GDG- Lost Cause and Inevitability

John Lawrence jlawrence at
Mon Jan 23 15:36:06 CST 2012

I have April 1865. Some of the concept of my post was drawn from it.
As an aside, the real problem with the winter of 1865 was not availability or production. It was the utter failure of the failure of the Confederacy to ignore ii, during time of war. Plenty of foodstuffs were on hand in the tidewater areas, especially the neck.
But the basic thrust of my post was that the south had indeed lost it's desire for war. They just realized that they were getting out of that war what they were putting into it.
My favorite part bof the book is the sinking of the Sultan a, still described as the worst naval disaster in our history.

CWMHTours at wrote:

>Esteemed GDG Member Contributes:
>"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 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.
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