By what metric can we determine if the Confederate Army is the best?

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That would be true to a certain extent of all armies, unfortunately for the much smaller Confederate army, they were stretched pretty thin in those duties.
No doubt the Confederate Army was spread pretty thin including counterinsurgency duties.
However the OP I " by what metric is the Confederate Army superior".
Arguably the AnV under Lee was superior to the Union Army in terms of CEVs but the AoP was superior to the AnV in terms of CEVs when it was commanded by Major General McCellen.
So far no indication that soldiers on either side were superior.
Overall both armies were roughly equal in combat proficiency but in the long term the Union Army was a limited manpower superiority ratio did win.
Leftyhunter
 

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No doubt the Confederate Army was spread pretty thin including counterinsurgency duties.
However the OP I " by what metric is the Confederate Army superior".
Arguably the AnV under Lee was superior to the Union Army in terms of CEVs but the AoP was superior to the AnV in terms of CEVs when it was commanded by Major General McCellen.
So far no indication that soldiers on either side were superior.
Overall both armies were roughly equal in combat proficiency but in the long term the Union Army was a limited manpower superiority ratio did win.
Leftyhunter
It took the Federal army four years to the take the Confederate capital only about a hundred miles from their own capital. The Federal army never had a limited manpower superiority, they had a large manpower superiority – a lot more men than the Confederates.
 
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It took the Federal army four years to the take the Confederate capital only about a hundred miles from their own capital. The Federal army never had a limited manpower superiority, they had a large manpower superiority – a lot more men than the Confederates.
Again so what? There is more militarily to the ACW then just taking Richmond. The Union Army absolutely has I have shown numerous times did not have an overwhelming manpower superiority ratio. Battles are fought with those troops at the battlefield. Sometimes the Union had more sometimes even less men and still won battles. On the average so far no one has shown that the Union had more then a 1.86 to one advantage.
Leftyhunter
 

Viper21

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Those fellows did a lot of walking back then. I don't know how far it was, but my paternal grandmother told me once that her father walked from Nelson County, Virginia to Culpeper Court House, Va. to enlist in Company G (the Nelson Greys) 19th Va. Infantry. He wanted to be with friends, neighbors, and people he knew.
I believe the hike my Grandfather made after being released as a POW back to Wytheville, was close to 350 miles. Ouch. That had to be tough for 50 yr old man, who probably hadn't had a good meal in awhile.

Your Grandfather walked roughly 90 miles to enlist. The 19th VA is a pretty well known unit around here. The re-enactors keep it front & center as they have a 19th VA group. A friend of mine is in fact, in "The Nelson Grays", of the 19th VA re-enactors group.
 

Viper21

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Again so what? There is more militarily to the ACW then just taking Richmond. The Union Army absolutely has I have shown numerous times did not have an overwhelming manpower superiority ratio. Battles are fought with those troops at the battlefield. Sometimes the Union had more sometimes even less men and still won battles. On the average so far no one has shown that the Union had more then a 1.86 to one advantage.
Leftyhunter
It's absolutely been shown. You keep trying to minimize the advantages the Union had. It has been shown repeatedly, the Union had HUGE advantages in nearly everything. Troops, overall manpower, finance, food, manufacturing, etc.. At the peak of troop strength(1863), the Union had 600,000 in active service. They maintained that number all the way through Lee's surrender April '65. Which was 3 times the troop strength of the CS Army by spring '65.

One thing I feel really shows the superior numbers of the Union, is the fact that by wars end, they had 3 times the troops, while sustaining 150,000+ more casualties than did the Confederates. It's simple math. You can't do that without superior resources, & superior manpower.
 
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It's absolutely been shown. You keep trying to minimize the advantages the Union had. It has been shown repeatedly, the Union had HUGE advantages in nearly everything. Troops, overall manpower, finance, food, manufacturing, etc.. At the peak of troop strength(1863), the Union had 600,000 in active service. They maintained that number all the way through Lee's surrender April '65. Which was 3 times the troop strength of the CS Army by spring '65.

