Did Grant win the Civil War?

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
The south is lucky the war ended on as good a note as it did. The victors could very easily have turned against the soldiers and families of the confederacy and dispossessed them entirely, installing the former slaves as the caretakers, owners, and ruling class of the southlands.
Lubliner.
A type of forced lease, with fixed rents, would have passed constitutional muster. Or the northern states could have just levied a direct tax that their states could pay, but the southern states could not afford.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
By Sept 1862 Britain had sourced new suppliers of Cotton and British investors had poured millions into supplying both sides in Arms and goods not to mention Britain relied on the Northern US Bread Basket as it does today.

Don't underestimate how much money was invested into US industries and infrastructure by British investors and although their was some sympathy for the Southern cause at the end of the day money talks.

Just as an added incentive not to join the South or even support them Britain had abolished the slave trade in 1807 and slavery in 1834 it had virtually held a gun to all the major powers head asking them to do the same , It would have looked a tad hypocritical for Britian to support a nation where the foundation of that said nation was Slavery.
Yes but slavery would be practiced in Africa by one European country a good hundred years post ACW. Slavery was still legal in Spanish Cuba and Independent Brazil into the late 1880s and the British did not use force on with nation.
Leftyhunter
 

jackt62

Captain
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
The south is lucky the war ended on as good a note as it did. The victors could very easily have turned against the soldiers and families of the confederacy and dispossessed them entirely, installing the former slaves as the caretakers, owners, and ruling class of the southlands.
Lubliner.
That's for sure. In fact, the Johnson administration did all it could to return property to former owners who in most cases only had to sign the Loyalty Oath. The most egregious example is probably the sea islands off South Carolina, which Sherman and Stanton had originally given over to freed slaves in early 1865 (the 40 acres and a mule derives from that experiment), only to have the freed persons dispossessed or turned into sharecroppers by 1866.
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Until the news of the North's "victory" at Antietam the British government was poised, its mouth was open and it was prepared to say that they would recognize the Confederacy. The French would followed so quickly you would have thought it was simultaneous. The Union's performance theretofore had been so lackluster, European recognition would not have been a recognition of slavery but an acceptance of the Union's incompetence in prosecuting the war.
 

JerryD

Private
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Until the news of the North's "victory" at Antietam the British government was poised, its mouth was open and it was prepared to say that they would recognize the Confederacy. The French would followed so quickly you would have thought it was simultaneous. The Union's performance theretofore had been so lackluster, European recognition would not have been a recognition of slavery but an acceptance of the Union's incompetence in prosecuting the war.
Actually, the farthest Great Britain ever got was thinking about considering to offer to mediate the conflict. Yes, that is correct. They never actually considered to offer to mediate, but were thinking about having a discussion about whether they should offer to mediate. It knew that recognition would force the US to cut off grain shipments what were feeding its people, and while grain could likely be found from other sources, like they found cotton from Egypt and India, the ruling class did not want to anger the US. The British cabinet actually scheduled a meeting to discuss whether to offer to mediate, but after Antietam they never even held that discussion. And even if they did offer to mediate, that is not even close to formal recognition. Great Britain thought they could convince the US that the war was hopeless and to get it to agree to end the war on some terms.

Which raises an interesting point. Today we constantly hear, thanks to lost cause mythology, that the South never had a chance to win the war due to the manpower and manufacturing advantages of the North. But the conventional wisdom in Great Britain and most of Europe was that it would be impossible to conquer and occupy the entire Confederacy due to its geographic scale and fact that it only had to have the will to outlast the North.
 

Dead Parrott

Sergeant
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
Actually, the farthest Great Britain ever got was thinking about considering to offer to mediate the conflict. Yes, that is correct. They never actually considered to offer to mediate, but were thinking about having a discussion about whether they should offer to mediate. It knew that recognition would force the US to cut off grain shipments what were feeding its people, and while grain could likely be found from other sources, like they found cotton from Egypt and India, the ruling class did not want to anger the US. The British cabinet actually scheduled a meeting to discuss whether to offer to mediate, but after Antietam they never even held that discussion. And even if they did offer to mediate, that is not even close to formal recognition. Great Britain thought they could convince the US that the war was hopeless and to get it to agree to end the war on some terms.

Which raises an interesting point. Today we constantly hear, thanks to lost cause mythology, that the South never had a chance to win the war due to the manpower and manufacturing advantages of the North. But the conventional wisdom in Great Britain and most of Europe was that it would be impossible to conquer and occupy the entire Confederacy due to its geographic scale and fact that it only had to have the will to outlast the North.

