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[The Civil War], HOOH! What was it good for?

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    override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    The union wasn't half as commited to that war as the CSA was though. If the Union citizenry had gone full tilt into that thing it would have been a much more rapid victory.

    Plus a society where nearly half of your citizens are slaves is not sustainable in any way. It will inevitably lead to an absurdly violent revolution.

    override367 on
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    LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Dis' wrote: »
    Why assume a world with a lack of civil war would produce the same World War conflicts? With a Confederacy assisting Napoleon III might succeed in Mexico and not fall for Bismarcks gambit, leading to no Franco-Prussian war or WWI as we knew it.

    You cannot assuage your horror at the violence and say the Civil War prevented a worse war later on, history is much too chaotic (in the sense of producing nonlinear results from very small effect) to predict like that.

    Except that there had already been at least one proxy war between the North and the South in "Bloody Kansas" before the Civil War, meaning that the process of westward expansion would have made war between the Union and the Confederacy inevitable.

    A war in which the confederacy, with a population 1/4 that of the union and only a tiny fraction of the infrastructure, would have lost just as badly

    I've seen it said here that if the war was later the confederacy could have won. I seriously doubt this, the confederacy was at such an absurd disadvantage to begin with.

    They could have won if it were earlier, later is speculation though the Union probably wins. But it would have been bloodier. Would have been awful if there were full machine guns involved and trench warfare.

    The thing is the Confederacy very nearly forced a peace twice.

    That was due to Union incompetence more so than anything the Confederacy had to offer as a central government.

    I do wonder if the Confederacy would have remained an actual Confederacy for any length of time if the Civil War hadn't broken out or wound up as a negotiated tie, since holy crap were they dysfunctional as a national government.

    Lawndart on
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    a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Lawndart wrote: »
    Dis' wrote: »
    Why assume a world with a lack of civil war would produce the same World War conflicts? With a Confederacy assisting Napoleon III might succeed in Mexico and not fall for Bismarcks gambit, leading to no Franco-Prussian war or WWI as we knew it.

    You cannot assuage your horror at the violence and say the Civil War prevented a worse war later on, history is much too chaotic (in the sense of producing nonlinear results from very small effect) to predict like that.

    Except that there had already been at least one proxy war between the North and the South in "Bloody Kansas" before the Civil War, meaning that the process of westward expansion would have made war between the Union and the Confederacy inevitable.

    A war in which the confederacy, with a population 1/4 that of the union and only a tiny fraction of the infrastructure, would have lost just as badly

    I've seen it said here that if the war was later the confederacy could have won. I seriously doubt this, the confederacy was at such an absurd disadvantage to begin with.

    They could have won if it were earlier, later is speculation though the Union probably wins. But it would have been bloodier. Would have been awful if there were full machine guns involved and trench warfare.

    The thing is the Confederacy very nearly forced a peace twice.

    That was due to Union incompetence more so than anything the Confederacy had to offer as a central government.

    I do wonder if the Confederacy would have remained an actual Confederacy for any length of time if the Civil War hadn't broken out or wound up as a negotiated tie, since holy crap were they dysfunctional as a national government.

    The initial government from the 1776 revolution was pretty dysfunctional as well. I think the CSA would have created a stronger central government if it had survived the war and had a decade or so to figure it out. I'm not sure Texas would have stayed in the CSA, though.

    a5ehren on
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    BubbaTBubbaT Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    The union wasn't half as commited to that war as the CSA was though. If the Union citizenry had gone full tilt into that thing it would have been a much more rapid victory.

    Plus a society where nearly half of your citizens are slaves is not sustainable in any way. It will inevitably lead to an absurdly violent revolution.

    It wasn't a lack of commitment on the North's part, it was incompetence by military leadership - McClellan, Meade, Burnside, etc. The North enjoyed field advantages in size and equipment from the start.

