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 Posted: Fri Nov 4th, 2011 07:31 pm
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csamillerp
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The Confederates considered their war strategy as a defensive one, right? Well do you think that was a realistic strategy for the south to only defend against invasion? Do you think if they had held a more aggressive strategy and invaded the north at the onset of hostilities if it would have made a difference?



 Posted: Fri Nov 4th, 2011 08:34 pm
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BHR62
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The South was as unprepared for war as the North was. I don't think they could have supported an army invading the North. Both armies were built from scratch. The North had all the industry needed for war plus a big advantage in population. Northern war weariness or foriegn intervention was the only hope for the South. Defense was their best hope of wearing down the North. Lee's two invasions of the North wasted a lot of Southern manpower and ended any hope of foriegn intervention. So I think they had the right strategy but unfortunately for them the North had Lincoln as prez. Plus the North found the qualified generals to lead the Union forces.



 Posted: Fri Nov 4th, 2011 08:48 pm
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Cleburne
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While we are playing what if..... I think the best chance the South had was immediately after First Manassas. Though the southern army was quite beat up by the battle, I believe that with better leadership the army could have moved on Washington and would have taken it. The defensive forts were not in place yet and with the recent loss at Manassas the Union army would not have wanted to chance another major battle. With the loss of Washington who knows what might have happened. Maryland might have seceded as well as Kentucky. At the very least the United States government would have had to move and this would have disrupted the war effort more than just a little bit.

Cleburne



 Posted: Fri Nov 4th, 2011 09:03 pm
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csamillerp
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cleburne i have always wondered about that. England would have certainly supported the south then. Hell they could have taken washington with just a division of infantry and a single battery it was nearly defenseless save for local milita



 Posted: Sat Nov 5th, 2011 01:15 am
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Albert Sailhorst
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For Southern morale purposes, I think that being defensive enabled them to foster more hatred for Yankees, who by nature of a Southern defensive strategy, would be the aggressors....
But, I don't think a defensive startegy in and of itself would have won the war because the Southern armies would eventually be whittled down due to the overwhelming manpawer that the Federals would eventually amass. The South could not replace troops as fast as the North could, and the Confederate army would be erroded. I think a defensive strategy alone would have protracted the war...Wars aren't won by letting the enemy come to you, unless you're fighting in a terrain like Russia, where the attackers (under Napoleon & Hitler) both got over-extended and too far away from supplies in bad weather and "scorched earth"....



 Posted: Sat Nov 5th, 2011 01:16 am
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Albert Sailhorst
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Then again, when Kentcuky was "invaded" by Confederate forces, Kentucky was lost for the Confederacy....



 Posted: Sat Nov 5th, 2011 01:57 am
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Mark
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The real question for the Confederate high command was whether to defend everywhere or to conduct an active defense. Initially they did try to defend along their entire northern border, but after KY remained loyal they began to focus on a more active defense and parry Federal invasions as they came. I think Lee accurately understood the political situation - the Confederates had to win a defensive war on the offensive. The Confederate public would accept no less.

Mark



 Posted: Sat Nov 5th, 2011 02:02 am
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Albert Sailhorst
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Mark
That's very true!!
The war in the West was lost long before it was in the North...The Southern soldiers in the West even knew they were beat...but, we all already knew that, so I've shed no new light on that subject!! :)



 Posted: Sat Nov 5th, 2011 02:22 am
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BHR62
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Lincoln was never going to allow the Union to breakup...the North had the power to beat the South, only question was its will to do so.



 Posted: Sat Nov 5th, 2011 02:40 am
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Albert Sailhorst
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I agree about Lincoln....Grant as General was the key to victory....he did things the other Generals were afraid to do, and that was wage war....Untill Grant, the Northern populace was beginning to grow weary of, and frustrated with, war...
In my opinion, the key to Southern victory was a decisive, devasting victory early in the war, before Grant had the opportunity to rise and while the Yank government and populace figured out that they could win....



 Posted: Sat Nov 5th, 2011 09:32 am
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Hellcat
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I have to agree with Albert about a devastating early victory.

Last edited on Sat Nov 5th, 2011 09:33 am by Hellcat



 Posted: Sun Nov 6th, 2011 03:48 am
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csamillerp
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Albert you said what i was thinking when i started this post. The only chance for the south was a quick aggressive campaign that would end the war within a year tops! And the only opportunity for that was immediately after 1st manassas



 Posted: Sun Nov 6th, 2011 04:12 am
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Albert Sailhorst
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Thanks, csmiller!!!



 Posted: Sun Nov 6th, 2011 04:13 am
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Albert Sailhorst
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Thanks, hellcat!!



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