Discussion The main productive activities of the United States in 1860

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
The main productive activities in the US in 1860 were the growing of corn:
http://dsl.richmond.edu/historicalatlas/143/l/ in the amount of about 800M bushels, worth between $.23/bushel at its low, and usually about $.50/bushel, and the raising of hogs:
1601492373499.png
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Corn production was a substantial part of the distilling industry, and pork by products substantially supported the candle and soap industry.
1601492690197.png
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
As the maps show, farmers north of the Ohio River, and south of the Ohio River were engaged in the same crop and livestock production.
North of the river it was all free farmers, and south of the river, some farmers may have used enslaved labor for this production. However neither group was putting the other out of business. Both groups sold much of their production to buyers who took the hogs to Cincinnati.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
I think the point is that the secessionists misunderstood the middle part of the country, especially Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee.
The farmers engaged in corn and pork production were capable of using the same methods and same labor methods as the people in the paid labor states to get along.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
The maps also indicate the serious economic problems that were going to settle on the Confederacy as Kentucky declined secession and the US army occupied central and w. Tennessee. A large amount of economic activity previously funneled to Cincinnati and Nashville, was cut off from the Confederacy and added back into the US tax system.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
The historical atlas also depicts the distribution of cattle in the US in 1860: http://dsl.richmond.edu/historicalatlas/143/a/
If that is accurate, as soon as the US occupied both New Orleans and Pensacola, and could effectively blockade Mobile, the movement of live cattle from Texas to any place where they could be butchered and eaten, was going to be a long and difficult process.
 

Mango Hill

Corporal
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
I have a question and I think you're just the man who can answer it. The opening of the Mississippi River was vital for the economy of the Midwestern states so that they could export their goods in the Western Hemisphere, particularly to the Caribbean. This I read somewhere, I think it's from a book on Grand Strategy of the CW by Donald Stoker. Do you think that Lincoln's strategy in 1862 was based on concentrating more on winning the west while just appearing to want to strike at Richmond to appease the Radical's while his real objective was to protect the Capital at all costs?
 

Quaama

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 13, 2020
Location
Port Macquarie, Australia
The maps also indicate the serious economic problems that were going to settle on the Confederacy as Kentucky declined secession and the US army occupied central and w. Tennessee. A large amount of economic activity previously funneled to Cincinnati and Nashville, was cut off from the Confederacy and added back into the US tax system.

This, and the other posts are appreciated. I consider agricultural and economic differences prior to the war to be key indicators leading to secession and the difficulties experienced by the Confederacy during the war.
A comparison of the production from each state against their voting population [yes, I appreciate this excludes a large number of people in the Confederate States] would help show how the politicians from each State would regard the importance of such things to them in 1861.
 

DaveBrt

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Location
Charlotte, NC
The historical atlas also depicts the distribution of cattle in the US in 1860: http://dsl.richmond.edu/historicalatlas/143/a/
If that is accurate, as soon as the US occupied both New Orleans and Pensacola, and could effectively blockade Mobile, the movement of live cattle from Texas to any place where they could be butchered and eaten, was going to be a long and difficult process.
The Southern railroads were so terribly overloaded with the need to transport troops, war material, and agricultural products that could not be produced elsewhere (ie salt, sugar and molasses) that carrying cattle long distances could never happen. Therefore, cattle had to be carried by water (steamboats down the Red and Ouachita Rivers to Vicksburg) and used within a couple of hundred miles of Vicksburg or by swimming the Mississippi River and walking two or three hundred miles. Obviously, Atlanta, Charleston and Richmond will have to be supplied by closer sources than Texas. In fact, the diffused cattle production in the rest of the Confederacy provided beef enough for the first year or two. After that, the easy/close cattle had been consumed and the reliance on pork, in the east, was the only solution.

The cattle from Florida dream turned out to be the product of real estate developers and their sales programs. The cattle were over counted, were too far apart to easily collect, and needed too many potential soldiers to collect them. When collected and driven north, the nature of the country and the weather prevented the arrival of large numbers of healthy cattle. The cattle that did arrive was consumed in the Atlanta/Charleston/Montgomery area.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
The Southern railroads were so terribly overloaded with the need to transport troops, war material, and agricultural products that could not be produced elsewhere (ie salt, sugar and molasses) that carrying cattle long distances could never happen. Therefore, cattle had to be carried by water (steamboats down the Red and Ouachita Rivers to Vicksburg) and used within a couple of hundred miles of Vicksburg or by swimming the Mississippi River and walking two or three hundred miles. Obviously, Atlanta, Charleston and Richmond will have to be supplied by closer sources than Texas. In fact, the diffused cattle production in the rest of the Confederacy provided beef enough for the first year or two. After that, the easy/close cattle had been consumed and the reliance on pork, in the east, was the only solution.

