Another Interview on Ulysses S. Grant November 4, 2016Brooks D. Simpson Share this:FacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like Loading... Related
What, no phone in questions from Al Mackey? 😉
Good interview. Thanks for posting this. Something new for me: around minute 25, candidate George McClellan comes up. I knew he was supposedly in favor of continuing the war closer to the election, but thought that was because Federal prospects had improved by then. I’m probably jumping to a conclusion based on Lincoln’s hidden memo.
Good comments on Cold Harbor.
Great job on the interview. I echo Bert’s comment about Cold Harbor.
Let me agree with the previous comments. Well done. I found the comments about Grant’s drinking fascinating. I’ve read that Grant had a low capacity for drinking and that only a few drinks would have a great affect on him. I wonder how much of the criticism of Grant’s drinking was just jealousy or politically motivated. Authors rarely put Grant’s drinking in context. How big of a drinker was he compared to the other Generals? Hooker seems to have been a big drinker and is rarely criticized for it. The same is true of Burnside, who liked a few at dinner.
Can’t wait for the debut of your second volume on Grant.
This is an excellent interview that further enhances the material already presented in the equally excellent Triumph Against Adversity biography. There were some especially notable highlights that I enjoyed enough to record for review:
1. The war was a “bloody slugfest” where the victor suffered as much as the defeated. One really gets a sense of this when reading the letters of those who were there. The devastation was all-encompassing, and especially represented in the series of photos that I viewed at the Seminary Ridge Museum
2. Grant was a master of logistics. The best laid plans are not worth squat if the army is not fed, and the cannons are empty. Dr. Simpson’s assessment of the value of logistics over tactics is one that is observed in today’s military, only in this case the machines must be fed instead of the stock..
3. Getting along with superiors. So much is made about “Grant’s failure as a politician”, but I beg to differ, as many a great general has been brought down by his inability to work within the system. It is refreshing to listen to Dr. Simpson highlight this often overlooked, seemingly mundane skill of “getting along”.
4. Turning point of the war: Gettysburg. Whilst Gettysburg is discussed as in association with the Vicksburg campaign, I found it refreshing that these victories were not over-emphasized beyond their place within the progress of the war. My own readings have reflected much angst/insecurity/unreliability in the public’s opinion of Lincoln and the war effort well into 1864. The real turning point for war effort and the confidence of the public arriving with Sheridan’s Ride & the Atlanta campaign.
5. Cold Harbour. Fortunately, recent scholarship has gone a long way to interpret the failings at Cold Harbour, however, much to my dismay, the myths persist. Dr. Simpson does a fine analysis of the battle, himself, and as one who has read the Mead correspondences, I found his overview concise and objective to all involved. Of particular interest was the compare/contrast of the losses at Cold Harbour VS Pickett’s Charge: the latter having twice as many losses than the former, yet, as Dr. Simpson reflects: It is Grant who is labed “the Butcher”.