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Re: [civilwarwest] High command

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  • John S.Stinchcomb
    Let us not forget that the Aristocratic South had an Agrarian Base, whereas the North was heavily industrialized, and could take advantage of the immigrants by
    Message 1 of 8 , May 23, 2000
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      Let us not forget that the Aristocratic South had an Agrarian Base, whereas
      the North was heavily industrialized, and could take advantage of the
      immigrants by Drafting them into the Army. The North could produce more
      Weapons, more Cannon, and more soldiers. When the South ran out of what War
      stocks they had, they found that they could not be replaced easily. Blockade
      running was dangerous and deadly, but profitable to a few when successful.
      Only so much could be brought in this way though, so the South was still at
      a considerable disadvantage.
      That the war lasted as long as it did is due to the ineptness and
      mismanagement of the North, and the determined resolve and willingness to
      die for their cause,of the South.
      Both Forrest and Cleburn were experts at their trade, but were lacking in
      nescessary tools(Weapons,Horses,Cannon,Boots, and beans) to last longer than
      they did. Think of what could have happened with a few open ports in the
      South.
      The South in the end was defeated by Industry, and sheer weight of numbers
      of men and machinery of war. It was not defeated by military genius or
      superior strategy.
      When your men are barefoot, starving, and have only a few rounds of
      ammunition, and are confronted by a well fed,properly equipped army that can
      keep your heads down with continuous fire, You have a problem that has only
      one solution.
      John S.Stinchcomb jstinchcomb@...
      jstcomb@...





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    • Bryan Dameron McRaven
      Mr. Callen, I am afraid that I disagree with much of what you said in your post, but not with all of it. Gen. N.B. Forrest was treated with some circumspection
      Message 2 of 8 , May 23, 2000
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        Mr. Callen,
        I am afraid that I disagree with much of what you
        said in your post, but not with all of it. Gen. N.B. Forrest was treated
        with some circumspection by southern society, due to his origins and former
        profession, but I am not sure that any such distaste was a factor in his not
        being promoted to command of an Army Corps, or an Army. Forrest, for all his
        genius, was not one to unquestioningly follow orders. This fact, more than
        anything else, most likely caused his retention as a commander of Cavalry,
        albeit a Major-General.
        As we live in the 21st century. we are used to a Marxian
        analysis of history based on class-conflict, but your assertions as to the
        dominance of the "planter aristocracy" over matters military and civil is a
        bit overreaching in my humble opinion.
        Without any doubt, the southern planter aristocracy was the
        held the majority of civil offices in the Confederacy, but one must ask what
        was the nature of that aristocracy? The ante-bellum South was not Edwardian
        England with the "commoners" bound to the land, and the lesser notables
        swearing oaths of fealty to their betters. The South, and the Confederate
        States of America were a democracy, more like what the Founders created with
        the revolution, than what existed, (and still exists), in the United States
        at that time. The lack of black freedom and suffrage aside, white
        southerners enjoyed democracy in the truest since of the word.
        The Southern Aristocracy was not a fixed class that retained
        complete control of the means of production, but conversely, the aristocracy
        could be entered by any family that attained wealth in land and slaves, or
        trade. Further, the aristocracy did not control how people voted, or exert
        any undue influence on the populace at large. The fluid nature of the
        Southern aristocracy encouraged the white populace to participate in the
        electoral process, and in government at large.
        The Officer Corps of the Confederate Armies was not constrained
        in its composition by any sort of hegemonic control exerted by the planter
        class. The predominant factor in the selection of men to command the
        Confederate Armies was not the social class to which they belonged, but
        whether or not the man in question had military experience, and more
        importantly, if he had attended West Point. Sure enough, many of the
        Confederate Command came from the highest level of society, but most of
        those men also attended West Point. But, membership in the aristocracy was
        not a precondition to attending West Point. While not of the most humble
        origins, Stonewall Jackson was not a socialite, politico, or a wealthy man,
        but his attendance at West Point, and his professorship at VMI gained him
        the recognition for his office of Colonel, and his performance at Manassas
        earned him his Generalship. Further high performance was recognized by
        further promotion. Patrick Cleburne was not of lowly origins either. Patrick
        was born in County Cork, Ireland surely enough, but his father was a fairly
        well-to-do medical doctor. Patrick failed his entrance exam to medical
        school in 1846, and joined the Queen's Army in shame. After three years in
        "Her Majesty's 41st Regiment of Foot," Cleburne purchased his discharge and
        emmigrated to the United States. Having been educated as an apothecary,
        Cleburne worked as a pharmacist in Helana, Arkansas, where he studied law,
        and became and intimate of politician/Mexican war hero Thomas C. Hindman.
