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Mathematical certainty of the outcome.

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by wausaubob, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. wausaubob

    wausaubob Captain

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    From the West Point History of the Civil War, p. 36 which is quoting Richard McMurray:

    "Over 80 percent of the military-age population in 1860 lived in the states and territories that were to remain loyal to the Federal government. New York State's military population alone was three-fourths that of the entire Confederacy. New York, Massachusetts and Vermont alone could have fielded an army that outnumbered the military-age population of the eleven Rebel states by 31,587 men. When those eastern Yankees needed to rest from fatigues of war, they could have been replaced by a force from Illinois, Indiana and Ohio that exceeded total Confederate strength by 35,662 men. Pennsylvania's half a million military-age men would have provided adequate replacements for any casualties, and the military-age men in the other sixteen northern states could gone about their normal business."

    The four border states did not split entirely in favor of the United States. But neither did Virginia, Tennessee or Alabama split entirely in favor of the Confederacy.

    But the situation is even more severely in favor of the United States than these numbers state.
    The United States had access to two more demographic pools, the African-Americans in the south, and the Canadians in the north, especially Quebecois. It did not matter particularly how many people in those labor pools were willing to serve as soldiers and sailors. It did matter how many were willing to work in the United States or serve as pioneers in the advancing United States armies.

    But the situation was worse even than that. The military-age population of the north was so large because immigration was tilted in favor of single young men. But immigration did not end in 1860. Most Europeans had countrymen in the northern United States, so when immigration resumed in 1863, the United States could refresh its armed forces and labor pool.

    People in the United States military and in Britain could figure out that the United States was going to win with some basic computations.
     
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  3. Specster

    Specster Sergeant Major

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    I believe other armys have prevailed over as long or longer odds with asymmetrical warfare.

    This is but one mans opinion.....I dont think it is by any stretch of the imagination a mathematical certainty
     
  4. Hunter

    Hunter First Sergeant

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    My two cents. After the Battle of Nashville and rout of Hood's army, Confederate defeat was almost certain. The Confederates had just enough leverage to cut a deal to end the war but wasted it at Hampton Roads, thanks to Jefferson Davis. Many Southerners would die for no reason as a consequence.
     
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  5. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Colonel

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    I don't know if we could classify the American Civil War has an example of Asymeteric Warfare.
    The political goal of the seccessionts was to establish a new nation out of not only the eleven Confederate states but also the border states and the American South West. At the same time the Confederacy needed to preserve large scale mono agricultural exports.In addition the Confederacy required being a trade dependant economy secure sea lanes.
    All of the above require a well maned and equipped army and navy plus an industrial economy and an agricultural economy capable of producing and transporting food.
    Yes the Confederacy also did support and under take guerrilla warfare but that was counterbalanced by the Union also doing the same.
    Therefore asymmetrical warfare was not an option for the Confederacy.
    A better example of asymmetrical war fare would be the French-Algerian War, Rhodesia , Iraq and Afghanistan just to name a few.
    The Vietnam War as I argue in my moderated thread " Compare and contrast the American Civil War to the Vietnam War of 19t7 to 1975" is not an example of asymmetrical warfare.
    Leftyhunter
     
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  6. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Colonel

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    Yes and no. Not every military age man fit to fight in the non Southern states wanted to fight. Per Current if memory serves only half the military age men in the North enlisted in the Union Army and many deserted.
    Fortunately for the Union the Confederacy had major morale and desertion problems arguably worse such has Confederate deserters defecting to the Union.
    During the Revolutionary War Great Britain had a much larger white population then did the American Colonies.
    The problem for the British Army was many young men did not want to join so the British gad to outsource their military manpower needs to various German states.
    So no it wasn't exactly a slam dunk that the Union would win although it was the Union's to loose. In other words a trully united South might just might of been able to win independence.
    Leftyhunter
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
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  7. Specster

    Specster Sergeant Major

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    I know the odds were long but do you really want to go to the extent of saying it was a mathamatical certainty that the North would win....think of the variables involved....if Gettysburg had gone the other way...dont you think that the Union could have thrown in the towel, or a European power could have entered on the side of the South?

    You are saying it was a certainty????

    Or is this just another ad hominem attack
     
  8. Specster

    Specster Sergeant Major

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    Dont you think December 1864 is a little late to be talking about the inevitability of a Southern defeat with "mathematical Certainty????" Would you say that in May of 1863?
     
