GDG- Lost Cause and Inevitability
CWMHTours at aol.com
CWMHTours at aol.com
Mon Jan 23 15:07:30 CST 2012
"Failure of will of will in the South".
The concept is good, Jack, but in light of the situation in winter '65
wouldn't you say that it was obvious to everyone in the South, except for Jeff
Davis who had flies in his eyes, that the war was lost?
At some point, regardless of the strength of your will to fight, after
taking some bruising you eventually have to admit that you just can't win in
the face of the odds.
"Will to fight" had nothing to do with it in the South at the end of the
By that time staying in the fight for Southernors was almost a matter of
Hence the high level of desertion in Richmond/Petersburg, some 200 a day?
Circa/post Appomattox, the South DID have options. There was serious
consideration to just taking Johnston's and Lee's armies into the Appalachians
and beginning a REALLY BIG guerilla war. Which easily could have been done
and was quite a concern to the Union high command.
Jay Winik in his EXCELLENT book (Look! I am praising a book for a change)
"April 1865" Jay goes into the issues rather well. Loved his book and he
is a speaker not to be missed. A nice man. Professor at U. Md in College
To risk a HOOK(!) in jumping to the modern times George W. Bush read his
book, passed it onto his staff, and invited Jay to dinner at the White House
where he proceeded to pump his brain for perspective on insurgent/guerilla
Will to fight... You could enter a boxing ring to box with Michael Tyson
(THNX George) with the hughest-ever will-to-fight and once he beats the
crap out of you and you are lying on the canvas barely alive you can still
have the will to fight. Won't do you much good, tho.
"Just the facts, ma'am."
Your Most Obediant Servant
In a message dated 1/23/2012 2:15:59 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
jlawrence at kc.rr.com writes:
Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
>> We can never know. These are hypotheticals. My point is that the will
to fight is a practical matter, a matter of empirical experience, not an
abstract principle. The point some of us are making here is that, in
practice, there was nothing inevitable about Union victory because there
nothing inevitable about Union willingness to fight to the last man and
dollar (or anything near that). In fact a lot of evidence shows that a
more setbacks would have caused a voting majority of the north to throw in
the towel. Lincoln sure thought so in the summer of 1864. Grant feared
as late as the spring of 1865.
These Lincoln in defeat theorieare all conjectural hypothesis.
Using a more factual basis, Lincoln got 55% of the popular vote in the
(The common wisdom that after Atlanta fell, Lincoln's poistion improved.
This also is conjectural.
Most of the soldiers who went home to vote voted for Lincoln.
The country has a record of strong "peace" movements during wartime
with a reelecton of a sitting president
(don't count Wilson, do count Lincoln and the president during the
unpleasntness that occurred in the 1960's.
Lincoln was the first p[resodent who was reelected in 30 years or so.
Conversely, what is laways overlooked in this discussion is the failure of
will in the south.
The confederate armies had 275,000 men under arm at the time of
Even so, after Lee's surrender, the south folded like a cheap card table.
They had no will to fight.
They could have done it 4 years later and saved everyone a lot of trouble.
http://arthes.com/pipermail/gettysburg_arthes.com/ for Archives
More information about the Gettysburg