The Confederate War

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Harvard University Press, 1997 - History - 218 pages
21 Reviews
If one is to believe contemporary historians, the South never had a chance. Many allege that the Confederacy lost the Civil War because of internal division or civilian disaffection; others point to flawed military strategy or ambivalence over slavery. But, argues distinguished historian Gary Gallagher, we should not ask why the Confederacy collapsed so soon but rather how it lasted so long. In The Confederate War he reexamines the Confederate experience through the actions and words of the people who lived it to show how the military and the home front responded to the war, endured great hardships, and assembled armies that fought with tremendous spirit and determination.

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Actually the South had PLENTY of men, and the reason they lost was desertions.
Don't believe me? Take a look at what Jefffeson Davis said - stupidily it turns out -- in Macon, in Sept. of 64
He said 2/3 of the Confederate soldiers had gone awol or missing without leave. He went on to say the Virginia Army had the same problem -- massive desertions.
He also said if just half those who were awol, returned, the South could not lose.
The reason that was stupid to say -- that got in the papers. Davis grew up without the telegraph, but his speeches were telegraphed around the country. Guess who read this Macon speech?
A guy named Sherman. Yeah, he read it. and realized Davis and Confederacy didn't have many men -- and those they did have, were often older, wounded and not eager to fight. You might know what happened next -- Sherman marched on Atlanta.
The desertions grew worse, after that, if possible.
Not just that one speech, either. Edward Pollard, an editor in Richmond, wrote about the same that would haunt the South for the next 100 years, because of the massive desertions. He noted, as did others, that the first bunch of soldiers for the South were eager for war, eager to make their mark in battle. And they were, the South was a culture of violnce and thuggery. But those kind of men were not those after Gettysburg. Gettysburg might have been the turning point, the point is, desertions grew almost laughably large. In fact, sometime generals in the South had no idea if their orders would reach real people, entire groups of men, deserted at once.
Desertions grew so bad, Lee at one point said, his army evaporated.
Plus, the South had massive use of slave labor -- another fact not talked about today. If you add all the men the South had, and their slaves, and realize they fought defensively (behind slave built earth works around Richmond -- Lee directed those buildings of earthworks at the start of the war, a massive project no one talks about now).
Yes, the Confederacy had plenty of men. If they did not desert.
Plus, Lee had more men at Gettysburg, and still lost -- because he was stupid. Stupid and vain. yes, he was. Several of his advisors told him -- repeatedly -- do NOT attack on foot over that 1.5 miles of open ground. It was stupid as hell. Meade was on the other side, and he knew Lee, He corrrectly predicted Lee would do the stupid thing -- and attack right there, where he did attack. Lee was not now behind slave built earth works. He was out in the open.
And Lee blew it all to hell. Of all people on earth, Lee should know NOT to attack over open ground against trained men, fully formed, in defense position. There was no need to attack. Zero, opther than ego. Lee was not trapped. He did not need to assult frontally like that.
No one ever told you that, did they? Lee had more men, and attacked like an idiot.
The reason the South lost? Their men gave out. Wisely. The fools, and idiots, who blieved hustlers like Davis and Lee -- they died early. The wise men realized Southern leaders didn't give a shit about them, and deserted.
That's the story of the Civil War. Really. It is.

Review: The Confederate War: How Popular Will, Nationalism, and Military Strategy Could Not Stave Off Defeat

User Review  - Steve - Goodreads

Convincingly argues that--contrary to the revisionist views of some modern historians--that the Confederate war effort was broadly and fervently supported throughout the war by southern whites ... Read full review


Many years yet I fear we

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About the author (1997)

Gary W Gallagher is a civil war historian with a special interest in the military aspects of the war. He is the author or co-author of several books including Lee and His Generals in War and Memory and The Confederate War. He has also served as President of the Association of Preservation of Civil War sites. He is a professor of history at the University of Virginia.

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