The Civil War: Hidden Advantages of the South

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A description of the South's advantages that prolonged the Civil War.


P.S. 175 8J/3

Hart Deese December 4, 2006

At the beginning of the war, given the Norths industry, greater population, and economic independence, the South seemed fated to fall within months. But instead of months, the bloody Civil War waged on for four years. Why? The fact of the matter is, the South had several key advantages that served to extend the war to far longer than was expected. The South, though woefully under-industrialized compared to the North, was able to hold up mainly because it was fighting a defensive war. In order to win the war, the North had to conquer the South. Fighting on familiar ground, Confederate troops were often able to outmaneuver Union soldiers, attacking the armys long supply lines. The Souths second advantage was its generals. Most of the U.S.s distinguished generals were Southerners, and followed their states when they seceded. The North would, throughout the war, be hard pressed to find generals equal to those of the South. The Souths third and final advantage was a matter of moral. While the Union army might tire of fighting, the Confederate army could not; its soldiers were defending home and hearth, and surrender meant the death of the South. However great the Souths overlooked advantages were, in the end they were not enough to outweigh the Norths great population and industry.