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

Viper21

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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.

In general over time, the side that is attacking is going to loose more men than the defender.
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...
If y'all wanna deny that the Union army had overwhelming advantages, keep at it. Just because y'all deny it, doesn't make it so. The Union advantages were HUGE. In both men, & resources. This is undeniable. It is established historical fact. I find the attempts to minimize, or discount their advantages laughable.
 

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thomas aagaard

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So you make an anachronistic comparison that is irrelevant.. and then try change the topic...

The Union certainly had an advantage, but it was not overwhelming. (if it had been, the war would have been over in 1862)
Because they needed to attack and capture territory they "wasted" a lot of manpower on garrison duty and on covering supply lines.
They also had a lot of men guarding Washington.

The result is that the union could not even manage a 2-1 advantage on the actual battlefield on average.

At a critical battle like Gettysburg Meade only had 94k men to Lee's 72K... it pretty much show the limited of the advantage.
(but It do show a very effective CSA army, considering that they where the attacking side and nearly won)

The big advantage was not that they where able to put about double the number of men in the field. But that the union (with the use of drafts and bounties) was able to maintain the numbers.. and the CSA was not.
 

Viper21

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So you make an anachronistic comparison that is irrelevant.. and then try change the topic...
Nope. I simply made a statement to contradict an earlier statement by another poster.

At a critical battle like Gettysburg Meade only had 94k men to Lee's 72K... it pretty much show the limited of the advantage.
(but It do show a very effective CSA army, considering that they where the attacking side and nearly won)
Which kinda adds some credibility to the opinion of Confederate fighting superiority. Looking at the battle, they should've been absolutely annihilated. When comparing the casualties, they were pretty comparable, which is astonishing considering the topographical advantage the Union had.

The big advantage was not that they where able to put about double the number of men in the field. But that the union (with the use of drafts and bounties) was able to maintain the numbers.. and the CSA was not.
I'll somewhat agree with this statement. Like I said earlier, the fact that they maintained 600,000 in the field from Gettysburg to Appomattox, while sustaining nearly 160,000 more casualties is pretty convincing to me at least, their huge advantage in manpower. Which at first glance, doesn't add in the HUGE advantages, in all other aspects.
 

Saphroneth

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Nope. I simply made a statement to contradict an earlier statement by another poster.
"the defender has an advantage" is a truism which is generally the case in symmetric warfare. To bring up an example in asymmetric warfare doesn't really help.

The Union advantages were HUGE. In both men, & resources. This is undeniable. It is established historical fact. I find the attempts to minimize, or discount their advantages laughable.
The Union had an advantage in resources; the Confederacy had an advantage in posture.
Looking at the CEV is how we tell whether the Confederacy had any other advantages, because it factors out resources (numerical) and posture (by including the various opposite cases like Gettysburg); the conclusion that comes out is that man-for-man the generalship and/or troop quality for CS forces was better.


That is to say; if you gave the Union and Confederacy the same numbers of men at most battles of the ACW then the Confederacy would be expected to come out victorious (on average), and that this is not just because the CSA was often on the defensive.

This conclusion seems rigourous; if we give the CSA an extra corps at Gettysbug while keeping everything the same, then they'd be able to pressure the Union everywhere they did historically while also doing something else (like hitting XI Corps again, or perhaps coming around one flank or the other), for example.

This conclusion, however, does not apply to McClellan. His numbers are so different to everyone else on the Union side that it doesn't apply to him.



Another conclusion we can come to is that the CSA was better able to raise an army relative to their population size. We cannot conclude that this was something that they managed to do without doing serious harm to their own country, though.
 
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Ahem, If your source is accurate, the Yankees did have a third of their massive army tied at one time or another by insurgents.
As I detailed in my thread " Compare and Contrast Union vs Confederate counter guerrilla operations" per Dyer's Compendium one third of Union regiments were assigned mostly part time to counterinsurgency not full time.
Leftyhunter
 
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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...
If you have a problem with 104 k Southern white enlisted in the Union Army then take it up with Richard Current who documented his work. If you have a problem with 2/3rds of the Confederate Army being AWOL by the summer of 1864 then you have to dispute that issue with Jefferson Davis since that is what he stated per his speech at Macon,Georgia which Cornell University has inline easy enough to goggle.
Leftyhunter
 
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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.

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





Then Jefferson Davis et all were idiots for not figuring out that they were outnumbered.
Leftyhunter
 
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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.....

Might wanna look into current events where, the US has proven this statement to be false.