        Cleburne was also a member of the Episcopal Church, the Masons, and the Sons
        of Temperance. In 1860, he was elected to the office of Captain of the "Yell
        Rifles" by the citizens of Helena, Arkansas, he had enlisted as a private.
        On May 14, 1861, he was elected to Colonel of the 1st Arkansas Infantry. His
        military experience aided greatly in his appointment.
        Cleburne's lack of promotion to Army command, stemmed not from
        his social origins, or his lack of experience, or fitness to command at that
        level. Cleburne made himself somewhat suspect by authoring a proposal that
        suggested freeing the slaves and incorporating them into the Confederate
        Army. This factor, coupled with Cleburne's membership in the "anti-Bragg"
        faction in the Army of Tennessee led to his retention at the rank of
        Major-General. A cursory look at Ezra Warner's "Generals in Gray" will
        reveal that most Confederate Generals had previous military experience
        and/or training.
        The problems of the Confederate High Command stem more from
        President Jefferson Davis than any other source. Jeff Davis was a true
        Southern patriot, but he exhibited a myriad of flaws. His prefference for
        West Point trained officers is understandable though. Davis was a graduate
        of West Point, a hero of the Mexican War, and had served as the United
        States Secretary of War. Why would a man so thoroughly steeped in military
        society choose to look outside of the "loop" for military talent?
        To digress, Jeff Davis' short-comings as President were due
        directly to his military training and experience, rather than his planter
        origins. Davis was used to his being obeyed, whether as a young Lieutenant
        on the Western Plains, Colonel of the "Mississippi Rifles" in the Mexican
        War, and Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce. One thing most
        noted, but least understood, by Davis' biographers has been his inability to
        compromise. But, there was nothing in his past experience to engender a
        willingness to compromise. Military life is completely uncompromising,
        relying completely in difference to the orders of one's superior. Davis
        understood this. His life as a plantation owner and slave holder further
        enhanced his sense of command. Detractors would say that his long tenure as
        U.S. Senator from Mississippi should have given him understanding of
        compromise. However, many forget that Davis' tenure in office overlapped the
        most contentious and uncompromising periods in our nation's history. Davis
        had little experience in "building bridges", but plenty in claiming
        "Southern Rights." There was no magician to alter a character created in the
        hot forge of sectional conflict. Thus, Davis had no basis in his character
        from which to come to compromise. He gave much thought and study to an
        issue, but once he made up his mind his position was inalterable.
        Much can be said against the various political and military
        officials who gave a lackluster performance during the war, but that list
        would be too long to address. To conclude this discourse, I must say that I
        can find no overriding influence originating from the the Southern
        Aristocracy that was detremental to the war effort. I think that Georgia
        politician and Confederate General Howell Cobb said it best, the tombstone
        of the Confederacy shall read "Died of West Point."

        Dameron McRaven










        ----- Original Message -----
        From: <philip@...>
        To: <civilwarwest@egroups.com>
        Sent: Tuesday, May 23, 2000 7:44 PM
        Subject: [civilwarwest] High command


        > talents of Pat Cleburn. Both of these men exhibited traits that
        > demanded further investigation into whether they should have been
        > promoted to command the AoT. Almost all discussions of
        > Richmonds choices were largely limited to Johnston, Bragg, and
        > finally Hood. I maintain that this was no mistake, and that it may
        > have cost the war.