  9. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Colonel

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    Not a certainty just that the Confederacy could not win an asymmetric war. At the Confederacy has to protect it's ports and cotton fields. Asymmetric warfare doesn't protect fixed positions.
    What evidence is there any nation would recognize the Confederacy if it won at Gettysburg?
    I don't make ad hominem attacks. I lay my cards on the table.
    Leftyhunter
     
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  10. infomanpa

    infomanpa First Sergeant

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    There is never mathematical certainty when it comes to war.
     
  11. RobertP

    RobertP Major

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    But that's the way to bet. :wink:
     
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  12. Gladys Hodge Sherrer

    Gladys Hodge Sherrer First Sergeant

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    And these facts, coupled with the Confederacy being an unholy cause and born in the pit of hell, is precisely why I believe the Confederate leaders were criminally insane. The consequences to them, after the War, were minor. Is it because criminal acts occurred by leaders on both sides? (Think, Lieber Code of War.)
     
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  13. RobertP

    RobertP Major

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    "Born in the pit of hell"?
     
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  14. Mark F. Jenkins

    Mark F. Jenkins Lt. Colonel Member of the Year

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    War is, at its core, a social interaction. Those are very difficult (and frequently misleading) to quantify.

    Given the national will to fight through to a conclusion, the odds were clearly in the Union's favor. But that national will was not a given.
     
  15. ForeverFree

    ForeverFree Major

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    These numbers do not reckon with political uncertainty.

    It's true that the US had a larger pool of of men. But what if the US lacked the political will to use them? Note that, the US had to institute a draft because it could not get enough volunteers to fill the ranks. This led to draft riots, among which the NYC draft riots are the most infamous; but there were others.

    You mention the employment of Africans Americans in the South. But it was not inevitable that black labor and black soldiery would be employed; when the war began, the US stated explicitly that it had no desire to disturb the institution.

    Politics makes a difference, and must be reckoned with in any calculation of the chances of winning a war. I will note that in the case of the Viet Nam War, the US was clearly militarily superior. My understanding is that the US was actually winning that war near the end; or at least, it was inflicting heavy casualties upon the enemy. If the entire pool of available men (eg, no deferments for men going to college, etc) was used, the war effort probably would have had more success.

    But the war became unpopular among American people, especially among the young men who were being asked to fight (actually, ordered to fight when they were drafted). America did not lose the Viet Nam War so much as the American people felt it wasn't worth the cost.

    That scenario could well have happened in the case of the Civil War, although that did not happen.

    - Alan
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  16. wausaubob

    wausaubob Captain

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  17. wausaubob

    wausaubob Captain

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    Immigration was so heavily slanted towards men, and towards young men, that 12 years of immigration caused left the northern states in a totally dominant position. Immigration was completely focused in the north and very, very urban. Only one city with a high foreign born percentage, New Orleans, at 38.3%, was swept into the secessionist movement. New Orleans was of course swept back out of secession early in 1862.
    The effect on the military forces, particularly in the west was significant. But the effect on the economy was enormous.
    The voting age male population of the United States grew during the Civil War, despite the casualties.
     
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  18. wausaubob

    wausaubob Captain

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    The year is 1860.
    This is the total population of the United States: 31,443,321

    This is the native born population of the United States: 27,304,624
    This is the foreign population of the United States as a composite and as a % of the whole 4,138,697
    13.2

    https://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0029/tab13.html

    The foreign born population is just the people who had been born in Europe or Canada, for the most part, then living in the United States, almost all living in the northern states, plus Washington, D.C. and New Orleans.

    It does not include the children of the foreign born, so the foreign born + their immediate descendants would greatly in large that per cent.
     
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  19. wausaubob

    wausaubob Captain

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  20. wausaubob

    wausaubob Captain

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    Were there some contingencies?
    Each side had a fundamental interest at stake.
    Britain could have intervened. But as the West Point history of the United States pointed out, the military and demographic power of the US had already been demonstrated in two earlier wars between the United States and Britain, and the numbers cited above, though not necessarily available to all, were visibly obvious in New York, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Boston and Baltimore.
     
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  21. wausaubob

    wausaubob Captain

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    The United States army and the United States economy was tapped into a demographic pool that had no bottom.
    All the United States had to do to win the war was build a navy, severely reduce the south's cotton export economy and muscle its way down the Mississippi with steamboats and its super preponderance of military man power.
    All of this was accomplished by July 1863 and the 20 months that followed were the horror of a failed rebellion consuming its population.
     
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