    The best thing for the North would have been for the Civil War to take place in the 1840s, Lincoln or no Lincoln. Winfield Scott would have kicked the tar out of Lee, Jackson, Johnston, Longstreet, or any other Southern general - after all, it was Scott who taught a lot of CW generals everything they knew. Heck, the North would've been better off listening to Scott's Anaconda Plan in 1861, instead of laughing him into retirement and then end up using it anyways 3 years later to end the war.

    BubbaT on
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    enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    BubbaT wrote: »
    The union wasn't half as commited to that war as the CSA was though. If the Union citizenry had gone full tilt into that thing it would have been a much more rapid victory.

    Plus a society where nearly half of your citizens are slaves is not sustainable in any way. It will inevitably lead to an absurdly violent revolution.

    It wasn't a lack of commitment on the North's part, it was incompetence by military leadership - McClellan, Meade, Burnside, etc. The North enjoyed field advantages in size and equipment from the start.

    The best thing for the North would have been for the Civil War to take place in the 1840s, Lincoln or no Lincoln. Winfield Scott would have kicked the tar out of Lee, Jackson, Johnston, Longstreet, or any other Southern general - after all, it was Scott who taught a lot of CW generals everything they knew. Heck, the North would've been better off listening to Scott's Anaconda Plan in 1861, instead of laughing him into retirement and then end up using it anyways 3 years later to end the war.

    The non-Polk leadership would have caved to Southern demands though and let them leave.

    enlightenedbum on
    Self-righteousness is incompatible with coalition building.
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    LionLion Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    It is depressing to think that a war killing a million people was necessary to prevent even worse wars in the future.

    So why think of it in those terms? The Civil War happened and every subsequent generation of minorities, in whatever race and gender and sexual orientation, has benefited.

    Arguments against the Civil War always presume an end to slavery and a seeming want to believe that everything will work out in the end like it has for us. And by everything I mean, women's suffrage, the civil right's movement, and every battle before, in between, and after for people that aren't white males.

    So I will ask the people that argue against war, when do people who aren't non-white males get those inalienable rights?

    Lion on
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    Kipling217Kipling217 Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Lion wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    It is depressing to think that a war killing a million people was necessary to prevent even worse wars in the future.

    So why think of it in those terms? The Civil War happened and every subsequent generation of minorities, in whatever race and gender and sexual orientation, has benefited.

    Arguments against the Civil War always presume an end to slavery and a seeming want to believe that everything will work out in the end like it has for us. And by everything I mean, women's suffrage, the civil right's movement, and every battle before, in between, and after for people that aren't white males.

    So I will ask the people that argue against war, when do people who aren't non-white males get those inalienable rights?

    When they stop being so upity as to ask for them of course!

    Kipling217 on
    The sky was full of stars, every star an exploding ship. One of ours.
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    Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    BubbaT wrote: »
    The union wasn't half as commited to that war as the CSA was though. If the Union citizenry had gone full tilt into that thing it would have been a much more rapid victory.

    Plus a society where nearly half of your citizens are slaves is not sustainable in any way. It will inevitably lead to an absurdly violent revolution.

    It wasn't a lack of commitment on the North's part, it was incompetence by military leadership - McClellan, Meade, Burnside, etc. The North enjoyed field advantages in size and equipment from the start.

    A little bit of column A, a little bit of column B. If the North had utilized the same percentage of its resources as the South did, you'd see the war get over much more rapidly; incompetent leaders or not, it's almost impossible to squander an advantage that big. Likewise for the incompetence of the leaders. If we had had generals equal to the South's right at the beginning, it would never have lasted as long or been such a one sided Southern show for the first few years.

    There was also a disadvantage in that man vs man, a Southerner was a better fighter than a Northerner. Hunting was a very popular sport in the South... Not so much in the North. Same with riding. So a typical Southerner had the advantage of already having experience shooting a gun, or riding a horse (although that's only applicable to cavalry, which was much better than the Northern counterpart).

