How Robert E Lee Lost the Civil War MOBI ✓ E Lee

How Robert E Lee Lost the Civil War [PDF / EPUB] How Robert E Lee Lost the Civil War This book challenges the general view that Robert E Lee was a military genius who staved off inevitable Confederate defeat against insurmountable odds Instead the author contends that Lee was responsi This book E Lee PDF ✓ challenges the general view that Robert E Lee was a military genius who staved off inevitable Confederate defeat How Robert PDF/EPUB or against insurmountable odds Instead the author contends that Lee was responsible for the South's loss in a war it could have Robert E Lee PDF/EPUB ê wonInstead as this book demonstrates Lee unnecessarily went for the win suandered his irreplaceable troops and weakened his army so badly Robert E Lee Lost the PDF \ that military defeat became inevitable It describes how Lee's army took casualties in Lees first fourteen months of command while imposing casualties on his opponents With the Confederacy outnumbered four to one Lee's aggressive strategy and tactics proved to be Robert E Lee Lost the PDF \ suicidal Also described arc Lee's failure to take charge of the battlefield such as on the second day of Gettysburg his overly complex and ineffective battle plans such as those at Antietam and during the Seven Days' campaign and his vague and ambiguous orders such as those that deprived him of Jeb Stuart's services for most of GettysburgBonekemper looks beyond Lee's battles in the East and describes how Lee's Virginia first myopia played a major role in crucial Confederate failures in the West He itemizes Lee's refusals to provide reinforcements for Vicksburg or Tennessee in mid his causing James Longstreet to arrive at Chickamauga with only a third of his troops his idea to move Longstreet away from Chattanooga just before Grant's troops broke through the undeemanned Confederates there and his failure to reinforce Atlanta in the critical months before the presidential electionBonekemper argues that Lee's ultimate failure was his prolonging of the hopeless and bloody slaughter even afterUnion victory had been ensured by a series of events the fall of Atlanta the re election of Lincoln and the fall of Petersburg and RichmondFinally the author explores historians' treatment of Lee including the deification of him by failed Confederate generals attempting to resurrect their own reputations Readers will not fred themselves feeling neutral about this stinging critiue of the hero of The Lost Cause.


10 thoughts on “How Robert E Lee Lost the Civil War

  1. says:

    Bonekemper has written a book that many Civil War history buffs will find outrageously controversial His thesis that Gen Lee lost a winnable war through incompetent leadership is broken down into the following claims1 By taking the war into the North Lee followed an ill conceived strategy that had no chance of ultimate success He could not maintain himself in supply at that distance from his base He would eventually have to retreat making it seem like he had been defeated whether he had been or not Further he was making poor use of the two strategic advantages that the South had a they did not have to conuer the North in order to win the war they only had to outlast them; and b with their internal lines of communication they could shift men and resources to the places where they most needed them2 Lee's strategical viewpoint was influenced by his focus on the war in the East and particularly the war in Virginia He demanded and received the best of everything the South had to offer and used it to fight for Virginia rather than for the South as a whole He ignored important developments in the West and denied that theater resources that might have prevented its collapse This myopia eventually allowed his own forces to be cut off and surrounded3 Lee's strategy was made even worse by his preference for being on the offensive tactically He failed to grasp that technological changes in weaponry had made massed charges on well prepared defensive fortifications tantamount to suicide He sent his soldiers into numerous assaults on Northern positions that even when they succeeded in driving back the enemy were using up his manpower resources at an unsustainable rate4 Compounding the above errors Lee was not good at managing his army He failed to provide himself with an adeuate staff that could oversee the carrying out of his orders His orders themselves were often vague discretionary and delivered verbally so that they were subject to misinterpretation and distortionAnyone who is not wed to the image of Lee as a brilliant military commander will probably find himself being swayed by Bonekemper's arguments Although born and raised in the South my opinions on the Civil War make me an honorary Yankee Therefore I was entirely open to reading criticism of Lee in spite of his iconic status I found that at some point though I began to lose confidence in Bonekemper's objectivity No possible objections to his viewpoint are presented or answered He sets up the facts he wants the reader to focus on and ignores everything else Nowhere does he mention that the idea of an invasion of the North was promoted by Johnston before Lee ever took command or that it was also floated by Jackson at the end of his Valley campaign Nowhere does he mention that the weight of public opinion in the South was completely opposed to a defensive war and would probably have forced the resignation of any general who attempted to fight in that manner Lee could hardly have argued in favor of a defensive war using the prestige that he only enjoyed due to his willingness to go on the offensive Nor does Bonekemper mention the material advantages in resources and advanced weaponry enjoyed by the North that would have made a defensive war unlikely to succeed Although weaponry made great technological advances during the war the South did not possess the advanced weaponry as soon or in the same uantity as the North For example the South's retreat in the face of McClellan's advance during the Peninsula campaign was necessitated by their lack of long range guns that could respond to an artillery bombardment by Northern batteriesThat said I think there is some truth in Bonekemper's book even if he does overstate his case The South did not lose solely because of the decisions of one man but Lee does bear some of the responsibility for the loss not that I would have wanted the outcome to be different Had Bonekemper tempered his arguments and taken into account some of the possible objections this would be a much stronger book Even so I think it is worth reading for those who already have some knowledge of the issues It is not a good book to start with in learning about the Civil War though and it is definitely not the last word on its subject


