Why didn't the south realize the effort was moot?

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

DaveBrt

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Location
Charlotte, NC
People who are fighting for a "way of life" do not quit until forced to.

When fighting to recover a lost piece of territory (say the French trying to recover Alsace-Lorraine, post 1870) or to take a valuable possession (the British and/or French trading territory in the Caribbean or Canada, the Spanish-American War), of just for aggrandizement (Germans in WW1), its possible to do the pluses and minuses and decide to stop the war because the losses were getting too high.

But when the fight is about your core beliefs, you don't quit -- the Japanese in WW2, both sides in the 30 Years War, the French Revolution wars, the American Revolution, the Confederate "Revolution," the Germans under Hitler
 

Karen Lips

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 24, 2008
Location
Waxahachie,Texas
Wonder why the colonies did not realize they had no chance against the most powerful country in the world---A huge navy and some of the best trained Regiments in the world. Maybe with past history the South decided to roll the dice.
The colonists were a whole ocean away from their enemy which gave the colonists a big advantage, at least in my opinion. I also believe that God was on the colonists side.
 

rhettbutler1865

Colonel, CSA Cavalry
Silver Patron
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Only Sherman knew the war would last a long time. Lincoln only asked for 75k men. Davis only asked for nine month regiments vs six months for the Union. We have 150 years of hindsight the leaders of the CW on both sides did not. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry and the CW is not an exception to that rule.
Leftyhunter
Only Sherman? Did Robt. E. Lee think it would be over quickly?
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

sflickinger

Corporal
Joined
Apr 25, 2015
Location
Miamisburg, Ohio
And yet they did, for several long years. Remember that they didn't have to conquer the North in order to win, they just had to make the North get sick of the whole business and go home.
What you describe is called Flavian tactics, after the Roman general Flavius. As has been accurately pointed before and by you, the CSA didn't have to win they just had to hold on long enough. Lee knew that and that was the whole point of Gettysburg, bring the war home to the north. Washington knew this also. He only had to tie or hang on long enough that the British home front support would collapse. After Saratoga the French joined which gave the Americans the ability to extend the war and British civilian support ran out. More an economic function than anything. The CSA sought British support banking on their cotton and thought that the same thing would happen when northern civilian support would run out. Britain backed off and the CSA finally gave in. History is filled with these kinds of parallels, yes?
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Allie

Captain
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
What you describe is called Flavian tactics, after the Roman general Flavius. As has been accurately pointed before and by you, the CSA didn't have to win they just had to hold on long enough. Lee knew that and that was the whole point of Gettysburg, bring the war home to the north. Washington knew this also. He only had to tie or hang on long enough that the British home front support would collapse. After Saratoga the French joined which gave the Americans the ability to extend the war and British civilian support ran out. More an economic function than anything. The CSA sought British support banking on their cotton and thought that the same thing would happen when northern civilian support would run out. Britain backed off and the CSA finally gave in. History is filled with these kinds of parallels, yes?
Thanks for the new word!
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
----------------
With all due respect Lefty, the Germans did surrender at Stalingrad. Well 95,000 or so did. Only about 5000 of them ever returned to Germany in the mid fifties. Whatever POW camp they were at must have made Andersonville & Elmira look like a Club Med port.
Please excuse me if I offended you … that isn't my intention & I apologize if I did. I admire your posts.
Hi EE,
I have read a few memoirs from German pows held in Soviet camps "The blond Knight of Germany" Eric Hartmanns book being one. I would say the CSA camps where worse but it was no picnic. Of course the biographies I read where written by officers so maybe the odds where a little better for them. A fair amount of German pows were able to live through their captivity. After WW2 the Soviets did need a labor source so they treated their pows somewhat more humanely and then ransomed them to W.Germany. No a wonderful experience to be sure.
Leftyhunter
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Pat Answer

First Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Oct 8, 2013
Location
“...somewhere between NY and PA”
Don't you really have to put a date on this question? There is a vast difference in the state of things in April 1861 vs. April 1865. When South Carolina left the Union, did South Carolina really expect to fight (and win) a massive war against the massed states of that Union? When finally there were 11 states standing together, did they have cause to believe (and act as if) victory was not possible in 1862 or 1863? Certainly, with the notable exception of Davis, it was quite clear to all by April 10th 1865 that victory was long gone - and for most people that unsettling feeling already had been created by the fall of Vicksburg and Lincoln's re-election. People tend to fight on, even when the chance to win has departed - viz. Germany and Japan in 1945
^This is the sound of a nail being hit on the head.

