Is Grant overrated?

He is not overrated, he was a brilliant general, his stats do not describe how good he was
16%
5
His stats are just right
44%
14
He is just a little overrated
34%
11
He is an ordinary butcher
6%
2
 
Total votes: 32
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Grant

Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:31 am

Are Grant stats overrated?

Here it is. I am opening a can of worms. The best Union general, the one who finally defeated Lee. But did he do it with style, or did he simply used Union material ans manpower advantages. His contemporaries considered him great strategist and mediocre tactician. More modern historian think of him as truly great general. What do you think of him? Was he God send to the Union to end the war, or was he merely a capable (not brilliant) general prepared to pay the butcher's bill.

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PhilThib
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Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:11 pm

The game stats have less to do with history and personal feeling / assumption of leaders... there role is to offer a balancing point vis-a-vis the other side... the CSA has Lee, the USA must have a "matching" Grant, that's the way our games are done...

And according to some historians, we have extemely overrated Lee (the guys say the genius was Jackson, not Lee)...so I would suggest to close the can of worms fast !!!!!!!!! :mdr:
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Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:52 pm

Actually Longstreet was the genius, imho. Saw what he had and could do with it and made the most out of it. Just as Grant, btw. Lee on the other hand knew wht fast movement can do, while Jackson was a master of deceit and camouflage. What's a military genius then, anyway.
Although this game is based on history, it is not history itself, so I am fine with what it offers. So I vote "just right".
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Keeler
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Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:57 pm

[quote="William Tecumseh Sherman"]I am a damned sight smarter man than Grant. I know more about military history, strategy, and grand tactics than he does. I know more about supply, administration, and everything else than he does. I'll tell you where he beats me though and where he beats the world. He doesn't give a damn about what the enemy does out of his sight, but it scares me like hell. …]

Grant made his share of mistakes, but didn't let those errors overwhelm him, learned from them, and applied those lessons to the next battle or campaign. This was his brand of genius, one which enabled him to marshal the Union war effort to victory. We have this idea, which is largely an outgrowth of the Lost Cause mythology, that Grant simply wore the South into submission through butchery and that this somehow diminishes from what Grant accomplished. That idea doesn't quite hold up under scrutiny, but lets accept it for argument's sake. If it was so simple to both recognize and implement the wearing-down approach, why did other intelligent officers such as McClellan and Halleck fail to either see it or apply it? Perhaps there's more to what Grant did than be "willing to pay the price."

On the other hand there's a new book coming out soon about how Grant's memoirs distorted the history-writing of the Civil War, to the benefit of Grant's legacy and the detriment of others.


I think the Grant-Lee balance in-game is fine as is.
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Grant

Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:11 pm

In my opinion, Grant is and should be the best general in the game. You could make the argument he was the single greatest American general in history. What he did was amazing. The main reason for it was a trait most people don’t even associate with Grant, namely his mastery of the operational art. His Vicksburg campaign was beautiful in concept and in execution, first driving a stake between Pemberton and Johnston, and then swinging around to smash Pemberton at Champion Hill and Big Black River, forcing him to retreat into the fortifications at Vicksburg where he surrendered his whole army.

We tend to think of the Overland campaign as a bloody slug fest, but here again Grant looked to march around Lee at Mine Run, drive into his rear, and cut his supply lines. It was a combination of hard marching and fighting, Grant starts the campaign on May 4th, and has crossed the James and is assaulting Petersburg by June 15th. That spring, Lee had 3 infantry corps under Longstreet, Hill, and Ewell, plus Stuart’s cavalry corps gives a total of around 64,000 men. After Hancock’s flank march on the 20th forces Lee to fall back and seek shelter behind the North Anna river, just look at what had happened to his army. He has lost 25,000 men, Longstreet and Stuart are down, and Hill and Ewells’ corps are both wrecks of their former selves. Lee’s broken army can’t stop Grant from cutting their rail lines south. Lee tries to breakout at Fort Steadman the following spring, but Grant halts that attack, counters, cuts off his way south at Five Forks, breaks Lee’s lines at Petersburg, and relentlessly pursues his army to its grave, at Saylor’s Creek and finally at Appomattox.

