Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lee's Ascension

On this day in 1865, Robert E. Lee became General-in-Chief of the Confederate armies. He did not want the job. A theater commander at heart, he said that he would be guided by the judgments of the field commanders. Until that point, the Confederacy's only supreme commander had been Jefferson Davis. For most of the war, the South did not have a general-in-chief like Halleck or Grant.

I think that fact highlighted one of the Confederacy's great errors: the lack of an overall military strategy. Much of what Lee or Johnston or Bragg did was tactical. Davis had a political strategy but not a military one. The generals seemed to do their own thing and no military staff in Richmond gave them true dictation. This fundamental weakness hurt the South throughout the war.
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