Why was the American Civil War badly commanded on both sides?

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,869
#22
Not in the slightest. The technology of war had changed dramatically and had to be mastered. before other necessary changes.
I disagree. Having a massive shortage of officers of all descriptions. No experience at all of being mass amry and the problems of moving, feeding, fighting with very large armies, and being forced into crash emergency program that officres were amateurs and barely trained is an factor that cannot be just dismissed as merely secondary,

If there had been NO technological change what so ever, The US civil war would still suffered form a low standard of command and organization.,

Training officers takes time. Organizing staff systems for large armies takes time and experience.

Its more fundamental, important than technological changes,
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,257
#24
Pugsville has it. It's a well known fact that the key to quick expansion of military forces is already having a large officers corps.

If you have that you can train grunts to a decent level of proficiency in a year or so, months even if need be. But if you first have spend years training an officers corps of sufficient size, the process will take years.

Afaiu the US armed forces at the outbreak of the war had a corps of approx. 1100 commissioned officers. Considering the size of the armies quickly developed, that's a VERY low figure. It seems pretty self-evident that trained officers in either army were quickly promoted several grades ahead of their pre-war commission, AND level of experience. (To quote joint Entente CiC in WWI Ferdinand Foch: "It takes 30 000 casualties to properly train a general de brigade.")

(By comparison the key to Nazi Germany's rapid military build-up in the 1930's was that already the post-WWI Weimar Republic chief of staff Gen. Hans von Seeckt decided to keep training an officers corps completely outsized in relation to the post-Versailles army of 100 000 Germany had been allowed. Thus Germany culd stage a stunning come-back at a very high level of military competence.)
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,869
#25
The Civil war Armies were huge ,
while the South had more formally trained officers ,
Wikipedia says. 2 to 1 in the unions favour. Is this wrong?

Union Army - Wikipedia
"It is a misconception that the South held an advantage because of the large percentage of professional officers who resigned to join the Confederate army. At the start of the war, there were 824 graduates of the U.S. Military Academy on the active list; of these, 296 resigned or were dismissed, and 184 of those became Confederate officers. Of the approximately 900 West Point graduates who were then civilians, 400 returned to the Union Army and 99 to the Confederate. Therefore, the ratio of Union to Confederate professional officers was 642 to 283"
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,379
Sydney
#27
the civil war was the first truly modern warfare
using mass production , logistics by rail transport , telegraph to co-ordonate strategy by the government
all the reference to past military science became little more than guidelines of less importance than timetables
the more industrial north had some advantage there
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,869
#28
the civil war was the first truly modern warfare
using mass production , logistics by rail transport , telegraph to co-ordonate strategy by the government
all the reference to past military science became little more than guidelines of less importance than timetables
the more industrial north had some advantage there
Answer me thi sthen.

Were officers trained before the war less or more suscessful then those not trained before the war,

IF past military science menat nothing they soould not be any more sucessful,
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,379
Sydney
#29
I didn't say that past military science means nothing , basic principles are always valid
What I said was that logistic emerged as a critical factor ,
which the North controlled better
standing armies in the millions could exist for years because they could be supplied by rail
theater commanders had to organize the movement of whole divisions by train , as in the case of Longstreet corps and Hooker's
many lessons about railways and modern war were learned by the Prussians and other great powers
some of them being what NOT to do
 

Fiver

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
3,700
#30
Bragg was one of the Confederacy's best. He had no idea what to do with a victory, but he was one of the few Confederate generals to win battles. Bragg's abrasive nature helped erode what little cohesion his Confederate army had, but there were problems with inept and/or backstabbing subordinates bothe before and after he commanded.