The following is from The Causes of War by Geoffrey Blainey (New York, 1973), Chapter 16 "War, Peace and Neutrality" [italics mine throughout]:
"1. There can be no war unless at least two nations prefer war to peace.
"4. If it is true that the breakdown of diplomacy leads to war, it is also true that the breakdown of war leads to diplomacy.
"5. While the breakdown of diplomacy reflects the belief of each nation that it will gain more by fighting than by negotiating, the breakdown of war reflects the belief of each nation that it will gain more by negotiating than by fighting.
"9. When leaders of rival nations have to decide whether to begin, continue or end a war, they are, consciously or unconsciously, asking variations of the same question: they are assessing their ability to impose their will on the rival nation.
"13. When nations prepare to fight one another, they have contradictory expectations of the likely duration and outcome of the war. When these predictions, however, cease to be contradictory, the war is almost certain to end.
"32. No wars are unintended or 'accidental'. What is often unintended is the length and bloodiness of the war. Defeat too is unintended."

re #1: Whether or not the Confederacy was a "nation" was of course part of the dispute that led to the Civil War.
re #9: For the Confederacy to impose its will it had to convince the Union to stop trying to impose its will.
re #13: Morale on both sides rose and fell with the latest news. After Appomattox however it was clear (to most) that there was truly zero chance for the Confederacy to impose its will.
 

DR_Hanna

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 17, 2014
Location
North East GA
The colonists were a whole ocean away from their enemy which gave the colonists a big advantage, at least in my opinion. I also believe that God was on the colonists side.
Most of the "British" troops tramping around the colonies in red coats were born right here on this side of pond. The Revolutionary war was very much a civil war, especially in the South. Brother against brother and all that.
 

Fulton 21 NC

Private
Joined
Sep 13, 2014
Location
Northwestern Piedmont NC
Let us not forget that the majority of individuals during the Revolution were not soldiers and that the majority were probably neutral or ambiguous until they were confronted by militia or regular troops of either side. In our part of NC, the Revolutionary War was much more like an insurgency with the opposing militias raiding each other.
Likewise, there was much more initial opposition to secession in NC than most people would think. But once it did happen, and the conflict became likely, the tendency to wish to join would be dependent on the appeal to social cohesion or patriotic ideals in defense of the homeland. Of the state's male population (15-49) 150 k, about 125 k served at some point.
However, there was a problem with desertions and Gov. Vance even recalled troops from VA at one point to round up the deserters hiding out in the Uwharrie Mtns of the central Piedmont. Unlike during the Revolution, the Confederation did not receive the same significant support from competing European powers, nor did the Union have other threats or demands on its military and budget. After Reconstruction, local regional power was re-established with the Democrats and the Jim Crow era began.

Gotta love history.

http://ncpedia.org/history/cw-1900/civil-war

http://civilwarexperience.ncdcr.gov/narrative/narrative-3.htm

http://www.cracked.com/article_20306_5-myths-about-revolutionary-war-everyone-believes.html
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Joined
Aug 25, 2013
Location
Hannover, Germany
Hi EE,
I have read a few memoirs from German pows held in Soviet camps "The blond Knight of Germany" Eric Hartmanns book being one. I would say the CSA camps where worse but it was no picnic. Of course the biographies I read where written by officers so maybe the odds where a little better for them. A fair amount of German pows were able to live through their captivity. After WW2 the Soviets did need a labor source so they treated their pows somewhat more humanely and then ransomed them to W.Germany. No a wonderful experience to be sure.
Leftyhunter
As a daughter of a common soldier who spent 10 years of his life in a Siberian PoW camp after being captured at Stalingrad, I can tell you, it was no picknick. My Dad was a tough nut, but he could only rarely speak of it and if he did he had tears in his eyes until he died aged 73 in 1988. Not many of the men he knew came back and those who died suffered a lot before. Dad only survived because he had learned a bit Russian. He often said these few words had saved his life because he could beg to be spared from being executed or simply shot in their own language.