        > Nathan Bedford Forrest's name cannot be mentioned without
        > the words military genius following close behind, and yet he
        > remained a cavalry officer commanding relatively few men and, to
        > my knowlege, was never offered command of an army. If he was
        > such a genius, then why not? His talents may have proved just as
        > effective in a larger sphere. We will never know. As an aside, I
        > cannot help adding to the comments defending Forrest in spite of
        > his having been a slave trader. It has been pointed out that we
        > should not judge him by 20th century standards, and I agree. In
        > his favor, I believe that he was a man of honor. He fervently
        > believed in the Code of the Southern Gentleman. His was quick to
        > protect his honor and lived a chivalrous life toward women. He was
        > also a rough and a profane man. He came from a humble
        > background, and was not above grabbing a subordinate officer, who
        > refused to pull his own weight, by the scruff of the neck and
        > throwing him overboard. He must have been tremendously
        > powerful. To reach down and haul a Yankee soldier onto his
        > saddle as a shield must have taken enormous strength. But I
        > maintain that he was judged by 19th century standards and found
        > wanting. Slave traders were considered a low bunch of characters
        > by the very people they sold to. Southern high society would not,
        > could not, ever fully accept him into their midst.
        > The aristocracy was a very select crowd. It is the definition of
        > an aristocracy to be select. It was the aristocracy that pushed for
        > war, and it was the aristocracy that prosecuted it. Their definition
        > of the ultimate attainment of society was one in which this select
        > group of people was allowed to pursue all of humankind's greatest
        > callings (arts, sciences, politics, and military) because of the
        > leisure time afforded to them by the labor of others. This select
        > group maintained a monopoly on the state goverments of the
        > South. It was these same legislatures that selected the
        > conventions for secession. I do not maintain that they dragged the
        > South into the war unsupported by the general populace at all, but
        > they certainly knew that once secession came, and if the North
        > invaded, then the other 75% of the population would immediately
        > rise to protect their homes and their lands from the invaders,as all
        > good Americans would. The aristocracy prosecuted the war for the
        > South. I believe the evidence is there. Nathan Bedford Forrest and
        > Pat Cleburn were not of the aristocracy, and I expect were
        > repugnant to them. Pat Cleburn was an Irishman of humble
        > beginnings, just one step above the Negro in those days. It was
        > probably a stretch to promote those guys as far as they did, but
        > after all, things were pretty desperate.
        > Now let's look at the other side. Abraham Lincoln was a hick
        > from Illinois. He was an embarrassment to high society in
        > Washington, but they learned to tolerate him. He certainly had no
        > hesitation about promoting whoever aided his ability to prosecute
        > the war. We are all familiar with the long sad list of generals that
        > he went through before he found the one. Lincoln's relentless
        > search was strictly a talent search, and instead of restricting the
        > pool from which he was allowed to choose from(as the South did),
        > he was ever widening it. Many of the same people who spend time
        > touting N.B. Forrest and Pat Cleburn also spend a fair amount of
        > time degrading Grant and Sherman. But look where they came
        > from. Grant was pretty much a failure at everything that he did
        > other than wage war. He had quit his army career with a drinking
        > problem, and didn't accomplish much more than that until the war.
        > Sherman was a volatile character who turned down a commission
        > in the early stages of the war because of his disgust with the
        > politicians who brought about that awful mess, and later had a
        > 'nervous breakdown' that many thought signaled the end of his
        > career. In spite of these beginnings, both of these men were
        > catapaulted to the commands of large armies that eventually wore
        > down their opponents and won the war. Incidentally, I don't agree
        > that Grant was a poor general. One of you pointed out very clearly
        > the striking characteristics of the map of the campaign that
        > eventually holed Lee up in Richmond and Petersburg. That dance
        > of those two armies as they moved, sidestepping as they went, is
        > the most eloquent testimony to Grant's generalship. He was pitted
        > against a brilliant and wily opponent who would have taken
        > advantage of any serious misstep that he made. He only made
        > one: the Wilderness. He almost lost it there. I don't agree that
        > Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor were two battles where Lee beat
        > Grant, as someone has suggested. He was experimenting with
        > trying to break through entrenchments. There were numerous
        > generals in the first World War who spent four years trying to do
        > the same thing and lost a lot more men than Grant. Grant almost
        > cooked Lee's goose at Spotsylvania when Lee pulled his artillary
        > too soon. Grant is also the only man who ever stole the march on
        > Lee. Imagine his exultation to have left Lee wondering where his
        > army had gone when he crossed the James on the way to
        > Petersburg. Imagine his fury when he failed to take the city in
        > time. The turning point of the war was when Grant turned toward
        > Richmond after the Wilderness in stead of retreating as so many
        > other generals had done.
