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Old July 22nd, 2016, 01:44 PM   #11

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I'd say adopt a more defensive strategy. Dig in along major roads or river crossings where the Union forces have no choice but to attack your prepared positions. Entrench yourself in the towns and cities along the Northern invasion routes and force them to besiege your men, meanwhile sending cavalry to harry their supply routes. Make sure the North pays much more heavily in casualties than you do. Eventually Northern opinion will stop accepting such lopsided casualty ratios for such little gain, and you'll be able to win by default.
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Old July 22nd, 2016, 03:56 PM   #12

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I believe attrition was a war they weren't going to win.
Politically it gave them the best shot they had. Absent it they have no chance to overthrow the USA and a cordon defense was tried and failed abysmally.
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Old July 22nd, 2016, 04:33 PM   #13

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Politically it gave them the best shot they had. Absent it they have no chance to overthrow the USA and a cordon defense was tried and failed abysmally.
Certainly. As I've stated prior, I don't believe there was any rational way to win. Not on their side. Attrition would merely prolong it. Attritionally, the North have every advantage, save perhaps morale. The only way to win would have been if the north kept making every mistake. Or if something that neither side can control happens. Like a magic storm destroying the fleet during the invasion on the peninsula. Or perhaps Lincoln losing. Even diplomacy was unlikely, as Slavery proved a major upset to Europe.

Nothing within the Confederacies control could have saved it. It was too out-manned, outgunned, and out-supplied, with few advantages other than home-front and morale, and even those only went so far. It was early incompetence on the North's side that even allowed it to last so long.
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Old July 22nd, 2016, 05:11 PM   #14

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What about the idea proposed in Harry Turtledove's Timeline 191? McClellan's scouts don't accidentally stumble upon a copy Lee's Special Order 191, allowing Lee to inflict once again a remarkable defeat on the Union army, and then occupy Philadelphia. This in turn gets Britain and France on the Confederate side, who force the Union to give up.
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Old July 22nd, 2016, 05:15 PM   #15

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What about the idea proposed in Harry Turtledove's Timeline 191? McClellan's scouts don't accidentally stumble upon a copy Lee's Special Order 191, allowing Lee to inflict once again a remarkable defeat on the Union army, and then occupy Philadelphia. This in turn gets Britain and France on the Confederate side, who force the Union to give up.
I don't believe the Europeans were going to take the Confederates side by this point. It was hopeful fantasies on the Souths side.
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Old July 22nd, 2016, 05:24 PM   #16

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I don't believe the Europeans were going to take the Confederates side by this point. It was hopeful fantasies on the Souths side.
It's unlikely that Britain or France were going to intervene militarily, but BOTH were interested in mediating negotiations between the North and South on the basis of ending the war, likely to the South's preferences. And Confederate diplomats did their best to try and encourage that sort of opinion in Britain...

And British citizens did volunteer (for both sides) in the American Civil War, though not with the numbers to say that they won the war for either side.
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Old July 22nd, 2016, 05:27 PM   #17

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It's unlikely that Britain or France were going to intervene militarily, but BOTH were interested in mediating negotiations between the North and South on the basis of ending the war, likely to the South's preferences. And Confederate diplomats did their best to try and encourage that sort of opinion in Britain...

And British citizens did volunteer (for both sides) in the American Civil War, though not with the numbers to say that they won the war for either side.
Yes, they were interested in ending the war. But they wouldn't have put any real force into making it happen. At best, strongly worded letters. They weren't going risk trade with the North on it.
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Old July 22nd, 2016, 06:35 PM   #18

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The South needed to win early, first year, or halfway into the second year. Any longer leads to defeat by attrition.

One possibility is to head towards Washington immediately after first Bull Run battle. At that time the defenses around the city were not impregnable and the troops most probably too green to put up much resistance. Capture Washington in 1861 and who knows what would result?

An offensive strategy and assault at the point in time required a leader with grand vision and a whole boat load of confidence. That chap was not in control of Confederate forces, if he even existed.
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Old July 22nd, 2016, 08:20 PM   #19
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Seeing how Lincoln won the election of 1864 by 10% and almost all the electoral college we have to be honest here and say that it's unlikely that the South would have been able to inflict enough damage to convince people to elect McClellan.

No, I don't think realistically the South could've militarily won the Civil War, perhaps in through the power of God they might've been able to get diplomatic aid from Britain or France but that has the likelihood of shooting the moon in euchre.
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Old July 22nd, 2016, 08:49 PM   #20

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The South needed to win early, first year, or halfway into the second year. Any longer leads to defeat by attrition.

One possibility is to head towards Washington immediately after first Bull Run battle. At that time the defenses around the city were not impregnable and the troops most probably too green to put up much resistance. Capture Washington in 1861 and who knows what would result?

An offensive strategy and assault at the point in time required a leader with grand vision and a whole boat load of confidence. That chap was not in control of Confederate forces, if he even existed.
This. Their ONLY hope was a quick and effective offensive in the beginning.

But of course, some questions still remain. Would taking the capital win them the war? I feel it could actually galvanize the North. Especially if they accidentally do too much damage.
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