Discussion The South's Defensive War

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damYankee

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 12, 2011
The lists of reasons the South was doomed are long,
The CSA had one chance at conducting a successful offensive campaign and that ended at the first battle of Manassas. I believe Davis knew it, as witnessed by his pleading with his commanders to take DC when the Union lines broke, but they had not mustered enough troops and material to carry out an all out assault on DC.
After the Union began it's advance upon the Mississippi river from both north and south the member states of the CSA could not chance sending enough troops to the ANV to carry out such a mission although they did get within sight of the Capital building a couple of times, they just could not concentrate enough force in DC to win decisively .
The lack of a powerful central government also hamstrung the South, Davis was in charge of a group of states that abhorred central governance, and any federal type authority.
The fact that their currency was worthless also hurt them, and that lies squarely on Davis for his refusal to ship cotton to Britain early in the war, before the North had sufficient vessels to enforce the embargo, had he not prevented that sale, the CSA would have had an abundance of recourses and perhaps Britain would have been more likely to recognize the CSA, but they just couldn't trust Davis after that.
The end result of those mistakes and the fact that the CSA had more territory than it defend, lead to the CSA's inability to mount any meaningful offense. Even when Lee began his few advances into Maryland and Pennsylvania, he had no hopes or plans of occupying any territory he may successfully invade.
As others have also mentioned, disunion was not as widely supported throughout the South as the Southern propaganda mills would have us believe, Eastern Tennessee, northern Arkansas, Western North Carolina (hill country) and throughout other areas along with the challenge of maintaining control of 40 % of the population who were slaves while fighting a war is not an easy challenge.
 
Last edited:

uaskme

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 9, 2016
Location
SE Tennessee
The lists of reasons the South was doomed are long,
The CSA had one chance at conducting a successful offensive campaign and that ended at the first battle of Manassas. I believe Davis knew it, as witnessed by his pleading with his commanders to take DC when the Union lines broke, but they had not mustered enough troops and material to carry out an all out assault on DC.
After the Union began it's advance upon the Mississippi river from both north and south the member states of the CSA could not chance sending enough troops to the ANV to carry out such a mission although they did get within sight of the Capital building a couple of times, they just could not concentrate enough force in DC to win decisively .
The lack of a powerful central government also hamstrung the South, Davis was in charge of a group of states that abhorred central governance, and any federal type authority.
The fact that their currency was worthless also hurt them, and that lies squarely on Davis for his refusal to ship cotton to Britain early in the war, before the North had sufficient vessels to enforce the embargo, had he not prevented that sale, the CSA would have had an abundance of recourses and perhaps Britain would have been more likely to recognize the CSA, but they just couldn't trust Davis after that.
The end result of those mistakes and the fact that the CSA had more territory than it defend, lead to the CSA's inability to mount any meaningful offense. Even when Lee began his few advances into Maryland and Pennsylvania, he had no hopes or plans of occupying any territory he may successfully invade.
As others have also mentioned, disunion was not as widely supported throughout the South as the Southern propaganda mills would have us believe, Eastern Tennessee, northern Arkansas, Western North Carolina (hill country) and throughout other areas along with the challenge of maintaining control of 40 % of the population who were slaves while fighting a war is not an easy challenge.
Confederacy couldn’t obtain enough arms to facilitate the recruits they had at the beginning of the War.

Another option at 1st Manassa, would of been to arm a Brigade of Negroes with pikes. Tell them the next wide place in the Road was theirs, for their taking. That would probably have ended the War.
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Member of the Year
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
Confederacy couldn’t obtain enough arms to facilitate the recruits they had at the beginning of the War.

Too bad all those prewar efforts of Secretary of War Floyd to send arms to the slaveholding South were discovered and halted.

Another option at 1st Manassa, would of been to arm a Brigade of Negroes with pikes.

Horrors! Arm slaves with ANY weapon that might cause harm to white folks? What part of the South in 1861 was going to do THAT after John Brown's raid?

Tell them the next wide place in the Road was theirs, for their taking. That would probably have ended the War.

Ah! "If only" was only history!
Seriously?
Unionblue
 
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damYankee

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 12, 2011
Confederacy couldn’t obtain enough arms to facilitate the recruits they had at the beginning of the War.

Another option at 1st Manassa, would of been to arm a Brigade of Negroes with pikes. Tell them the next wide place in the Road was theirs, for their taking. That would probably have ended the War.
And that goes to Davis's ignorance and the embargo he placed on the sale of cotton to Britain which would have allowed the CSA to purchase weapons.
If the CSA leadership did not understand the urgency of the situation then they unfit for office, they knew the unbalance in population, manufacturing ability and Unions resources of iron, coal and financial superiority.
Look at the balance sheet of the North vs. the South in 1859-60, and explain how the leadership of the South planned to win,
fact is, they had no plan after secession .
 
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