GDG- Lost Cause and Inevitibility

George Connell georgeconnell at
Mon Jan 23 10:55:57 CST 2012




On Jan 23, 2012, at 10:31 AM, CWMHTours at wrote:

> Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
> George-
> 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
> Peter  
> 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.)
> Regards,
> George
> 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 
> North 
>> 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 
> did, 
>> such resistance would be ineffectual. Most were certain that the UK and 
> France  
>> would come to the South's support because of their dependence on  "King 
> Cotton." 
>> There were some factual elements in this belief,  primarily the wealth of 
> the 
>> South and the fact that, unlike the US  government, they did not need to 
> regain 
>> control of territory and  populations. A lot of the rest of it was making 
> the 
>> fatal error of  believing their own propaganda, including their 
> portrayals of 
>> Lincoln  as an illiterate yahoo with apelike characteristics. One of the 
> most 
>> 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 
> the 
>> 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 
> longtime 
>> 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 
> only 
>> came up with as defeat stared them in the  face. The few pro-slavery 
> advocates 
>> 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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