Featured Where Do You Disagree With the "Conventional Wisdom" on the Civil War?

damYankee

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 12, 2011
Perhaps if the southern states which had previously benefited from a sympathetic Supreme Court, had pursued a legal seperation through the courts instead of through mob violence they would have peacefully gone their own way.
They instead chose a violent course and by doing so they left their fate on the battlefield.
So be it.
There are so many different ways things could have been, that is what time leaves us with some times, wondering just what the heck were they thinking...
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
I can't imagine dying for a cause I didn't believe in. I'm sure it has happened throughout history.
Countless times through out history it was always thus still is today. A whole lot of men in the CW where conscripted or voluntarily joined for a bounty knowing they would be forced to fight anyways. Those who believed in the cause did not run away those who didn't tend to sulk or make tracks .
Lweftyhunter
 

War Horse

Captain
Member of the Year
Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017
Joined
Sep 4, 2014
Location
Lexington, SC
Countless times through out history it was always thus still is today. A whole lot of men in the CW where conscripted or voluntarily joined for a bounty knowing they would be forced to fight anyways. Those who believed in the cause did not run away those who didn't tend to sulk or make tracks .
Lweftyhunter
Yes but what's weird is the deserters had a tendency of returning? I've read they returned in flocks and diminished army's regained their numbers. What could have caused this. Where they close enough to home to escape the war til their nerve returned and then they returned. This has to be unique to the ACW and perhaps the revolutionary war. Only when fought on home ground could tis happen. Obviously.
 

NedBaldwin

Major
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
Indeed you did, but the distinction you made was that:

In 1776 the war had already started - you appear to consider a declaration of independence acceptable under those circumstances.

In 1860-61, when the Deep South states seceded and formed the Confederacy, war had not started - you appear to consider that to make their action unacceptable.

Now that we've clarified what you wrote, I will cheerfully acknowledge not seeing the logic behind it.
Do you at least admit that the two are different circumstances?
Or are you too caught up in distorting what Cash wrote?
 

Carronade

Captain
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Location
Pennsylvania
Do you at least admit that the two are different circumstances?
Or are you too caught up in distorting what Cash wrote?

Whether there's a difference between having an ongoing war and not having one? Ridiculous even to ask.

The question is whether that's what determines if seeking independence is justified or not.

Cash's suggestion - undistorted - was that what distinguished 1776 from 1861 was that war had already begun. I don't see that as the defining criterion.
 

Carronade

Captain
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Location
Pennsylvania
T I would suggest that the Wehrmacht had yet to be defeated, they were well on their way to defeat, but not defeated. The launching of the Christmas counter-offensive is evidence of their lack of defeat.

Not a bad analogy, might be compared to the Confederates' Nashville offensive, also about half a year before the end of the war. Both wars were lost by any rational assessment, but if one rules out acknowledging that and giving up, about the only thing left is a "Hail Mary", try it and hope something breaks your way.
 

NedBaldwin

Major
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Location
California
The question is whether that's what determines if seeking independence is justified or not.
Is that really the question? I didnt see that asked.


Cash's suggestion - undistorted - was that what distinguished 1776 from 1861 was that war had already begun. I don't see that as the defining criterion.

Plainly the political and legal relations between two entities at peace is quite different than the political and legal relations between two entities at war. The existence of hostilities is a defining criteria in the way the two relate. NOTE: I have not mentioned justification at all.
 

CW3O

Sergeant
Joined
Jan 17, 2010
Location
Massachusetts
Not a bad analogy, might be compared to the Confederates' Nashville offensive, also about half a year before the end of the war. Both wars were lost by any rational assessment, but if one rules out acknowledging that and giving up, about the only thing left is a "Hail Mary", try it and hope something breaks your way.

I don't wish to enter into a long discussion about what constitutes defeat, but an enemy that maintains the capability to mass a force, coordinate a offensive or counter-offensive and deliver it, is not defeated in my book. This was true on multiple occasions for the AoP and one notable occasion for the Wehrmacht on the Western Front.
 
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Grover-Dill

Cadet
Joined
Feb 7, 2013
There are two areas of southern weakness and strength that I have not read in this thread as yet. Conventional wisdom usually states the war won or lost by abundance of man power, level of generalship or quality of leaders. I think two of the main reasons for how it ended can be summoned up geographically and logistically.