    Solomaxwell6 on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Lion wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    It is depressing to think that a war killing a million people was necessary to prevent even worse wars in the future.

    So why think of it in those terms? The Civil War happened and every subsequent generation of minorities, in whatever race and gender and sexual orientation, has benefited.

    Arguments against the Civil War always presume an end to slavery and a seeming want to believe that everything will work out in the end like it has for us. And by everything I mean, women's suffrage, the civil right's movement, and every battle before, in between, and after for people that aren't white males.

    So I will ask the people that argue against war, when do people who aren't non-white males get those inalienable rights?
    I think it is pretty safe to say, honestly, that my near-total opposition to wars at this point basically rests on what amounts to "faith" that humanity has a natural tendency towards moral progress.

    I suppose I've never thought of the possibility that war can be a "generator" of that progress.

    Qingu on
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    enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    Lion wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    It is depressing to think that a war killing a million people was necessary to prevent even worse wars in the future.

    So why think of it in those terms? The Civil War happened and every subsequent generation of minorities, in whatever race and gender and sexual orientation, has benefited.

    Arguments against the Civil War always presume an end to slavery and a seeming want to believe that everything will work out in the end like it has for us. And by everything I mean, women's suffrage, the civil right's movement, and every battle before, in between, and after for people that aren't white males.

    So I will ask the people that argue against war, when do people who aren't non-white males get those inalienable rights?
    I think it is pretty safe to say, honestly, that my near-total opposition to wars at this point basically rests on what amounts to "faith" that humanity has a natural tendency towards moral progress.

    I suppose I've never thought of the possibility that war can be a "generator" of that progress.

    The technological progress from war alone should be enough to rid you of that notion.

    enlightenedbum on
    Self-righteousness is incompatible with coalition building.
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    override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Qingu wrote: »
    Lion wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    It is depressing to think that a war killing a million people was necessary to prevent even worse wars in the future.

    So why think of it in those terms? The Civil War happened and every subsequent generation of minorities, in whatever race and gender and sexual orientation, has benefited.

    Arguments against the Civil War always presume an end to slavery and a seeming want to believe that everything will work out in the end like it has for us. And by everything I mean, women's suffrage, the civil right's movement, and every battle before, in between, and after for people that aren't white males.

    So I will ask the people that argue against war, when do people who aren't non-white males get those inalienable rights?
    I think it is pretty safe to say, honestly, that my near-total opposition to wars at this point basically rests on what amounts to "faith" that humanity has a natural tendency towards moral progress.

    I suppose I've never thought of the possibility that war can be a "generator" of that progress.

    The war didn't so much generate that progress as much as it deprived those who were actively halting it from having any political power.

    Like if we could have a war on Republicans today, and we won, society would progress. Not because society would get more progressive, but because the biggest obstacle towards progress would be out of the way.

    override367 on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    It's not like anyone here is championing war as a wonderful thing.

    There is just the matter of lesser and greater evils.

    Incenjucar on
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    ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2010
    BubbaT wrote: »
    The union wasn't half as commited to that war as the CSA was though. If the Union citizenry had gone full tilt into that thing it would have been a much more rapid victory.

    Plus a society where nearly half of your citizens are slaves is not sustainable in any way. It will inevitably lead to an absurdly violent revolution.

    It wasn't a lack of commitment on the North's part, it was incompetence by military leadership - McClellan, Meade, Burnside, etc. The North enjoyed field advantages in size and equipment from the start.

    A little bit of column A, a little bit of column B. If the North had utilized the same percentage of its resources as the South did, you'd see the war get over much more rapidly; incompetent leaders or not, it's almost impossible to squander an advantage that big. Likewise for the incompetence of the leaders. If we had had generals equal to the South's right at the beginning, it would never have lasted as long or been such a one sided Southern show for the first few years.

