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Why the Confederacy Lost


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National Review
Mackubin Thomas Owens
September 13, 2014


There is an old story, probably apocryphal, about a meeting of the Southern Historical Society in the years after the Civil War. The topic was Gettysburg — what mistakes, large or small, did the Confederates make that led to the Southern defeat? * The debate was heated and furious. Tempers were at the boiling point. Finally, one of the participants turned to George Pickett of “Pickett’s Charge” fame. “George,” he said, “you were there. Why did we lose the battle?” to which Pickett replied, “I always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.”

This anecdote reflects a historiographical debate about the Civil War in general. Was the cause of Confederate defeat external, or internal? Those who emphasize internal causes attribute the failure to breakdowns in Confederate leadership, both political and military, and Rebel errors on the battlefield. Those who stress external causes attribute this defeat to the military might of the Union, Lincoln’s wartime leadership, and Union generalship.

 

There have always been those who emphasized internal factors in explaining why the Confederacy lost. Immediately after the war, many influential Confederates blamed southern defeat on the manifold failures of President Jefferson Davis. In the 1920s, Frank Owsley blamed Confederate defeat on the doctrine of “state rights” — the alleged obstructive policies of governors that handicapped the ability of the Confederate government to mobilize men and resources for war. In 1960, David Donald offered a corollary to state rights, attributing the South’s loss of the war to an “excess of democracy” — too much individualism, dissent, and criticism of the government.

 

(Snip)

* I am Shocked...yes SHOCK that that tempers would flare when talking about the late....unpleasantness. rolleyes.gif

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James Longstreet

 

Facts, information and articles about James Longstreet, a Confederate General during The Civil War

 

James Longstreet summary:

 

James Longstreet was born in Edgefield District, South Carolina, the 3rd son of James Longstreet and Mary Ann Dent. He attended United States Military Academy and after graduating became a second lieutenant in the 4th US Infantry. His first two years of service were spent at Jefferson Barracks. He was wounded in the Mexican American war at the battle of Chapultepec.

 

Longstreet In The Civil War

 

Longstreet resigned from the US army in 1861 to join as a lieutenant in the Confederate Army. President Jefferson Davis met with Longstreet to appoint him with the rank of brigadier general.

 

Longstreet was then given command of 3 Virginia regiments under brigadier general P.G.T. Beauregard at Manassas.

 

Longstreet became known for his execution of defensive strategies and tactics. He was also known as General E. Lee’s confidante, who affectionately called Longstreet “His War Horse”.

Longstreet at Gettysburg

 

Longstreet and Lee met on the Gettysburg battlefield on July 1st 1863 Scissors-32x32.png

 

Both Longstreet and Lee bore the responsibility of the lack of preparation.

http://www.historynet.com/james-longstreet/

 

Now we have people whom blame Longstreet completely for the south lose, I am not one of those cool.png

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America’s Civil War: The South’s Feuding Generals

 

Imagine a situation in the modern American army where officers refuse to fight under other officers, where generals openly defy and even strike their superiors, where officers are cashiered or relieved of command at a whim, where dueling challenges are routinely issued and accepted with no fear of official censure or retaliation.

 

Such a detrimental state of affairs would never be tolerated by either the civilian leadership or the military high command. Yet, this was precisely the situation that existed in Civil War armies on both sides, although the Confederate Army suffered more from its consequences.

 

The Confederate officer corps was a collection of highly individualistic, temperamental and ambitious men. Honor and personal pride seemed to be at the root of most of their personal differences with each other, even to the point where these considerations were placed above the best interests of the Confederacy. These differences affected military decisions, strategic planning and campaign operations throughout the war and contributed greatly to the eventual demise of the Confederacy.

 

The Confederates began bickering among themselves at the first important battle of the war. Scissors-32x32.png

http://www.historynet.com/confederate-generals#tabs-13685999-0-0

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In Defense of Grant and Lee

Reexamining the conventional wisdom about two great generals

Mackubin Thomas Owens

September 20, 2014

 

The conventional wisdom concerning the comparative generalship of Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant was established almost immediately after the Civil War. Despite his role as, in the words of Frederick Douglass, the rebel chieftain, Lee has been portrayed as surpassing all others on both sides of the conflict not only in soldierly virtue but also in magnanimity and humanity. Indeed, for decades, no Civil War figure, not even Abraham Lincoln, has exceeded the reputation of Robert E. Lee.

 

Lee has been described as the perfect soldier a Christian and a gentleman as well as a peerless commander who led his renowned Army of Northern Virginia to a spectacular series of victories against overwhelming odds. For three years, he and his army provided the backbone of the Confederate cause. But though his adversaries were far less skilful than he, they were able to bring to bear superior resources, which ultimately overwhelmed the Confederacy. In the words of Gary Gallagher, the conventional wisdom held that in defeat, Lee and his soldiers could look back on a record of selfless regard for duty and magnificent accomplishment.

 

Grant, on the other hand, has been described as a butcher. According to the conventional wisdom, Grant lacked strategic sense and tactical competence and was able to achieve victory only by taking advantage of the manpower and material superiority of the Union to bludgeon his opponent into submission. Critics have described him as an unimaginative plodder.

 

John Maynard Keynes, discussing the transmission of economic ideas, once observed that practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slave of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority who hear voices in the air are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of years back. This applies to historiography as well.

 

 

 

The Lost Cause and Civil War Historiography

 

(Snip)

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James Longstreet

 

 

 

Now we have people whom blame Longstreet completely for the south lose, I am not one of those cool.png

The REAL problem with Longstreet was 1. He criticized Lee 2. He became a Republican.

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