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Favorite Commander Choices

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Well, the thread by A.S. Johnston gave me an idea that I thought might make for a good thread.

 

Here is the idea, AS Johnston's post about favorite generals put the idea in my head.  Make up your own command of an army of each side.  Who you would want in what position.  I'll throw out a template to make things simpler.  Just put the name of the officer you would love to put in charge of that level and unit. I thought about doing artillery units also, but that is going a bit too far I think, same going for brigades.  But if you want, what the heck, throw those out too.  I just went on the basic lines of the Eastern armies with the Union army being a tad bigger. Throw in why you would set the army up the way you would.  Could make for lively discussion and interesting takes on everyone's views on how to set up each force.

 

Union Army 85,000

Commanding General:

1st Corps Commander:

1st Division Commander:

2nd Division Commander:

3rd Division Commander:

2nd Corps Commander:

1st Division Commander:

2nd Division Commander:

3rd Division Commander:

3rd Corps Commander:

1st Division Commander:

2nd Division Commander:

3rd Division Commander:

4th Corps Commander:

1st Division Commander:

2nd Division Commander:

3rd Division Commander:

Cavalry Corps Commander:

1st Division Commander:

2nd Division Commander:

 

Confederate Army 70,000

Confederate Army Commander:

1st Corps Commander:

1st Division Commander:

2nd Division Commander:

3rd Division Commander:

2nd Corps Commander:

1st Division Commander:

2nd Division Commander:

3rd Division Commander:

3rd Corps Commander:

1st Division Commander:

2nd Division Commander:

3rd Division Commander:

Cavalry Corps Commander:

1st Division Commander:

2nd Division Commander:

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This looks like a very cool idea!  And a worthy thread for my first ever post :)   I am assuming (correct me if I misunderstand your idea) that we are not restricted by a person's historical rank, either absolute or relative to other people's.  On that basis, my ideal armies to duke it out are:

 

Union Army 85,000

Commanding General: George H Thomas

-1st Corps Commander: Ulysses S Grant

--1st Division Commander: Phillip Kearny

--2nd Division Commander: August Willich

--3rd Division Commander: John Logan

-2nd Corps Commander: James McPherson

--1st Division Commander: William Rosecrans

--2nd Division Commander: Joseph Hooker

--3rd Division Commander: Charles Harker

-3rd Corps Commander: John Reynolds

--1st Division Commander: John Gibbon

--2nd Division Commander: Henry Slocum

--3rd Division Commander: Oliver Howard

-4th Corps Commander: George Meade

--1st Division Commander: Winfield S Hancock

--2nd Division Commander: Gouvenor K Warren

--3rd Division Commander: John Sedgewick

-Cavalry Corps Commander: John Buford

--1st Division Commander: John Wilder

--2nd Division Commander: James Wilson

-Artillery: Henry Hunt (with subordinates including John Menendhall and Charles Wainwright)

-Training: George McClellan

 

Confederate Army 70,000

Confederate Army Commander: Robert E Lee

-1st Corps Commander: William Hardee

--1st Division Commander: A P Hill

--2nd Division Commander: Patrick Cleburne

--3rd Division Commander: John Breckenridge

-2nd Corps Commander: James Longstreet

--1st Division Commander: John Bell Hood

--2nd Division Commander: William Mahone

--3rd Division Commander: Sterling Price

-3rd Corps Commander: Thomas Jackson (semi-independent corps)

--1st Division Commander: John Gordon

--2nd Division Commander: A P Stewart

--3rd Division Commander: Joseph Johnston

-Cavalry Corps Commander: J.E.B. Stuart

--1st Division Commander: Wade Hampton

--2nd Division Commander: Nathan Forrest (semi-independent division)

-Artillery: Porter Alexander

-Training: Braxton Bragg

 

I'm sure I have forgot a few people I wanted to include.

Other possible categories to include may be Intelligence, Quartermaster, & Engineers.

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20 hours ago, River of Death said:

This looks like a very cool idea!  And a worthy thread for my first ever post :)   I am assuming (correct me if I misunderstand your idea) that we are not restricted by a person's historical rank, either absolute or relative to other people's. 

Correct, no worries about rank.  Some officers were excellent and then promoted beyond their abilities.  This is more just put together a "dream team" of your best command structure.  

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I don't think I can fill out all the blanks, but here is my Union (85,000) dream team

Commanding General: Ulysses S. Grant

1st Corps Commander: George H. Thomas

1st Division Commander: William T. Sherman

2nd Division Commander: Phillip Sheridan

3rd Division Commander: John Gibbon

2nd Corps Commander: William Rosecrans

1st Division Commander: Ambrose Burnside

2nd Division Commander: Joshua Chamberlain

3rd Corps Commander: George Meade

4th Corps Commander: John Reynolds

1st Division Commander: Winfield Scott Hancock

Cavalry Corps Commander: John Buford

 

And yeaeh that's all I could really fill out :P

 

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I supposed its only fair I should post my own dream commands.