One thing I feel really shows the superior numbers of the Union, is the fact that by wars end, they had 3 times the troops, while sustaining 150,000+ more casualties than did the Confederates. It's simple math. You can't do that without superior resources, & superior manpower.
Which does not negate the fact that the Confederate soldier on average was only outnumbered 1.86 to 1.Yes of course the Union had material advantages over the Confederacy.
We need to keep in mind that the OP of this thread" is by what metric is the Confederate Army superior".
So far only @Saphroneth has presented any objective evidence that at times the AnV at times was marginally superior to the AoP but the AoP under McCellen had a better CEV then did the AnV.
Overall it appears that both armies overall were about equivalent in overall performance.
One Union advantage that you neglected to mention was that a divided South greatly weakened the Confederate war effort.
Leftyhunter
 

Viper21

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Which does not negate the fact that the Confederate soldier on average was only outnumbered 1.86 to 1.Yes of course the Union had material advantages over the Confederacy.
We need to keep in mind that the OP of this thread" is by what metric is the Confederate Army superior".
So far only @Saphroneth has presented any objective evidence that at times the AnV at times was marginally superior to the AoP but the AoP under McCellen had a better CEV then did the AnV.
Overall it appears that both armies overall were about equivalent in overall performance.
One Union advantage that you neglected to mention was that a divided South greatly weakened the Confederate war effort.
Leftyhunter
Well, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

The Union Army had HUGE advantages in all aspects. For most of the war they, had 2 to 3 times the amount of active troops yet, sustained 33% more casualties. That doesn't sound equivalent in overall performance to me. I believe the evidence suggests, the Confederates did more with less.
 
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Well, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

The Union Army had HUGE advantages in all aspects. For most of the war they, had 2 to 3 times the amount of active troops yet, sustained 33% more casualties. That doesn't sound equivalent in overall performance to me. I believe the evidence suggests, the Confederates did more with less.
The Confederate Army didn't do more with less because they lost territory every year of the war. An offensive army by definition is going to loose more troops then a defensive army. Unfortunately conventional war is always won on the offensive. Even in counterinsurgency the Union Army won. The Union Army did so without an overwhelming manpower superiority ratio on the battlefield.
Leftyhunter
 

Saphroneth

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So far only @Saphroneth has presented any objective evidence that at times the AnV at times was marginally superior to the AoP but the AoP under McCellen had a better CEV then did the AnV.
To explain the CEV stats, there are three options.

1) It's all generalship, and Union generals tended to be much worse than Confederate ones but McClellan was better than Lee.
2) It's all troop quality, and for most of the war the Union soldiers were significantly worse than Confederate ones but the soldiers McClellan used happened to be significantly better. (Thus Burnside immediately and permanently wrecked the AotP.)
3) It's a mix of the two.


Which does not negate the fact that the Confederate soldier on average was only outnumbered 1.86 to 1.
That's actually a really big advantage, given Lanchester Square. In his writings Clausewitz noted that very few generals ever won at 2:1 odds no matter the circumstances...

The Confederate Army didn't do more with less because they lost territory every year of the war. An offensive army by definition is going to loose more troops then a defensive army.
This would make sense except that the Union's CEV on the defence wasn't great either. At Gettysburg the Union CEV on the defensive was less than one! (If the Confederacy and the Union were equivalent in quality then we should expect the Union defensive CEV to be similar to the Confederate defensive CEV, meaning about 2-3 or so.)
 

