Monday, October 11, 2010
Why was the war in the West Important?
True, the Confederates had to protect their capitol of Richmond, and also true, the war in the east posed the greatest threat to the Federals and the highest visibility to the Europeans and the potential for their support. But the Federal success in the west, and the Confederate failure in the west led to the fledgling nations downfall.
First, the Confederates lost out on the vast amounts of supply that could have been gained from the west. When the Federals shut down the western supply lines by taking the Mississippi, this stopped a potently large pool of resources and money for the Confederates—the gold of California and other western states could have been ripe for the picking. Second, when the Mississippi was shut down the Federals had open access to attack inland at whatever point they choice—in affect rolling up the Confederates left flank. These combined results placed a choke hold on the Confederacies left flank, combined with the naval blockade on the right flank. True, the Confederates only had to hold on to win the war, but open access to the west would have greatly increased their abilities to do this.
If the Confederates would have put more emphasis on the west, they might have been able to hold on longer increasing the possibility that they would have been granted their independence by the war-weary Union. Also, if Sherman would have been stopped at Atlanta by a stronger, larger Confederate force, the outcome of the 1864 election would have more than likely ended up with McClellan as President, and a peace settlement soon thereafter resulting in Confederate independence.