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Posted: 7/27/2001 6:04:11 AM EDT
With the benefit of hindsight, can anyone here identify a strategy that the South could have used to win the Civil War? It seems that the North's advantages in manpower, industry, and naval power were too great for the South to have won a war of attrition, although it's possible that heavier casualties would have broken the North's will to fight.
Link Posted: 7/27/2001 12:05:06 PM EDT
-Alliances with European powers -stockpile resources before firing on Sumter -identify causes that would have illicited a positive response from the cities in the north (like pointing out how the federal government was untrue to the US constitution, in which all authority not expressly ceded to the federal government fall to the states) -emancipate the enslaved just my opinion
Link Posted: 7/27/2001 12:23:36 PM EDT
all of the above is true. both sides misjudged the other's commitment, and the south had very little chance of winning a protracted conflict. that being the case, the south still had a couple of potential tactical opportunities: immediately attack DC after the federal rout at manassas. hypothetically , jackson survives chancellorsville and cracks the federal line at gettysburg, creating another opportunity for an assault on DC. davis doesnt replace johnston with hood, johnston holds out in atlanta till the election of 64, mcclellan wins at the polls and sues for peace. playing "what if?" games is fun, but ultimately pointless. what if, what if, what if...
Link Posted: 7/27/2001 12:34:10 PM EDT
oops, forgot. one more: do NOT open fire on Sumter, drag it thru the courts, postpone the inevitable for 20-30 yrs.
Link Posted: 7/27/2001 1:05:02 PM EDT
identify causes that would have illicited a positive response from the cities in the north (like pointing out how the federal government was untrue to the US constitution, in which all authority not expressly ceded to the federal government fall to the states)
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Wouldn't it have been difficult to wage a propaganda campaign in the North, given the primitive technology of the time and Lincoln's suspension of freedom of the press?
Link Posted: 7/27/2001 7:47:39 PM EDT
1862: Albert S. Johnston getting killed at Shiloh leading to Bragg's taking over the Army of Tennessee was pivotal to numerous lost chances later in the west. also Not losing a copy of Lee's Special Order 191 could have really turned things around bringing in European powers who saw the potential power of the US as a threat to their Imperial ambitions.
Link Posted: 7/28/2001 2:26:39 AM EDT
It's my understanding the South fought almost an exclusively defensive war. Many times the best defense is a good offense. Maybe if they had attacked offensively more and earlier in the war they could have gained momentum and caught the North not fully prepared/organised?
Link Posted: 7/28/2001 6:53:37 AM EDT
In 1863 and 1864, the North were really tired of fighting and the draft was unpopular. Former general McClellan was running on a campaign of ending the war. If he had won, the South would have got their freedom.
Link Posted: 7/28/2001 7:30:07 AM EDT
http://www.webleyweb.com/lneil/abelenin.html [:\]
Link Posted: 7/28/2001 9:11:03 AM EDT
July 9, 1864 Battle of Monocacy. What if Wallace had not arrived in time to slow Jubal Early's advance on Washington DC. Or if Early had not slowed at Hagerstown & Frederick to demand ransoms not to burn the towns? DC would have been sacked, burned & possibly Lincoln captured! What would have been the reaction in the North & around the world? What kind of a Presidential election would there have been later in the year with the incumbent a prisoner or dead & the capitol burned? In the election later that year Lincoln easily won the electorial college vote 212 to 21 but the popular vote was: Abraham Lincoln, Republican 2,219,362 George B. McClellan, Democrat 1,805,063 Lincoln won on the votes of the soldiers who saw the war turning in their favor & the end in sight. But would they have seen it the same way? No doubt the public would have been more on Little Mac's side & perhaps more of the military vote also.
Link Posted: 7/28/2001 9:57:16 AM EDT
playing "what if?" games is fun, but ultimately pointless. what if, what if, what if...
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One might just as well argue that the study of history itself is pointless. After all, what's done is done, so why bother to examine it? It's too late to change anything.
Not losing a copy of Lee's Special Order 191 could have really turned things around bringing in European powers who saw the potential power of the US as a threat to their Imperial ambitions.