Geographically the south was a funnel shape with the small opening near Richmond and a wide back door in Georgia and its east/ west bordered by ocean and the mountains. With a narrow front to defend near Richmond it was much easier to defend against a union army. Think Thermopylae and the Spartans. (not saying Lee was not a great general). Also all the rivers ran east/west making it more difficult to attack, which is why McClellan chose the Overland Campaign. But just like the Persians , the northern juggernaut would eventually over whelm the defenders.

Logistically the south had a pathetic rail system. It not only had 1/3 the mileage of the north but it had over 5 gauges of rails to contend with, fewer cars and fewer engines. Few rail lines were more then a 100 miles in length, also at the start of the war most rail workers were from the north and they returned north leaving the south handicapped Once the north captured the Chattanooga area they fairly cut the south in half rail wise. Making it a long round about trip to move troops from west and east, just ask Longstreet. The north was able to quickly move troops from east to west and also quickly repair any damage done to the rails.

On a side note another Civil War perspective from a British writer is , The American Civil War, John Keegan. The first part giving a new outlook on the civil war but the second half being more a history of the it. It's been a few years since reading so I hope my memory serves me well.
 

lawrence

Cadet
Joined
May 24, 2013
I'm not sure how conventional it is. As an author, I keep running to amateur psychologists who want to justify a lot of nonsense that went on around Kansas and Missouri. Like PTSD being the reason for Quantrill's Raid. Please see my blog post: http://www.takecourage.org/jfoblog
 

1SGDan

Captain
Joined
Dec 13, 2009
Location
New Hampshire
Not a bad analogy, might be compared to the Confederates' Nashville offensive, also about half a year before the end of the war. Both wars were lost by any rational assessment, but if one rules out acknowledging that and giving up, about the only thing left is a "Hail Mary", try it and hope something breaks your way.


I would say that the Confederacy and WWII Germany may be analogous but the subject under discussion was the AoP.
The AoP never displayed the signs of desperation that these two did.
They were well supplied.
They had a large reserve of manpower to draw from.
They were not pressed on all fronts.
They for the most part had freedom of the seas.
Their home front was safe.
Their manufacturing base was safe.
 

lawrence

Cadet
Joined
May 24, 2013
I don't think that there is any "conventional wisdom" about the Civil War. Even school books up till recently differ on the subject from State to State. And recently do not say much.
That's correct. States wrote and adopted their history to fit whatever made the ancestors look good, of course. So much for objectivity, scholarship, and critical thinking.
 

lawrence

Cadet
Joined
May 24, 2013
I hear this one a lot....The Civil War was about State's Rights, not about Slavery.
Why did the states want their rights? Bottom line is it was all about slavery, and state's rights was the smokescreen. Still is in some necks of the woods, generally followed by amazing statements that show bigotry today if one let's people keep talking.
 

wilber6150

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Apr 1, 2009
Location
deep in the Mohawk Valley of Central New York
Regardless of who said what, I personally see a whole lot more logic in declaring independence from someone who's sacked one of your largest cities and is on the way to doing the same to another one, than declaring independence from someone who's only "crime" was upholding the results of a free and fair election that was held in strict compliance with the Constitution that you yourself ratified.
Sacked? Pretty sure thats not how the British or the loyalalists in the area saw it...
 

hrobalabama

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 12, 2014
Location
Andalusia, AL
So much for intelligent arguments after the fact. What do you need to have a fight? One or both sides mad and ready to fight.
The South had been mad a long time. The North got mad after Ft. Sumpter. When you are mad enough to fight you throw"Caution to the Wind" and go at it. Forget about all the niceties of planning aggression - just fight to win.
That is what the South did. It is just that they didn't win and that is why we have forums like this. If perchance the South had won we would not have fifty states today - Probably 7- 10 different countries.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Yes but what's weird is the deserters had a tendency of returning? I've read they returned in flocks and diminished army's regained their numbers. What could have caused this. Where they close enough to home to escape the war til their nerve returned and then they returned. This has to be unique to the ACW and perhaps the revolutionary war. Only when fought on home ground could tis happen. Obviously.
That is a good point. How many deserters took "french leave vs how many just did not return? The most dangerous deserters are those that not only don't return but bear arms for the other side or just engage in banditry. The latter occurred more with confederate deserters although it seems to of happened less on the Union side. The latter has occurred in other civil conflicts around the world. From what I gather most Union deserters either fled to Canada or the West or just melted into the local community. Confederate deserters seem to be over all more of a security problem with no solution.
Leftyhunter
 
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