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Author Topic: American Civil War  (Read 3317 times)

Offline Nicholas Bies

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #325 on: April 20, 2010, 01:39:32 AM »
Forcing the other side to terms.

Such as Austerlitz over Ulm
Waterloo over Qatra Bass (sp) or Ligny
Jena-Austerdat (sp)

Apparently they're very rare and there have been none in modern times due to the nature of current warfare or something. I have no idea if he's correct in this but he seems to know his stuff (currently building the only [according to him] working repeater Roman Ballistae and has appeared on the History channel for Roman artillery before).
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Offline t12161991

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #326 on: April 20, 2010, 01:44:18 AM »
Then there have been next to no decisive battles, and you can't fault Lee for not creating one because very few people have (and I think Napoleon is the only one to have created more than one by that definition)!

For me, as an example, I would consider Cannae (yeah, I know, tangent) to be decisive. Not because it brought the Romans to defeat, but because it created a marked shift in their strategy. A decisive battle has a large impact on the war. It does not necessarily have to end the war.

That's me anyway.
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Offline Nicholas Bies

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #327 on: April 20, 2010, 01:48:03 AM »
yea Murray said Cannae wasn't decisive because while it defeated the Romans military it didn't make the Romans call Truce.

No joke we were talking about Cannae when he started talking about what a decisive battle was.
The greatest form of control which can go on forever until it is exposed is a tyranny you can't see, touch and taste (unlike totalitarian Govts). When you sit in a prison cell but can't see the bars, because people don't rebel against not being free when they think they're are.

Offline t12161991

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #328 on: April 20, 2010, 01:50:14 AM »
Different definitions.
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Offline wissenlander

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #329 on: April 20, 2010, 01:51:18 AM »
Different definitions.

Stole the words from my mouth. 
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Offline GamesPoet

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #330 on: April 20, 2010, 01:52:04 AM »
I see.  So his definition is fairly limiting, but I understand.  And by it, yep, Lee probably didn't have a decisive victory.
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Offline wissenlander

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #331 on: April 20, 2010, 02:08:33 AM »
Under that definition the only two that could really claim that in this war would be Grant and probably Sherman.  Any others?
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Offline t12161991

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #332 on: April 20, 2010, 02:12:16 AM »
Not that I can think of.
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Offline jlutin

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #333 on: April 20, 2010, 02:32:25 AM »
Did Lee want to risk a decisive victory?  He was happy with battles that allowed for victory without exposing his army to defeat.  His strategy was to stay alive and cause the enemy as much pain as possible.
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Offline wissenlander

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #334 on: April 20, 2010, 02:40:22 AM »
I think he was after that form of decisive victory in his two invasions.  But otherwise I'd agree that that was his goal, just to bleed them as much as possible and frustrate them into submission.
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Offline Nicholas Bies

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #335 on: April 20, 2010, 04:00:03 AM »

War of Attrition doesn't really work though, unless you have a real long-term strategy in mind. I don't really know enough to comment on the ACW but I'm sure a solid Victory that bought the Union to terms wouldn't have been criticized.
The greatest form of control which can go on forever until it is exposed is a tyranny you can't see, touch and taste (unlike totalitarian Govts). When you sit in a prison cell but can't see the bars, because people don't rebel against not being free when they think they're are.

Offline t12161991

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #336 on: April 20, 2010, 05:53:24 AM »
Thing is Ben, to succeed with his strategy, he would have needed casualties in the numbers produced by your friend's decisive battles- self fulfilling prophecy really.
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Offline Nicholas Bies

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #337 on: April 20, 2010, 06:22:14 AM »
Thing is Ben, to succeed with his strategy, he would have needed casualties in the numbers produced by your friend's decisive battles- self fulfilling prophecy really.

off memory the French came off reasonably well at Austerlitz.

Also would you consider Ulm a decisive battle? Or even a battle...
The greatest form of control which can go on forever until it is exposed is a tyranny you can't see, touch and taste (unlike totalitarian Govts). When you sit in a prison cell but can't see the bars, because people don't rebel against not being free when they think they're are.

Offline t12161991

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #338 on: April 20, 2010, 06:31:38 AM »
I meant he would needed to have inflicted casualties in the numbers produced by that definition of a decisive battle- so what the Austrians took at Austerlitz for example.
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Offline Nicholas Bies

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #339 on: April 20, 2010, 06:39:47 AM »
No not necessarily. I don't think it's about the casualties I think it's about the impact the battle has on the opposite sides ability to continue the fight.

