View single post by Hosford1
 Posted: Mon Apr 4th, 2011 03:22 pm
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Joined: Fri Apr 1st, 2011
Posts: 6

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The "Lost Cause" position:  the South lost the war due to a shortage of men and material relative to the North.  The implication being the Southern troops were better, the Generals better, etc., and it was only the comparative resources that made the difference.  All objectively true.

The Southern troops were better - not because the men were stronger or smarter - but because the Generals that lead them, for the most part, were more capable.  When one compares a roster of Generals on both sides I don't think many would disagree that the South had the balance.  It was a lack of resources that doomed Antietam, the Overland Campaign, Vicksburg, Atlanta, the March through Georgia, Sherman's march throug the Carolinas, Petersburg and the final retreat of Lee.  Except for possibly Vicksburg - where is there objective argument against that?     

Consider how Grant - the North's top General - would have fared had he the diminished resources of the South.  Grant's great attribute - one that is undeniable and in which I greatly admire - was his tenaciousness.  He was relentless.  Marshaling his forces, he went in and never letting up.  A quality that was made only possible through his resources.  He certainly showed a gift for tactics in his Vicksburg Campaign - but that too was only made possible through the richness of his resources.  I don't fault him for using what he had - I'm simply saying that what made him successful was his employment of those resources, not a showing of skill and brilliance on the battlefield.  I believe it was one of his own aids (Dana?) that said he possessed no great intellect, only a simple and straightfoward determination (qualities without question). 

Moreover, it lacks logic to say the "Lost Cause" is a myth because the South could have won in some other way.  Whether the South could have won the war by another strategy is irrelevant to the question - in the context of the way it was fought, resources was the deciding factor.  (Besides, the South having alternatives that would have made the war sucessful is pure conjecture - and there is no particular reason to believe that those alternatives would have made the disparity in resources any less critical). 

The Lost Cause position IS the reason the South lost the war that was fought.  Period.

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