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."
We are discussing a mid 19th Century War not a 21st Century War. So my statement that an offensive army will inherently loose more men then a defensive army is accurate over the course of a major conflict.
Lee had to assuage the feeling's of his troops who fought died and bleed because rich Southern Plantation Owners could not bring themselves to pay a fair wage for agricultural and domestic work.
Leftyhunter
 
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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.
A militia is not the same as an army.Overall Militia did not do well against regular army units.
Leftyhunter
 

Saphroneth

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If you have a problem with 104 k Southern white enlisted in the Union Army then take it up with Richard Current who documented his work.
Eh? I was pointing out that enlistment numbers in the ACW are muddy.

A militia is not the same as an army.Overall Militia did not do well against regular army units.
By European standards the entire ACW was fought by Militia except for a few Regular Army units.
 

Saphroneth

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My bad I thought I was responding to @CSA Today . I hope I get forgiven for a senior moment.
Leftyhunter
You were, but I thought it was worth noting that the usual logic of "militia don't do as well compared to regulars" is less pronounced when the regulars in question are US (or CS) volunteers.


Who cares? The subject of the thread is comparing the southern army to the northern army - not to European standing armies.
Fair point; that being said, it's useful to have a scale in mind.


A possibly useful datum is that there were fewer shots fired by the Confederates at Gettysburg and the casualty outcome was about even; this suggests a better hit rate for the Confederates then for the Union. This could just be that the "people who actually know how to shoot" fraction was higher in the CS Army.
 

CSA Today

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As I detailed in my thread " Compare and Contrast Union vs Confederate counter guerrilla operations" per Dyer's Compendium one third of Union regiments were assigned mostly part time to counterinsurgency not full time.
Leftyhunter

Dyers Compendium was one of the sources used to determine numbers of men furnished to US forces from each state including the Confederate States. Also listed is the total listed for all the states.
http://www.civil-war.net/pages/troops_furnished_losses.html

A third of an army especially one the size of the Federal army accounts for a large number of men; tied down or how they were used or not used is significant. So how does whether the whole or two-thirds of that army engaged in major campaigns and battles affect your the Confederates were only outnumbered 1.86 to 1. estimate?
 
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Dyers Compendium was one of the sources used to determine numbers of men furnished to US forces from each state including the Confederate States. Also listed is the total listed for all the states.
http://www.civil-war.net/pages/troops_furnished_losses.html

A third of an army especially one the size of the Federal army accounts for a large number of men; tied down or how they were used or not used is significant. So how does whether the whole or two-thirds of that army engaged in major campaigns and battles affect your the Confederates were only outnumbered 1.86 to 1. estimate?
If you add up all the men on either side who are Present for Duty in all the major conventional battles the average Union Army manpower superiority ratio will be 1.86 to 1.
Leftyhunter
 

johan_steele

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40 pages in and still no viable metric that would show the CS soldier as the superman of herculean proportions CSA Today claims. Oh well.

If CSA Today were telling the truth of the CS super soldier the CS would have won every engagement but as they failed to do so...

The US Army went from around 16k soldiers to the best part of a million in 4 years. The US Army armed & supplied them as well as going so far as even paying them.

The stark reality is the the CS fails to compare favorably with many contemporary armies and it certainly fails to compare favorably with the big winners of the ancient or modern eras. If they were only outnumbered by less than 2-1 they should have won but they did not. If they were outnumbered 3-1 they should have won. Because that is what truly great armies do and have done; they beat all comers regardless of the situation. So far I have seen nothing to disprove the Soviet adage that wars are won by the least incompetent.

There are three kinds of lies: Lies, ****ed lies and statistics.

The CS soldier was good, he accomplished much despite everything arrayed against him. There were no hordes of evil US soldiers that steamrollered over him. The typical CS soldier grew to respect his foe as did the US soldier. Those slandering and minimizing them today... I've come to expect it.
 
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You were, but I thought it was worth noting that the usual logic of "militia don't do as well compared to regulars" is less pronounced when the regulars in question are US (or CS) volunteers.



Fair point; that being said, it's useful to have a scale in mind.


A possibly useful datum is that there were fewer shots fired by the Confederates at Gettysburg and the casualty outcome was about even; this suggests a better hit rate for the Confederates then for the Union. This could just be that the "people who actually know how to shoot" fraction was higher in the CS Army.
The most famous battle that I am aware of between Militia vs Regular troops was the Georgia State Militia vs the 20th Indiana . The 20th In had Spencer Rifles and it was not a good day for the GSM. I know there was some skirmishes between Pennsylvania Militia vs the Confederate Army . Not aware of any success by the Pennsylvania Militia although they if memory served were able to fend off some Confederate foraging parties. Our Gettysburg experts such has @War Horse or @cash and @johan_steele would know more about that.
Leftyhunter
 



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