Union Army 85,000

Commanding General: George Thomas

1st Corps Commander: Winfield Scott Hancock

1st Division Commander: John Gibbon

2nd Division Commander: Joe Hooker

3rd Division Commander: Phil Kearny

2nd Corps Commander: Phil Sheridan

1st Division Commander: Joshua Chamberlain

2nd Division Commander: E.R. Canby

3rd Division Commander: Andrew J Smith

3rd Corps Commander: John F Reynolds

1st Division Commander: David Stanley

2nd Division Commander: James Blunt

3rd Division Commander: Abner Doubleday

4th Corps Commander: James McPherson

1st Division Commander: John Schofield

2nd Division Commander: John Logan

3rd Division Commander: John Sedgewick

Cavalry Corps Commander: John Buford

1st Division Commander: James Wilson

2nd Division Commander: Wesley Merritt

Artillery: Henry Hunt

 

Confederate Army 70,000

Confederate Army Commander: Robert E Lee

1st Corps Commander: James Longstreet

1st Division Commander: Patrick Cleburne

2nd Division Commander: John B Hood

3rd Division Commander: Lewis Armistead

2nd Corps Commander: Thomas Jackson

1st Division Commander: Richard Taylor

2nd Division Commander: Richard Ewell

3rd Division Commander: D.H. Hill

3rd Corps Commander: A.S. Johnston

1st Division Commander: A.P. Hill

2nd Division Commander: William Hardee

3rd Division Commander: John B Gordon

Cavalry Corps Commander: J.E.B. Stuart

1st Division Commander: Joe Wheeler

2nd Division Commander: N.B. Forrest

Artillery: Edward Porter Alexander

 

Not gonna lie, I did a lot of thinking of fitting command styles.  Not many people were able to work with a very aggressive Sheridan, but given aggressive subordinates he is very dangerous.

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Interesting you have a division to Doubleday.

 

I have some sympathy for him. He was generally a mediocre division commander, but you can't help feel a little sorry for him. His performance commanding the I Corps after the death of Reynolds on 1 July 1863 was the best combat performance of his life. He truly did rise to the occasion and as a result, I think deserved to be given the corps command instead of John Newton - who was also a mediocre officer.

 

It is yet another example of why I do not like Oliver Howard. Not only did he play the greatest role in the defeat at Chancellorsville (Hooker's concussion was the next biggest culprit) but he flat out lied to Meade in his report of the combat on the first day at Gettysburg in claiming that the I Corps broke before the XI did. As if!

 

So, I guess here is my Union "dream team". I don't have much different to add on the Confederate side, except I am surprised J.E. Johnston doesn't get more support.

 

Commanding General: Ulysses S. Grant

Chief of Staff: Charles P. Stone

-1st Corps Commander: John F. Reynolds

--1st Division Commander: Joseph Hooker

--2nd Division Commander: Philip Kearny

--3rd Division Commander: Winfield Scott Hancock

-2nd Corps Commander: James McPherson

--1st Division Commander: William Rosecrans

--2nd Division Commander: John Sedgewick

--3rd Division Commander: Joshua Chamberlain

-3rd Corps Commander: William T. Sherman

--1st Division Commander: Edward Ord

--2nd Division Commander: Henry Slocum

--3rd Division Commander: John Logan

-4th Corps Commander: George Meade

--1st Division Commander: Henry W. Slocum

--2nd Division Commander: Gouvenor K Warren

--3rd Division Commander: George H. Thomas

-Cavalry Corps Commander: John Buford

--1st Division Commander: Philip Sheridan

--2nd Division Commander: Benjamin Grierson

Artillery: Henry Hunt

 

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1 hour ago, Sir R. Calder of Southwick said:

Interesting you have a division to Doubleday.

 

I have some sympathy for him. He was generally a mediocre division commander, but you can't help feel a little sorry for him. His performance commanding the I Corps after the death of Reynolds on 1 July 1863 was the best combat performance of his life. He truly did rise to the occasion and as a result, I think deserved to be given the corps command instead of John Newton - who was also a mediocre officer.

 

It is yet another example of why I do not like Oliver Howard. Not only did he play the greatest role in the defeat at Chancellorsville (Hooker's concussion was the next biggest culprit) but he flat out lied to Meade in his report of the combat on the first day at Gettysburg in claiming that the I Corps broke before the XI did. As if!

 

I completely agree with the criticism of Howard.  I think his case comes down more to having the right friends and right political leanings.

 

I always have wondered if Doubleday had gotten a bigger role or kept his role longer he would have done more.  He commanded a brigade until Antietam.  He was instrumental at the fight at Brawner's Farm in supporting Gibbon and creating the mythos of the Iron Brigade as he sent troops to aid Gibbon since there was no direction to do so as their division commander went down to a seizure and word never got out.  He performed very well at Antietam under the direction of Joe Hooker in taking the Cornfield and running right up to Dunker Church before enfilade fire stopped his advance since the command sent to clear the forest was unsuccessful.  Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville his division (along with most of the 1st Corps) sat idle or in reserve.  His next real chance came at Gettysburg when he definitely rose to the occasion.  So, it brings the question of if he was good enough?  He showed initiative on multiple occasions and held the 1st Corps together after the death of Reynolds.  Definitely a man I think could have done more with a better chance.

 

I find the choice of Slocum more interesting as he was a man who preferred not to have to take the initiative nor make major command decisions.  He dawdled to Gettysburg when he was sorely needed because after news of Reynold's death he did not want to take command of the situation.

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1 hour ago, Buford Protege said:

I find the choice of Slocum more interesting as he was a man who preferred not to have to take the initiative nor make major command decisions.  He dawdled to Gettysburg when he was sorely needed because after news of Reynold's death he did not want to take command of the situation.

Reports conflict on this. Some sources say exactly what you just stated, from whence he got his derogatory nickname "Slow-Come Slocum". Others have taken a different view. 

 

Consider that it was Slocum who elected to leave a brigade on Culp's Hill when ordered to reinforce the left by Meade. Had he followed his orders to the letter and moved his entire corps, then there would have been no defense present on the hill on the afternoon of the second day.

