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44632Re: Where the War REALLY was Won (and who won it)

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  • Ron Black
    Oct 8, 2007
      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "jbissla" <gabriel@...> wrote:
      >
      > The American Civil War Western Theater Discussion Group is a great
      > forum for the 600-plus men and women who see significance in what
      > happened westward from the Appalachians. Millions of other
      Americans,
      > however, STILL assume the "real war" occurred mostly in Virginia,
      and
      > Gettysburg was the war's turning point. For those of us who believe
      the
      > war's outcome was shaped in the Western Theater instead, the
      popular
      > lack of awareness is a kind of continuation of the insults
      Easterners
      > used to heap on Westerners ("armed rabble," "drunkards," etc.). I
      have
      > just joined the small group of writers who argue the war's outcome
      was
      > shaped in the Western Theater by Westerners while Easteners were
      > achieving no more than (as Richard McMurry puts it) "a bloody
      strategic
      > stalemate." The battlefields of Virginia and nearby were great for
      > creating widows and orphans, but until Grant came east, not much
      else
      > that might end the war. My new book, "Blood, Tears, and Glory: How
      > Ohioans Won the Civil War" (see wwww.orangefrazer.com/btg) makes
      the
      > argument from one point of view; I hope others will chime in with
      > theirs. James (Jim) Bissland
      >
      Jim:
      Your description between the western and the eastern theaters, I
      believe to be correct. The war was basically a war of stalemate in
      the east until Grant arrived and a war of manever in the west that
      continued to the end. The North Carolina campaign and the battle of
      Bentonville shows that the western armies were still marching. The
      western war I find more interesting but greatly under appreciated.
      The attention of the public to the eastern battlefields, the greater
      number of authors writing about the eastern war and the commerical
      success of the books and guided tours concerning the eastern area is
      frustrating. In the civil war magazines, about 80% of the advertised
      guided tours are all going east.
      However, those interested in the western war actually may hinder any
      attempts to increase interest in the western theater. They do this
      by promoting their special interest in local battles and small
      skirmishs while not considering the overall theater. The western
      theater was very vast, large, complicated and with difficult terrain
      and problems of manpower, supplies, armaments, transportation and
      communications. Its the efforts and attempts by the confederate
      goverment, state governors and leaders, and the military command and
      the movements of the armies to solve these problems that increases
      the interest in this area. Here, a campaign was featured by much
      marching, long time-factors and sharp fighting. The tactial problems
      presented by the events and movements create extremely interesting
      situations. This large area created strategic and tactial situations
      and campaigns that were of interest and is the offset to the short
      marchs and more frequent battles in the eastern stalemate. Also,
      there are areas that have been ignored by authors thus not creating
      interest in them, such as the Trans-Mississippi and eastern Tennessee
      areas. Both of strategic value. Many jewels of military planning,
      manevers and battles have been passed over.
      I guess, what I'm saying is that the western theater of operations is
      still a fertile field awaiting to be plowed while the field down the
      road to the east is all played out.
      Please allow me the opportunity to mention a complaint. I am very
      tired and upset about the large number of books about the battle of
      Gettysburg. How many times can you write about the same thing?
      Hope this has meaning for you.
      Ron
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