Would the confederacy have won if not for southern pride??

May 2017
225
Monterrey
As a disclaimer this is strictly from the standpoint of military tactics.. thank god they lost...


Imho most of not all of the confederacies major military blunders were all couched in southern pride.. so I wonder how it goes if they had taken a more logical and unemotional approach..

For example..

1) Firing on sumner was of zero strategic value and was ONLY about politics.. there were like 80 guys totally surrounded and about to starve.. hell they could let them be resupplied and the fort was still basically meaningless..

They sacrificed “the moral high ground “ politically just because they didn’t want sumner to besmirch southern honor..
The war would have started one way or another, I doubt this made any kind of difference.

2) marching on the north...

IMho napoleonic tactics were dead.. and had been for a generation at least , even though the military brass refused to drop it..

When you attack a fortified position using napoleonic tactics , when the enemy has even civil war area weaponry.. your screwed.. and both sides found that out the hard way..
We are talking about massed volunteer forces here, who had little to no time for training. Furthermore, hindsight is hindsight. Dropping all the tactical and operational knowledge would just result in chaos, especially when no one knows what to replace them with. The lessons about fortified positions were learned, but there was little else to do.

So if the south played defense in depth tactics, and let the union break over and over again on their fortified positions..
This is essentially what the war in the west was.

How long till the northern population taps out??
They'll just march through in the east, as they did historically. Wishful thinking of northern population tapping out is not a sound military strategy either.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,643
Las Vegas, NV USA
The war could have been short with a Southern victory. Immediately after the First Battle of Bull Run the way to Washington was open. I don't think the city's defenses were in place as they were later. If the capital city could have been taken or at least surrounded, Maryland would likely have seceded. If Lincoln escaped to Pennsylvania he might try to wage war from there, but how much support would he have?
 
May 2017
225
Monterrey
The war could have been short with a Southern victory. Immediately after the First Battle of Bull Run the way to Washington was open. I don't think the city's defenses were in place as they were later. If the capital city could have been taken or at least surrounded, Maryland would likely have seceded. If Lincoln escaped to Pennsylvania he might try to wage war from there, but how much support would he have?
Well, the Union army was still there, as well as some extra troops. If you look at civil war battles there are hardly any (if any) examples of successful pursuits by either side. This was traditionally the role of cavalry, which was just restricted to raiding and recon in ACW.
 
Nov 2019
138
Memphis TN
It is an interesting question. The North was never really stretched in terms of resources. The idea of defense in depth really did not exist yet as a tactic. But if the South tried for the moral high ground and only campaigned on a defensive basis it might have slowly drained the angst out of the North


That is my thought...


All the acts that actually pissed off the population (Sumner, the northern invasion, burning that one town)never happen..

Then once they start to have atrocious casualties due to defense in depth, and you do not have any firebrand moments to unite and enrage the population. I think Lincoln loses that election and the north makes peace.

As countless people smarter than me have pointed out.. if Lincoln loses they sue for peace. it was all about that next election...

I think lee tried to fight a gentleman s war for just that reason, but they had been lost the narrative long before Lee took command..






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Nov 2019
138
Memphis TN
The war would have started one way or another, I doubt this made any kind of difference.



We are talking about massed volunteer forces here, who had little to no time for training. Furthermore, hindsight is hindsight. Dropping all the tactical and operational knowledge would just result in chaos, especially when no one knows what to replace them with. The lessons about fortified positions were learned, but there was little else to do.



This is essentially what the war in the west was.



They'll just march through in the east, as they did historically. Wishful thinking of northern population tapping out is not a sound military strategy either.
A) the war starts in this scenario as well lol..

The question was would the northern population keep spending lives WITHOUT the more functional firebrand events taking place..

If lee doesn’t invade and they do not fit on sumner.. the war from the northern POV is all about principles..

“It isn’t right they leave the union!”

I do not think that alone holds out under mass casualties.

I think you needed events that were instigated and perpetrated by the confederacy on and In the north specifically to do that.

Just like with Vietnam.. they did nothing to Americans.. so when the casualties rose, the American people tapped out..