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Were there really any European powers who had the means and motive to intervene?
Link Posted: 7/28/2001 4:06:02 PM EDT
England was still very actively building their empire. France & England both serious considered supporting the CSA. Lee's draw at Sharpsburg & withdrawal back into VA caused them to reconsider their support.
Link Posted: 7/31/2001 4:54:04 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Renamed:
playing "what if?" games is fun, but ultimately pointless. what if, what if, what if...
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One might just as well argue that the study of history itself is pointless. After all, what's done is done, so why bother to examine it? It's too late to change anything. no, i beg to differ. there's a big difference between history and speculation. harry turtledove's work should not be confused with that of bruce catton.
Link Posted: 7/31/2001 5:49:08 AM EDT
it is fun to debate the what if's, but more importantly, it is educational. how else can we avoid repeating history, if we don't analyze it? the CSA would have "bled" to death eventually, and i think it was obvious by 1863. without raw materials, their weapons were increasingly shoddy (soft metals), without an industrial base, production was slow. a foreign ally would have filled these deficiencies, along with any man-power, naval and other concerns.
Link Posted: 7/31/2001 12:35:25 PM EDT
no, i beg to differ. there's a big difference between history and speculation.
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So what is the big difference? The big [b]similarity[/b], IMHO, is that both speculation about what [b]could[b] have happened and analysis of what [b]did[/b] happen require a firm grasp of the facts and critical thinking skills. In both cases, getting at the "why" behind the dates and places develops a deeper understanding of the forces that are still shaping our world today. BTW, the people who make strategy in the real world do quite a bit of "what if" gaming. They don't seem to consider it pointless.
Link Posted: 7/31/2001 1:06:43 PM EDT
In the history books I've read, at least some speculation takes place. For example, what would have happened is Custer took along the Gatlin guns? What if he kept his troops together? In fact, it seems to me that some speculation is necessary. How can we say if someone did the right thing or not if we don't speculate about the probable outcome of different actions? However, when you start building speculations upon speculations, you begin to leave the realm of history.
Link Posted: 8/12/2001 4:46:42 AM EDT
I wonder if CSA diplomacy had brought Britain and Canada in on their side, if a invasion from Canada could have changed the course of the war. In hindsight, I think Britain would have been smart to take the US down a peg. Encouraging America's split would have made them much more powerful in North America.
Link Posted: 8/12/2001 9:33:54 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/12/2001 2:45:48 PM EDT by DaMan]
Many of you have made good points..... BUT TacCar's and Lurker's comments on early offensive tactics are spot on!!! England wetted it's finger and stuck it into the air to see which way the tides of war were flowing. If the Confederacy had taken immediate advantage of their victory at Manassas, the Brits would probably have risked giving their full support to the Confederacy. Marching immediately on Washington D.C.? I think not! D.C. was too well defended. BUT, WHAT IF????..... The Confederacy had followed up the first Manassas with many properly equipped "offensive" guerrilla units to operate in "enemy" territory? Like BG John Hunt Morgan's "raiders" (who were employed way too late!)? What if?.... Someone like Morgan had employed greater numbers of small self-sufficient units (250-275 men on horse), EARLY on in the conflict(to follow up the success at Manassas)? These troopers each armed with a couple of six shot cap and ball Colts, a double barrel shotgun, and a good carbine (for use if forced into a long range engagement)? Forget the damn artillery!!!! Just wondering! DaMan
Link Posted: 8/21/2001 5:05:29 AM EDT
This is a little off topic, but still so interesting that it's worth a read: [url]http://www.sobran.com/columns/[/url] If the column changes, look in the archive for "The Davis Legacy". I never gave much thought to what happened to Jefferson Davis after the Civil War.
Link Posted: 8/21/2001 5:36:25 PM EDT
If a region of the US decided to secede, I don't know how many volunteers you would find to keep it in the union. [smoke] If New England decided to go their own way, I am pretty positive I wouldn't be joining up to force them back in against their will.
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