The cattle from Florida dream turned out to be the product of real estate developers and their sales programs. The cattle were over counted, were too far apart to easily collect, and needed too many potential soldiers to collect them. When collected and driven north, the nature of the country and the weather prevented the arrival of large numbers of healthy cattle. The cattle that did arrive was consumed in the Atlanta/Charleston/Montgomery area.
In that era, beef consumption meant the shipment of live cattle. There were preservation methods for pork, which is what made pork production reliable.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
I have a question and I think you're just the man who can answer it. The opening of the Mississippi River was vital for the economy of the Midwestern states so that they could export their goods in the Western Hemisphere, particularly to the Caribbean. This I read somewhere, I think it's from a book on Grand Strategy of the CW by Donald Stoker. Do you think that Lincoln's strategy in 1862 was based on concentrating more on winning the west while just appearing to want to strike at Richmond to appease the Radical's while his real objective was to protect the Capital at all costs?
The evidence supports the view that Lincoln considered McClellan's Peninsula campaign an effective distraction. Both before and after the capture of New Orleans, the administration never made a full commitment to McClellan's campaign. Also no one on the US side wanted to admit if, but at the time of the Shiloh Battle, both Grant and the Army of Tennessee were considered as expendable, if the Confederate withdrew troops from New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Mobile and Pensacola.
The City of New Orleans contained several groups that opposed secession, so if the US could occupy the city, they would find allies.
Blockading New Orleans was difficult. But occupying the city made operations in the Gulf of Mexico and on the Mississippi River much less expensive.
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2019
Location
Dedham, MA
OK, I guess I was thrown off by the title "main productive activities". Agricultural activities yes, but by then we also had machinery (trains, guns, etc.) manufacturing, and textile production with over 6000 mills estimated.

Great-grand-dad certainly raised both corn and hogs in Maryland in 1860.
 

weasel

Private
Joined
Nov 2, 2018
Location
West Michigan
The map shows how important Tennessee and Kentucky were logistically, and why the relatively early loss of control of that territory raised the importance of beef from out west.
 
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Location
mo
As the maps show, farmers north of the Ohio River, and south of the Ohio River were engaged in the same crop and livestock production.
North of the river it was all free farmers, and south of the river, some farmers may have used enslaved labor for this production. However neither group was putting the other out of business. Both groups sold much of their production to buyers who took the hogs to Cincinnati.
And it was fairly even as 51% of corn production was from slave states, one interesting thing when looking at the period is slavery virtually dominated segments such as cotton, hemp, tobacco, sugar, and rice, while also remaining competitive in other agricultural segments. Slave states were more diversified then sometimes protrayed.
 
Last edited:

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
OK, I guess I was thrown off by the title "main productive activities". Agricultural activities yes, but by then we also had machinery (trains, guns, etc.) manufacturing, and textile production with over 6000 mills estimated.

Great-grand-dad certainly raised both corn and hogs in Maryland in 1860.
That is correct, but corn/hogs, cotton in the south and wheat in the Midwest, were large parts of the economy. That is what most people were doing. Collectively, manufacturing was larger than any one agricultural activity. But manufacturing was extremely diverse. The census procedures were not capable of tabulating small businesses and independent contractors in the construction trades.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Maps based on slavery show a sharp division between coerced labor and paid labor. Some southern politicians wanted this to define a nation. But agricultural maps show the zones were just layered from north to south and the economies, the families and the newspapers, blend into each other. In the 7 state area consisting of Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee, the farmers were doing the same things and thinking about the US in similar terms.
I suspect that most people in those states want the US to stay together. They probably wanted some limitations on the plantation system, but were expecting slavery to continue for sometime, with modifications, if the southerners kept the peace.
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
There was a basic misunderstanding among the deep south plantation owners about the importance of slavery in Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee. It was tolerated by a lot of farmers who could get along without it, as long as there was peace.
 

Mango Hill

Corporal
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
The evidence supports the view that Lincoln considered McClellan's Peninsula campaign an effective distraction. Both before and after the capture of New Orleans, the administration never made a full commitment to McClellan's campaign. Also no one on the US side wanted to admit if, but at the time of the Shiloh Battle, both Grant and the Army of Tennessee were considered as expendable, if the Confederate withdrew troops from New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Mobile and Pensacola.
The City of New Orleans contained several groups that opposed secession, so if the US could occupy the city, they would find allies.
Blockading New Orleans was difficult. But occupying the city made operations in the Gulf of Mexico and on the Mississippi River much less expensive.

Thanks, Bob. I'm not at all surprised about the Peninsula campaign as it went against Lincoln's preferred route of attack but I'm very surprised about the Army of West Tennessee (which is the army I believe you meant).
 

wausaubob

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Thanks, Bob. I'm not at all surprised about the Peninsula campaign as it went against Lincoln's preferred route of attack but I'm very surprised about the Army of West Tennessee (which is the army I believe you meant).
When A.S. Johnston was gathering forces for his counter attack at Pittsburgh Landing, not only was New Orleans left less defended, but there were no troops available to cover the approaches to Island No. 10 either. Its hard to believe that General Halleck wanted to discourage the Confederates from attacking General Grant's camp. There were a lot of strange excuses made about why the US camp was not entrenched and fortified. But the likely truth was that if the Confederates would mass their forces and march out of Corinth towards the Tennessee River, they were fighting the wrong battle.
In fact the Confederates skillfully recovered and hung on to Vicksburg for another year, and they were lucky a more competent US commander did not realize the opportunity presented by Farragut's success.
 
Last edited:

Similar threads

Top