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Re: A "Proper" Defense in the West

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  • Hank Clark <clarkc@missouri.edu>
    ... The South attempted to fight a conventional war, maintain continuous lines and minimize their territorial losses. This method continued to the very end
    Message 1 of 59 , Feb 4, 2003
      --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "Dave Smith <dmsmith001@y...>"
      <dmsmith001@y...> wrote:
      > --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, Jfepperson@a... wrote:
      > > In a message dated 2/3/2003 7:51:03 PM Eastern Standard Time,
      > > dmsmith001@y... writes:
      >
      > >
      > > I'm not sure. I think the only viable physical line was the Ohio
      > > River,but I don't think that was viable in any sort of realistic
      > > way.
      > >

      The South attempted to fight a conventional war, maintain continuous
      lines and minimize their territorial losses. This method continued to
      the very end with no noticable strategic changes. It played right into
      Union strengths.

      The western theatre presented a daunting supply task for the USA; the
      CSA failed to exploit it. Railroad supply lines were especially long
      and vulnerable.

      Atlanta is often considered the key campaign in the war. There were no
      timetables and lillte sense of urgency in previous USA campaigns.
      Failure to capture this city leads to the election of McClellan and a
      negotiated peace.

      At some point after Shiloh and before Snake Creek Gap, if the South
      had adopted a strategy of large (5,000-10,000) cavalry forces preying
      on the long lines of communication and supply in Tennessee, they would
      have won the war.

      Four such units with Forrest, Van Dorn and even Wheeler and Morgan
      would have sufficed.

      Hard hitting raids destroying supply lines and depots are one part of
      the equation. The other is having a force large enough to *force* a
      counter-move and then mobile enough to depart in a hurry.


      HankC
    • Alan Smolinski
      Sustaining your army off enemy resources while preserving you own is very useful to your moral. Will wrote:Two
      Message 59 of 59 , Feb 7, 2003

        Sustaining your army off  enemy resources while preserving you own is very useful to your moral.

         "Will <wh_keene@...>" <wh_keene@...> wrote:

        Two thoughts in reaction to Madelon's question:

        1)  Offensive campaigns 'liberate' areas theoretically disposed to
        join the Confederacy (ie: Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri) or lost
        through previous advances of the enemy.

        2) Offensives campaign create opportunities to engage the enemy on
        your terms in his territory.  Victories in this situation could have
        much greater impact on the will of the enemy populace and thus
        greater political impact than defensive victories within one's own
        territory.

        ~Will


        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, meheatherington@j... wrote:
        > In light of Hank Clark's recent notion about the 'offensive' North
        and
        > the 'defensive' South, I have another question.
        >
        > If, with Hank, we stipulate that "all CSA successes were strictly
        > offensive" (whilst acknowledging that this is a mere stipulation,
        yes yes
        > the Hunley, torpedos, etc.), then what, really, did the South
        expect to
        > gain by taking the offensive?
        >
        > My understanding is that the Confederacy's oft-repeated political
        aim
        > (failing either European recognition or one grand knock-out Cannae
        that
        > would bring the North militarily to its knees) was simply to
        outwait the
        > Union, keep up the fighting for so long that squeamish Northern
        civilians
        > (apparently assumed to be less stout of heart than their Southern
        > counterparts) would sue for a cessation of hostilities, after which
        the
        > South would stagger away, content to be let alone.  Winning by
        > not-losing, so to speak; victory by endurance.
        >
        > So how does a flair for the offensive, with its glamor *and* its
        hideous
        > attrition rate, advance that rather low-keyed wait-'em-out grand
        > strategy?
        >
        > Or does anybody in the Southern high command think that far ahead?
        >
        > Regards,
        > Madelon


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