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"Grant, and one myth of the ACW" Topic

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Garde de Paris26 May 2020 4:51 a.m. PST

I watched one hour last night, as I always arise at 6:00 AM, and staying up until 11:00 PM (2300 hours) was not an option.

I am 83 (daughters say 283!), and have hated the New York Times (newspaper) since their reporter interviewed many who fled the battle of Shiloh, and reported that hundreds of Union soldiers were shot to death in their tents, not even clothed. This series began with that myth.

There had been skirmishing since early morning, and all troops were up and dressed, though not all in fighting formation. The whole Confederate army attacked in one poorly arranged wave! Divisions in line, on behind another, with poor command and control. This major error probably saved the Union!

My other gripe is the Union kepis. They looked like cones that had the point and much of the body cut off, with a flat top, and dull wool cloth for the leather brim. But at least they didn't have lots of fat old men or skinny ones like me – in accurate re-enactor uniforms!

But I frankly enjoyed the rest of the hour, and found it accurate. I'll be alert to re-runs that start earlier!

Even old dogs can find good in "stuff!"


Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2020 5:03 a.m. PST

I won't be able to see it "legally" for some time. Histroy dosn't give an option to watch it online.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2020 5:42 a.m. PST

As to Grant. well it is OK so far. I've read many bio's
and such conflicts as seem to arise are, IMHO, matters
of interpretation/impression.

For one instance, the series seems to give the
impression, in the early going, that Lincoln was very
taken with Grant. Perhaps – not too many stellar
or even competent-seeming leaders among the Union's
officers in Fall, 1861.

I think it was an error to lead with the Shiloh
'taken completely by surprise' (my phrase) myth.

As to general factual history – jury is out…

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2020 5:48 a.m. PST

I watch most of the 1st episode and it was a good general take on his early life.

As to Lincoln 's feels on Grant. Remember the Politics of the Union High Command. Halleck was constantly liking and hating Grant and he was the one who communicates with Washington.

Liliburlero Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2020 7:32 a.m. PST

I watched it and found it to be pretty good. Until the actor who played the adult Grant showed up; his nose looked like W.C. Fields' and after that, I couldn't concentrate on the series.

I worked as a volunteer with a regional community theatre for almost twenty years and we back-stage techies prided ourselves on getting each production's overall look "just right" be it costumes, accents, props, etc. So now I look at most things from a techie's point of view. And how hard would it have been to find an actor with a less bulbous nose…..

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2020 8:03 a.m. PST

Not surprised to learn that the New York Times (newspaper) was printing distorted news way back then. I guess not much has changed.

redbanner414526 May 2020 10:45 a.m. PST

Lots has changed USAFpilot. Lincoln didn't lie multiple times per day.

Dynaman878926 May 2020 10:48 a.m. PST

Have fun folks! I'm staying out of this one.

Ferd4523126 May 2020 12:41 p.m. PST

+1 redbanner4145. PS I served in Vietnam and learned to love pilots of all stripes. So nothing personal. H

lloydthegamer Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2020 12:44 p.m. PST

Right on redbanner4145!

Calico Bill26 May 2020 1:55 p.m. PST

Agree with USAFpilot. As for Lincoln, I'm sure his opponents would have disagreed. I doubt that politics has changed that much either.😁

dBerczerk26 May 2020 2:16 p.m. PST

+1 Calico Bill.

Personal logo Dan Cyr Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2020 5:16 p.m. PST

I'm sure USAFpilot was not comparing Lincoln to a present day idiot, just the news in general.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian26 May 2020 5:37 p.m. PST

Lincoln didn't lie multiple times per day.

Ask McClellan! grin

Dn Jackson Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2020 8:57 p.m. PST

The comments regarding the NYT highlights one of the great modern myths of society. The idea that the news is reported factually and in an unbiased manner is a post WWII thing. Prior to this it was a given that a newspaper supported a particular party and would slant the news accordingly. Heck, Walter Duranty of the NYT got a Pulitzer for his glowing reports on the Soviet Union in the 1920s, and the Times has refused to return the prize.

During the ACW you could tell what the slant would be on an article before reading it based on the name of the paper.

Dynaman878927 May 2020 3:10 a.m. PST

Staying completely away from politics it was a decent show. The Shiloh surprise was overdone and IIRC Grant was going to counterattack the next day if Buell was there or not.
They are doing all they can to get their money's worth out of that Trench section they had to build for the Petersburg siege.

Bill N27 May 2020 5:40 a.m. PST

He had Wallace. Even so the outcome of launching a counterattack without Buell's troops might not have yielded the same outcome as attacking with Buell's troops.

Dynaman878927 May 2020 7:00 a.m. PST

With Buell's it was a foregone conclusion they north would win. Without him, AS Johntson dead the day before, it was down to a near certainty. A good chance of not ending up the rout it ended up though.

