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Or Did the United States Win

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by Major James B. Ronan II, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. Major James B. Ronan II

    Major James B. Ronan II Corporal

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  3. 7th Mississippi Infantry

    7th Mississippi Infantry Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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  4. Stony

    Stony 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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  5. jgoodguy

    jgoodguy Brigadier General Moderator Forum Host

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    Interesting. The South did not have to win. It only had to avoid losing until the Northern Public Opinion went against Lincoln. That never happened.
     
  6. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    There is a feeling among some that the North won the war but the South won the peace that followed.
     
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  7. wausaubob

    wausaubob Sergeant

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    The South started the secession era as the much smaller opponent.
    The strong secessionist candidate, John C. Breckinridge, obtained about 18% of the popular vote. These votes then were reflected in the undemocratic secessionist rush, and Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri did not secede. The situation became even worse when George McClellan was able to peel off the western counties of Virginia, with the aid of the local population there.
    That meant that from east to west, the chemical plants of Delaware, and the populations of Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Wheeling, Louisville and St. Louis all remained part of the federal economy and federal logistical support system.
    It was not clear to the people involved, but the population mismatch was enormous.
    The free institutions of the U.S. were able to hold the Democrats to the effort. The U.S. had both Congressional and Presidential elections, which were seriously contested, during the war.
    It turned out that allowing dissent created strength.
    This population split led directly to the US Navy, based mainly out of New York and Boston, which had no opposition along the coast, which led directly to the capture of the South's largest city, New Orleans, which had been a Douglas Democrat district.
    The retention of St. Louis by the US led directly to the construction of the US river navy, which supported the effort at Fts. Henry and Donelson, and led to sudden, and irreversible loss of Memphis and Nashville.
    If one stops focusing on the land battles in Virginia, and looks at the politics of the border states, and the war in the west, the realization that the advantages of the U.S. were immediately decisive becomes clear. Land battles simply don't matter if they don't create a strategic advantage. All the strategic advantages were flowing to the US as soon as the secessionist rush subsided.
    Although the war was prolonged by US hesistancy and error in 1862, the war 1863 illustrated the problem.
    General Grant was operating deep in Confederate territory with tremendous naval and logistical support.
    After numerous experiments he finally hit on a tactical combination that worked, as he was bound to do.
    In Pennsylvania, the AofV found out that the US army was just too big, and too experienced to be conquered.
    The mismatch in manpower mattered as soon as the AoftheP stopped making mistakes.
    The situation in Tennessee exposed all the problems with which the Confederates had no solution.
    The US used its railroad system to place and support four armies, the Ohio group in Knoxville, the AofTenn under Sherman, the Cumberlanders under Thomas, and Hooker's eastern divisions, in a confined area in Tennessee. Not only was the US' railroad system able to support these armies, but local people in eastern Tennessee were willing to help Burnside's army in Knoxville.
    Leadership and tactics make some difference, but the situation around Chattanooga in November 1863 was a direct reflection of the mismatch in logistical strength of the adversaries.
    These things were a direct reflection of the geographical problems faced by the South.
    In the west, in the inland river system provided a ready pathway of invasion for the US. Stationary forts to block use of this route were readily overcome by the US.
    In the center of the Confederacy, the Appalachian mountains isolated the more heavily populated Atlantic coast from the larger territory of the west. The Confederacy operated as two separate areas, and the eastern area always obtained the best of the resources. The US exploited this division consistently.
    The eastern press, based in New York, sold the idea that it was a close contest. The Confederate leadership wanted to maintain the idea that the attempt at rebellion had a substantial chance of success.
    However it was never a close contest.
    All of this without mentioning that about 40% of the population in the South was a built in resistance movement.
    The black enslaved population steadily shifted away from the South and towards the US and it made a material difference in hastening the end of the war.
     
  8. Bruce Vail

    Bruce Vail First Sergeant

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    I am inclined to agree with this view. Although the "peace" that followed included many violent and bloody incidents...
     
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  9. BillO

    BillO Captain

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    A good point could be made that neither really got what they needed and so both lost.
     
  10. RobertP

    RobertP Captain

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    That feeling was not shared in the South.
     
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  11. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    BillO,

    Everyone lost so no one lost?