        > So I maintain that one of the most important reasons why the
        > South lost the war was that an aristocracy will always fail against a
        > democracy, given enough time. At the beginning of the war, the
        > South had the greatest talent. The aristocracy naturally trained
        > their sons in the arts of riding and shooting. They sent their sons
        > for military training. They were by nature more militant than the
        > North. But as time went on, that select group would get narrower
        > and narrower as death took its toll. In the North, with a larger
        > population to begin with, and with a policy of promoting talent
        > regardless of their backgrounds, it was merely a matter of time.
        > Philip Callen
        >
        > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        > Best friends, most artistic, class clown Find 'em here:
        > http://click.egroups.com/1/4054/3/_/14182/_/959128130/
        > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        >
        >
        >
      • Michael Wynd
        When I read your message Phillip, I thought I was looking at my essays for my Intro to Tactics paper. I couldn t agree more with your conculsions. It has been
        Message 3 of 8 , May 23, 2000
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          When I read your message Phillip, I thought I was looking at my essays for
          my Intro to Tactics paper. I couldn't agree more with your conculsions. It
          has been argued by my Professor that for a commander to succed at any level,
          he must have some measure of formal training.I have used Forrest as my
          counter argument. He was unskilled in the military arts, yet seems to have a
          instictive grasp of the right thing to do at any time. While it is true that
          war is a soldier's greatest teacher, there was something in his makeup that
          suited him for the role he played. Could he have succeeded at a higher
          level? I tend to think not. He, like some other commanders, would have been
          suited for divisional or maybe corps command. Ideally, he was suited to
          command a corps of mounted infantry. Imagine the affect of an mounted
          infantry division armed with Henry carbines under his command appearing on
          your flank or in your rear. Your comments on the social factor are very
          timely. I am of the opinion that when studying military history you need to
          be aware of the social and economic factors as much as
          the military and political. Only then, can you reach a deeper, and fuller
          understanding. For example, in an essay, I am arguing that the invention of
          the cotton gin was the initial factor that started the nation on the road to
          civil war.
          Turning to Grant, I selected the Vicksburg and Overland campaigns as the
          best examples of selection and maintenacne of the aim as a principal of war.
          The thing that has always appealed about Grant as a commander to me was the
          fact that after all the failed attempts to take Vicksburg he never gave up.
          Like Sherman, he was only ever good at one thing.
          I would like to know however, your thoughts on Grants performance at Shiloh.
          Was he saved be the failure of the Confederates? Was this a battle that did
          not have to be fought?
          Michael Wynd
          ________________________________________________________________________
          Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com
        • Hugh Martyr
          ... From: philip@twinoaks.org To: civilwarwest@egroups.com Date: 24 May 2000 01:28 Subject: [civilwarwest]
          Message 4 of 8 , May 28, 2000
          • 0 Attachment
            -----Original Message-----
            From: philip@... <philip@...>
            To: civilwarwest@egroups.com <civilwarwest@egroups.com>
            Date: 24 May 2000 01:28
            Subject: [civilwarwest] High command


            >Hello Civil War West Discussion Group,
            > I just joined this group last week, went back and read all of the
            >messages since January( just to get up to speed), and now it
            >appears that the group is either dying or at the very least
            >slumbering. The most recent messages almost all involve fine
            >points about artillary, and May has had only eight contributions to
            >the discussion.
            > Part of the reason I have been reading the archive of messages
            >is to see whether you folks would hit on the subject that I am most
            >interested in. You have hit all around it, but never really mentioned
            >it. I think that it may be a critical piece to understanding the war in
            >the west, and may be one of the more important reasons for the
            >loss of the war. It is a speculative subject, or at least I am not
            >aware of any studies verifying or denying this theory.
            > There has been much discussion about the military genius of
            >Nathan Bedford Forrest. There is much agreement about the
            >talents of Pat Cleburn. Both of these men exhibited traits that
            >demanded further investigation into whether they should have been
            >promoted to command the AoT. Almost all discussions of
            >Richmonds choices were largely limited to Johnston, Bragg, and
            >finally Hood. I maintain that this was no mistake, and that it may
            >have cost the war.
