biggest strategic mistakes of the war of northern agression
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:42 PM   #1
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Default biggest strategic mistakes of the war of northern agression

IMO when the South defeated the northern troops at the Battle of Chickamauga they pushed them back into Chattanooga the biggest blunder of the south was not to continue a campaign to run the northern troops completley out of Tennessee and Georgia. GeneralBraxton Bragg had the opportunity to completely remove the occupation of northern troops from Chattanooga but his long delay allowed the north to reinforce their troops
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Old 12-11-2014, 12:08 AM   #2
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At the time.......
The United States "were" rather than "was" and the war was a the result of free men defending the rights of their states from federal dominion. Slavery should have been abolished, but by each state.
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Old 12-11-2014, 12:16 AM   #3
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Regardless.
Braxton Bragg was a political appointee by his friend Jeff Davis. He was a bumbling incompetent, on the same scale as Ambrose Burnside on the northern side.
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Old 12-11-2014, 12:30 AM   #4
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At the time.......
The United States "were" rather than "was" and the war was a the result of free men defending the rights of their states from federal dominion. Slavery should have been abolished, but by each state.
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Regardless.
Braxton Bragg was a political appointee by his friend Jeff Davis. He was a bumbling incompetent, on the same scale as Ambrose Burnside on the northern side.
I agree with both comment's 100%
and to expound Braxton Bragg was the best general the North had in this campaign
Remember Braxton was aWest Point Graduate and general in the US army before he joined the CS there are even conspiracy theory's that Braxton Bragg was a plant by the federal army but of course there is no proof of that.
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Old 12-11-2014, 12:32 AM   #5
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probably didn't help that jd didn't want to be prez
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Old 12-11-2014, 01:41 AM   #6
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probably didn't help that jd didn't want to be prez
I dont think that was the case, I think Jefferson Davis liked being President of the CS where he failed was appointing his friends in high military positions who were incompetent.
Copied and pasted from Wikapedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Davis
Most historians sharply criticize Davis for his flawed military strategy, his selection of friends for military commands, and his neglect of homefront crises.[104][105] Until late in the war, he resisted efforts to appoint a general-in-chief, essentially handling those duties himself. On January 31, 1865, Lee assumed this role, but it was far too late. Davis insisted on a strategy of trying to defend all Southern territory with ostensibly equal effort. This diluted the limited resources of the South and made it vulnerable to coordinated strategic thrusts by the Union into the vital Western Theater (e.g., the capture of New Orleans in early 1862). He made other controversial strategic choices, such as allowing Lee to invade the North in 1862 and 1863 while the Western armies were under very heavy pressure. Lee lost at Gettysburg, Vicksburg simultaneously fell, and the Union took control of the Mississippi River, splitting the Confederacy. At Vicksburg, the failure to coordinate multiple forces on both sides of the Mississippi River rested primarily on Davis' inability to create a harmonious departmental arrangement or to force such commanders as generals Edmund Kirby Smith, Earl Van Dorn, and Theophilus H. Holmes to work together.[106]

Davis has been faulted for poor coordination and management of his generals. This includes his reluctance to resolve a dispute between Leonidas Polk, a personal friend, and Braxton Bragg, who was defeated in important battles and distrusted by his subordinates.[107] He did relieve the cautious but capable Joseph E. Johnston and replaced him with the reckless John Bell Hood, resulting in the loss of Atlanta and the eventual loss of an army.[108]

Davis gave speeches to soldiers and politicians but largely ignored the common people, who came to resent the favoritism shown the rich and powerful; Davis thus failed to harness Confederate nationalism.[109] One historian speaks of "the heavy-handed intervention of the Confederate government." Economic intervention, regulation, and state control of manpower, production and transport were much greater in the Confederacy than in the Union.[110] Davis did not use his presidential pulpit to rally the people with stirring rhetoric; he called instead for people to be fatalistic and to die for their new country.[111] Apart from two month-long trips across the country where he met a few hundred people, Davis stayed in Richmond where few people saw him; newspapers had limited circulation, and most Confederates had little favorable information about him.[112]

To finance the war, the Confederate government initially issued bonds, but investment from the public never met the demands. Taxes were lower than in the Union and were collected with less efficiency, and European investment was insufficient. As the war proceeded, both the Confederate government and the individual states printed more and more paper money. Inflation increased from 60% in 1861 to 300% in 1863 and 600% in 1864. Davis did not seem to grasp the enormity of the problem.[113][114]

