GDG- Lost Cause and Inevitibility

CWMHTours at CWMHTours at
Mon Jan 23 09:31:26 CST 2012

That is such a wonderful analogy!
May I have your consent to use it in my tours?
"Just  the facts, ma'am." 

Your Most Obediant Servant

In a message dated 1/23/2012 10:27:08 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
georgeconnell at writes:

Esteemed  GDG Member Contributes:
An analogy: if I were to pick a fight with Mike  Tyson I would lose unless 
he lost interest. 

Like all analogies, this  breaks down at some point, but any objective 
study of comparative war making  capabilities leads one to the conclusion that 
the North was going to win as  long as it maintained the will to fight. 

While there are occasional  exceptions, the outcome of modern symmetric 
warfare is determined by  resources, not by bravery, not by strategy, not by 
wacky racial theory. Hence  the rise of today's asymmetrical conflicts.

Interesting aside: in  "Desertion During the Civil War," Ella Lonn points 
out that one of seven Union  soldiers and one of nine Confederates deserted. 
(My thanks to Jack for putting  me on to this great little book.)



On  Jan 22, 2012, at 18:44, joadx1 at wrote:

> Esteemed GDG  Member Contributes:
> It is a challenge to add anything to Ms.  Blough's always accurate and 
complete explanations of things, but I would like  to try to add some related 
information to the southern sense of superiority  that she notes: this is 
the fact that southerners not only felt socially and  culturally superior to 
northerners but also racially superior.  As James  McPherson explains (with 
documented quotations) in Battle Cry of Freedom, the  south concocted a 
theory that the southern colonies were populated by  Norman-descended Cavaliers, 
while the New England Yankees were descended from  Saxon-descended Round 
Heads who were fit only for slavery.  Southern  rhetoric at the time was filled 
with master race echoes that went well beyond  justifications for chattel 
slavery.  They really did believe that one  "southron" could defeat ten (or 
more) "yankees."  This is why, as Ms.  Blough clearly explains, it was only 
when they were actually were forced to  face defeat that they suddenly 
"discovered" that they never had a  chance.
> This raises a somewhat related fact.  The  presentation of the southern 
fighting man virtually always completely ignores  some facts that the members 
of this group are well aware of: ie., that not  only did huge numbers of 
confederate soldiers desert the colors during the war  but that huge numbers 
of southern men resisted the military draft that Davis  instituted (before 
Lincoln ever did) because an insufficient number of  southerners were 
enlisting "to defend their homes."  More profoundly,  after the one year enlistments 
of the first rush of volunteers ran out, Lee  saw to it that their one year 
enlistment contracts were voided (talk about  abuse of individual liberty) 
and converted into enlistments for the duration  of the war.  If southern 
men were so intent on fighting to defend their  homes and families, they would 
not have needed to be forced to do so through  conscription and the forced 
conversion of their original enlistments.
> In short, any version of the war that presents the Civil War as some  
sort of Wagnerian grand opera, with Lee in the role of Sigfried and with the  
south suffering some sort of inevitable Götterdämmerung against the evil  
Yankee frost giants who were destined to win anyway, not only ignores the less  
romantic facts of the case but has a Lost Cause air to it.
> -----Original Message-----
> From:  Margaret D. Blough <mdblough1 at>
> To: GDG  <gettysburg at>
> Sent: Sun, Jan 22, 2012 2:58 pm
>  Subject: Re: GDG- Lost Cause and Inevitibility
>  Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
> George- 
>  Many, if not most, secessionists did not see the slave states as being 
at any  
> disadvantage economically or militarily. The antebellum South was  
wealthy, both 
> in slaves and "King Cotton", and it saw itself as  superior socially and 
> culturally to the "mudsills and greasy  mechanics" and foreigners of the 
> and certainly superior in  military talent. They did not believe the 
North could 
> get itself  together enough to resist and they believed that, even if it 
>  such resistance would be ineffectual. Most were certain that the UK and 
> would come to the South's support because of their dependence on  "King 
> There were some factual elements in this belief,  primarily the wealth of 
> South and the fact that, unlike the US  government, they did not need to 
> control of territory and  populations. A lot of the rest of it was making 
> fatal error of  believing their own propaganda, including their 
portrayals of 
> Lincoln  as an illiterate yahoo with apelike characteristics. One of the 
>  unexpected and movingly courageous episodes in Stephen Douglas's life 
was when  
> he toured the South during the presidential campaign of 1860. It was  NOT 
> done thing for presidential candidates to campaign then and,  by the time 
he did 
> it, it was clear that he could not possibly win.  Douglas not only 
strongly urged 
> the slave states not to attempt  secession but not to underestimate his 
> rival. 
> The reason that the "overwhelming resources" belief will get  you 
associated with 
> the Lost Cause is that it was an explanation that  Confederate supporters 
> came up with as defeat stared them in the  face. The few pro-slavery 
> who argued against secession and  refused to discount the US government 
and its 
> will and ability to  fight were ignored. 
> Regards, 
> Margaret 
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