            > Nathan Bedford Forrest's name cannot be mentioned without
            >the words military genius following close behind, and yet he
            >remained a cavalry officer commanding relatively few men and, to
            >my knowlege, was never offered command of an army. If he was
            >such a genius, then why not? His talents may have proved just as
            >effective in a larger sphere. We will never know. As an aside, I
            >cannot help adding to the comments defending Forrest in spite of
            >his having been a slave trader. It has been pointed out that we
            >should not judge him by 20th century standards, and I agree. In
            >his favor, I believe that he was a man of honor. He fervently
            >believed in the Code of the Southern Gentleman. His was quick to
            >protect his honor and lived a chivalrous life toward women. He was
            >also a rough and a profane man. He came from a humble
            >background, and was not above grabbing a subordinate officer, who
            >refused to pull his own weight, by the scruff of the neck and
            >throwing him overboard. He must have been tremendously
            >powerful. To reach down and haul a Yankee soldier onto his
            >saddle as a shield must have taken enormous strength. But I
            >maintain that he was judged by 19th century standards and found
            >wanting. Slave traders were considered a low bunch of characters
            >by the very people they sold to. Southern high society would not,
            >could not, ever fully accept him into their midst.
            > The aristocracy was a very select crowd. It is the definition of
            >an aristocracy to be select. It was the aristocracy that pushed for
            >war, and it was the aristocracy that prosecuted it. Their definition
            >of the ultimate attainment of society was one in which this select
            >group of people was allowed to pursue all of humankind's greatest
            >callings (arts, sciences, politics, and military) because of the
            >leisure time afforded to them by the labor of others. This select
            >group maintained a monopoly on the state goverments of the
            >South. It was these same legislatures that selected the
            >conventions for secession. I do not maintain that they dragged the
            >South into the war unsupported by the general populace at all, but
            >they certainly knew that once secession came, and if the North
            >invaded, then the other 75% of the population would immediately
            >rise to protect their homes and their lands from the invaders,as all
            >good Americans would. The aristocracy prosecuted the war for the
            >South. I believe the evidence is there. Nathan Bedford Forrest and
            >Pat Cleburn were not of the aristocracy, and I expect were
            >repugnant to them. Pat Cleburn was an Irishman of humble
            >beginnings, just one step above the Negro in those days. It was
            >probably a stretch to promote those guys as far as they did, but
            >after all, things were pretty desperate.
            > Now let's look at the other side. Abraham Lincoln was a hick
            >from Illinois. He was an embarrassment to high society in
            >Washington, but they learned to tolerate him. He certainly had no
            >hesitation about promoting whoever aided his ability to prosecute
            >the war. We are all familiar with the long sad list of generals that
            >he went through before he found the one. Lincoln's relentless
            >search was strictly a talent search, and instead of restricting the
            >pool from which he was allowed to choose from(as the South did),
            >he was ever widening it. Many of the same people who spend time
            >touting N.B. Forrest and Pat Cleburn also spend a fair amount of
            >time degrading Grant and Sherman. But look where they came
            >from. Grant was pretty much a failure at everything that he did
            >other than wage war. He had quit his army career with a drinking
            >problem, and didn't accomplish much more than that until the war.
            >Sherman was a volatile character who turned down a commission
            >in the early stages of the war because of his disgust with the
            >politicians who brought about that awful mess, and later had a
            >'nervous breakdown' that many thought signaled the end of his
            >career. In spite of these beginnings, both of these men were
            >catapaulted to the commands of large armies that eventually wore
            >down their opponents and won the war. Incidentally, I don't agree
            >that Grant was a poor general. One of you pointed out very clearly
            >the striking characteristics of the map of the campaign that
            >eventually holed Lee up in Richmond and Petersburg. That dance
            >of those two armies as they moved, sidestepping as they went, is
            >the most eloquent testimony to Grant's generalship. He was pitted
            >against a brilliant and wily opponent who would have taken
            >advantage of any serious misstep that he made. He only made
            >one: the Wilderness. He almost lost it there. I don't agree that
            >Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor were two battles where Lee beat
            >Grant, as someone has suggested. He was experimenting with
            >trying to break through entrenchments. There were numerous
            >generals in the first World War who spent four years trying to do
            >the same thing and lost a lot more men than Grant. Grant almost
            >cooked Lee's goose at Spotsylvania when Lee pulled his artillary
            >too soon. Grant is also the only man who ever stole the march on
            >Lee. Imagine his exultation to have left Lee wondering where his
            >army had gone when he crossed the James on the way to
            >Petersburg. Imagine his fury when he failed to take the city in
            >time. The turning point of the war was when Grant turned toward
            >Richmond after the Wilderness in stead of retreating as so many
            >other generals had done.