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The Confederate Army didn't do more with less because they lost territory every year of the war. An offensive army by definition is going to loose more troops then a defensive army. Unfortunately conventional war is always won on the offensive. Even in counterinsurgency the Union Army won. The Union Army did so without an overwhelming manpower superiority ratio on the battlefield.
Leftyhunter
Numbers don't lie. The North (the non-Confederate States) had approximately the same number of enlistments in its armies as the eleven Confederate states had total free male population. When I say free population I mean from the newborn baby boy to grey-bearded old men, of all races, the fit and the unfit. The CSA extended from the Potomac River to the Rio Grande, from the Atlantic Ocean to beyond the Mississippi River. The Confederacy's small population and a vast area to defend was its greatest weakness, the man for man fighting superiority was its greatest strength. The North's greatest strategy was to open new fronts to make the thin grey lines even thinner. The Confederates, out of necessity, were forced to drain troops from large areas of the country to maintain no worse than that 1.86 Federal manpower advantage during major campaigns and battles. Of course, it was easy for the enemy to occupied large areas of the country unless you think the Confederate forces left in those areas were only out-numbered 1.86 as well. Then too, your numbers game isn't helped by your claims of hundreds of thousands of Southerners jointing the Yankee army or by two-thirds of the Confederate army awol by the summer of 1864.

http://www.civil-war.net/pages/1860_census.html
http://www.civil-war.net/pages/troops_furnished_losses.html
 

Saphroneth

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Numbers don't lie. The North (the non-Confederate States) had approximately the same number of enlistments in its armies as the eleven Confederate states had total free male population.
Those numbers might lie or at least deceive. Enlistments do not equate to the total number of soldiers in the army; anyone who deserts and then re-enlists counts twice, militia count once per callout, and someone enlisted for a year who then gets drafted would count twice.

Interestingly in early 1862 the Union had a scant numerical superiority at best and even inferiority in the critical theatre around Richmond...
 

CSA Today

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Those numbers might lie or at least deceive. Enlistments do not equate to the total number of soldiers in the army; anyone who deserts and then re-enlists counts twice, militia count once per callout, and someone enlisted for a year who then gets drafted would count twice.

Interestingly in early 1862 the Union had a scant numerical superiority at best and even inferiority in the critical theatre around Richmond...
The inferiority of Union numbers around Richmond in early 1862 is news to me even after Lee was reinforced by Jackson's Shenandoah army.

The basic problem was numbers. Give Abraham Lincoln seven million men and give Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee twenty-one million, and cognitive dissonance doesn't matter, European recognition doesn't matter, the Emancipation Proclamation and its ripple effect don't matter. Twenty-one to seven is a very different thing than seven to twenty-one."

Brian Pohanka





 

Viper21

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The Confederate Army didn't do more with less because they lost territory every year of the war.
Ignore the facts all you want. As stated already, the Union had HUGE advantages in every aspect. Well, except rice. The Southerners had more rice.....
An offensive army by definition is going to loose more troops then a defensive army. Unfortunately conventional war is always won on the offensive.
Might wanna look into current events where, the US has proven this statement to be false.

Even in counterinsurgency the Union Army won. The Union Army did so without an overwhelming manpower superiority ratio on the battlefield.
Leftyhunter
I find this statement ridiculous. A much bigger Union army is undeniable. Your own Union advantage, is stated as nearly 2 to 1. While disregarding the seemingly endless pool of reinforcements, & restocking of the ranks. All while ignoring the also undeniable advantages in nearly every other aspect of warfare.

I think General Lee said it best in his farewell address:

"After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources."
 

Saphroneth

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The inferiority of Union numbers around Richmond in early 1862 is news to me even after Lee was reinforced by Jackson's Shenandoah army.
Yep; if you count by a consistent measure (like PFD) the Union comes out inferior there. It's not by much - the Richmond defences are what put it over the top - but it's there.

