Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Civil War Strategy--The Big Blue Arrow
In population, the North was double the size of the south, whose population was nearly 40 per cent slave. This gave the North a far superior number in manpower assets. Of six leading agricultural products the South led in three; but of these only one was an edible crop. While the South was certainly the strongest agriculturally, in actuality, the North was not far behind. In preparation for war, there were significant shortcomings for an agricultural South in an industrial age
The strategy that was implemented by the North in 1861, and that ultimately won the war in 1865, was Scott's Anaconda Plan, which was designed to suffocate the South, so that the North's manpower and industrial superiority would ultimately come to bear. All the North had to do was to hang on long enough to wear down the Confederacy and win the war.
The South had to win a political victory. The situation for the South, was the country in power (the Union) had to win quickly in order to keep public opinion on their side. When this did not happen, the war became very tiresome to the home front. Support for keeping the Union intact began to dwindle as the Civil War dragged on. All the South had to do was wear down the will of the North---which almost happened. The South won many military objectives—with a great expense of manpower--but failed to achieve political and diplomatic successes. Had they done so, the North may have opted for peace and granted the Confederacy their independence. The Confederate political goal of independence at no time required the defeat of the Union military forces or the occupation of Federal territory.