This is from Wikipedia, but they cite their sources. This interpretation has also been corroborated by some of the recent histories written about Gettysburg.

 

"Despite this, some modern historians of Gettysburg have questioned the actions of Slocum on the afternoon of July 1, 1863.[12] They allege that he failed to come to the immediate aid of General Howard’s XI Corps and engage Confederate troops in a timely way at Gettysburg. Information from recently accessed records, however, including Gen. Meade’s archives, shows that Slocum, in fact, dispatched the First Division of his Corps to Gettysburg immediately upon hearing the first report of the fighting. Further, Gen. Slocum’s First Division commander, Brig. Gen. Alpheus S. Williams, verified this as he reported in late 1865 that “when reports of the battle going on in advance of Gettysburg were brought to Gen. Slocum… orders were issued to put the corps in motion,” and the “corps was immediately put in rapid march toward the scene.”[13] A report by Maj. Guindon, whom Slocum had sent on a reconnaissance mission, corroborates Williams’ report; Maj. Guindon indicated that Slocum moved out troops even before he received a request for aid from Gen. Howard.[14][15] Furthermore, Slocum advanced his First Division despite an order (known as the “Pipe Creek Circular”) issued by General Meade that morning, and received by Slocum at 1:30 pm, to “halt your command where this order reaches you.” Contrary to modern interpretation, Slocum’s actions in fact showed initiative.

Slocum arrived at the battlefield marching from Two Taverns on the Baltimore Pike, about 5 miles southeast of the battlefield, late in the afternoon on July 1, 1863.

As the ranking general on the field, Slocum commanded the Union army for about six hours, until Meade arrived after midnight. During this time, Slocum was responsible for the supervision of the formation of the Union defensive lines. For the duration of the battle, Slocum would command the Union line from the “point of the fish hook” from Culp’s Hill to the south. Slocum’s XII Corps would successfully defend Culp’s Hill for three days, denying a Confederate victory at this most crucial of battles. During the battle of Culp’s Hill, in addition to his own XII Corps, Slocum commanded elements of the I, VI and XI Corps."

 

Slocum certainly wasn't an all-star general, but I think he was solidly dependable.

 

As far as your comments on Doubleday, I tend to agree with you. I had forgotten that he had some earlier credits - and though he never stood out compared to some of his contemporaries, I think he deserved to keep command of the I Corps - especially considering that within about 10 months it ceased to exist anyway.

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8 hours ago, Sir R. Calder of Southwick said:

Reports conflict on this. Some sources say exactly what you just stated, from whence he got his derogatory nickname "Slow-Come Slocum". Others have taken a different view. 

 

Consider that it was Slocum who elected to leave a brigade on Culp's Hill when ordered to reinforce the left by Meade. Had he followed his orders to the letter and moved his entire corps, then there would have been no defense present on the hill on the afternoon of the second day.

This is from Wikipedia, but they cite their sources. This interpretation has also been corroborated by some of the recent histories written about Gettysburg.

 

"Despite this, some modern historians of Gettysburg have questioned the actions of Slocum on the afternoon of July 1, 1863.[12] They allege that he failed to come to the immediate aid of General Howard’s XI Corps and engage Confederate troops in a timely way at Gettysburg. Information from recently accessed records, however, including Gen. Meade’s archives, shows that Slocum, in fact, dispatched the First Division of his Corps to Gettysburg immediately upon hearing the first report of the fighting. Further, Gen. Slocum’s First Division commander, Brig. Gen. Alpheus S. Williams, verified this as he reported in late 1865 that “when reports of the battle going on in advance of Gettysburg were brought to Gen. Slocum… orders were issued to put the corps in motion,” and the “corps was immediately put in rapid march toward the scene.”[13] A report by Maj. Guindon, whom Slocum had sent on a reconnaissance mission, corroborates Williams’ report; Maj. Guindon indicated that Slocum moved out troops even before he received a request for aid from Gen. Howard.[14][15] Furthermore, Slocum advanced his First Division despite an order (known as the “Pipe Creek Circular”) issued by General Meade that morning, and received by Slocum at 1:30 pm, to “halt your command where this order reaches you.” Contrary to modern interpretation, Slocum’s actions in fact showed initiative.

Slocum arrived at the battlefield marching from Two Taverns on the Baltimore Pike, about 5 miles southeast of the battlefield, late in the afternoon on July 1, 1863.

As the ranking general on the field, Slocum commanded the Union army for about six hours, until Meade arrived after midnight. During this time, Slocum was responsible for the supervision of the formation of the Union defensive lines. For the duration of the battle, Slocum would command the Union line from the “point of the fish hook” from Culp’s Hill to the south. Slocum’s XII Corps would successfully defend Culp’s Hill for three days, denying a Confederate victory at this most crucial of battles. During the battle of Culp’s Hill, in addition to his own XII Corps, Slocum commanded elements of the I, VI and XI Corps."

 

Slocum certainly wasn't an all-star general, but I think he was solidly dependable.

 

As far as your comments on Doubleday, I tend to agree with you. I had forgotten that he had some earlier credits - and though he never stood out compared to some of his contemporaries, I think he deserved to keep command of the I Corps - especially considering that within about 10 months it ceased to exist anyway.

Therein still lies the question, if he was but 5 miles from the fighting, about a 2 hour march.  John W. Geary (XII Corps Division Commander, this I picked from Hancock's memoirs) reported the sound of artillery fire from Gettysburg much earlier in the day.  It stands to reason that initiative would have been to "march to the sound of guns."  Say he couldn't hear the initial start at 7:30am approximately.  The 6 hours of cannon firing must have told him something big was going on before the receipt of word from Meade at approx 1:30pm.  Had he marched around the time the fighting got fierce and the cannons really got hot around 10am he would have arrived in time to send troops to bolster the XI Corps flank in theory.  