Agreed. The geographic argument is espoused in the Cornerstone Speech as well.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Actually, the farthest Great Britain ever got was thinking about considering to offer to mediate the conflict. Yes, that is correct. They never actually considered to offer to mediate, but were thinking about having a discussion about whether they should offer to mediate. It knew that recognition would force the US to cut off grain shipments what were feeding its people, and while grain could likely be found from other sources, like they found cotton from Egypt and India, the ruling class did not want to anger the US. The British cabinet actually scheduled a meeting to discuss whether to offer to mediate, but after Antietam they never even held that discussion. And even if they did offer to mediate, that is not even close to formal recognition. Great Britain thought they could convince the US that the war was hopeless and to get it to agree to end the war on some terms.

Which raises an interesting point. Today we constantly hear, thanks to lost cause mythology, that the South never had a chance to win the war due to the manpower and manufacturing advantages of the North. But the conventional wisdom in Great Britain and most of Europe was that it would be impossible to conquer and occupy the entire Confederacy due to its geographic scale and fact that it only had to have the will to outlast the North.
And of course the Europeans were wrong. There an old school counterinsurgency technique that the Romans sucessfully used against the Jews in then Roman Palestine and what the Americans and Spanish used against the Indians; it's called population removal and it works really well.
Leftyhunter
 

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Actually, the farthest Great Britain ever got was thinking about considering to offer to mediate the conflict. Yes, that is correct. They never actually considered to offer to mediate, but were thinking about having a discussion about whether they should offer to mediate. It knew that recognition would force the US to cut off grain shipments what were feeding its people, and while grain could likely be found from other sources, like they found cotton from Egypt and India, the ruling class did not want to anger the US. The British cabinet actually scheduled a meeting to discuss whether to offer to mediate, but after Antietam they never even held that discussion. And even if they did offer to mediate, that is not even close to formal recognition. Great Britain thought they could convince the US that the war was hopeless and to get it to agree to end the war on some terms.

Which raises an interesting point. Today we constantly hear, thanks to lost cause mythology, that the South never had a chance to win the war due to the manpower and manufacturing advantages of the North. But the conventional wisdom in Great Britain and most of Europe was that it would be impossible to conquer and occupy the entire Confederacy due to its geographic scale and fact that it only had to have the will to outlast the North.
That's mostly true, but the British War Minister, George Cornewall Lewis, an intellectual and historian, was going to get the last word. Don Doyle has seen Baronet Lewis' paper, which summarized his speech. I don't know what was in it, but I suspect the paper argued that Britain was going anger the stronger power, and would be stuck with the weaker power. And it wasn't going to be a quick and easy solution. Fundamentally Lewis and many Brits doubted the stability of slave systems, citing slavery in the Roman Empire as a sign of weakness, not of strength.
The British didn't rescue the Confederates and they didn't rescue Napoleon III either. And there was peace in the western world.
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Let us assume for just a moment, that AP Hill's troops arrive just a half hour earlier. They reinforce the right wing of Lee's army. They prevent the crossing of "Burnside's Bridge" and as a result an entire days worth of Union assaults result in no breach of Lee's defensive line.

When the sun came up the next day, I guarantee that the general who had been disparagingly called "Granny Lee" for his orders to dig in and establish fixed defenses would have been dug in from one end of his line to the other. He would have had the option of remaining on the defense or resuming his offense and reinvading the North. In either case there could have been no Emancipation Proclamation.

Given this state of affairs France could have easily recognised the South and dragged a reluctant England into the fray with them. It would have been so much easier without an Emancipation Proclamation. How do you do so following a defeat?

As far as Britain needing American food imports, America would have had just as much need to get the revenues from selling them to England. Had Lincoln's government even suggested that they withhold agricultural exports to England to blackmail them in to supporting the war effort, you could easily have had a second secesssion involving the mid-western states, either joining the South or creating their own separate republic. It is easy to envision England intervening to reopen the Mississippi to agricultural exports to feed their own people.
 

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Great Britain was not going to intervene. Its cultural connection was to the German states and the Protestant north of Germany. Prussia had helped save Europe from Napoleon. Bad relations with the Russian Empire were a bigger problem for Britain then the US. The
British, Irish, Canadian(British North America) and US populations and economies were deeply intertwined. Grain sales were only a temporary part of the connection.
From 1861 to 1914 the British avoided wars with other industrial powers. And it worked.
 

Grant's Tomb

Corporal
Joined
Apr 4, 2020
Here's an excerpt from Ron Chernow's biography of Grant:

Before Grant became chief general, the Union's military effort had been fragmented and disjointed, deprived of a single supervisory mind to govern the whole enterprise. "Eastern and Western armies were fighting independent battles, working together like a balky team where no two ever pull together," Grant recalled. Now he mapped out an overarching design that encompassed all Union Armies.