If vietnam stopped a tower or 2 it probably belongs to us now.

B) I honestly think teaching napoleonic tactics is likely far more intensive than modern cover to cover tactics.


C) The northern population tapping out was always their only hope.. just like with Washington and the revolution..

He did not beat the full night British empire... the politics changed back home and they tapped out..

D) defense in depth means you set rows of defense and plan on bleeding your target before retreating to your next line of defense..

They lose crazy troops reaching your lines then everyone is gone when they get there, and you start artillerying your previous position.

Wash rinse repeat..


That strategy kills vs napoleonic tactics.




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Nov 2019
138
Memphis TN
The war could have been short with a Southern victory. Immediately after the First Battle of Bull Run the way to Washington was open. I don't think the city's defenses were in place as they were later. If the capital city could have been taken or at least surrounded, Maryland would likely have seceded. If Lincoln escaped to Pennsylvania he might try to wage war from there, but how much support would he have?
I think that would be the equivalent of Theon taking Winterfell...

The entire night of the union unites and crushes the south..

Something people forget is the north did not even remotely tap its entire troop base. If lee takes Washington they do tap that entire troop base..





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Nov 2019
138
Memphis TN
Southern pride either way would not have changed the economic and cultural reasons for fighting to the death to preserve slavery.
Lol if the confederacies will to fight was relevant, or if anyone was questioning if the war had to be fought at all that might be relevant..

Since the OP both assumes the confederacy would fight and that the war had to happen.. I don’t know what you mean.


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Nov 2019
138
Memphis TN
The tactics of the time were informed by the weaponry of the time. There had been light infantry who did use cover and took shots at their own discretion, but they weren't able to hold off an advance of an infantry assault column, for that you needed another to oppose it. Or if there wasn't mass formations of infantry the dispersed infantry could be overrun by cavalry. In any case, it's best to assume that there was a survival of the fittest in terms of war and if we think that we know better then it's because we anachronistically transplant what works for us to them. They were just as smart as we are and used what was available to them to their best effectiveness.

Well yea... because it was only scattered light infantry rather than the roughly equal numbers of infantry with one side spaced out and taking cover. While the other one is massed up in a nice blob so EVERY shot hits a man..

My opinion on the fact napoleonic tactics were way over stayed their welcome is probably the mainstream opinion. God knows I did not come to that conclusion myself.. I heard it from historians lol..

Calvary was only good as scouting and fast movement by the civil war.. ask the mongols (horse archers of the steppes)..

They went from stomping any and everyone every few hundred years to total irrelevance militarily in a generation or 2..

Horses and guns do not mix.






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Jan 2019
180
Finland
D) defense in depth means you set rows of defense and plan on bleeding your target before retreating to your next line of defense..

They lose crazy troops reaching your lines then everyone is gone when they get there, and you start artillerying your previous position.

Wash rinse repeat..


That strategy kills vs napoleonic tactics.
Why didn't anyone do that then? Maybe committing your army to do extensive field works would have effectively immobilised it and allowed for the enemy to by pass it or encircle it? There's a reason why defence in depth became a thing in WWI and WW2 when there were no flanks to turn with armies numbering in the millions and frontlines extending from coast to coast. That's not the case in the ACW where field armies had to maneuver and find each other before engaging. That doesn't leave much time to make fortifications in the defence in depth sense, and whatever field works might have been done could be made useless if the enemy army continues maneuvering instead of giving battle.

Well yea... because it was only scattered light infantry rather than the roughly equal numbers of infantry with one side spaced out and taking cover. While the other one is massed up in a nice blob so EVERY shot hits a man..

My opinion on the fact napoleonic tactics were way over stayed their welcome is probably the mainstream opinion. God knows I did not come to that conclusion myself.. I heard it from historians lol..
But there you say it, if you have spaced out infantry their firepower is spaced out as well, while the enemy concentrates its firepower and ability to deliver shock. Light infantry was a well known concept from the 1700s on, and if had been effective on its own then nobody would have used anything but light infantry.