Unfortunately for Slocum, he was not privy to the information from Buford or Reynolds.  Reynolds was in command of a grouping of the I, II, III, and XI Corps and Buford was in constant contact. Slocum was grouped with Sykes and Sedgewick.  We don't know if Kilpatrick (definitely no Buford or Gregg in matters of reconnaissance) was keeping them apprised of the movements of Ewell as he was chasing Stuart more often than gathering information.  It is possible that he was waiting for word from Reynolds or Buford, or anybody.  The question still stands, what was he doing during the morning of the 1st day?  The XII Corps was rather well led by veterans who would have known to march to the sound of guns, Williams and Geary coming up through the Valley Campaigns against Jackson the previous spring/summer, so it stands to reason, why were they so idle?  We know once Slocum received word from Howard he sent word to Sykes to move also.  But, still why wait?

Unfortunately I don't think the question is easily answered.  Yes, Slocum was very good once he was on the scene and performed well for Sherman later in the war so I would agree he was dependable.  I would still take a Doubleday over Slocum ;).  I just couldn't find a good fit for his command style/personality in my "dream team."  

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Confederate Army Commander: Robert E. Lee

1st Corps Commander: Albert Sidney Johnston

1st Division Commander: John Bell Hood

2nd Division Commander: Jubal Early

3rd Division Commander: George Pickett

2nd Corps Commander: Thomas Jackson

1st Division Commander: A.P. Hill

2nd Division Commander: Longstreet

3rd Division Commander: Richard Ewell

3rd Corps Commander: Richard Taylor (call me crazy)

1st Division Commander: Joseph Johnston

2nd Division Commander: P.G.T. Beauregard

3rd Division Commander: Patrick Cleburne

Cavalry Corps Commander: J.E.B. Stuart

1st Division Commander: Nathan Bedford Forest

2nd Division Commander: John Mosby

Artillery Commander: John Pelham

Edited by Albert Sidney Johnston

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You'd really prefer Taylor over Longstreet for a corps command? Arthritis and all? Don't get me wrong, he was a born soldier, but I am surprised! I would have pegged him for a division.

 

But it does make me think of something: that is that even now, with modern scholarship having sifted through much of the mythology and personal squabbles, it surprises me that James Longstreet is not one of the paramount heroes of the Confederate pantheon. He was, in many respects, the only senior officer on the Confederate side - perhaps in the whole war - who truly understood that the days of the Napoleonic bayonet charge had come to an end. General Longstreet would have been a more successful general than most of the time who fought on the battlefields of Europe from 1914 to 1918 because he, even in the 1860s, understood that modern firepower meant you did not attack a fortified position with a frontal assault.

 

I've read that Longstreet may have been unofficially offered the command to replace Bragg following Chickamauga, but that he did not want it - he apparently instead suggested that Lee take command in the west and Longstreet be elevated to command the Army of Northern Virginia. First, I wonder if it's true. Even if if it were, I can understand why it didn't happen - Lee's entire tenure in command of the ANV was of course centered on that one theater and with his loyalty to his native state I do not think it likely he would have wanted a command anywhere else. Then, of course, the fact that just as the Army of the Potomac was the preeminent command in the Union Army, so was the Army of Northern Virginia in the Confederate. 

 

But conversely, in the second place I wonder that if it were true, what exactly Longstreet's motivations for such a suggestion were. One could suggest or argue that as the ANV was the premier posting, ambition played a role. But based on Longstreet's other statements of record, he did seem to recognize that the decisive theater of the war was the west. If he truly believed that, then his suggestion that Lee command in the west, where stopping Grant would have no doubt prolonged the war to a point that a stalemate in 1864 could very well have led to Lincoln's electoral defeat - while simultaneously fighting a defensive battle in the east to merely prevent the Army of the Potomac from taking Richmond, which Longstreet would have excelled at - might have won them the war.

 

Either way, I firmly believe that James Longstreet is perhaps the most under-rated of Confederate generals and, especially in light of his later life, deserves far more appreciation and sympathy than he generally receives.

Edited by Sir R. Calder of Southwick

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17 hours ago, Sir R. Calder of Southwick said:

You'd really prefer Taylor over Longstreet for a corps command? Arthritis and all? Don't get me wrong, he was a born soldier, but I am surprised! I would have pegged him for a division.

In my personal opinion, Richard Taylor is terribly underrated. He was a fine commander, and yet hardly anybody has even heard of him. The Red River Campaign... wow. I'd put it almost up there with the Valley Campaign in doing so much with inferior numbers.

What a man. As Nathan Bedford Forest once said, 
"He's the biggest man in the lot. If we'd had more like him, we would have licked the Yankees long ago."

It was a tough call, don't get me wrong, but I think I prefer Taylor to Longstreet.

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23 hours ago, Albert Sidney Johnston said:

Confederate Army Commander: Robert E. Lee

1st Corps Commander: Albert Sidney Johnston

1st Division Commander: John Bell Hood

2nd Division Commander: Jubal Early

3rd Division Commander: George Pickett

2nd Corps Commander: Thomas Jackson

1st Division Commander: A.P. Hill

2nd Division Commander: Longstreet

3rd Division Commander: Richard Ewell

3rd Corps Commander: Richard Taylor (call me crazy)

1st Division Commander: Joseph Johnston

2nd Division Commander: P.G.T. Beauregard

3rd Division Commander: Kirby Smith

Cavalry Corps Commander: J.E.B. Stuart

1st Division Commander: Nathan Bedford Forest

2nd Division Commander: John Mosby

Artillery Commander: John Pelham

Definitely an interesting contrast in styles in much of the command structure.  A.S. Johnston's corps looks solid.  I wonder how Longstreet would have done under Jackson.  A.P. Hill was regularly under arrest by Jackson though he respected his fighting abilities.