In April 1863, food shortages led to rioting in Richmond, as poor people robbed and looted numerous stores for food until Davis cracked down and restored order.[115] Davis feuded bitterly with his vice president. Perhaps even more seriously, he clashed with powerful state governors who used states' rights arguments to withhold their militia units from national service and otherwise blocked mobilization plans.[116]

Davis is widely evaluated as a less effective war leader than Lincoln, even though Davis had extensive military experience and Lincoln had little. Davis would have preferred to be an army general, and as president tended to manage military matters himself, delegating poorly. Lincoln and Davis led in very different ways. According to one historian,

Lincoln was flexible; Davis was rigid. Lincoln wanted to win; Davis wanted to be right. Lincoln had a broad strategic vision of Union goals; Davis could never enlarge his narrow view. Lincoln searched for the right general, then let him fight the war; Davis continuously played favorites and interfered unduly with his generals, even with Robert E. Lee. Lincoln led his nation; Davis failed to rally the South.
— William J. Cooper, Jr.
There were many factors that led to Union victory over the Confederacy, and Davis recognized from the start that the South was at a distinct disadvantage; but in the end, Lincoln helped to achieve victory, whereas Davis contributed to defeat.[117]
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Old 12-11-2014, 04:22 AM   #7
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To call it the War of Northern Agression is to ignore that the South started it at Fort Sumter, although that isn't really true, it started in the mid 1850s in Kansas. When masses of pro slavery Missourians crossed into Kansas to vote on Kansas's new constitution to make it pro slavery. That is not to the point as far as blunders though.

In my humble opinion there are at least 2 instances that would qualify. The first is McClellans getting a copy of Lee's battle plan at Antietam and snatching a draw from the jaws of victory.

But I lean more to General Meades not following up Gettysburg with a pursuit of Lee, and maybe trapping him east of the Potomac before he could cross back into Va. Had this worked out Meade could have destroyed/captured the Army of Northern Virginia, opening the way into Richmond.

Vicksburg surrendered the day after the battle of Gettysburg ended, had the Army of Northern Virginia been captured at the same time it might have ended the war.

All of this is just conjecture from a bunch of amateur armchair generals removed from the events by 140+ years. But it is a fun exercise.
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Old 12-11-2014, 05:07 AM   #8
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To call it the War of Northern Agression is to ignore that the South started it at Fort Sumter, although that isn't really true, it started in the mid 1850s in Kansas. When masses of pro slavery Missourians crossed into Kansas to vote on Kansas's new constitution to make it pro slavery. That is not to the point as far as blunders though.

In my humble opinion there are at least 2 instances that would qualify. The first is McClellans getting a copy of Lee's battle plan at Antietam and snatching a draw from the jaws of victory.

But I lean more to General Meades not following up Gettysburg with a pursuit of Lee, and maybe trapping him east of the Potomac before he could cross back into Va. Had this worked out Meade could have destroyed/captured the Army of Northern Virginia, opening the way into Richmond.

Vicksburg surrendered the day after the battle of Gettysburg ended, had the Army of Northern Virginia been captured at the same time it might have ended the war.

All of this is just conjecture from a bunch of amateur armchair generals removed from the events by 140+ years. But it is a fun exercise.
I'd say those were tactical mistakes. A blunder would be something obviously wrong at the time, not merely through hindsight.

The second biggest strategic miscalculation on the part of the Confederacy was overrating cotton. The South expected to be recognized by European powers. It didn't happen. Not one took that chance. The Confederacy was able to purchase arms in Europe, but largely remained on its own.

The mother of all strategic blunders was Fort Sumter.
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Old 12-11-2014, 08:21 AM   #9
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My attention has been drawn to this thread. Let's keep it civil and beneficial to the forum, or it will dissappear
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Old 12-11-2014, 09:07 AM   #10
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To call it the War of Northern Agression is to ignore that the South started it at Fort Sumter, although that isn't really true,
the first shot was a well thought out plan devised by Abraham Lincoln although a bit off topic but I think it explains and dismisses some myths about the war between north and south.
it is a lot easier for me to copy and paste this article than it would be for me to type it in my own words however reflects my point of view to a T

