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 Posted: Mon May 10th, 2010 10:38 pm
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spoofseeker
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I was sitting here wondering something. And I'm really curious to hear everyone's differnt opinions and views on thi.s OK What if we had negotiated and not gone to war? 2% of the male population in this country died in that war. And my second question. How would this country be different today if the war were won by the South? This was a very close reality several times through out the course of the war. What are your thoughts. I'm really curious.



 Posted: Mon May 10th, 2010 11:43 pm
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Johan Steele
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The CS was never really that close to winning as they were hemorging territory west of the Appalachia from the start.  W/ the exception of the ANV the CS was never really doing well enough to merit recognition by foreign powers.  Perhaps if Lee had prevailed at Antietem or Gettysburg.  But I doubt it, in neither case were they really that close to winning.



 Posted: Tue May 11th, 2010 12:15 am
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Texas Defender
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spoofseeker-

  What ifs aside, I must correct your statement that 2% of the total MALE population died in the war. The percentage was much higher, especially for the white male population of the south.

  In the 1860 Census, the total populaqtion was 31,443,321. Using the generally accepted figure of 620,000 soldier deaths in the war, it would be correct to say that 2% of the TOTAL population died. This does not count civilian deaths, which would be difficult to estimate.

  Of the total population, about 49.2% were male. Thus, the total male population was about 15.47 million. Using just the 620,000 soldier deaths, you can see that amounted to about 4% of the total male population.

  Of the over 31 million, something over 9 million lived in the Confederate states. However, the white population there was only about 5.5 million. About half were male, or 2.75 million. Of the 620,000 soldier deaths in the war, perhaps 260,000 were southern. Since only a tiny percentage of blacks served as southern soldiers, it can be said that about 10% of all southern white males were soldier deaths in the war.

  Of the 2.75 million southern white males, the majority were too young or too old, or otherwise unable to serve. Estimates of the number who were Confederate soldiers might range from 750,000 to almost a million. Since about 260,000 died, that amounted to about 30% of Confederate soldiers. If you add those who were wounded or disabled but survived, the percentage of casualties might move up into the 40s.

Last edited on Tue May 11th, 2010 12:41 am by Texas Defender



 Posted: Tue May 11th, 2010 12:35 am
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Texas Defender
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Johan-

  Since the stated goal of the Confederate Government was to secure its independence from the north, the Confederates did not have to win militarily to achieve that goal. They just had to avoid losing. A draw was as good as a win.

  Since the north had almost every advantage, the best chance for the south to achieve the draw was to wear down the will of the northern people to continue the war.

  The best way to achieve this end was to fight a defensive war and to attempt to inflict massive casualties on the attacker by forcing him to attack continually to attain his objectives. The southerners had to find a way to undermine the determination of the northern populace to continue the necessary sacrifice.

  I would maintain that there was still a chance for the draw until the presidential election of 1864. If General McClellan had won, as Lincoln had thought he would earlier in that year, the outcome of the war might have been different. However, by this time, both the northern soldiers and the general populace were determined to see the thing through. McClellan was crushed, and the Confederacy was doomed.



 Posted: Tue May 11th, 2010 01:23 am
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Mark
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TD, I would take issue with your assertion that the South had almost every advantage. The Confederacy had significant advantages in terrain and national political and military goals that they failed to capitalize on for a variety of reasons. They did have a fair shot to win the war but blew it because their missteps and Yankee tenacity. In fact, a thread on that historiographic debate might be worth doing sometime. However, I do think you are right about the presidential election of 1864. Cheers!

Mark



 Posted: Tue May 11th, 2010 01:28 am
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Texas Defender
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Mark-

  You made me read my last post again. Thankfully, I did say that the NORTH had almost every advantage.



 Posted: Tue May 11th, 2010 01:57 am
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Mark
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Sorry TD, long day at work. I understood what you meant and mistyped. Thanks for the clarification. I still think the South had significant advantages though...

Mark



 Posted: Tue May 11th, 2010 04:08 am
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spoofseeker
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Good responces, also some very good info. I had gotten my number strictly on deaths , from info I had gottten from Civil war diaries. That number didn't include all the factors you were referring to. I have heard some say if it wasn't for the victory that started at the Cumberland that maybe things may have been different. There are alot of what if's like you say.  If McClellen had stayed in place and Sherman and Grant had not have gotten their promotions. How different would have been?



 Posted: Wed May 12th, 2010 01:51 am
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TimK
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I have always had a problem with the "what if" game. There are simply too many variables. I don't think I'm alone in the thinking that adding what could have happened to the mix just clogs up and dishonors what really happened.

I do agree with TD in just about everything he wrote - except for one thing. I believe that because the North did have just about every advantage, I have a hard time coming up with a scenario that the Confederates could have won, or even fought to a draw, after the summer of 1863. And this is being generous in my thinking. I think the writing was on the wall immediately after the battle of Antietam.

Of course, this is just one man's opinion, but I just think the Confederate States had too big of a mountain to climb without the necessary resources and recognition.



 Posted: Wed May 12th, 2010 02:03 am
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Texas Defender
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Tim-

  I think that we are in agreement that the Confederacy could not have won a military victory, as long as the northern people were willing to pay the price in blood and treasure to continue the war. But in 1862 and 1863, it wasn't clear that they were.

  I would submit that the attitude of the northern people wasn't apparent until 1864. If they had been willing to reject Mr. Lincoln then, the outcome of the war would probably have been different. The acid test was the election. It signalled the willingness of the populace to continue the considerable sacrifices that still remained to be made to achieve the final victory.



 Posted: Thu May 13th, 2010 12:48 am
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Johan Steele
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If and it's a big if, the CS had managed a peaceful seperation from the US they might have had a chance for a short while. But w/ the immediete CS cabinet, stated goals and apparent intentions I suspect there would have been no tangible CS after about 1870. There were just too many in the cabinet & in their political structure who wanted a fight. IMO they would have ended up picking a fight w/ somebody and frankly they lacked the logistical capability or logistical competency to carry the fight to anyone. And a loss would have merely led to a balkanization of the area and who would have profited from that is another what if.

FWIW I don't care for "What if's" as they detract from the actual study.



 Posted: Thu May 13th, 2010 01:53 am
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susansweet3
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I agree Johan , what if's don't interest me. I have a hard enough time getting in all the what happened. Don't have time for what didn't happen .



 Posted: Thu May 13th, 2010 11:48 am
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Doc C
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As Sgt. Friday would say "Just the facts"



 Posted: Mon May 17th, 2010 01:18 am
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ole
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I appreciate "what ifs," so long as they remain in their place.

They invariably result in an explorative discussion that does, in fact, disclose historical facts and thinking in agreement or rebuttal.

What do we have here? Seventeen or eighteen posts? How many of them actually speculate or guess?

Ole



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