This speaks to a major issue in ACW studies, which is the question of how you're counting the strength of an army. The Union typically reported PFD or Present (all men with the army, or all men with the army who aren't doing special duties) while the Confederacy typically reported Effectives (all men actually fighting) or sometimes Engaged (all men who fought, discounting reserves) or even line strength (all men who fought, discounting reserves and skirmishers).
Antietam suffers from this in particular because both sides straggled heavily and the CSA hadn't taken rolls for months beforehand, while the Union reported their pre-straggle strength. Antietam looks like a 2:1 battle in manpower terms, but if you're rigourous about estimating both sides by the same metric it comes out as 5:4 to 7:6 in the favour of the Union, number wise, depending on the measure you use; making matters worse is that the casualty estimates are obviously and visibly incomplete for the Confederacy. (Entire engaged brigades report no losses.)
 

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The Confederate Army didn't do more with less because they lost territory every year of the war. An offensive army by definition is going to loose more troops then a defensive army. Unfortunately conventional war is always won on the offensive. Even in counterinsurgency the Union Army won. The Union Army did so without an overwhelming manpower superiority ratio on the battlefield.
Leftyhunter
Ahem, If your source is accurate, the Yankees did have a third of their massive army tied at one time or another by insurgents.
 

67th Tigers

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The inferiority of Union numbers around Richmond in early 1862 is news to me even after Lee was reinforced by Jackson's Shenandoah army.
Yet it's true. On 21st June 1862, the commissary at Richmond issued 128,000 rations to the troops present at Richmond, exclusive of Jackson's column (ca. 30,000 ration strength). McClellan's 20th June return shows 117,226 present with his own army and drawing rations.

128,000 rations to the ANV and Department of Henrico is reasonable. 20th July the ANV reports 96,692 present, exclusive of the Department of Henrico (which was mainly militiamen, they'd been embodied to resist McClellan, but disembodied again), and exclusive of Jackson.* This is apparently in the middle of a desertion crisis - they really struggled to round up all the stragglers from the Seven Days and get them back into ranks. Lee's continual complaints about "estrays" during the summer are aimed at these people.

*Also exclusive of a division of infantry consisting of Drayton's and Evans' brigades which reached Richmond just after this return.
 

Saphroneth

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Seriously? you can't compare a few episode in modern war to 4 year of combat in the mid 19th century.
Yeah, I mean, I imagine that if the Union amy had air supremacy and an overwhelming equipment and training advantage it would have beaten the CSA easily as well...

128,000 rations to the ANV and Department of Henrico is reasonable. 20th July the ANV reports 96,692 present, exclusive of the Department of Henrico (which was mainly militiamen, they'd been embodied to resist McClellan, but disembodied again), and exclusive of Jackson.
This implies that total strength reduction to the Richmond-area troops was about 30,000 from the Seven Days period; that's indeed reasonable as you say, with perhaps half being casualties and the rest being the disembodied Henrico militia and the stragglers/deserters.

Presumably the Dept. of H. weren't available for offensive operations in the late June period but were able to form part of the fixing force at the Richmond forts.
 

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Yep; if you count by a consistent measure (like PFD) the Union comes out inferior there. It's not by much - the Richmond defences are what put it over the top - but it's there.

This speaks to a major issue in ACW studies, which is the question of how you're counting the strength of an army. The Union typically reported PFD or Present (all men with the army, or all men with the army who aren't doing special duties) while the Confederacy typically reported Effectives (all men actually fighting) or sometimes Engaged (all men who fought, discounting reserves) or even line strength (all men who fought, discounting reserves and skirmishers).
Antietam suffers from this in particular because both sides straggled heavily and the CSA hadn't taken rolls for months beforehand, while the Union reported their pre-straggle strength. Antietam looks like a 2:1 battle in manpower terms, but if you're rigourous about estimating both sides by the same metric it comes out as 5:4 to 7:6 in the favour of the Union, number wise, depending on the measure you use; making matters worse is that the casualty estimates are obviously and visibly incomplete for the Confederacy. (Entire engaged brigades report no losses.)
Virtually every able body white male in the Richmond was sent to the city's defences once the enemy got too close.

John R. Jones' two-volume A Rebel War Clerk's Diary describes citizens manning the trenches around the city during emergencies.
 



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