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  #1  
Old 27 May 2020, 08:52
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"Grant" History Channel

An in-depth and fascinating three part mini series on Ulysses S. Grant.
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Old 27 May 2020, 09:00
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Liked the first episode. Watching it on demand.

Good overview. If they went into details it would take a number of seasons.
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Old 27 May 2020, 09:29
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Watched both episodes so far and am enthralled. When I studied those campaigns in the late 60s, I knew about Grant's participation but did not understand his selection to lead the Union army until now.
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Old 27 May 2020, 13:21
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Watched both episodes so far and am enthralled. When I studied those campaigns in the late 60s, I knew about Grant's participation but did not understand his selection to lead the Union army until now.
Being a lifelong resident of Penna. I was most interested in the segment about Gettysburg.
Mostly surprised that Lincoln did not have his initial meeting with Grant, much earlier in his Campaigns.
I was always told that I should have been a History Major. ( then I would have known that stuff).
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Old 27 May 2020, 17:05
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Ron Chernow wrote an excellent biography on Grant, I recommend it!
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Old 27 May 2020, 20:05
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Yep. Gotta catch up...fell asleep, undue to the series. I’m waiting to see what it covers about the Battle of Cold Harbor. A battle Grant mentions in his memoirs as his one regret, continuing that attack.
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Old 28 May 2020, 09:09
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I caught the rest of it. Ironically, right where I left off. It did get into the Cold Harbor battle right at that point. Not in depth enough but a lot of ground about him had to be covered. There was a few things I did learn from the series about his reconstruction efforts in the Southern States.
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Old 28 May 2020, 09:18
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I am just to the point where Lincoln calls him to Washington. Very interesting so far. I remember nothing of the western campaign while learning about the CW during HS. Could be time, could be that I wasn't paying attention. That has really been great for me as it is new knowledge about how he and Sherman and the others were trying to cut the Confederacy in half. I think it also interesting that many of the leaders involved knew of each other from before the war but I guess that would be expected since they were countrymen.
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Old 28 May 2020, 10:47
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what I've learned from watching it

As long as your side wins the war and the defeated enemy can be sufficiently portrayed as evil and deserving of it, any amount of cruelty to civilians can be brushed aside as the consequences of difficult decisions forced upon great men.
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Old 28 May 2020, 11:25
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I think it also interesting that many of the leaders involved knew of each other from before the war but I guess that would be expected since they were countrymen.
Many of them were classmates at West Point and deployed together for the campaign in Mexico before the Civil War.
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Old 28 May 2020, 11:27
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As long as your side wins the war and the defeated enemy can be sufficiently portrayed as evil and deserving of it, any amount of cruelty to civilians can be brushed aside as the consequences of difficult decisions forced upon great men.
This.
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Old 28 May 2020, 14:30
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"Many of them were classmates at West Point and deployed together for the campaign in Mexico before the Civil War."

Yes, I saw that during Ep1, interesting in that in my mind I always thought of them as 'separated' like Patton and Rommel. A very interesting personal dynamic added to the battle field, like how Grant knew that Pemberton wouldn't be aggressive so he took Jackson first and then turned on Vicksburg.
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Old 28 May 2020, 21:00
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As long as your side wins the war and the defeated enemy can be sufficiently portrayed as evil and deserving of it, any amount of cruelty to civilians can be brushed aside as the consequences of difficult decisions forced upon great men.

The "South" needs no help in it's portrayal as evil. It protected an evil institution named in all the secession declarations. Had evil men making the decisions (for everybody else) to go to war. And even released prisoners from insane asylums to fight the Yankee. Which is basically releasing evil upon your own populace.

It's my personal opinion that many of the original Southern Colony-then States, could have sued to separate without bloodshed and won in 1860.

I hope that thing comes to Amazon. Would enjoy watching it.
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Old 29 May 2020, 01:58
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The "South" needs no help in it's portrayal as evil.
Concur, the leadership of the CSA not only were their own worst enemies when it came to public relations, but remained oblivious to the toxicity of the reputation they made for themselves internationally.

On the flip side, the USA's initial overall strategy of economic strangulation of the CSA (the Anaconda Plan) was not expanded to the intentional mass murder of enemy civilians (mostly through starvation) until Grant was given the job of directing military strategy. Sherman's actions in Georgia and South Carolina and Sheridan's actions in the Shenandoah Valley were directed specifically by Grant. The after-effects of the devastation wrought in the fall of 1864 and spring of 1865 produced a famine in the winter of 1865-66 that killed more southerners of all races and classes than had died in the war. Grant's behavior at Cold Harbor illustrated that he likewise placed little value on the lives of his men as long as objectives were accomplished.

If Grant is a great general, it is in the mold of Zhukov, who got results without regard to cost, consequences or morality. His tenure as POTUS was marked by greatly intensified political corruption nationwide at all levels, but most markedly in the occupied southern states whose occupation forces were under his direct control. The documentary I watched showed a decisive man of action unfortunately forced into making decisions he regretted, but his own memoirs don't read that way at all, nor do his wartime dispatches, nor do the memoirs of others who were present when those decisions were made.
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Old 29 May 2020, 08:36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ET1/ss nuke View Post
Concur, the leadership of the CSA not only were their own worst enemies when it came to public relations, but remained oblivious to the toxicity of the reputation they made for themselves internationally.

On the flip side, the USA's initial overall strategy of economic strangulation of the CSA (the Anaconda Plan) was not expanded to the intentional mass murder of enemy civilians (mostly through starvation) until Grant was given the job of directing military strategy. Sherman's actions in Georgia and South Carolina and Sheridan's actions in the Shenandoah Valley were directed specifically by Grant. The after-effects of the devastation wrought in the fall of 1864 and spring of 1865 produced a famine in the winter of 1865-66 that killed more southerners of all races and classes than had died in the war. Grant's behavior at Cold Harbor illustrated that he likewise placed little value on the lives of his men as long as objectives were accomplished.