HOW AND WHY ABRAHAM LINCOLN STARTED THE WAR OF NORTHERN AGGRESSION TO PROTECT HIS OWN POLITICAL CAREER
by Frank Conner http://iahushua.com/hist/lincoln.html

The North's Republican party came out of nowhere in 1854, formed from the wreckage of the Whig party (the Northern Conscience-Whigs), and from the Free-Soilers and the Know-Nothings. It opposed slavery, and it demanded a powerful national-government which would subsidize Northern industrialization. The new Republican party grew very rapidly. Not surprisingly, its key bankrollers were Northern capitalists--financiers, shippers, industrialists, etc. Two of its founders and strongest political-leaders were Salmon P. Chase (first a senator and then a governor); and William H. Seward (also a governor and a senator).

At the 1860 Republican convention in Chicago, Chase and Seward were the favored candidates. Lincoln was a dark horse. In national politics, he had served only in the House, and only for one two-year term--1847-49: he had left Congress 11 years earlier! Lincoln had only three things going for him: he was considered a political lightweight, who could easily be manipulated by the powerbrokers; he himself was from Illinois, so the convention hall was located on his own stomping-grounds; and both he and his campaign manager--David E. Davis--were extraordinarily-adroit politicians.

In 1860 the vast majority of the Republicans did not want war. But the relatively-mild Seward had earlier coined several phrases which led many to believe mistakenly that he was a warmonger. And if Seward might possibly lead the country into war, the hot-head Chase would probably do so. Lincoln the unknown murmured soothing words of peace--which went down well. Meanwhile, he and Davis manipulated that convention behind the scenes in ways that would make today's dirty-tricks advocates turn green with envy.
Consequently, Lincoln won the Republican nomination.

There were two factors about the Republican campaign in the election of 1860 which disturbed the Southerners so badly that Southern states subsequently seceded. First was the Republican-party platform for 1860.
Basically, the Northern capitalists wanted the U.S. government to tax (only) the South deeply, to finance the industrialization of the North, and the necessary transportation-net to support that. In those days, there was no income tax. The federal government received most of its revenue from tariffs (taxes) on imported goods. The Southern states imported from England most of the manufactured goods they used, thus paid most of the taxes to support the federal government. (The Northerners imported very little.)

Second, the Republican party--unlike any of the other big political-parties that had come along--was purely a regional (Northern) party, not a national party. if the Republicans somehow managed to gain control of Congress AND the White House, they would then be able to use the federal government to enact and enforce their party platform--and thus convert the prosperous Southern-states into the dirt-poor agricultural colonies of the Northern capitalists. And given the 19th-century trends in demographics, the Southern states would never be able to reverse that process. The intent of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution would then have been subverted completely: the Southern states would no longer be governed with the consent of the governed--but instead bullied mercilessly by the Northern majority. Why, then, remain in the Union?

Meanwhile, the numerically-far-stronger national Democratic-party was busy self-destructing over the issue of slavery.

So when the 1860 election-returns came in, it turned out that the Republicans had won the White House, and substantial majorities in the House and the Senate. When that message sank in, Southern states began seceding from the Union--beginning with South Carolina on 20 December 1860.
Several of them said that the main issue was the protection of slavery, but that was strictly for local consumption by people who did their thinking solely in terms of simple slogans. The Southern legislators could do their math; thus they knew full well that the only truly-safe way to protect the institution of slavery would be for the Southern states to remain in the Union and simply refuse to ratify any proposed constitutional-amendment to emancipate the slaves. For slavery was specifically protected by the Constitution, and that protection could be removed only by an amendment ratified by three-quarters of the states. In 1860 there were 15 slave states and 18 free states. Had the number of slave states remained constant, 27 more free states would have had to be admitted into the Union--for a total of 60 states--before an abolition amendment could be ratified. That was not likely to occur anytime soon. But with the Southern states seceding, the issue of slavery could then be settled by force of arms at an time.

After the Republicans gained control of the presidency and the Congress following the 1860 elections, eleven Southern states eventually seceded from the Union--specifically to avoid becoming the helpless agricultural-colonies of the Northern capitalists.