    There was also a disadvantage in that man vs man, a Southerner was a better fighter than a Northerner. Hunting was a very popular sport in the South... Not so much in the North. Same with riding. So a typical Southerner had the advantage of already having experience shooting a gun, or riding a horse (although that's only applicable to cavalry, which was much better than the Northern counterpart).

    Of course, ruggedness doesn't help much once your enemy invents Land Ironclads and... bicycles?

    Honestly, the only thing more amazing that H. . Wells' prescience is how he was able to keep it up while never being close to the mark on the tech behind it.

    Scalfin on
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    PantsBPantsB Fake Thomas Jefferson Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    BubbaT wrote: »
    The union wasn't half as commited to that war as the CSA was though. If the Union citizenry had gone full tilt into that thing it would have been a much more rapid victory.

    Plus a society where nearly half of your citizens are slaves is not sustainable in any way. It will inevitably lead to an absurdly violent revolution.

    It wasn't a lack of commitment on the North's part, it was incompetence by military leadership - McClellan, Meade, Burnside, etc. The North enjoyed field advantages in size and equipment from the start.

    The best thing for the North would have been for the Civil War to take place in the 1840s, Lincoln or no Lincoln. Winfield Scott would have kicked the tar out of Lee, Jackson, Johnston, Longstreet, or any other Southern general - after all, it was Scott who taught a lot of CW generals everything they knew. Heck, the North would've been better off listening to Scott's Anaconda Plan in 1861, instead of laughing him into retirement and then end up using it anyways 3 years later to end the war.

    The non-Polk leadership would have caved to Southern demands though and let them leave.

    And Polk was a southern slave owner.

    The only was the South was ever going to win the Civil War was if the North decided it wasn't worth fighting. In the 1840s, they very well could have won but they likely wouldn't have seceded because they already pushed around the White House. An election of a strong non-Southern puppet was even the trigger for secession. And Lincoln was never going to sue for peace. If the war had gone worse, Lincoln lost in 1864 and the new President was less pro-war than the actual nominee (McClellan) purported to be, maybe the Confederacy could have won independence. But I tend to discount the doomsayer's claims about how close the Confederacy came to prevailing.

    PantsB on
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    enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    PantsB wrote: »
    BubbaT wrote: »
    The union wasn't half as commited to that war as the CSA was though. If the Union citizenry had gone full tilt into that thing it would have been a much more rapid victory.

    Plus a society where nearly half of your citizens are slaves is not sustainable in any way. It will inevitably lead to an absurdly violent revolution.

    It wasn't a lack of commitment on the North's part, it was incompetence by military leadership - McClellan, Meade, Burnside, etc. The North enjoyed field advantages in size and equipment from the start.

    The best thing for the North would have been for the Civil War to take place in the 1840s, Lincoln or no Lincoln. Winfield Scott would have kicked the tar out of Lee, Jackson, Johnston, Longstreet, or any other Southern general - after all, it was Scott who taught a lot of CW generals everything they knew. Heck, the North would've been better off listening to Scott's Anaconda Plan in 1861, instead of laughing him into retirement and then end up using it anyways 3 years later to end the war.

    The non-Polk leadership would have caved to Southern demands though and let them leave.

    And Polk was a southern slave owner.

    The only was the South was ever going to win the Civil War was if the North decided it wasn't worth fighting. In the 1840s, they very well could have won but they likely wouldn't have seceded because they already pushed around the White House. An election of a strong non-Southern puppet was even the trigger for secession. And Lincoln was never going to sue for peace. If the war had gone worse, Lincoln lost in 1864 and the new President was less pro-war than the actual nominee (McClellan) purported to be, maybe the Confederacy could have won independence. But I tend to discount the doomsayer's claims about how close the Confederacy came to prevailing.

    If the Confederacy wins at Antietam there's a strong chance the British and French at least break the blockade.