The Taylor Corps seems rife for problems.  Taylor and Smith never got along.  Beauregard was a nuisance when not in a command on his own...why do you think Joe Johnston got him sent to the west?  Then he got shuffled to lesser and lesser theaters until they had to use him at Petersburg?  Great man in a static fight, not so much in open warfare.

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54 minutes ago, Buford Protege said:

Definitely an interesting contrast in styles in much of the command structure.  A.S. Johnston's corps looks solid.  I wonder how Longstreet would have done under Jackson.  A.P. Hill was regularly under arrest by Jackson though he respected his fighting abilities.

The Taylor Corps seems rife for problems.  Taylor and Smith never got along.  Beauregard was a nuisance when not in a command on his own...why do you think Joe Johnston got him sent to the west?  Then he got shuffled to lesser and lesser theaters until they had to use him at Petersburg?  Great man in a static fight, not so much in open warfare.

I gave Johnston a corps of very aggressive division commanders. I think that he had the spirit and energy to handle such a command, and even thrive with subordinates that would so fearlessly take initiative. 

A.P. Hill and Jackson got into fights every other week, but they still tended to work pretty well together. Longstreet, I think, would have preformed admirably with Jackson's straight-forward directions.

I will admit that I momentarily forgot about Taylor and Smith, and you're right in that Taylor's aggressive tactics would probably cause disunity in a corps made up of mostly-cautious division commanders. Perhaps I should rethink that corps.

With the Cavalry Corps I struggled between Mosby and Fitz Lee. Eventually I decided that Mosby would work better with N.B. Forest. 

Edited by Albert Sidney Johnston

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On 11/15/2017 at 1:25 PM, Sir R. Calder of Southwick said:

-1st Corps Commander: John F. Reynolds

--1st Division Commander: Joseph Hooker

--2nd Division Commander: Philip Kearny

--3rd Division Commander: Winfield Scott Hancock

-2nd Corps Commander: James McPherson

--1st Division Commander: William Rosecrans

--2nd Division Commander: John Sedgewick

--3rd Division Commander: Joshua Chamberlain

-3rd Corps Commander: William T. Sherman

--1st Division Commander: Edward Ord

--2nd Division Commander: Henry Slocum

--3rd Division Commander: John Logan

-4th Corps Commander: George Meade

Sherman, and McPherson as Corps Commanders?? I agree with your choice of Meade as 4th Corps commander, but the others confuse me greatly.

I KINDA get Sherman, but his record is a bit mixed. He's dependable but... prone to odd errors. Eg. Shiloh, Atlanta, even if he was overall a successful general.

Mcpherson I just don't get based on his record. Then again, I don't know enough about that officer so I would love to hear your thoughts. 

 

And on a side note: Reynolds is perhaps the most confusing generals I've ever read about. He seems dependable and people keep saying he was one of the best generals in the Union army. I know I chose him b/c his record indicates he was dependable. However, he never had any particular battle to shine in and his action at Gettysburg is... controversial.

 

Edited by vren55

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Just for laughs, here's a joke version

Confederate Army Commander:
 John Bell Hood

1st Corps Commander: Gideon Pillow

1st Division Commander: Stirling Price

2nd Division Commander: Theophilus Holmes 

3rd Division Commander: George Pickett

2nd Corps Commander: John Floyd

1st Division Commander: John Pemberton

2nd Division Commander: Simon Buckner

3rd Division Commander: Braxton Bragg

Cavalry Corps Commander: Earl Van Dorn

Edited by Albert Sidney Johnston
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1 hour ago, vren55 said:

Sherman, and McPherson as Corps Commanders?? I agree with your choice of Meade as 4th Corps commander, but the others confuse me greatly.

I KINDA get Sherman, but his record is a bit mixed. He's dependable but... prone to odd errors. Eg. Shiloh, Atlanta, even if he was overall a successful general.

Mcpherson I just don't get based on his record. Then again, I don't know enough about that officer so I would love to hear your thoughts. 

 

And on a side note: Reynolds is perhaps the most confusing generals I've ever read about. He seems dependable and people keep saying he was one of the best generals in the Union army. I know I chose him b/c his record indicates he was dependable. However, he never had any particular battle to shine in and his action at Gettysburg is... controversial.

 

I definitely agree with Sherman as a question mark.  Hence why I left him off of my dream team.  He was much like George Pickett, good when he had good men around him who knew their jobs.  It was Thomas who did the yeoman work on the way to Atlanta as dependable subordinates kept outmaneuvering Hood and Johnston.  Though he was prone to fits of just throwing men at entrenchments as well as any Grant-man.  McPherson was, by all accounts an excellent engineer and very capable battlefield commander and saved Halleck, Sherman and Grant on his way up the command structure. Which generally is how he moved up.  At least he doesn't have the pock-marks of Grant or Sherman.