This move took the Northern capitalists completely by surprise. The South was like the little boy who was forever crying "wolf." Southern states had been threatening to secede ever since the Tariff of Abominations and the days of Calhoun; the North no longer took those threats seriously. But with the South now gone, there would be no federal funding to industrialize the North--because the Northern citizenry would certainly never agree to be taxed to pay for it. And far worse than that, the many, many Northern-capitalists who had been earning fortunes factoring the Southern cotton-crop, transporting the cotton, and buying the cotton for New England textile-mills now faced financial ruin. The South normally bought its manufactured goods from Britain, anyway. Now, as a sovereign nation, the South could easily cut far better deals with the British financiers, shipowners, and textile mills to supply the South with all of the necessary support-services--leaving the Northern capitalists out in the cold.

This was all Lincoln's fault! If he hadn't been elected, the South wouldn't have seceded; and the Northern capitalists would not now be in this mess.

So as President-elect Lincoln prepared to take over the presidency, he was in a world of hurt. He had the trappings of office--but not the powerbase to support him safely in office against the slings and arrows of his outrageous political-enemies. Both Seward and Chase had well-established powerbases (financial backers, newspapers, magazines, personal political-organizations, friends in Congress, etc.). Both of them badly wanted Lincoln's job. Both of them merely awaited the first opportunity to spring a political trap on him; then subject him to deadly public-ridicule; and thereafter cut him off at the knees.

Given time, Lincoln--who would, after all, occupy the presidency--could weld together a formidable powerbase of his own; but right at the beginning of his term he was perilously vulnerable. He MUST now have the support of the Northern capitalists.

Lincoln was a Whig masquerading as a Republican, because that was now the only game in town. He didn't care anything about the slavery issue; he preferred to temporize with the abolitionists. But he couldn't temporize with the Northern capitalists. He would have to drag the South back into the Union immediately, or he'd (figuratively) be shot out of the saddle and discredited very quickly; then Seward or Chase would really be running the country; and Lincoln could forget all about being reelected in 1864. That was unthinkable. But there was no way Lincoln or anyone else in the Republican party could possibly talk the Southern states back into the Union at this stage of the game; so he would have to conquer them in war.
(He assumed it would be a 90-day war, which the Union Army would win in one battle.)

If you read Lincoln's first inaugural-address with any care at all, you'll see that it was simply a declaration of war against the South. It was also filled with lies and specious reasoning. In 1861, the official government-charter for the U.S. was the U.S. Constitution. In writing it, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 (some of the most-canny politicians in the country) had pointedly omitted from it the "perpetual union" clause which had been a main feature of the unworkable Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union--the U.S.-government charter which had preceded the Constitution.

Under the Articles, no state could secede lawfully unless all states seceded simultaneously. But the Constitution--which Lincoln had just taken an oath to uphold--did not contain that clause (or any other like it); so any state could secede lawfully at any time. And the Southern states did secede lawfully. Honest Abe flat-out lied when he said that was not so in his inaugural address; and he subsequently used his blatant lie to slaughter 623,000 Americans and Confederates--primarily in order to perpetuate himself in political office.

Lincoln had said he would go to war to "preserve the Union." But in order to start the war, he would somehow have to maneuver the South into firing the first shots, because Congress did not want war and would not declare war of its own volition.

The most-likely hot-spot in which Lincoln could start his war was Charleston Harbor, where shots had already been fired in anger under the Buchanan administration. But the newly-elected governor of South Carolina, Francis Pickens, saw the danger--that Lincoln might, as an excuse, send a force of U.S. Navy warships to Charleston Harbor supposedly to bring food to Maj Anderson's Union force holed up in Fort Sumter. So Gov Pickens opened negotiations with Maj Anderson, and concluded a deal permitting Anderson to send boats safely to the market in Charleston once a week, where Anderson's men would be allowed to buy whatever victuals they wished.
(This arrangement remained in effect until a day or so before the U.S. Navy warships arrived at Charleston). Maj Anderson wrote privately to friends, saying that he hoped Lincoln would not use Fort Sumter as the excuse to start a war, by sending the U.S. Navy to resupply it.

Before his inauguration, Lincoln sent a secret message to Gen Winfield Scott, the U.S. general-in-chief, asking him to make preparations to relieve the Union forts in the South soon after Lincoln took office. Lincoln knew all along what he was going to do.

President Jefferson Davis sent peace commissioners to Washington to negotiate a treaty with the Lincoln administration. Lincoln refused to meet with them; and he refused to permit Secretary of State Seward to meet with them.