Don't forget one of Murat's greatest abilities was releasing is Hussars and cavalry and chasing down the enemy and not letting them reform and regroup. This kind of morale defeating action helped fragment many opposing forces, resulting in mass desertion and a longer period of time to regroup, regather, rearm and re-enter the fray.

Cannae was a blood bath and a great tactical victory but strategically it just pissed the Roman's off, they gathered a couple of extra legions a dude call Scipio and went on a massive Revenge trip to North Africa
The greatest form of control which can go on forever until it is exposed is a tyranny you can't see, touch and taste (unlike totalitarian Govts). When you sit in a prison cell but can't see the bars, because people don't rebel against not being free when they think they're are.

Offline wissenlander

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #340 on: April 20, 2010, 12:00:02 PM »
Are you talking about Lee or Grant?  I assume you're still on about Lee.  What's his opinion of Grant, then?  Does he consider him to have the decisive victory needed to be an uber general? 
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Offline t12161991

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #341 on: April 20, 2010, 12:29:55 PM »
You're misunderstanding me. What I mean is that to bleed the Union enough that they would just give up, he would have needed one of the enourmous victories that would have given him the sort of victory your friend is talking about.
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Offline jlutin

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #342 on: April 20, 2010, 01:51:25 PM »
I don't think Grant would have turned down the decisive battle but he didn't necessarily seek it out either.  But Grant sought to get between the Rebs and their support while maintaining his line of supply.  In his dream world he would have driven Lee west instead of Lee working south.  Grant is the empire general, don't let the enemy break your line and maneuver on the flanks till you turn, then take him apart.
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Offline Willmark

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #343 on: April 20, 2010, 02:18:00 PM »
Grant was an insanely good general and gets the short end of the stick because Lee was perceived as so great. Lee was a fine general, but often went up against  interior generals like McClellan, Burnside, Pope, etc. Longstreet was the best man at Grant's wedding prior and Grant's wife was a cousin to Longstreet: in short Longstreet knew who they would be facing when Grant took command. Lee was fo his own part largely unconcerned and though it mattered little. Longstreet was quoted as saying" that man will fight us every minute of every day for the remainder of the war".

Lee took bold risks no one can deny that but for instance take Chancellorsville. Hooker actually had a very strong plan and it stood every chance of succeeding, It was the merest of chance that it didn't. Missed communications, a division being the weakest on the flank at the time of Jackson's flanking attack. In this case the mediocre O.O Howard and the XI Corp. Imagine if Reynolds with the the I Corp had gotten their in time. This is the first Core, with the likes of "The Iron Brigade" etc who would later save the 1st day at Gettysburg against overwhelming odds. If they were there to brace the XI Stonewall might have ran into a wall. In other words chance is a great determining factor.

Grant had the numbers true, but does a disservice to him in places like Tennessee and at Shiloh in particular. He was a great strategist, a much better one then Lee IMHO. His campaign against Vicksburg is one of the finest military campaigns ever. It was masterfully executed. Of course it could be argued that Lee was just as good and lacked the resources.

In the end it was Grant that won the war with his direction. And when did he win it? At the end of the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864. Prior to this campaign the Army of the Potomac would turn back northward towards Washington, but he didn't this time. He maneuvered south east to keep the pressure on. This one small change lifted the morale of the entire army. The army finally realized they had the right man and so did Lincoln. No longer would Lee have a chance to fall back and refit.  Grant was prepared to keep the pressure on and after the fighting on May 7th he was more or less free to maneuver. And while Grant had Lee fixed in place Sherman was tearing apart the south.

In short in 1864 the best general in the Civil War took the center stage and his name was Grant.

Offline Union General

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #344 on: April 20, 2010, 07:41:52 PM »

Grant had the numbers true, but does a disservice to him in places like Tennessee and at Shiloh in particular. He was a great strategist, a much better one then Lee IMHO. His campaign against Vicksburg is one of the finest military campaigns ever. It was masterfully executed. Of course it could be argued that Lee was just as good and lacked the resources.

In the end it was Grant that won the war with his direction. And when did he win it? At the end of the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864. Prior to this campaign the Army of the Potomac would turn back northward towards Washington, but he didn't this time. He maneuvered south east to keep the pressure on. This one small change lifted the morale of the entire army. The army finally realized they had the right man and so did Lincoln. No longer would Lee have a chance to fall back and refit.  Grant was prepared to keep the pressure on and after the fighting on May 7th he was more or less free to maneuver. And while Grant had Lee fixed in place Sherman was tearing apart the south.


Don't forget that Grant also helped to turn the tide of the war in 1863 with the fall of Vicksburg. With that and Gettysburg, it was a one-two punch that cut the Confederacy in two.