  2. says:

    Recently Robert E Lee has been in the news a lot lately At least his statues have been My first knowledge of Robert E Lee came from his name affixed upon an orange Dodge Charger on a popular TV show when I was a kid At some point I connected the name to the historical figure which brought me to another uestion Why is a General Lee so popular despite losing a war that defended slavery? That and other stuff birthed a lifetime of curiosity about the Civil War and American History in general Since the war ended there had been an ongoing effort to prop up and glorify Robert E Lee and the southern cause Lee has enjoyed at times almost God like status among many in the former Confederate states He represented the Southern states as a master General a southern gentleman and a benevolent leader of what became known as the lost cause movement What the author looks at here is to dispel the myth that it was a possibility despite being outnumbered poorly euipped and malnourished Lee was in partly to blame for the southern loss The book claims that had Lee fought less aggressively and perhaps conserved his manpower and material he may have outlasted Lincoln and North's desire to continue the war Prime example of this would be General George Washington who despite also being outnumbered poorly euipped and starving most of the time had outlasted England's will to fight in the American Revolution If you believe Robert E Lee is a God you're probably going to hate this book although given the title I doubt you'd pick it the first place For other's it may be just a different way to look at Lee besides what may have been presented in popular culture and legend


  3. says:

    An ok book but it gives ammunition to those of us who believe that Robert E Lee is highly overrated The Confederacy lost due to some of his strategic military decisions As for his aggressiveness I think this could have been done differently than Lee did Southerners demanded aggressiveness but frontal assaults while proving one's bravery can not be justified in terms of casualties Lee never seemed to learn the lessons of the early battles or other battles Bonekemper keeps the focus right on Lee's actions as the military commander and it raises tremendous uestions as to why he is held by so many Americans in high regard


  4. says:

    I've read several books that uestion the cult of Robert E Lee and each and every one repeatedly hearkens back to this one I now see why Bonekemper pulls absolutely no punches on Lee His analysis of Lee's personal tactical and political failures is ruthless detailed and always well sourced There are a few points I didn't agree with but overall I came away both impressed and educated I have an inkling that as future generations smother and destroy the myth of the Glorious Lost Cause and of us will look back to appreciate early works like this that placed factual analysis over sentimentalism At least that's the hope


  5. says:

    Leans perhaps a bit too far the other way in its effort to puncture the myth of Lee's military genius but this book does support its arguments with plenty of analysis The stats are pretty clear; Lee lost men than the butcher U S Grant due largely to his penchant for over aggressive frontal assaults In addition his myopic focus on his home state starved the western armies of the support they needed to stop Sherman


  6. says:

    The author makes an excellent case that Robert E Lee does not deserve the reputation as one of the best generals in American history This book is a damning indictment of Lee's performance as the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia In addition the author provides an explanation of how the Cult of Lee arose in the years after the war The current debates on how to interpret the Civil War makes this book a must read