 

How is Reynolds questionable or his actions at Gettysburg controversial?  He led from the front, and that led to his capture early on in the war.  Then shuffled back and forth from Division to Corps command in the III Corps AOV and then I Corps AOTP.  All accounts have him as a very good fighter when allowed to make the fight.  His troops punctured Jackson's lines at Fredericksburg, yet he was not allowed to send support (Franklin's orders).  Chancellorsville he was not brought into the fight as Hooker had lost his stomach for the fight.  Reynolds tried to take the initiative and instigate a Confederate attack on his and Meade's position so they could counterattack and continue an unfinished battle.  At Gettysburg he responded promptly to Cavalry reconnaissance that said Confederate infantry was moving quickly to a major crossroads.  He was the only wing commander to get all of his troops on to the field of battle on day 1, despite his death.  The reasoning?  He took the initiative and sent word to all of his commanders (Doubleday, Howard, Sickles and Hancock) to move with all possible speed and get to the scene of the fight.  Funny how those commands would bear the brunt of the fighting for much of the coming battle.  He died after giving instructions to Wadsworth, Cutler and Meredith to make a fight on good ground and to follow Buford's plans of defense in depth to hold the better ground on the other side of the town.  Not bad for a man who died about an hour after taking the field.  Hard to say his work was controversial as he helped place Cutler to blunt Davis' attack and then Meredith to stonewall Archer.  Hancock's own memoirs state Reynolds was likely the best fighter the army had at the time with the command shake-ups and the best man to have in front to start the fight, even if he wouldn't live to finish it.  The beauty of the Gettysburg command of the Union army is that most of the Corps commanders had risen up based on merit (leaving out Sickles and Pleasanton).  It was a new army after Fredericksburg and it showed much more resiliency thanks to the command of seasoned commanders who had risen based on merit and not political patronage.

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23 minutes ago, Albert Sidney Johnston said:

Just for laughs, here's a joke version

Confederate Army Commander:
 John Bell Hood

1st Corps Commander: Gideon Pillow

1st Division Commander: Stirling Price

2nd Division Commander: Theophilus Holmes 

3rd Division Commander: George Pickett

2nd Corps Commander: John Floyd

1st Division Commander: John Pemberton

2nd Division Commander: Simon Buckner

3rd Division Commander: Braxton Bragg

Cavalry Corps Commander: Earl Van Dorn

Hide your wives, liquor, perfume from dead Frenchmen and the training manual...Straight ahead!

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2 hours ago, Albert Sidney Johnston said:

Just for laughs, here's a joke version

Confederate Army Commander:
 John Bell Hood

1st Corps Commander: Gideon Pillow

1st Division Commander: Stirling Price

2nd Division Commander: Theophilus Holmes 

3rd Division Commander: George Pickett

2nd Corps Commander: John Floyd

1st Division Commander: John Pemberton

2nd Division Commander: Simon Buckner

3rd Division Commander: Braxton Bragg

Cavalry Corps Commander: Earl Van Dorn

No Leonidas Polk?  He should get 3rd Corps.  Better yet, Artillery Commander, just for irony's sake.

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On 11/16/2017 at 5:18 PM, Sir R. Calder of Southwick said:

But it does make me think of something: that is that even now, with modern scholarship having sifted through much of the mythology and personal squabbles, it surprises me that James Longstreet is not one of the paramount heroes of the Confederate pantheon.

I won't confess to any deep reading on the subject, but I've seen in passing at least that Longstreet was the subject of a lot of criticism from Lost Causers. This may likely contribute to him getting subconsciously devalued in overall rankings.

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On 11/17/2017 at 3:18 PM, Albert Sidney Johnston said:

 ... A.P. Hill and Jackson got into fights every other week, but they still tended to work pretty well together. Longstreet, I think, would have preformed admirably with Jackson's straight-forward directions. ...

I disagree. (Imagine that! ;) )

It was one continuously long fight. It ended on Jackson's death. But, Hill seeking justice to and for his name, continued to press for a hearing even after Jackson's death, due to the amassed records on the subject. Then it ended entirely at Five Forks when Hill was killed.  Hill also had spats with Longstreet, but they are lesser known. I think in part because Longstreet and Hill are both lesser studied Generals.  Everyone seems enamored with the Jackson enigma.

However getting back to the one long continuous fight, it was what it was, because Jackson never carried out, nor retracted his charges against Hill in the first event. Hill was just trying to seek justice one way or the other and clear his name from Jackson's black mark through military tribunal. However in the end, Hill was able to fill the void in Lee's need for a good hard hitting general.

Then again, Jackson, due primarily to his "trust no one" policy of running his organizations, pretty much had disagreements, (fights if you will,) with all his sub commanders.  

I also disagree with the statement of Longstreet working under Jackson.  Longstreet was the senior field officer. Knowing his ego and thinking there would have been hell to pay if he had to work under a general he considered inferior in rank.

Rank was one of the stickler points throughout most of the Southern armies and in particular with the Army of Northern Virginia.  Lee had to constantly tip-toe around his generals to make promotions, as everyone was aware of the "since date" argument.

Edited by A. P. Hill

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23 hours ago, Buford Protege said:

I definitely agree with Sherman as a question mark.  Hence why I left him off of my dream team.  He was much like George Pickett, good when he had good men around him who knew their jobs.  It was Thomas who did the yeoman work on the way to Atlanta as dependable subordinates kept outmaneuvering Hood and Johnston.  Though he was prone to fits of just throwing men at entrenchments as well as any Grant-man.  McPherson was, by all accounts an excellent engineer and very capable battlefield commander and saved Halleck, Sherman and Grant on his way up the command structure. Which generally is how he moved up.  At least he doesn't have the pock-marks of Grant or Sherman.

Sherman was not perfect but many were not. However, he had a very good grasp of grand strategy and for that I think he warrants a corps command in my lineup.