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Offline GamesPoet

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #345 on: April 20, 2010, 11:26:40 PM »
And Meade was the winning general at Gettysburg. :icon_cool:
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Offline Gustavus Magnus

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #346 on: April 21, 2010, 04:39:59 AM »
"The South needed those key strategic victories to establish themselves like the Continentals had achieved during the Revolution."

This is where I think Lee and Southern planning completely missed the mark.  The Continental army had very few successes for the first half of the war (Trenton was a minor success and Saratoga a larger success) but they were able to stay in the field and make the Brits work to beat them.  Lee won several defensive fights but wasted the victories by following up with blunders of his own.

 The Confederates foolishly wasted men and material trying to move north in 1862 and 1863 while their own lands were being overrun and the Mississippi River taken, as well as several important ports along the coast.  Even if Lee had driven off the Federal army at Gettysburg at the end of the 2nd or 3rd day, what would it have gained him in the long run?  Nothing.  He still would have to march back home because he wouldn't have the numbers to take Washington nor the men and supplies to try to move further north.  The Union would regain the initiative and start a new offensive campaign, as they had done the previous year.

I think it would have been far better for them to allocate troops to break the siege at Vicksburg and retake New Orleans.  Without Vicksburg falling and the losses they took at Gettysburg, the South might have been able to prolong the fight, which is the only thing that might have worn down the resolve of the Northern citizens to continue the war.

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Offline shavixmir

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #347 on: April 21, 2010, 05:37:54 AM »
Something that's always been on my mind concerning the American civil war is:
- Would the world have been a better place if the South had won?
- Would slavery have ended on its own accord, eventually?
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Offline wissenlander

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #348 on: April 21, 2010, 12:13:24 PM »
I think it would have been far better for them to allocate troops to break the siege at Vicksburg and retake New Orleans. 

Do you think once the siege was commenced in earnest, that detaching troops from Lee's command (most likely Longstreet I'd imagine) would have broken the siege?   Would they have gotten there in time?

The plan to releive Vicksburg was proposed, but it was thought that they'd not arrive in time to aid the siege, but instead to put pressure in other areas to try and relieve Vicksburg.  If anything was to be done, it would've needed to be done before the time of the Gettysburg campaign ended up taking place. 

Something that's always been on my mind concerning the American civil war is:
- Would the world have been a better place if the South had won?

Probably not.  There would've probably been a lot of friction and possibly more warfare on this continent. 

- Would slavery have ended on its own accord, eventually?

That was the thought at the time.  I'd be inclined to think yes, eventually, though when and under what circumstances is unclear.  Oddly, there was a push at the end of the war to allow blacks to serve in the CSA army and anyone who did so would be able to earn his freedom.  As backwards as the south may have been in some regards, I really can't see them going too far forward having that antiquated institution as its economic foundation.  There was already pressure from the outside about slavery, and was a big reason that France and England never steped in on their side.  Pressure from the touside would've forced a change along with a move from within.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2010, 12:59:38 PM by wissenlander »
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Offline GamesPoet

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Re: American Civil War
« Reply #349 on: April 21, 2010, 12:45:18 PM »
"The South needed those key strategic victories to establish themselves like the Continentals had achieved during the Revolution."
This could be a very good point.  Who is being quoted?

Quote
This is where I think Lee and Southern planning completely missed the mark.  The Continental army had very few successes for the first half of the war (Trenton was a minor success and Saratoga a larger success) but they were able to stay in the field and make the Brits work to beat them. ...
Not that this is an AWI thread, but I'd had the add Lexington and Concord fight (true not the continental army yet), and Bunker Hill as also important victories.

Quote
...   Lee won several defensive fights but wasted the victories by following up with blunders of his own.

The Confederates foolishly wasted men and material trying to move north in 1862 and 1863 while their own lands were being overrun and the Mississippi River taken, as well as several important ports along the coast.  Even if Lee had driven off the Federal army at Gettysburg at the end of the 2nd or 3rd day, what would it have gained him in the long run?  Nothing.  He still would have to march back home because he wouldn't have the numbers to take Washington nor the men and supplies to try to move further north.  The Union would regain the initiative and start a new offensive campaign, as they had done the previous year.

I think it would have been far better for them to allocate troops to break the siege at Vicksburg and retake New Orleans.  Without Vicksburg falling and the losses they took at Gettysburg, the South might have been able to prolong the fight, which is the only thing that might have worn down the resolve of the Northern citizens to continue the war.
If the South had a long term strategy of prolonging the fight and keeping their army in the war, they might have won, but I question whether or not they would have with both the industrial and manpower might of the North.  And Lincoln's resolve to maintain the Union.
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