  7. says:

    Robert E Lee has been lionized since the end of the 19th century as a military genius; a man who would have achieved victory for the Confederacy if only his armies had not been so outnumbered Southerners needing something to ennoble their defeat in the cause of retaining slavery chose Lee as the shining example of the South they wished to be seen as having fought for brave noble and honest In pursuit of that goal a concerted effort by former southern generals heritage groups and historians effectively insinuated that view of the war and of Lee's supposed military genius into mainstream consciousness That view has largely prevailed in most biographies of Lee and in histories of the Civil War ever sinceThis book provides a long needed correctiveThe author argues persuasively that far from being the military genius that most believe him to be Lee was largely a failure both strategically and tactically In fact he goes on to argue that Lee's actions are largely to blame for southern defeatBoth arguments are persuasive with some caveatsStrategically the author argues Lee was fighting the wrong war Overly aggressive constantly looking to take the offensive even in victorious battles he unnecessarily suandered his army wracking up casualty rates the south could not sustain His forays into the North at Antietam and Gettysburg were disasters from the outset guaranteeing at least the perception of defeat as he was forced to retreat back into Virginia and in the case of Gettysburg an actual and devastating defeatHe should have been playing defense as most of his subordinate generals advocated preserving men and materiel until divisions in the north finally broke its will to carry on the warThe author slightly less persuasively argues Lee was also deficient tactically; utilizing a hands off approach to battles that often left his army wondering what to do and allowing subordinates to decide for themselves what path to take without consideration of the overall strategy Lee often issued vague orders and except in his collaboration with Stonewall Jackson was unimaginative planning battles; preferring either doomed frontal assaults or devising plans so complicated they had no chance of success I think here the author sometimes takes the least flattering view of Lee's action and asserts it as the truth when other eually plausible interpretations might put Lee in a better lightThe overall effect of his argument here is still uite persuasive thoughLastly I think the author stretches a bit blaming Lee for the failures of others particularly John Bell HoodOverall a devastating critiue of Lee as a military leader that is at least as persuasive so in my opinion as those histories that lionize his achievements


  8. says:

    Let me begin by stating that there is nothing new to be found in this book; let me likewise say that I enjoyed it and found it worth reading This seeming paradox is easily explained Yes Lee's shortcomings as a general have been well explored elsewhere Jones Nolan Hart Fuller etc as have the origins of the Lee cult that over inflated his reputation as a commanding officer in connection with the rise of the Lost Cause romanticization of the Civil War Bonekemper offers no new analysis of these issues relying almost exclusively on secondary sources However as a synthesis of these sources his book the main text of which weighs in at a svelte two hundred pages give or take a few makes for a uick but thorough examination of the case that Lee was in fact uite bad at doing the job for which he is most famous The argument is efficiently presented well grounded in the scholarly literature and ultimately persuasive Though many other authors as noted above have given the brief against Lee's undeserved reputation for brilliance Bonekemper by referencing all these arguments gives a picture not just of one historian's uibble but rather of a scholarly consensus and the facts upon which it is basedBonekemper's style is exactly the sort you would expect from a career attorney workmanlike but uninspiring History can be written engagingly even beautifully the best writers of history are prose stylists to match any author of fiction This is not excellent prose It is not off puttingly bad but it is generally dry and sometimes dense and Bonekemper's verbal tics will uickly become obvious and tiresome to any reader who is paying attention The two hundred pages of this volume read slower than they ought On the other hand it is the brutal lack of style in Bonekemper's writing that allows him to present such a powerful and well sourced argument in such a relatively brief space This is a not a book for casual readers it is not a fun read even if your particular bag is Civil War military history It is however an excellent source for scholars of the subject amateur or professional Not an indispensable one but a very useful one still yet


  9. says:

    Unpopular with Southerners this book nonetheless is a necessary examination of the notion that Lee simply was not as good a general as he has often been made out to be


  10. says:

    Fun 'what if' style of history


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