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Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:26 pm

PhilThib wrote:The game stats have less to do with history and personal feeling / assumption of leaders... there role is to offer a balancing point vis-a-vis the other side... the CSA has Lee, the USA must have a "matching" Grant, that's the way our games are done...

And according to some historians, we have extemely overrated Lee (the guys say the genius was Jackson, not Lee)...so I would suggest to close the can of worms fast !!!!!!!!! :mdr:


I agree Phil, after some research I believe that Jackson was the key to most of Lee's wins. Even Lee himself knew the South suffered a great loss when Stonewall died.

As far as Grant, yes he was a good general. I believe if Grant was fighting for the South his tactics would be different (and not so victorious). Grant knew he had the manpower to constantly attack without having to worry about the casualties. Lincoln wanting a fighting general and he found that in Grant.

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Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:26 pm

As far as the game goes, I don't know that Grant's stats have to equal Lee's. To reflect that he was willing and/or able to do what none of the other Union commanders were, his stats should be better than most Union commanders.

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Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:30 pm

I recommend Fuller's "Generalship of Ulysses S. Grant" if you want a good argument for Grant being the best general of his generation on either side of the Civil War. The Vicksburg Campaign and the crossing of the James were absolute masterpieces. Not to mention that in 64 and 65 he coordinated simultaneous offensives across all theaters while doing it from the field with the AoP.

My main criticism of in game Grant is that he doesn't have the fast mover trait...the man moved incredibly fast. I suppose a case could be made that he should perhaps defend a little less well and have a malus for the time it takes to dig his forces in. I mean, his people got caught with their pants down at Shiloh, and at Fort Donelson, the garrison successfully breached his lines...and then decided to not break out after all.

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Sat May 30, 2015 6:36 pm

Grant was great, but I was surprised to see how good they rated him. Yes sir he was overrated, lee was a step ahead the whole time. In the end even lee should have escaped, but miscommunication by goverment allowed his capture. Grant great, but i voted slightly overrated.
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Wed Jun 10, 2015 6:17 pm

PhilThib wrote:The game stats have less to do with history and personal feeling / assumption of leaders... there role is to offer a balancing point vis-a-vis the other side... the CSA has Lee, the USA must have a "matching" Grant, that's the way our games are done...

And according to some historians, we have extemely overrated Lee (the guys say the genius was Jackson, not Lee)...so I would suggest to close the can of worms fast !!!!!!!!! :mdr:



If that is so why do you label this game as a historically accurate game? Maybe i bought the wrong game. It should be than just a "blue" team against a "gray team" with random generals. So I would know to not spend the money.
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Confederate solider to Pennsylvanian citizen before Gettysburg



"No way sherman will go to hell, he would outflank the devil and get past havens guard"

Southern solider about northern General Sherman



"Angels went to receive his body from his grave but he was not there, they left very disappointed but upon return to haven, found he had outflanked them and was already there".

Northern newspaper about the death of Stonewall Jackson

kc87
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Sat Jun 13, 2015 6:09 am

Grant had 19 corps in Virginia to deal with Lee's under-strength'd 3, try simulating that in the game and see how it goes lol, stats wouldn't matter at all at that point. To be fair to Grant I wouldn't call him overrated, his circumstances and problems were much different than Lee's. Militarily Lee was a better commander in every aspect, but that's not always what wins wars.

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Sat Jun 13, 2015 11:05 am

To be fair to Grant, he was in every way a competent general. He lacked flair and occasionally made missteps but was skilled and lucky enough to make up for that with hard work and good working relationships with most of his subordinates. However, he only avoided being defeated in detail by Lee at North Anna through dumb luck and made some other critical mistakes in the Overland Campaign, our main direct Lee vs. Grant fight, although none were decisive. As a result I said he is very slightly overrated in game. I definitely agree he should have a high strat rating as the only time I can think of him being "inactive" was when he was drunk off his ass at Vicksburg and arguably inactive immediately prior Shiloh. As far as his attack and defense skills though, they should be fairly middle of the road in my opinion. Grant was neither a remarkable defensive or offensive tactician, although he was by no means poor. I would say something like 6-3-3 or 6-3-2 would be what I would give Grant.
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Mon Jun 15, 2015 2:34 pm

kc87 wrote:Grant had 19 corps in Virginia to deal with Lee's under-strength'd 3, try simulating that in the game and see how it goes lol, stats wouldn't matter at all at that point. To be fair to Grant I wouldn't call him overrated, his circumstances and problems were much different than Lee's. Militarily Lee was a better commander in every aspect, but that's not always what wins wars.