Strategic Thinking. Grant could look beyond the current battle or campaign, and devise a strategy to win a decisive victory in an entire theater of war. To do this he had to project into the mind of his adversary and predict how they were going to react. He also understood the value of logistics and supplies. Grant would often gain the advantage by cleverly sustaining and supplying his Army as it moved quickly across varied terrain to gain an upper hand. These movements would surprise the enemy and put them in a compromising position.
 

Grant's Tomb

Corporal
Joined
Apr 4, 2020
Here's one of Grant's 12 leadership lessons:

Coolness under Pressure. When the heat of battle was on, Grant could remain calm and his thinking remained lucid. Lincoln was frustrated by most of the Union Generals, but not Grant. Lincoln commented: "The great thing about Grant is his perfect coolness and consistency of purpose…he is not easily excited and he has the grit of a bulldog."
 

CT Ertz

Private
Joined
Jan 21, 2010
Location
Quinton, Virginia
I have always read that it was man power and food. By early 1865 the Southern Army in Petersburg had the best clothing they were going to get. Firepower was not an issue, though from time to time ammunition might have been. When Lee was finally driven from Petersburg trains full of ammunition and rifles were waiting for his men near Appomattox, train cars that the men had to burn. They didn't need ammo or new guns. They needed food. They needed reinforcements.

As an added problem with the men/food shortage one could add road ways. Before the war most southern states relied on river transport for moving people and supplies around. Before the war, for example, tons of tobacco and other farm crops from western part of VA were moved down the Appomattox River or the James River to the coast. Roads were at best, a summer time option. And the rail roads had many problems. With the war in full swing the USN controlled the rivers. In the Winter between 1864-65 Lees men could have used blankets and overcoats while sitting in Petersburg. Just such coats and blankets were rotting in depots in parts of Georgia, with no way to get them to Petersburg or to the Army of Tennessee.

And one other point about roads, or lack there off. The South had the needed food. Proof of this is that General Sherman's men lived well feeding on Southern crops and meat while blazing their way through Georgia.
 

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Here's an excerpt from Ron Chernow's biography of Grant:

Before Grant became chief general, the Union's military effort had been fragmented and disjointed, deprived of a single supervisory mind to govern the whole enterprise. "Eastern and Western armies were fighting independent battles, working together like a balky team where no two ever pull together," Grant recalled. Now he mapped out an overarching design that encompassed all Union Armies.

Strategic Thinking. Grant could look beyond the current battle or campaign, and devise a strategy to win a decisive victory in an entire theater of war. To do this he had to project into the mind of his adversary and predict how they were going to react. He also understood the value of logistics and supplies. Grant would often gain the advantage by cleverly sustaining and supplying his Army as it moved quickly across varied terrain to gain an upper hand. These movements would surprise the enemy and put them in a compromising position.
Grant had some big advantages. Sherman and Meade were interested in rank, not public office. That made co-operation much easier. Sheridan was very popular with his soldiers, but he was an Irish/Catholic, and it was far too early for someone like Sheridan to run for high office.
Toward the end of the war Grant was dealing with naval officers, Thomas, Meigs and Ingalls, none of whom were interested in public office. Logan and Blair were bypassed by the army, most likely because they were using the army as a stepping stone. But Terry became a career officer.
 

wausaubob

Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
I have always read that it was man power and food. By early 1865 the Southern Army in Petersburg had the best clothing they were going to get. Firepower was not an issue, though from time to time ammunition might have been. When Lee was finally driven from Petersburg trains full of ammunition and rifles were waiting for his men near Appomattox, train cars that the men had to burn. They didn't need ammo or new guns. They needed food. They needed reinforcements.

As an added problem with the men/food shortage one could add road ways. Before the war most southern states relied on river transport for moving people and supplies around. Before the war, for example, tons of tobacco and other farm crops from western part of VA were moved down the Appomattox River or the James River to the coast. Roads were at best, a summer time option. And the rail roads had many problems. With the war in full swing the USN controlled the rivers. In the Winter between 1864-65 Lees men could have used blankets and overcoats while sitting in Petersburg. Just such coats and blankets were rotting in depots in parts of Georgia, with no way to get them to Petersburg or to the Army of Tennessee.

And one other point about roads, or lack there off. The South had the needed food. Proof of this is that General Sherman's men lived well feeding on Southern crops and meat while blazing their way through Georgia.
Careful there friend. The people still with the Army of No. Virginia still had guns and ammunition, at least some of them did. But there has been large surrenders at Fort Steadman, Five Forks, and Sailor's Creek. Large numbers of men had simply fallen away to be picked up or to walk to whatever was left of home. You don't know how many soldiers quit because they had no cartridges left and did not think they were going to get anymore.
 
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