            > So I maintain that one of the most important reasons why the
            >South lost the war was that an aristocracy will always fail against a
            >democracy, given enough time. At the beginning of the war, the
            >South had the greatest talent. The aristocracy naturally trained
            >their sons in the arts of riding and shooting. They sent their sons
            >for military training. They were by nature more militant than the
            >North. But as time went on, that select group would get narrower
            >and narrower as death took its toll. In the North, with a larger
            >population to begin with, and with a policy of promoting talent
            >regardless of their backgrounds, it was merely a matter of time.
            >Philip Callen
            >
            >------------------------------------------------------------------------
            >Best friends, most artistic, class clown Find 'em here:
            >http://click.egroups.com/1/4054/3/_/14182/_/959128130/
            >------------------------------------------------------------------------
            >
            >I find I agree in all you say. I feel that Cleburne and Forrest would never
            have gotten the promotion they deserved. In regard to Grant's so called loss
            at Cold Harbour; the British 1st W.W. Generals were victims of the saying:
            Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of history are condemned to repeat
            them.
            H,Martyr.>
          • Hugh Martyr
            ... From: philip@twinoaks.org To: civilwarwest@egroups.com Date: 24 May 2000 01:28 Subject: [civilwarwest]
            Message 5 of 8 , May 28, 2000
            • 0 Attachment
              -----Original Message-----
              From: philip@... <philip@...>
              To: civilwarwest@egroups.com <civilwarwest@egroups.com>
              Date: 24 May 2000 01:28
              Subject: [civilwarwest] High command


              >Hello Civil War West Discussion Group,
              > I just joined this group last week, went back and read all of the
              >messages since January( just to get up to speed), and now it
              >appears that the group is either dying or at the very least
              >slumbering. The most recent messages almost all involve fine
              >points about artillary, and May has had only eight contributions to
              >the discussion.
              > Part of the reason I have been reading the archive of messages
              >is to see whether you folks would hit on the subject that I am most
              >interested in. You have hit all around it, but never really mentioned
              >it. I think that it may be a critical piece to understanding the war in
              >the west, and may be one of the more important reasons for the
              >loss of the war. It is a speculative subject, or at least I am not
              >aware of any studies verifying or denying this theory.
              > There has been much discussion about the military genius of
              >Nathan Bedford Forrest. There is much agreement about the
              >talents of Pat Cleburn. Both of these men exhibited traits that
              >demanded further investigation into whether they should have been
              >promoted to command the AoT. Almost all discussions of
              >Richmonds choices were largely limited to Johnston, Bragg, and
              >finally Hood. I maintain that this was no mistake, and that it may
              >have cost the war.
              > Nathan Bedford Forrest's name cannot be mentioned without
              >the words military genius following close behind, and yet he
              >remained a cavalry officer commanding relatively few men and, to
              >my knowlege, was never offered command of an army. If he was
              >such a genius, then why not? His talents may have proved just as
              >effective in a larger sphere. We will never know. As an aside, I
              >cannot help adding to the comments defending Forrest in spite of
              >his having been a slave trader. It has been pointed out that we
              >should not judge him by 20th century standards, and I agree. In
              >his favor, I believe that he was a man of honor. He fervently
              >believed in the Code of the Southern Gentleman. His was quick to
              >protect his honor and lived a chivalrous life toward women. He was
              >also a rough and a profane man. He came from a humble
              >background, and was not above grabbing a subordinate officer, who
              >refused to pull his own weight, by the scruff of the neck and
              >throwing him overboard. He must have been tremendously
              >powerful. To reach down and haul a Yankee soldier onto his
              >saddle as a shield must have taken enormous strength. But I
              >maintain that he was judged by 19th century standards and found
              >wanting. Slave traders were considered a low bunch of characters
              >by the very people they sold to. Southern high society would not,
              >could not, ever fully accept him into their midst.
