Re: Letter about Gen. R. E. Lee
"There is no difficulty in composing a final evaluation of Ulysses S. Grant. With him there be no balancing and qualifying, no ifs and buts. He won battles and campaigns, and he struck the blow that won the war. No general could do what he did because of accident or luck or preponderance of numbers and weapons. He was a success because he was a complete general and a complete character. He was so complete that his countrymen have never been able to believe he was real...Grant was, judged by modern standards, the greatest general of the Civil War. He was head and shoulders above any other general on either side as an over-all strategist, as a master of global strategy. Fundamentally Grant was superior to Lee because in a modern total war he had a modern mind, and Lee did not. Lee was the last of the great old-fashioned generals, Grant was the first of the great moderns."
T. Harry Williams, Military Historian
I am offering the above as a "peace offering" for both sides in this debate. No one should cast aspersions on the generalship or character of either of these men. They certainly did not voice the insults about each other that those on the message board have written.
Perhaps Dr. Williams is correct with the assertion that General Lee was the great tactician of the early war, while General Grant was the great strategist of the latter part. Once the industrial base and the full weight of Northern numbers appeared fully on the battlefield, the war was over.
Let's honor both men and give them their due.