 

On 11/17/2017 at 12:24 PM, vren55 said:

Sherman, and McPherson as Corps Commanders?? I agree with your choice of Meade as 4th Corps commander, but the others confuse me greatly.

I KINDA get Sherman, but his record is a bit mixed. He's dependable but... prone to odd errors. Eg. Shiloh, Atlanta, even if he was overall a successful general.

Mcpherson I just don't get based on his record. Then again, I don't know enough about that officer so I would love to hear your thoughts. 

 

And on a side note: Reynolds is perhaps the most confusing generals I've ever read about. He seems dependable and people keep saying he was one of the best generals in the Union army. I know I chose him b/c his record indicates he was dependable. However, he never had any particular battle to shine in and his action at Gettysburg is... controversial.

 

Like was already mentioned, McPherson was simply not as flashy as his peers but he was very competent - an excellent military engineer and battlefield commander.

 

I also question in what way Reynolds' actions at Gettysburg could be considered controversial. I remember reading one book (might have been "Generals at Gettysburg") which indicated that there was a school of historical thought which suggested that Reynolds was the "best of a mediocre lot", describing the Army of the Potomac's corps commanders. However, the author took the view (which I do as well) that Reynolds never truly had the opportunity - except for a few hours at Gettysburg - to show what he was really capable of.

 

It is useful to note that not a single contemporary had ANY negative thing to say about John F. Reynolds. His peers on both sides of the conflict universally respected and admired him. His battlefield performance as a brigade and division commander were very good - also do not forget that it was his division at Second Bull Run that stood its ground at Henry Hill and allowed the rest of the army to retreat. When he was reassigned during the Maryland campaign because of the jitters of the Pennsylvania governor, both army commander George McClellan and corps commander Joseph Hooker said "we ought not to be deprived of the usefulness of an entire division because one governor is afraid". Granted, the division was in good hands under George Meade, but the sentiment is still telling. 

 

Reynolds' actions at Fredericksburg were already discussed, but there were some other facts about Chancellorsville worth noting. In Hooker's council of war, Reynolds voted (via Meade, who he gave his proxy to) in favor of attacking the next day instead of retreating. Reynolds had been awake for several days and was napping at that point. When Hooker ordered a retreat despite the council narrowly voting in favor of attack, Reynolds woke up and reportedly said - loudly enough for Hooker to hear - "What was the point of calling us together in the middle of the night if he planned to retreat anyway?"

 

Finally, when Lincoln met with Reynolds in early June 1863, he offered him command of the Army of the Potomac. It is universally believed that Reynolds said he would accept only if given a free hand without interference from Washington - specifically Stanton and Halleck. Lincoln could not meet those terms, so the matter dropped. It says something of both Reynolds' abilities and character that he would recognize the negative influence that the War Department often had on field operations and be willing to say as much to the President.

 

Finally, when Meade - who was of course junior to Reynolds - was given command, as soon as Reynolds learned this he put on his dress uniform and immediately went to Meade's HQ to offer his sincere support and tell the very embarrassed Meade that he (Reynolds) was perfectly happy to be under Meade's command and would support and aid him in every way possible.

 

On July 1st, 1863, John Fulton Reynolds certainly upheld his commitment to George Meade.

 

6 hours ago, A. P. Hill said:

I disagree. (Imagine that! ;) )

It was one continuously long fight. It ended on Jackson's death. But, Hill seeking justice to and for his name, continued to press for a hearing even after his death, due to the amassed records on the subject. Then it ended entirely at Five Forks when Hill was killed.  Hill also had spats with Longstreet, but they are lesser known. I think in part because Longstreet and Hill are both lesser studied Generals.  Everyone seems enamored with the Jackson enigma.

However getting back to the one long continuous fight, it was what it was, because Jackson never carried out, nor retracted his charges against Hill in the first event. Hill was just trying to seek justice one way or the other and clear his name from Jackson's black mark through military tribunal. However in the end, Hill was able to fill the void in Lee's need for a good hard hitting general.

Then again, Jackson, due primarily to his "trust no one" policy of running his organizations, pretty much had disagreements, (fights if you will,) with all his sub commanders.  

I also disagree with the statement of Longstreet working under Jackson.  Longstreet was the senior field officer. Knowing his ego and thinking there would have been hell to pay if he had to work under a general he considered inferior in rank.

Rank was one of the stickler points throughout most of the Southern armies and in particular with the Army of Northern Virginia.  Lee had to constantly tip-toe around his generals to make promotions, as everyone was aware of the "since date" argument.

 

Longstreet was the senior Lieutenant General in the Confederate Army. Unless Jackson were promoted to full general, Longstreet would never have agreed to serve under him. And of course on those few occasions where Lee was away from the Army in Richmond to meet with Davis, it was always Longstreet who was temporarily in command of the ANV.

 

The idolization of Jackson is a product of the lost cause and his death. He was a good general of the time, but as I said elsewhere Longstreet was the true innovator and forward thinker. Longstreet was a strategist; Jackson a tactician.