If Grant is a great general, it is in the mold of Zhukov, who got results without regard to cost, consequences or morality. His tenure as POTUS was marked by greatly intensified political corruption nationwide at all levels, but most markedly in the occupied southern states whose occupation forces were under his direct control. The documentary I watched showed a decisive man of action unfortunately forced into making decisions he regretted, but his own memoirs don't read that way at all, nor do his wartime dispatches, nor do the memoirs of others who were present when those decisions were made.
And ironically, Grant's family had slaves as well. R.E. Lee & Stonewall Jackson, were both on record as abhorring slavery. Yes, Lees family owned slaves, etc, but he called slavery an 'abomination'. There were also Blacks who proudly fought for the C.S.A. But, it's a little known fact, because that doesn't fit any narratives that the victor wanted to talk about. Don't get me wrong, the South needed to lose and be brought back into the union, but to put it all about slavery is simplistic.
And before we laud Grant & the north as being some guarantors and kind benevolent rulers of American people, it was under the Grant Presidency, that we decided to wipe out the indigenous people's on the Great Plains. And Sherman was a huge part of that as well.
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Old 29 May 2020, 16:08
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ET1/ss nuke , if you've got a reference on that post Civil War Famine I'd appreciate it.
billdawg, if you've got references for the black man proudly serving in the armed ranks of the CSA, I'd appreciate it.
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Old 29 May 2020, 16:48
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Well at least Grant understood strategy, logistics and tactics, unlike the way overrated Lee.
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Old 29 May 2020, 17:56
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Grant certainly did. His serving as quartermaster early in his .mil career informed him quite well. He has struck me as steady as a gentle-goat. Plodding, nothing fancy, yet continues to march towards the end goal.
Gen Lee, though smart (2nd in his class IIRC) was an engineer. And I think Grants interpretation of him as unapproachable was telling & true.

Both of those armies suffered from fools in charge at differing points. It took some time for the cream to rise in the North. In the South, though reluctant at first, Jefferson Davis proved a perfect foil for the CSA .mil effort.
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Old 30 May 2020, 02:18
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Well at least Grant understood strategy, logistics and tactics, unlike the way overrated Lee.
Grant was a very effective general who got things done, no argument there. I think Lee understood all those things well, but only had the freedom to apply the tactics. The whole strategy of his two invasions of the north was based on ending the war before the unavoidable logistical collapse that was coming. When he was still a military advisor to Jefferson Davis and not a field commander, he advocated for enlisting slaves into the army in return for freedom for themselves and their families, but he could never get that one to fly because of the rich slaveholders who dominated the Confederate Congress.

As for the over-rated part, Lee's opponents didn't seem to think so. In hindsight it is sad that he was as good at his job as he was, because the North was bound to win eventually, but against a less effective general the war would have ended much sooner with fewer lives lost and perhaps without the devastation that became widespread from the fall of 1864 onward.

As for the remark I noticed about black Confederate soldiers, I am only aware of that happening under the following circumstances:

1 = Especially in the first two years of the war, a lot of slaves (how willingly is impossible to know) had non-combat jobs with Confederate armies doing things like logistics, livestock care, fortification repair, railroad operation and repair, ammunition manufacture, hospital orderlies, etc. Slave owners generally despised the government's confiscation of their slaves for work with the army. The Emancipation Proclamation resulted in widespread desertion among those men. Sometimes they wound up accidentally in combat, such as at the Battle of Fort Wagner, when the night attack by Union soldiers (including the black 54th Massachusetts Infantry) fell upon the fort while a group of slaves were repairing damage to it from the most recent naval bombardment. In the confusing darkness the slaves defended themselves with picks and shovels against all comers from both sides. The shoes stripped from the dead black soldiers by the victorious Confederates after the battle were given to the slaves.

2 = There were quite a few "free people of color" in Charleston and New Orleans who were slave owners. When they tried to enlist in Confederate armies, they were turned away but wound up in many cases running or helping to run the logistical operations described above, often in charge of crews of slaves.

3 = There were some black crew members aboard ocean-going Confederate Navy ships whose status as free or slave was ambiguous.

4 = In Missouri from mid-1864 on and in South Carolina from January 1865 on, slave families faced Union soldiers whose behavior toward civilians of all colors and classes included raping the females, robbing all available food, burning the houses, and murdering anyone who got in the way (the Lieber Code was very loosely interpreted in the field, and there were seldom punishments for soldiers or officers for breaking it at that stage of the war). The forces available to try to stop that from happening were an amalgam of Confederate army units (mostly cavalry), state militia (home guards and provost martials, mostly made of boys and old men) and irregular militia (bushwhackers, as likely to be black as white in defense of homes or seeking revenge). They weren't exactly Confederate soldiers, but there were black men shooting at Union soldiers, sometimes in conjunction with white men with tan uniforms.

When southern states began paying pensions to surviving Confederate veterans in the 1890s, there were hundreds of black men being paid money collected from mostly white taxpayers. I'm not sure why, but Mississippi had the most black men drawing Confederate pensions. That was at the same time the Jim Crow Laws were being passed by those same governments.

As for the post-war famine of 1865-66, here are some links:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/jun/16/slavery-starvation-civil-war

https://commons.lib.jmu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1018&context=mhr
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Old 30 May 2020, 07:36
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I've seen all the excuses for Lee, but the it's clear he wasn't that good of a tactician either. Gettysburg was the icing on the cake in that regard to me. Many seem to confuse the heroics displayed by the average CSA soldier as something Lee caused instead of looking at his blunders and poor decisions under stress.

All in all Grant was a much superior leader and solider IMO.
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