Being raised in the deep south as I was, Robert E. Lee was always looked up to as a great general and great man. I’ve studied a lot of the Civil War, but must admit I haven’t dug into the details as much as I could have. The thing that prompted me to write this post was I wanted a simple reminder to myself to eventually get around to finding out the answer to this question:
How many times was Robert E. Lee successful during an attack?
The reason I want to know this is because of the myth I grew up with that the South was just ‘better’ than the North at fighting but lost because it didn’t have the infrastructure or numbers to win. I’m now of the opinion that the South hung on as long as it did, because the weapons had far exceeded the tactics of the time, and the best way to win a fight and cause more casualties was to be on the defensive which the South was much more of the time. It’s a similar situation to WWI where the tactics of attack simply were not equal to the capability of a machine gun to cover an area.
Checking Robert E. Lee’s ‘stats’ while attacking would let me compare his generalship in a similar way to those of the Northern commanding officers. Of course, checking the success/failure rate of Northern generals when in the defensive position would be an equally interesting comparison.
Now the REAL hard part will be to find the free time to start looking all this up. Maybe Wikipedia already has a page?