    Can't see that myself, as the Civil War began a series of legal and social changes still having impact today.

    Maybe neither side got exactly what they wanted at the time, but we have to stack that up against a restored United States and the end of chattel slavery.

    Racism, no, along with other problems, but a beginning, at least.

    Sincerely,
    Unionblue
    PS I guess I'm just a 'glass half-full' kinda' guy. :smile:
     
  12. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    I would think not, after four bloody years of hard war.

    But in the peace that followed the South made it as near as possible to slavery all in except name, trying to keep it's prewar social order as nearly intact as possible.

    IMO,
    Unionblue
     
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  13. RobertP

    RobertP Captain

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    Well stated opinions though there is not much new there. Inferior numbers, inferior materiel, inferior leaders in the West. However, I don't believe the trio of Lee, Longstreet and Jackson was never matched by any Union Army high command.
     
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  14. RobertP

    RobertP Captain

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    That's not true UB. Once slavery was over I do believe Southerners were glad to see it go, and as evidence I have my g-grandmother's memoir stating her mother believed just that. Yes, they wanted the social order to be preserved, but very few in this country felt differently. I keep going back to a segregated military in the United States until after WWII, nearly 80 years after the end of the CW. Who controlled that policy?
     
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  15. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    RobertP,

    And I will have to disagree with you because I believe it to be true.

    As you go back to a segregated military, I go back to a segregated South with laws designed to deny or frustrate black voting lynchings, church bombings, schools segregated, colored only signs and a lot more. It took Federal intervention to overcome a lost of these things that were direct holdovers from a defeated Civil War South.

    I don't excuse the North for such either. My own State of Ohio had swimming pools that were designated as "clubs" with the sole purpose of excluding black patrons and Boston, MA, had race riots over bussing when I was stationed at Ft. Devens.

    Racism is a national gift from the War of the Rebellion and I at times feel like the South is showing a better example of getting rid of it vice some sections of the North.

    But the history after the war shows me there was an attempt to "keep things as they were" or as close to it as possible.

    Sincerely,
    Unionblue
     
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  16. RobertP

    RobertP Captain

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    No doubt segregation, de jure or de facto, was designed to keep the social order intact and it was indefensible any way you slice it. Period. I do believe racial segregation is in big time decline now and what we are seeing now is economic segregation, and that will always be with us in a capitalistic society. People want to do the best for their families and most of the time that includes safety for the family, good schools for their children, and stable property values. The country is rapidly becoming color blind and success today no longer depends so much on your skin color as on the choices you make in your life.
     
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  17. wausaubob

    wausaubob Sergeant

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    There is a rhetorical trend to minimize the difference between slavery and white supremacy, which is intended to diminish the significance of the Civil War and to make it seem a failure to compromise issues that were insignificant.
    I think the differences between white supremacy and slavery were physically and politically profound.
    In addition, the South had enjoyed political dominance for 10 years prior to the Civil War.
    The Civil War ended that political dominance. The South found partners in the Democratic Party, but they were never the dominant partner, until perhaps the last 20 years.
     
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  18. Irishtom29

    Irishtom29 Corporal

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    I agree, they were certainly matched by Grant, Sherman, McPherson and Ord at Vicksburg and by Grant, Sheridan, Meade, Humphreys, Wright, Parke, Griffin, Ord and Gibbon in the Appomattox campaign. And Grant, Sherman, Thomas and Hooker at Chattanooga. (Yeah, I know Sherman dropped the ball there.)
     
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  19. wausaubob

    wausaubob Sergeant

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    Highly competent generals, Lee, Longstreet and Thomas Jackson.
    They defended Richmond very well.
    Did they take Philadelphia? Retake Memphis or Nashville?
    Longstreet was in Chattanooga, briefly, but argued with Bragg, and perhaps purposefully got his force reassigned to Knoxville.
    Sherman, Sheridan, Thomas, and Grant finished off the war in 11 months. Just sayin'.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
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  20. John Hartwell

    John Hartwell Captain Forum Host

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    The big winners were the people of the South, in that they were not stuck with the fraudulent bad idea that was the Congederacy
     
  21. OpnCoronet

    OpnCoronet Major

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    To him that hath, more will be given; To him that hath not, even that which he hath, will be lost.
     
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