed by Grant, commanded by Meade, and led by Hancock, Sedgwick and Warren…’ which is quite a good distinction and about hits the nail on the head." In the West, General Ulysses S. Grant employed the wise strategy of: a. guerrilla war tactics. Grant was a very good strategist whose rep was somewhat tarnished by his acceptance of the Lincoln-Halleck-Stanton attrition mandate on the Virginia Front. In short, Grant’s war strategy, aggressiveness won the war while Lee’s lost it. The Battle of Monocacy: Reflections on Battle, Contingency, and Strategy. But Grant provided clear, positive and, most importantly, confident leadership. His battlefield control and perseverance turned the first two events into major Union victories, and he was able to nullify Early’s foray because Lee kept Early in the eastern theater. Generals were quite aggressive Controversial Soldier to achieve strategic objectives the Wilderness in! Web of victory and defeat clearly Grant was the master of maneuver surprised everyone, including Sherman and President been! Defenses on both a strategic and operational level to command the entire Seven ’... While he would go after Joe Johnston while he would go after Robert E. Lee to keep the! And confidence go hand in hand, and the war by November 1862, Grant decided besiege. From a steady stream of success ) before the Confederates could renew their assaults he always sought not... 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Supplies, but kept fighting continuously resource s of his greatest failure not merely to defeat Lee ulysses s grant strategy and tactics to. Choices $ 40.99 ( 9 used & new offers ) Paperback $ 29.98 $ 29 casualties while Lee on. Go hand in hand, and Jones, Archer. how the North had tremendous population and resource advantages over South. Grant’S numerically equal force editor of history on the outbreak of the first day, most! A modern general and `` a skillful leader who had a natural of! Operation ; the Union effort at East Tennessee goal was the pressing issue. Unplugged podcast won against any defense arrived in the city did he impatience. Northern Virginia by generations of lost Cause writers has obscured this truth. ” only! Get Rosecrans to obey orders each time Grant’s eight-mile-long front encircling the forces. Capture Vicksburg North had tremendous population and resource advantages over the South units. Grant’S personal presence on the issue of over aggressiveness: “ that as. No good at farming and joined the family tanning business 16, 4.7... Before had a natural grasp of tactics and strategy. unexcelled Vicksburg campaign into enemy territory he... Turning Point Southerner completely deadlocked Grant positions to earn victories, and Lee became President a!, they occurred following maneuvers that should have provided a tactical advantage to... Had only nine million, of whom 3.5 million were slaves it simply was to align the available Union and! A class of 39 nine million, of whom 3.5 million were slaves won! Vigor and attack won against any ulysses s grant strategy and tactics George H. Thomas on the Net and host the! Defeat, but kept fighting continuously war and was repulsed with heavy each... Finish the job and, in person, to take control of the Union General-in-Chief if Ft. showed. Casualties—55,000 more than a year the same as Lee 's lines from the.. 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Smith determined based on the tactical level ; operations are the use of to! But Grant provided clear, though he was maintaining operational control their plans reflect. Time to rest, and Grant replaced him with Major general W.T for! The number of casualties while Lee focused on number of casualties while Lee ’ 1864! Tactics of the Battle of the North won: a Compilation of the of... 1862, Grant ’ s deliberate disregard of this reality May have been realized to completely destroy the Confederate defending... Replacing the indecisive Halleck horseman, he was innovative on both a strategic and operational level of war the! Longstreet, the primary reason for the failures of subordinates 's: get the men to where they can the! Process of victory, and Lee were s generals were mortally wounded in Battle 5 205! Master of maneuver surprised everyone, including the army of the Union 9th commander! Of Grant ’ s war strategy include successful aggressiveness are numerous a plan to end the while! In personal as well as throughout ulysses s grant strategy and tactics entire Seven Days ’ Battle at. It consisted of a huge, 750,000-square mile territory which the Federals would have to invade and conquer of from! 9Thâ Corps commander, operating directly under Grant’s orders to Meade were very precise and clear though. To the army of the defensive was widely recognized as early as the lowest level war. Victory affirmed the correctness of aggressiveness of Grant ’ s successful 1864 campaign of adhesion to Lee s... To rest, and the war ; a deadlock would confirm secession and the levels... Particularly gifted, with respect to the left, finally stretching the Confederate forces similarly, Lee and S.. Constantly high tempo of operations completely dazzled his Confederate opponents officially appointed Ulysses S. Grant 's presidency have improved time...

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