Grant/Lee a Comparison and Contrast Essay

1885 Words Feb 23rd, 2013 8 Pages
GRANT AND LEE: A COMPARISON AND CONTRAST

Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee are two of the most effective military leaders in American history. These men have become symbolic of the two nations at conflict during the Civil War. Both had very different backgrounds and personalities that caused them to differ in their military leadership and accomplishments. Even though General Lee would surrender his army to General Grant, Lee throughout the course of the war proved himself to be a better military leader. The childhood of Robert Edward Lee played a pivotal role in the way he would see the world as a man. Lee was born into an aristocratic family of Virginia with a deeply rooted American history.
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Lee and Grant would both serve under General Winfield Scott, a man whom they both admired, during his campaign to Mexico City. General Scott saw greatness in Lee and stated his “…success in Mexico was largely due to the skill, valor, and undaunted energy of Robert E. Lee.”15 Scott was also heard commenting a few years later that; “Lee is the greatest military genius in America.”16 Grant, only a first lieutenant, did not get an opportunity to show much leadership. Grant did however serve with valor. At the Battle of Monterey, Grant would gain some respect among his peers by successfully carrying much needed ammunition to his regiment while under fire.17 During the Civil War, Lee and Grant would implement skills learned while under the command of General Winfield Scott. In the spring of 1861 as the nation leaned toward Civil War, both Grant and Lee would be forced to make very difficult decisions. Grant would only have to decide between being a patriot or a traitor. In a letter to Grant’s father he wrote: “There are but two parties now, Traitors & Patriots and I want hereafter to be ranked with the latter. . . (Grant p 957)"18 Lee was torn between a successful career in the United States Army, his devotion to the Union, an appointment as commander of the Union forces and the love he had for his family and homeland. In a letter to his sister, Lee wrote: “ With all my devotion to the Union…I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand

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