You know that's a very misleading stat. In terms of manpower, the North had much smaller but more numerous corps while the South had larger but fewer corps. Yes, the North and in this case Grant typically enjoyed a numerical superiority. But Grant vs Lee was nowhere near the 6-1 odds you're implying here.

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Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:14 pm

I would think Grant should at least be given the stat of Drunkard. I feel it would be more fitting to the fact Grant was labeled as such.

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Mon Jun 15, 2015 5:08 pm

and grant really didn't entrenched his troops! gordon rolled his armys left flank in wilderness because the boys in blue didn't want to use the showels! yes grant is overrated!

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Mon Jun 15, 2015 5:54 pm

All of the Generals of the CW are over-rated. None of them recognized that the Minie ball had made their tactics suicidally obsolete. The Union army forgot the basic use of artillery for over two years. Two percent of the population died and millions more suffered loss of limbs or psychological damage. What did politicians tell their voters? Lee is a genius, but Grant is our savior!

Two armed mobs chased each other for four years until one side won. Someone has to be the hero.
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Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:06 pm

Gray Fox wrote:All of the Generals of the CW are over-rated. None of them recognized that the Minie ball had made their tactics suicidally obsolete. The Union army forgot the basic use of artillery for over two years. Two percent of the population died and millions more suffered loss of limbs or psychological damage. What did politicians tell their voters? Lee is a genius, but Grant is our savior!

Two armed mobs chased each other for four years until one side won. Someone has to be the hero.


Amen

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Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:05 am

FightingBuckeye wrote:You know that's a very misleading stat. In terms of manpower, the North had much smaller but more numerous corps while the South had larger but fewer corps. Yes, the North and in this case Grant typically enjoyed a numerical superiority. But Grant vs Lee was nowhere near the 6-1 odds you're implying here.


Of course, it wasn't possible that the entire force could be brought to bare on Lee in any given battle because of logistics.

The rolls for the battle of the Wilderness were 50,403 Confederates and 141,160 Federals (IX Corps from the Army of the Ohio joined them with 21,000 troops). The Army of the Potomac numbered around 110,000, Army of the James 38,000, the Army of the Shenandoah 10,000, Army of the Ohio IX Corps 22,000 in Virginia. Grant also pulled 20-40,000 replacements from Washington D.C and there were well over 50,000 more troops that were brought in to replace the 100,000 casualties that resulted in campaign in 1864.

Grant was definitely the administrative and logistical genius the North needed to win the war, but I still find it hard to compare him to Lee, he's in a league of his own in my opinion.

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Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:03 am

DaddyRess wrote:I would think Grant should at least be given the stat of Drunkard. I feel it would be more fitting to the fact Grant was labeled as such.


That's a highly exaggerated myth, he drank only in periods of extreme lulls in campaigning and garrison duty like most other officers in the Army, never when important work had to be done. But when he did drink, he did it in front of the wrong people which caused him some major headaches in his career.

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Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:34 am

kc87 wrote:That's a highly exaggerated myth, he drank only in periods of extreme lulls in campaigning and garrison duty like most other officers in the Army, never when important work had to be done. But when he did drink, he did it in front of the wrong people which caused him some major headaches in his career.


I strongly disagree, to me it is the peace time/war time army service split. In Grant's original stay in the army he was forced out because of his drinking habits. There were rumors of his drinking in the war time army, but none were ever substantiated. I agree he should not have the drunken trait. But if this game took place during his first stay in the army, then he certainly should.

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Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:49 pm

B0rn_C0nfused wrote:I strongly disagree, to me it is the peace time/war time army service split. In Grant's original stay in the army he was forced out because of his drinking habits. There were rumors of his drinking in the war time army, but none were ever substantiated. I agree he should not have the drunken trait. But if this game took place during his first stay in the army, then he certainly should.


