Sunday, October 16, 2016
Why the South lost 1
The South should have won the Civil War. They had a cause, for starters, that was so stirring that it excited the admiration, and unfortunately the allegiance, of the vast majority of America’s military talent, to include arguably the most able field commander in American history, Robert E. Lee. The Confederate fighting man left his Yankee counterpart in the dust in terms of ferocity, ingenuity, stamina. Then there were the text-book considerations: interior lines of transportation and communication, and the fact that a defensive war can be won even if you’re outnumbered three to one if you’re prepared to pay the price. And the Confederacy more than paid the price. And finally, we compare the two presidents and it’s all over. Jefferson Davis cut his teeth in the big leagues of Washington politics for nearly 15 years; he slipped into the presidency of the Confederacy smooth like a hand into a glove. A West Point graduate and decorated hero of the Mexican War, he was a former Secretary of War who, unlike Lincoln, required no steep learning curve – as Commander in Chief Davis was up to speed from day one. True, the North outnumbered the South by 5 to 2, had a vastly more robust industrial base, but none of those factors would be decisive as long as the war was a short one.