After Lincoln assumed the presidency, his principal generals recommended the immediate evacuation of Maj Anderson's men from Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor--which was now located on foreign soil. To resupply it by force at this point would be a deliberate act-of-war against the C.S.A.

It turned out that Lincoln's postmaster general, Montgomery Blair, had a brother-in law, Gustavus V. Fox, who was a retired Navy-captain and wanted to get back into action. Fox had come up with a plan for resupplying Fort Sumter which would force the Confederates to fire the first shots--under circumstances which would make them take the blame for the war. Lincoln sent Fox down to Fort Sumter to talk with Maj Anderson about the plan; but Anderson wanted no part of it.

Lincoln had Fox pitch the plan to his Cabinet twice. The first time, the majority said that Fox's plan would start a war and were unenthusiastic about it. But the second time, the Cabinet members got Lincoln's pointed message, and capitulated.

Meanwhile, Congress got wind of the plan. Horrified, they called Gen Scott and others to testify about it; Scott and the other witnesses said they wanted no part of the move against the Confederacy in Charleston; and nor did Congress. Congress demanded from Lincoln--as was Congress's right--Fox's report on Maj Anderson's reaction to the plan. Lincoln flatly and unconstitutionally refused to hand it over to them.

Lincoln sent to Secretary Cameron (for transmittal to Secretary Welles) orders in his own handwriting (!) to make the warships Pocahantas and Pawnee and the armed-cutter Harriet Lane ready for sailing, along with the passenger ship Baltic--which would be used as a troop ship, and two ocean-going tugboats to aid the ships in traversing the tricky shallow harbor-entrance at Charleston. This naval force was to transport 500 extra Union-soldiers to reinforce Maj Anderson's approximately-86-man force at Fort Sumter--along with huge quantities of munitions, food, and other supplies.

The Confederacy would, of course, resist this invasion--in the process firing upon the U.S. flag. The unarmed tugs would, of necessity, enter the harbor first, whereupon they would likely be fired upon by the C.S.A., giving Lincoln the best-possible propaganda to feed to the Northern newspapers, which would then rally the North to his "cause."

Lincoln sent orders for the Union naval-force to time its sailing so as to enter Charleston Harbor on 11 or 12 April. Next, Lincoln sent a courier to deliver an ultimatum to Gov Pickens on 8 April, saying that Lincoln intended to resupply Fort Sumter peaceably or by force. There was no mistaking the intent of that message.

Lincoln had set the perfect trap. He had given President Davis just enough time to amass his forces and fire upon the U.S. Navy. But if Davis acquiesced instead, Lincoln need merely begin sending expeditionary forces to recapture all of the former Union-forts in the South now occupied by Confederate forces; sooner or later Davis would have to fight; and the more forts he allowed Lincoln to recapture in the interim, the weaker would be the military position of the C.S.A. As a practical matter, Davis was left with no choice.

Accordingly, the C.S.A., when informed that the U.S. Navy was en route, demanded that Maj Anderson surrender the fort forthwith. Anderson refused; Beauregard's artillery bombarded Fort Sumter into junk (miraculously without loss of life during the bombardment); and Anderson then surrendered with honor intact. The U.S. Navy arrived during the bombardment--but because elements of the force had been delayed for various reasons, did not join in the fight. The Navy was allowed to transport Anderson's men back to the U.S.

Thereafter Lincoln wrote to Fox, pronouncing the mission a great success. Lincoln ended his letter by saying, "You and I both anticipated that the cause of the country would be advanced by making the attempt to provision Fort Sumter, even if it should fail; and it is no small consolation now to feel that our anticipation is justified by the result."

Folks, that ought to be plain enough for anybody to understand.

Now Lincoln had his excuse for a war (assuming that he continued to lie his head off about it--which he did); but there was still no reason for him to believe that Congress would declare war against the South on his say-so.
In fact, there was every indication that they would not. So instead of obeying the Constitution and calling Congress into emergency session and asking them to declare war and to call up an army (which only Congress could do, under the Constitution), Lincoln simply declared war and called up an army himself--by naming the C.S.A.'s defense of its sovereignty in Charleston Harbor an "insurrection" against the U.S. government.

Lincoln did not call Congress into session until several months later--when his war had progressed so far that Congress could not then call it off, but as a practical matter would have to rubberstamp it.

So Lincoln started the War of Northern Aggression virtually single-handed.
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