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|This is oversimplistic, but I see the Civil War as basically a war of attrition. It wasn't so much that the South did not have some of the best and bravest fighting men ever to do battle on American soil, but that the South just did not have enough fighting men even at the start. As the war wore on, the South had even less. They just pretty much nearly ran out of fighters and resources for those fighters to carry on the war. Just one example alone, losses in the Confederate officer corps during the four years was devastating all by itself.
Pam, I can easily see how you and your friend had to stop before coming to blows. It is so hard to quantify what is meant by "best fighting men." It would be an argument no one could convincingly win.