George Wahington, Winfield Scott, Robert E Lee, Ulysses S Grant, John J Pershing, Dwight D Eisenhower, Douglas McArthur, George S Patton, Matthew Ridgway, William Tecumseh Sherman, Philip Sheridan, Malin Craig, George C Marshall, Dwight D Eisenhower, Joseph Stilwell, Frederick Weyland, Norman Schwarzkopf, Colin Powell. These are the greatests generals that have commanded troops in American history. America has had some of the most prolific military strategists that the world has ever seen, and the history of America in war and acting as the world peacemaker is beyond comparison. We continue our blog of famous American generals with one of the most brilliant, Robert E Lee.
Robert E Lee
One of the great military strategists of all time is the Confederate general Robert E Lee. As a graduate of West Point, Lee was well schooled in military methods and had close links to his homeland Virginia. Abraham Lincoln approached Lee to be the Chief of Staff for the Union Army, which as history tells us he declined.
Lee was an experienced officer prior to the Civil War, serving with General Scott during the Mexican War. His skill was good reconnaissance and being able to change his tactics almost on a whim when he got information. In 1862 he took command of the Army of Northern Virginia and was recognized for taking chances when the occasion demanded.
He understood his opponents and knew how the Northern generals thought and would act, probably better than themselves. Lee was the mastermind of many Confederate victories such as Fredericksburg and Bull Run, but eventually was defeated. He grew as a general because his men loved him as he always showed selflessness, loyalty and a high sense of duty.
Dwight D Eisenhower
Ike was a legend among his men and the officers that served under him. He too was a graduate from West Point but did not often serve in the field. Eisenhower is best known as a major general of the U.S forces in Europe.
And during the Second World War he first assumed command of the allied forces in Operation Torch invading French North Africa, and after his success he was in charge of the allied invasion into Sicily. Once the U.S gained control of Italy, President Roosevelt sent Ike to England as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force.
Commanding the allied troops, he directed Operation Overlord, which of course was one of the largest amphibious attacks the world has ever seen. Ike’s role changed from military to one of politics as he had to placate not only his own generals but those of the allies.
Ike was a man of superb ability that could also tread diplomatically when he needed to. On retiring from the Army in 1948 he became president of Columbia University, and four years later he was appointed by President Truman as the first supreme commander of the newly formed NATO organization. Two years later Ike retired again but this time ran for president and was appointed to the White House. These two generals commanded far different armies, but both were schooled in the basic tactics at West Point.