Discussion The difficulty facing the secessionists.

wausaubob

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This map, primitive as it is, illustrates the difficulty for the secessionists. They were up against a wired nation. The US Civil War was the second major war involving use of the electrical telegraph for reporting and management. The first was the Crimean War.
While inertia favored the Confederates, they were not going to get the benefit of weeks and months as news of the rebellion crossed an ocean and the response recrossed the ocean. Within hours of Fort Sumter, the US knew of the crisis, and within days, the administration knew whether the state governors of the northern states intended to respond with force.
This map, from 1856, shows the multiple, complex communication networks spread across the main part of the US at that time.
 

wausaubob

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This map illustrates the other problem for the secessionists. Not only was the US able to invade the Confederacy by sea, as the British had been able to invade the colonies, but the US had all the additional entry points: Alexandria, Wheeling, Parkersburg, Cincinnati/Covington, Louisville/New Albany, Evansville, Paducah, the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, the Mississippi River, St. Louis/Alton and Quincy/Hannibal. US regiments did not have to cross an ocean to get at the Confederacy. In most cases they could get to the border areas by a train ride.
The ease of transportation made it highly probable that the US would take over the border areas. Any area such as the Ohio River counties of w. Virginia and Kentucky, was going to be quickly invaded and persuaded to remain loyal.
 
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wausaubob

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The US ship building(sea going vessels) and boat building vessels(for use on rivers and lakes) was running far below maximum capacity by 1860.
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The US had a very large naval capacity to refit and build both military vessels and support vessels. This power was going to show up. Every Confederate state bordered on the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River.
It was well known where these ships and boats could be constructed. For instance, Kentucky was credited with 29 steamers as of the 1860 census.
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By June 7, 1862, all of these places, including Norfolk, VA, Pensacola, FL and New Orleans, LA, where occupied by the US.
The big ships were manufactured in Maine or at Boston. Brooklyn and Philadelphia concentrated more on refitting and installation of machinery and weaponry.
Kentucky, Ohio and St. Louis built most of the steamboats and river tugs.
 

jackt62

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Which all points to the fact that the industrial/economic might of the Union would eventually be brought to bear against the Confederacy. It took a little while but by 1864, that infrastructure was too vast for the Confederacy to overcome.
 

wausaubob

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The static picture of industry in the United States in 1860 made it look like the Confederacy had a chance to succeed. But the rate of growth in the iron/steel industry was so fast that by 1880 the census report included a long detailed report on power of the industry.
https://www2.census.gov/prod2/decennial/documents/1880a_v2-16.pdf#[0,{%22name%22:%22FitH%22},805]
Steel production had gone from about 11,000 tons in 1860, an experimental industry, to nearly 1 million tons per year, by 1880.
 

wausaubob

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For the Civil War itself, the key industries that would determine the outcome of the war were ship building, flour and meal production, and textile and clothing production. In order to avoid the ability of the US to sustain larger armies for longer periods of time, the Confederacy had to win at Antietam, which is one of the reasons the battle was so bloody.
 

damYankee

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Every war is sold as not lasting more than.......fill in the blank.
The OP brings another element into the ever lasting conversation about the war, the South was lagging in developing the full potential of its resources, the planter society that arose in the early 1800s fueled by the cotton gin , cheap land and limitless slave labor provided great profits and economic development centered on agriculture, mainly cotton soybeans and rice,,
The rest of the nation was developing iron works, etc. And, those who moved west, even those from southern states like some of my ancestors found life in the west a challenge but a rewarding one, they had no desire to look back,. The Antebellum dreams stayed in Arkansas,.
To go along with the OP and the great data supplied one thing I have noticed working on geneology, when reading census reports from the 1850s to 1910, the questions provide a lot of information about the growth of the nation.
Unlike early census, where the one thing counted was the name of the head of household, number of free white men, women, and non Freeman, the later census asked where each person was born, where their parents were born, what trade was practiced, literacy level, (of each person including the wife).
It is amazing how many families from the South chose to leave the supposed ideal life style provided and go west to face great challenges.
Maybe things were not so rosey.
 

wausaubob

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Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Every war is sold as not lasting more than.......fill in the blank.
The OP brings another element into the ever lasting conversation about the war, the South was lagging in developing the full potential of its resources, the planter society that arose in the early 1800s fueled by the cotton gin , cheap land and limitless slave labor provided great profits and economic development centered on agriculture, mainly cotton soybeans and rice,,
The rest of the nation was developing iron works, etc. And, those who moved west, even those from southern states like some of my ancestors found life in the west a challenge but a rewarding one, they had no desire to look back,. The Antebellum dreams stayed in Arkansas,.
To go along with the OP and the great data supplied one thing I have noticed working on geneology, when reading census reports from the 1850s to 1910, the questions provide a lot of information about the growth of the nation.
Unlike early census, where the one thing counted was the name of the head of household, number of free white men, women, and non Freeman, the later census asked where each person was born, where their parents were born, what trade was practiced, literacy level, (of each person including the wife).
It is amazing how many families from the South chose to leave the supposed ideal life style provided and go west to face great challenges.
Maybe things were not so rosey.
The problem was that many white southerners knew that the horrible conditions in which the slaves lived and worked undercut the price of labor and the prices agricultural commodities. They also knew the grinding poverty created a pool of disease. The slaves could not escape those conditions, but white southerner could get to w. Texas, or Oregon, or Montana, or simply to Iowa and Illinois, and try to make a new start growing corn and raising hogs.
There was always a slow trickle northward and westward of the most independent and self reliant southerners, before the Civil War, during the war and after the war.
 
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