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP27 May 2020 7:50 a.m. PST

Well, I stopped watching it about 35 minutes into the second episode. I finally got feed up with all of the inconsistencies in the filming, battlefield scenes (steep hills at Shiloh?), and uniforms. Always showing Grant in his "parade" uniform when he mostly wore the undress coat and the Union attack at Champion Hill with the colors in reversed positions finally pushed me to quit.

I thought they glossed over all of the -up in the Vicksburg campaign and left out Grant's operations in west Tennessee and north Mississippi.


Personal logo Cardinal Ximenez Supporting Member of TMP27 May 2020 8:11 a.m. PST

"Heck, Walter Duranty of the NYT got a Pulitzer for his glowing reports on the Soviet Union in the 1920s, and the Times has refused to return the prize."

To that distinction add their continual back paging of the Holocaust while it was happening.

dBerczerk28 May 2020 3:17 p.m. PST

I enjoyed the series, despite its flaws. I thought the actor portraying General Grant turned in a fine performance.

Certainly sparked my interest in beginning a 28mm Union collection -- Perry Miniatures, Old Glory, Redoubt?

It was an improvement over recent History Channel fare: treasure hunters, alligator hunters, junk hunters, alien hunters, pawn brokers, and the like.

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP28 May 2020 4:11 p.m. PST

If you want to know more about Grant, read "Campaigning with Grant" by Horace Porter, one of Grant's staff officers. A good and quick read. Not as hard as Grant's Personal Memoirs.

I generally stay away from History channel, too many commercials for me. Also too much hype and repetition.

Dynaman878928 May 2020 5:08 p.m. PST

> Also too much hype and repetition.

This one was not so bad on the repetition. The old tank battles and air battles though…

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2020 8:04 a.m. PST

Sounds like it's better than I thought. But still no way for me to watch it.

Personal logo Dan Cyr Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2020 12:28 p.m. PST

Was very good. Trying to sum up the entire life of someone in about 4.5 hours for a population that most likely had never heard of him is difficult.

The show was not aimed at historians or ACW buffs, so relax. The audience neither knew or cared if the uniforms were not quite right, if the actors looked exactly like the actual people, etc. It was a drama that laid out his life and actions. Wish US TV did more of these.

Bill N31 May 2020 10:27 p.m. PST

The show was not aimed at historians or ACW buffs, so relax

That has been an attitude that has been used to cover up a wide variety of historical sins. If you want to depict history then depict it as accurately as the medium, budget and readily available historical knowledge allows. If you can't be bothered then go with pure fiction.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2020 12:45 a.m. PST

A historical documentary not aimed at historians?
Like a an action movie not aimed at people who like action?

Or a sermon not aimed at Christians?

Dynaman878901 Jun 2020 4:56 a.m. PST

> Or a sermon not aimed at Christians?

None of Jesus Sermons were…

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2020 6:42 a.m. PST

Now I watched it and didn't tell me anything I didn't really know.

I recommend it on Facebook and a couple of my non-historian friends watched in and came back "Wow, I didn't know grant did that. Thank you, I learned something."

AICUSV05 Jun 2020 10:26 p.m. PST

Watched it all the way through, would have been better as a radio show. They didn't present anything new. wish the spent more time on Mexico.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2020 5:27 a.m. PST

Still no way of watching it here in Norway.

KimRYoung Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2020 7:03 a.m. PST

It's all online



Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2020 10:32 a.m. PST

It just asks you to choose which channel to watch it on, all of them various American stuff.

Personal logo Unlucky General Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2020 1:24 p.m. PST

I just finished watching all three episodes. I learned some and thought it was very polished with superior production quality. I enjoyed it for what it was – a slick and substantial piece of infotainment. But at the end I was feeling curiously uneasy and before long I started feeling suspicious.
They really ended up hard-selling Grant as All-American champion of the United States and defacto champion of civil rights – at least for Black Americans. With a natural (I suppose) emphasis on his Civil War record, the documentary glossed over his Presidency to some degree by comparison and it was that part of the Grant story which I couldn't quite remember why I felt something was wrong. Then it struck me.
The programme completely airbrushed his Indian Policy and his responsibility for the campaigns in the West. He presided over all those treaty violations, truce breaking and genocides as his government steam-rolled the native peoples using the army to do it. The famous Little Big Horn battle was on his watch – yet not a mention! As a non-American even I knew of Custer's last stand – it's an internationally famous historical event … quite an 'oversight'? He had an intimate hand in the campaigns and those generals all served with him – they were his close colleagues. Is it me, or is this conspicuous by its absence from this 'tale' of Grant?
As a result their summation of the man seems one-sided and dishonest.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2020 3:39 p.m. PST



donlowry26 Jun 2020 9:45 a.m. PST

And yet there was an Iroquois chieftain on his personal staff during the war, and present at Lee's surrender at Appomattox.

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