              > The aristocracy was a very select crowd. It is the definition of
              >an aristocracy to be select. It was the aristocracy that pushed for
              >war, and it was the aristocracy that prosecuted it. Their definition
              >of the ultimate attainment of society was one in which this select
              >group of people was allowed to pursue all of humankind's greatest
              >callings (arts, sciences, politics, and military) because of the
              >leisure time afforded to them by the labor of others. This select
              >group maintained a monopoly on the state goverments of the
              >South. It was these same legislatures that selected the
              >conventions for secession. I do not maintain that they dragged the
              >South into the war unsupported by the general populace at all, but
              >they certainly knew that once secession came, and if the North
              >invaded, then the other 75% of the population would immediately
              >rise to protect their homes and their lands from the invaders,as all
              >good Americans would. The aristocracy prosecuted the war for the
              >South. I believe the evidence is there. Nathan Bedford Forrest and
              >Pat Cleburn were not of the aristocracy, and I expect were
              >repugnant to them. Pat Cleburn was an Irishman of humble
              >beginnings, just one step above the Negro in those days. It was
              >probably a stretch to promote those guys as far as they did, but
              >after all, things were pretty desperate.
              > Now let's look at the other side. Abraham Lincoln was a hick
              >from Illinois. He was an embarrassment to high society in
              >Washington, but they learned to tolerate him. He certainly had no
              >hesitation about promoting whoever aided his ability to prosecute
              >the war. We are all familiar with the long sad list of generals that
              >he went through before he found the one. Lincoln's relentless
              >search was strictly a talent search, and instead of restricting the
              >pool from which he was allowed to choose from(as the South did),
              >he was ever widening it. Many of the same people who spend time
              >touting N.B. Forrest and Pat Cleburn also spend a fair amount of
              >time degrading Grant and Sherman. But look where they came
              >from. Grant was pretty much a failure at everything that he did
              >other than wage war. He had quit his army career with a drinking
              >problem, and didn't accomplish much more than that until the war.
              >Sherman was a volatile character who turned down a commission
              >in the early stages of the war because of his disgust with the
              >politicians who brought about that awful mess, and later had a
              >'nervous breakdown' that many thought signaled the end of his
              >career. In spite of these beginnings, both of these men were
              >catapaulted to the commands of large armies that eventually wore
              >down their opponents and won the war. Incidentally, I don't agree
              >that Grant was a poor general. One of you pointed out very clearly
              >the striking characteristics of the map of the campaign that
              >eventually holed Lee up in Richmond and Petersburg. That dance
              >of those two armies as they moved, sidestepping as they went, is
              >the most eloquent testimony to Grant's generalship. He was pitted
              >against a brilliant and wily opponent who would have taken
              >advantage of any serious misstep that he made. He only made
              >one: the Wilderness. He almost lost it there. I don't agree that
              >Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor were two battles where Lee beat
              >Grant, as someone has suggested. He was experimenting with
              >trying to break through entrenchments. There were numerous
              >generals in the first World War who spent four years trying to do
              >the same thing and lost a lot more men than Grant. Grant almost
              >cooked Lee's goose at Spotsylvania when Lee pulled his artillary
              >too soon. Grant is also the only man who ever stole the march on
              >Lee. Imagine his exultation to have left Lee wondering where his
              >army had gone when he crossed the James on the way to
              >Petersburg. Imagine his fury when he failed to take the city in
              >time. The turning point of the war was when Grant turned toward
              >Richmond after the Wilderness in stead of retreating as so many
              >other generals had done.
              > So I maintain that one of the most important reasons why the
              >South lost the war was that an aristocracy will always fail against a
              >democracy, given enough time. At the beginning of the war, the
              >South had the greatest talent. The aristocracy naturally trained
              >their sons in the arts of riding and shooting. They sent their sons
              >for military training. They were by nature more militant than the
              >North. But as time went on, that select group would get narrower
              >and narrower as death took its toll. In the North, with a larger
              >population to begin with, and with a policy of promoting talent
              >regardless of their backgrounds, it was merely a matter of time.
              >Philip Callen
              >
              >------------------------------------------------------------------------
              >Best friends, most artistic, class clown Find 'em here:
              >http://click.egroups.com/1/4054/3/_/14182/_/959128130/
              >------------------------------------------------------------------------
              >
              >I find I agree in all you say. I feel that Cleburne and Forrest would never
              have gotten the promotion they deserved. In regard to Grant's so called loss
              at Cold Harbour; the British 1st W.W. Generals were victims of the saying:
              Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of history are condemned to repeat
              them.
              H,Martyr.>
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