    Alternately if Lee doesn't charge into doom at Gettysberg they get between the Union Army and DC and things get dicey.

    enlightenedbum on
    Self-righteousness is incompatible with coalition building.
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    Kipling217Kipling217 Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    The chance of the British and the French intervening was never as big as people think it was. The elites might have wanted to play power politics, but the regular people would have opposed it. Its not like Slavery was a popular institution in Europe at the time. Comunist and Anarchist agitators would have gone apeshits at the idea their goverment supporting the south.

    Nor was it like Britain and France where best buds at the time. They where rivals in Africa and Europe. Getting both of them on the same side would have been hard.

    Kipling217 on
    The sky was full of stars, every star an exploding ship. One of ours.
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    enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Kipling217 wrote: »
    The chance of the British and the French intervening was never as big as people think it was. The elites might have wanted to play power politics, but the regular people would have opposed it. Its not like Slavery was a popular institution in Europe at the time. Comunist and Anarchist agitators would have gone apeshits at the idea their goverment supporting the south.

    Nor was it like Britain and France where best buds at the time. They where rivals in Africa and Europe. Getting both of them on the same side would have been hard.

    I'm of the opinion that the British and French governments (and their people) didn't give a shit about morality and were ends (getting the British or French fantastically rich) justify the means type people. So if it looked feasible, they would cripple the Monroe Doctrine by siding with the Confederacy and then go hog wild in Latin America.

    I'm cynical about brutal imperial powers.

    enlightenedbum on
    Self-righteousness is incompatible with coalition building.
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    Kipling217Kipling217 Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Kipling217 wrote: »
    The chance of the British and the French intervening was never as big as people think it was. The elites might have wanted to play power politics, but the regular people would have opposed it. Its not like Slavery was a popular institution in Europe at the time. Comunist and Anarchist agitators would have gone apeshits at the idea their goverment supporting the south.

    Nor was it like Britain and France where best buds at the time. They where rivals in Africa and Europe. Getting both of them on the same side would have been hard.

    I'm of the opinion that the British and French governments (and their people) didn't give a shit about morality and were ends (getting the British or French fantastically rich) justify the means type people. So if it looked feasible, they would cripple the Monroe Doctrine by siding with the Confederacy and then go hog wild in Latin America.

    I'm cynical about brutal imperial powers.

    While I certainly agree with you on the goverments, I disagree with you on the people. This was the time of the Paris commune and widespread unrest. Outright support for the South would trigger have riots amongst the common people, especialy in Britain which got 40% of its corn from the Union(not to mention got several fat contracts for union weapons).

    Imagine a Britain that declares its support for the Confederacy, then imagine how pissed of the people are going to be when Food prices go skyhigh as a result.

    Kipling217 on
    The sky was full of stars, every star an exploding ship. One of ours.
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    enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Kipling217 wrote: »
    Kipling217 wrote: »
    The chance of the British and the French intervening was never as big as people think it was. The elites might have wanted to play power politics, but the regular people would have opposed it. Its not like Slavery was a popular institution in Europe at the time. Comunist and Anarchist agitators would have gone apeshits at the idea their goverment supporting the south.

    Nor was it like Britain and France where best buds at the time. They where rivals in Africa and Europe. Getting both of them on the same side would have been hard.

    I'm of the opinion that the British and French governments (and their people) didn't give a shit about morality and were ends (getting the British or French fantastically rich) justify the means type people. So if it looked feasible, they would cripple the Monroe Doctrine by siding with the Confederacy and then go hog wild in Latin America.

    I'm cynical about brutal imperial powers.

    While I certainly agree with you on the goverments, I disagree with you on the people. This was the time of the Paris commune and widespread unrest. Outright support for the South would trigger have riots amongst the common people, especialy in Britain which got 40% of its corn from the Union(not to mention got several fat contracts for union weapons).

    Imagine a Britain that declares its support for the Confederacy, then imagine how pissed of the people are going to be when Food prices go skyhigh as a result.

