Discussion The United States was inevitably going to win the war

wausaubob

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The US started with naval dominance, and by July 1863 that dominance had grown. By August of 1864, that dominance was absolute. The US navy could shoot their way into Mobile Bay, and a few months later, capture Fort Fisher in an operation that was essentially modern.
 

wausaubob

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The events of the war were contingent, but in 4, 8 or 12 years, the US was going to be a modern nation, connected through Nebraska, out to California.
Missouri and Maryland were going to abandon slavery, and Delaware did not have enough slaves to fight about. So eventually there would be 23 paid labor states, including the 4 most populous states, NY, PA, OH, and IL, contending with 12 slave states, who were starved for capital.
 
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wausaubob

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The telling indication that the land battles barely mattered was the number of southerners, DuPont, S. Phillips Lee, and David Farragut who left the south and retained their loyalty to the US navy. They knew from the start that in order for the US to become a first rate power, secession had to be repressed.
 

wausaubob

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In addition to large and disproportionately male population of the Midwest, the mining communities in CA, NV and CO, were even more disproportionately male, and almost all Republicans or Free Soil Democrats. Battalions formed in these areas, though small in number, had a huge impact on securing the west for the United States.
By 1855 there was a railroad across the isthmus of Panama and regular steamship connections between Panama and San Francisco. Telegraph communication to Sacramento was established by November of 1861. California was extremely important to the US, which is why John C. Fremont and Henry Halleck were promoted to positions of authority.
 

lurid

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I do agree ultimately the Union would have won the war because of aforementioned reasons, but I also believe the Confederates had all the ingredients for a successful or a semi-successful rebellion. I.e... fortified(dug in), knew the terrain, bellicose support network, vast spy network, intel, etc.. From a contemporary war viewpoint, confederates underachieved because their have been just as primitive armies in modern times who lasted way longer than Confederates. The Confederates folded early..
 

lurid

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The Confederacy could definitely form brilliant land armies. They were determined fighters. But the US was fighting with one hand and growing with the other. Many white southerners in Kentucky and Tennessee saw that, and left to look for work and land as the war broke out.
Thus the 9M people, and 3.9M slaves in the south, never was the true measure. The western counties of Virginia left the war early, and the non secessionist areas of Tennessee left as well.
Sooner or later the US generals and naval officers were going to realize they had insurmountable advantage in combined arms. Then there would be actions like those in Mobile and at Fort Fisher and the Confederacy would be totally isolated.

I'm not here to argue, just exchanging ideas. The Confederates were fortified with a spy network tracking all the Union's movements, which gave them cover and time to maneuver which resulted in a huge tactical advantage.
 

wausaubob

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The demographics and naval dominance were not contingent. What was contingent was whether the US would apply them correctly, or wait for a second round in the 1870's.
But the Confederacy could not defeat a growing United States, anymore than France could defeat a unified Germany, on its own.
 

Andersonh1

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The only way a Union win was "inevitable" would have been if there was no path to Confederate victory, and there were in fact several ways they could have won. I would agree that manpower and resources gave the US a large advantage, but a victory for them in the war was not a forgone conclusion.
 

Horrido67

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the US navy

The UK had a vastly superior naval force and almost chocked the US to death by enforcing the blockade during the War of 1812. They won some land battles as well. However, the best thing that British could get out of the war was a stalemate. The outcome could have been the same for the US during the Civil War. It is difficult to say that the naval power made the outcome of the war inevitable.

I find it interesting that It was John C. Calhoun who argued that the US should build a powerful naval force that could match British fleets and sought to raise some non-tariff federal tax revenue for 'internal improvements' after the War of 1812.
 

wausaubob

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The real risk was the US would take Missouri, the Mississippi River as far as Memphis, western Virginia, the Virginia and North Carolina coasts, and decide the rest was not worth it. If the Confederacy wanted to exist as a sort of Peru, or Mexico, with slavery intact and a small set of land owners in control, they might have decided to just let it go.
The US would have held that part of Kentucky along the Ohio River.
The US would have made peace with Canada and Britain, and gotten tight with Prussia and unifying Germany, and engaged in an arms race with the Confederates.
 

wausaubob

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By June of 1862 the US had solid control of the Ohio and Missouri Rivers, and the Mississippi as far as Memphis. It was contending with Indians in the west, because the Confederates had already retreated back to Texas. The nation that existed by April 1862 agreed to an inspection protocol with Britain and by July they were taking direct action against slavery. The nation that existed by July 1862 was in a position to agree to an armistice and simply swamp the remaining Confederate areas.
 

wausaubob

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The affect of naval dominance was only delayed by the US generals and fleet commanders figuring out how to use it. That was a problem that intelligent men were going to solve. By January of 1865 the US captured Fort Fisher by means of an amphibious landing and a close bombardment. By 1865 the US was an industrial and naval giant, fighting against a 18th century barter economy.
 

wausaubob

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The problems with the conventional history are that the 1860 census was not accurate in the Midwest. The economy had suffered in 1860, so the results were affected by some remaining sluggishness in the economy. The population dynamics there were so powerful, that there were people and families moving there from NY and from overseas, even as the census workers were tabulating the results. The second problem is that the history of the Civil War is dominated by NYC reporters and NYC was losing to Pittsburgh, Chicago, St. Louis and San Francisco. When the southern trade was halted in 1861 that hurt NYC. And coastal trading from New Orleans to NYC was never completely re-established. By 1862 the US was no longer a maritime economy, it was a railroad economy. That helped Pittsburgh, and New Jersey and Chicago. It did not help NYC during the war.
Thus the history of the Civil War was much more negative on the progress of the US than the situation on the ground.
 

wausaubob

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Starting from zero in 1861, within 27 months the US had built a gunboat fleet, with mortar schooners, and conquered the entire Mississippi. This goal was not economically necessary and was not militarily necessary. It was simply a demonstration of national will and national might. That will might not have existed in NYC, it probably didn't. But in the Midwest and far west, the concept of manifest destiny meant a united nation with a railroad network reaching the Pacific Ocean. Both goals were openly pursued by April of 1862.
 

lurid

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It seems this network missed quite a few movements.

Agreed, like I said they were underachievers and should have lasted way longer. From a contemporary viewpoint, there were just as primitive armies in the 20th and 21st centuries who lasted way longer than the Confederates and they were bombed into oblivion. Confederates = choke artists.
 

wausaubob

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The other fact is that as an immigrant society, the US attracted engineering and managerial talent. The number of inventors railroad managers, industrialists with links back to Britain, as well as qualified artillery officers available to the US, was a major factor in its success. The Confederacy has some immigrant talent available, just not at the same level.
 

wausaubob

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Agreed, like I said they were underachievers and should have lasted way longer. From a contemporary viewpoint, there were just as primitive armies in the 20th and 21st centuries who lasted way longer than the Confederates and they were bombed into oblivion. Confederates = choke artists.
The Confederates would have needed outside help from the British. In order for that to happen the British would have had to go up against their own former citizens from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, that had moved to the US. And they would have had to disrupt the investments of their own citizens in the US and British North America. It was far easier to just move cotton production to India, which helped the economy there.
 

Belfoured

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It seems this network missed quite a few movements.
Agree. I'm looking forward to a detailed analysis of this vast organized intelligence network that had it all figured out in advance. For example, I'm surprised that Confederate forces had to back out of Kentucky because the Federals went after Henry and Donelson in February, 1862. Seems that they should have used all of that gathered intelligence to anticipate it and take appropriate steps rather than being forced into a convoluted retreat through Nashville and thence to Corinth.
 
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