 

Jackson was not well liked by his subordinates and while many Confederate officers frequently quarreled with one another, Jackson was notoriously difficult to get along with. As AP Hill points out above, he was also notoriously secretive. As someone who runs a large command structure with many subordinates, I can tell you that keeping them in the dark is not a good idea as, when left to their own devices or acting on their own initiative, they will do so in a way that might be hazardous to your overall plan if they do not know what it is. Hill wasn't the only one to run afoul of Jackson in this regard - consider poor Dick Garnett. History has entirely vindicated his performance at Kernstown and his actions there - for which Jackson court-martialed him - saved a large portion of Jackson's command from annihilation. Consider this: 

"Seldom during the Civil War was a general officer as gallant and as capable as Garnett treated so unjustly.... By any objective standard, Garnett had done the best at Kernstown that could reasonably have been expected under the circumstances as they existed. Ignorant of Jackson's tactical blueprint, his brigade out of ammunition and outflanked, Garnett took the only sane course of action. In doing so he saved the Valley army." - Peter Cozzens, Shenandoah 1862

 

If anything after all this, I should wonder why we place Jackson as highly as we do in these hypothetical armies!

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7 hours ago, Sir R. Calder of Southwick said:

Sherman was not perfect but many were not. However, he had a very good grasp of grand strategy and for that I think he warrants a corps command in my lineup.

Hence why I viewed him as an army commander on the better end, but too unreliable for a good subordinate commander.  Grand strategy is great for an army or theater command.  Not always so for an lesser level. 

7 hours ago, Sir R. Calder of Southwick said:

Jackson was not well liked by his subordinates and while many Confederate officers frequently quarreled with one another, Jackson was notoriously difficult to get along with. As AP Hill points out above, he was also notoriously secretive. As someone who runs a large command structure with many subordinates, I can tell you that keeping them in the dark is not a good idea as, when left to their own devices or acting on their own initiative, they will do so in a way that might be hazardous to your overall plan if they do not know what it is. Hill wasn't the only one to run afoul of Jackson in this regard - consider poor Dick Garnett. History has entirely vindicated his performance at Kernstown and his actions there - for which Jackson court-martialed him - saved a large portion of Jackson's command from annihilation. Consider this: 

"Seldom during the Civil War was a general officer as gallant and as capable as Garnett treated so unjustly.... By any objective standard, Garnett had done the best at Kernstown that could reasonably have been expected under the circumstances as they existed. Ignorant of Jackson's tactical blueprint, his brigade out of ammunition and outflanked, Garnett took the only sane course of action. In doing so he saved the Valley army." - Peter Cozzens, Shenandoah 1862

 

If anything after all this, I should wonder why we place Jackson as highly as we do in these hypothetical armies!

Old Richard Ewell could definitely concur with the secretiveness of Jackson.  I think it have been more catastrophic had Jackson been killed in a Valley battle and none of his subordinates knew anything of his plans it would have likely wrecked the army.  Jackson's issues with "poor Dick Garnett" got Garnett killed at Gettysburg in a play to clear his name.  Thus, Jackson deprived the army of a commander far greater than many around him.  Garnett pulled the Stonewall Brigade out at Kernstown because it was out of ammunition and would have been overrun and the brigade destroyed.  Had he done so he would have been cashiered for losing the brigade at the least if not for losing the battle when the brigade was overrun.  

I think we idolize Jackson for the fact he, like many great historical figures, died at the height of his glory.  He was a tremendous commander when in the fray and would push the troops to their limits.  He was a great fighter, perhaps reckless, but still thats the key.  Other than mistakes in part due to faulty orders from Lee he struggled during the Seven Days battles.  Some say due to mental exhaustion of working his Valley masterpiece and not sleeping while bringing his troops to help save Richmond.  I agree that Longstreet was the better commander at the end of the day.  He could bring troops to any fight and once in the fight he was nearly unstoppable.  His troops rarely gave ground and when on the offensive were a steamroller.  Excepting the faults in the fighting around Suffolk and Norfolk he was excellent.  He led the troops that blunted the Federal advance at Williamsburg.  Was the only reliable "division" commander on the Peninsula.  Led the crushing assault at Second Bull Run.  Held against everything with nothing at Antietam.  Decimated the Federals at Fredericksburg.  Almost broke the Union at Gettysburg and chewed up 3 Union Corps while only using two divisions.  Led the crushing assault that won Chickamauga.  Missed Chattanooga thanks to Bragg.  Almost won in the Wilderness until being shot by the troops of Micah Jenkins.  Longstreet, if nothing else was a tremendous infantry commander.  It would be interesting to see how he would be perceived had his world not come crashing down around him in the winter of 62 when his family died and he became the sullen type that he is portrayed as.  If one reads Arthur Freemantle's account of the time he spent in the Southern states he speaks of a conversation he had with Pickett and Armistead.  They told him of a Longstreet he never say.  Armistead and Pickett knew Longstreet personally before his family died and told Freemantle of a man who would stay up all night carousing and playing cards with his fellow officers.  Would imbibe and enjoy life.  After scarlet fever took his family he was never the same man.

I'd take a Lee, A.S. Johnston, J.E. Johnston as army commanders any day, but I can't find a better combination of corps commanders style wise than Jackson and Longstreet.  While they were together Lee was nearly unbeatable as they complemented each other perfectly on the field and respected each other's abilities. 

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11 hours ago, Buford Protege said:

I'd take a Lee, A.S. Johnston, J.E. Johnston as army commanders any day, but I can't find a better combination of corps commanders style wise than Jackson and Longstreet.  While they were together Lee was nearly unbeatable as they complemented each other perfectly on the field and respected each other's abilities. 

I agree 100%. The Director's cut of Gettysburg touches on all of that - Garnett, Longstreet losing his children, etc. 

 

I think Jeffrey Wert was right when he said that Longstreet was "the finest corps commander on either side".

 

I occasionally read alternate history. A few years ago when I read 1901 you can imagine my pleasant surprise when an 80 year old James Longstreet (with Arthur MacArthur as field commander) was selected by President Theodore Roosevelt to take command of the US Army to halt a German invasion.

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