Sorry @War Horse for the deviation and abuse of your thread, but I had to say that. As a son of a veteran of three wars I hope you do understand.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

E_just_E

Captain
Forum Host
Retired Moderator
Joined
Sep 3, 2014
Location
Center Valley, PA
to the original question:

I think that up to July 1863, the outcome of the war was not obvious, there was a huge swing to the Union side after Gettysburg and Vicksburg, but probably took the whole winter to become obvious.

By 1864, I don't think there were many other options on the table for the Confederates, because the Union had all bargaining chips. I think that instead of surrendering with maybe similar terms (at best) as they received a year afterwards, pride drove them to continue fighting...
 

War Horse

Captain
Silver Patron
Member of the Year
Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017
Joined
Sep 4, 2014
Location
Lexington, SC
As a daughter of a common soldier who spent 10 years of his life in a Siberian PoW camp after being captured at Stalingrad, I can tell you, it was no picknick. My Dad was a tough nut, but he could only rarely speak of it and if he did he had tears in his eyes until he died aged 73 in 1988. Not many of the men he knew came back and those who died suffered a lot before. Dad only survived because he had learned a bit Russian. He often said these few words had saved his life because he could beg to be spared from being executed or simply shot in their own language.

Sorry @War Horse for the deviation and abuse of your thread, but I had to say that. As a son of a veteran of three wars I hope you do understand.
I most certainly do.
 

sflickinger

Corporal
Joined
Apr 25, 2015
Location
Miamisburg, Ohio
As a daughter of a common soldier who spent 10 years of his life in a Siberian PoW camp after being captured at Stalingrad, I can tell you, it was no picknick. My Dad was a tough nut, but he could only rarely speak of it and if he did he had tears in his eyes until he died aged 73 in 1988. Not many of the men he knew came back and those who died suffered a lot before. Dad only survived because he had learned a bit Russian. He often said these few words had saved his life because he could beg to be spared from being executed or simply shot in their own language.

Sorry @War Horse for the deviation and abuse of your thread, but I had to say that. As a son of a veteran of three wars I hope you do understand.
What an honorable life! Too bad he died so young. You are rightfully proud of your dad. It would be an abuse of a thread if we hadn't heard the story of your father, a real hero. Thanks for your perspective.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

E_just_E

Captain
Forum Host
Retired Moderator
Joined
Sep 3, 2014
Location
Center Valley, PA
What an honorable life! Too bad he died so young. You are rightfully proud of your dad. It would be an abuse of a thread if we hadn't heard the story of your father, a real hero. Thanks for your perspective.
Hate to get into this discussion, and, yes we are talking about a member's father, but saying that is "honorable" or "heroic" to be fighting for the Nazis in WWII (and I know he had no choice) is really rubbing some of us who had relatives (some of whom who made it and we knew, some whom who never made it) in German concentration camps, in a very wrong way.

(and I am going to shut up on the subject after this.)
 
Last edited:

Delhi Rangers

First Sergeant
Joined
Nov 1, 2011
Location
Alabama
I believe that they continued the struggle and fought for each other. For their fellow soldier and leaders such as General Lee. Many soldiers in many wars continue the struggle for their comrades in arms. I believe that is what sustained them. God Bless them for it. For their loyalty to each other, courage and service.
I suggest you read "Lee's Miserables Life in the Army of Northern Virginia from the Wilderness to Appomattox" by J. Tracy Power. You will read their words from the actual soldiers regarding why they fought and continued to fight.
 
Last edited:
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top