The Leadership Styles of General Robert E. Lee and General Grant During the Civil War.

2128 words 9 pages
The leadership styles of General Robert E. Lee and General Grant during the Civil War.
Ulysses S. Grant was not as well known at the start of the Civil War as Robert E. Lee but proved to be just as valuable during the war. As a soldier, Grant believed, “When in doubt, fight.” And he did fight. He won fame for demanding unconditional (complete) surrender from the Southern commanders he was fighting. In fact, people in the North began saying Grant’s initials, “U.S.,” stood for “Unconditional Surrender.” In battle, Grant was tough and hard. He was not “a retreating man.” Soon Grant was made a general. He became a leading figure of the war in the West. In 1863 he captured the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. He starved the city into surrender.
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Lee has been portrayed as surpassing all others on both sides of the conflict not only in soldierly virtue but also in magnanimity and humanity. Lee has been described as the perfect soldier—a Christian and a gentleman as well as a peerless commander who led his renowned Army of Northern Virginia to a spectacular series of victories against overwhelming odds. For three years, he and his army provided the backbone of the Confederate cause. According to his detractors, Lee had no grand strategy, and for parochial reasons, focused narrowly on defending his home state of Virginia.
Grant, on the other hand, has been described as a "butcher." According to the conventional wisdom, Grant lacked strategic sense and tactical competence and was able to achieve victory only by taking advantage of the manpower and material superiority of the Union to bludgeon his opponent into submission. Grant was a general of unusual capability who possessed a strategic sense as well as an understanding of the necessary relation between policy and strategy. [ (Owens, 2007) ]
In February 1862, Grant took Fort Donelson in Tennessee, which was the first Union victory of strategic importance. When the Confederate commander asked for terms, Grant replied, "No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted." Lincoln appointed Grant General-in-Chief of the Union Army in March 1864. In the spring of 1864, City Point, (the city is named Hopewell today) Virginia,


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