There was an officers club where they all drank heavily at Jefferson Barracks, and the unwritten rule was if you were late, you had to show up with a bottle of wine. Grant was late a few times because he was spending time with his future wife, so after bringing 3 bottles of wine he refused to bring another and Buchanan had it out for him ever since. Heavy drinking was part of the Army's garrison/peacetime lifestyle and there's no evidence he drank or overindulged more than others, plus his small stature didn't help him hold his liquor.

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Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:54 pm

kc87 wrote:There was an officers club where they all drank heavily at Jefferson Barracks, and the unwritten rule was if you were late, you had to show up with a bottle of wine. Grant was late a few times because he was spending time with his future wife, so after bringing 3 bottles of wine he refused to bring another and Buchanan had it out for him ever since. Heavy drinking was part of the Army's garrison/peacetime lifestyle and there's no evidence he drank or overindulged more than others, plus his small stature didn't help him hold his liquor.


It has been a while since I have read up on the subject, I am not going to look up sources. My understanding is that it is widely understood that Grant drank heavily, and was given the option to resign or face a court martial in which he chose to resign without explanation. I've seen how office politics and being the favorite work etc in real life. So it is possible that drinking that heavily was common place in the army, and he was either singled out, or on the contrary there were only a few others who did it, who were protected from punishment, unlike Grant. That being said, there was at least one union officer who murdered a man in cold blood, but was shielded from punishment because of the perception of the need for his "veteran" leadership. That doesn't change the fact he is/was a murderer. Whether Grant was singled out, or was one of a few who drank, who was not protected because of his relationship with his superior officer doesn't change the fact he got drunk. That is of course assuming he did actually get drunk, and that those were not rumors made up to force him out in the army. Since I haven't gone back and looked up sources like I normally do, some of the information may be inaccurate.

PS: I have also heard that Buchanan has been described as a rigid disciplinarian, but an impartial one. I have also read (I believe) that the resign/court martial incident stemmed from one day Grant reported for duty and was still drunk, and Buchanan forced him to draft a letter of resignation and force him to sign it or face the charge of being drunken on duty (in the form of a court martial).

PPS: Drunkard in the peace time army seems like a very reasonable trait for Grant, again, not talking about 1861-1865 here.

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Fri May 27, 2016 2:11 pm

Projekt Pasha wrote:To be fair to Grant, he was in every way a competent general. He lacked flair and occasionally made missteps but was skilled and lucky enough to make up for that with hard work and good working relationships with most of his subordinates. However, he only avoided being defeated in detail by Lee at North Anna through dumb luck and made some other critical mistakes in the Overland Campaign, our main direct Lee vs. Grant fight, although none were decisive. As a result I said he is very slightly overrated in game. I definitely agree he should have a high strat rating as the only time I can think of him being "inactive" was when he was drunk off his ass at Vicksburg and arguably inactive immediately prior Shiloh. As far as his attack and defense skills though, they should be fairly middle of the road in my opinion. Grant was neither a remarkable defensive or offensive tactician, although he was by no means poor. I would say something like 6-3-3 or 6-3-2 would be what I would give Grant.


(Emphasis mine above)

THIS! I almost always play as the Union and I think Grant was a great strategic general, but I think his battlefield chops are severely over-rated. Think about the actual battles he fought...Cold Harbor, the Wilderness, Vicksburg. There were a lot of headlong attacks in those battles that simply failed. He won because he knew what his advantages were: manpower and resources. He understood that modern warfare wasn't about isolated battles and then rest (Napoleonic) but to keep the enemy under constant pressure so that your inherent advantages win out. Heck, look at the Battle of Chattanooga, he won despite his tactical plan! Again, don't get me wrong. I like Grant. I think he was a good General, but he was not an amazing battlefield general.

I think 6-3-3 would be perfect for him. It represents his constant drive to press the enemy. It would bolster the 3-1-1's that the Union has but would still require him to find competent Corps commanders to be truly successful. It would give the Union a good army but not one that is unstoppable.
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