AP American History
"Ulysses S. Grant's butchery was the only way the Union would win the war." This statement clearly depicts the predicament that the Union was faced with during the Civil War. The Union in fact needed an offensive plan, one which would force the Confederate forces to surrender.
Due to the nature of the Civil War, the North had to attack. The Confederacy was on the defensive. If the Union did not attack the South, no war would have resulted and the secession of the Confederate States would have gone unanswered. Grant had to lead his forces into battle and not fall back after being attacked. After putting Lee's army on the defensive he found how the war would be won. Grant would be able to win the war on pure numbers. Grant had to lower the morale and numbers of the southern troops by constantly wearing away at them. By doing this he could eventually gnaw-off enough of the, nondisposable Confederate Troops. Grant's army could be freshened and re-supplied, but Lee's could not.
Thus, by grinding down on the South's numbers, Grant would be able to bring this war to a fairly rapid close. He sustained many casualties, such as those at Cold Harbor, however because of the fact that he could be refreshed and Lee could not, this tactic was effective. While this may not have been the only way to force the Confederate forces to surrender, it was the most feasible at the time and in retrospect.
"Robert E. Lee's arrogance led thousands of patriotic Americans to their unnecessary death." This statement simply can not be deemed true by any rational human being. Lee did only what he had to do to defend his country.
Robert E. Lee knew that he would be putting into jeopardy the lives of many young men. However, in war time, what can you expect? Lee only did what he had to do strategically in order to keep-up with the Union forces. Robert E. Lee many times counterattacked after he had been the subject of an offensive. He did this because he realized that "no number of individual southern triumphs could destroy the enormous material advantages of the North." In order to win the war, Lee believed that he would have to crush the Union forces on Northern soil, proving to them the fact that the war could not be won militarily. While the battle of Antietam (a perfect example of this tactic) ended in a virtual draw and a loss of many Confederate lives, it was strategically the only course of action.
Robert E. Lee lead a group of soldiers who shared common interest and a common goal. That goal being to defend their homeland. He did not put the lives of his countrymen on the line for his own selfish needs, but rather to defeat the Union forces and thus, protect the Confederate States of America from the colonizing grasp the United States of America.