    And I suspect a populace that didn't give a damn what the British crown was doing in India and Africa wouldn't give a damn about supporting a slave society. Also I suspect something would happen with food similar to what happened with cotton the British could no longer get from the Confederacy.

    enlightenedbum on
    Self-righteousness is incompatible with coalition building.
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    BubbaTBubbaT Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    BubbaT wrote: »
    The union wasn't half as commited to that war as the CSA was though. If the Union citizenry had gone full tilt into that thing it would have been a much more rapid victory.

    Plus a society where nearly half of your citizens are slaves is not sustainable in any way. It will inevitably lead to an absurdly violent revolution.

    It wasn't a lack of commitment on the North's part, it was incompetence by military leadership - McClellan, Meade, Burnside, etc. The North enjoyed field advantages in size and equipment from the start.

    A little bit of column A, a little bit of column B. If the North had utilized the same percentage of its resources as the South did, you'd see the war get over much more rapidly; incompetent leaders or not, it's almost impossible to squander an advantage that big. Likewise for the incompetence of the leaders. If we had had generals equal to the South's right at the beginning, it would never have lasted as long or been such a one sided Southern show for the first few years.

    There was also a disadvantage in that man vs man, a Southerner was a better fighter than a Northerner. Hunting was a very popular sport in the South... Not so much in the North. Same with riding. So a typical Southerner had the advantage of already having experience shooting a gun, or riding a horse (although that's only applicable to cavalry, which was much better than the Northern counterpart).

    The per-man advantage of the Confederates was partially a result of the Union not following Scott's advice of forcing the South to defend the entire Confederacy. Instead, the decision to go with a quick land-only campaign to Richmond allowed the CSA to concentrate their best troops into a single area.

    At the same time Lee's Army of Northern Virginia was taking it to the Union at Fredricksburg and Chancellorsville, his fellow Confederates were getting their tails handed to them in the Western theater. Grant, whenever he could get out from under the thumb of the McClellanite Halleck, was slicing and dicing his way through Tennessee - and not against a chump CSA general either in Johnston. Shouldn't the western Confederates have also been crack shots that out-fought the Union troops?

    Leadership also exacerbated the gulf between the two armies' cavalry quality. The South allowed cavalry officers to bring servants/slaves to maintain their horses. The North demanded that each cavalryman maintain his own horse. Northerners who had experience with horses knew that caring for them was a pain in the ass, and elected instead to take non-cavalry roles.

    BubbaT on
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    Kipling217Kipling217 Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Its not like the general populace knew what the goverment did in Africa or India. The US would have been different, it would have had a large English speaking population and several newspapers. US propaganda would have soured a lot of people on the war really quick. Its one thing doing horrible things to darkies in the ass end of nowhere, its another to do so to white people(I get the double standard).

    Plus 40% of the basic food supply is not nothing. I cannot think of a easy replacement for such a loss. Especialy with the US retaliating against British Canada the first chance they got. The British texile industry never did get enough from other sources to completly replace Southern cotton and had to have layoffs as a result. When it comes to food suplies.... lets just say layoffs are not an option.

    Kipling217 on
    The sky was full of stars, every star an exploding ship. One of ours.
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    Pi-r8Pi-r8 Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    PantsB wrote: »
    BubbaT wrote: »
    The union wasn't half as commited to that war as the CSA was though. If the Union citizenry had gone full tilt into that thing it would have been a much more rapid victory.

    Plus a society where nearly half of your citizens are slaves is not sustainable in any way. It will inevitably lead to an absurdly violent revolution.

    It wasn't a lack of commitment on the North's part, it was incompetence by military leadership - McClellan, Meade, Burnside, etc. The North enjoyed field advantages in size and equipment from the start.

    The best thing for the North would have been for the Civil War to take place in the 1840s, Lincoln or no Lincoln. Winfield Scott would have kicked the tar out of Lee, Jackson, Johnston, Longstreet, or any other Southern general - after all, it was Scott who taught a lot of CW generals everything they knew. Heck, the North would've been better off listening to Scott's Anaconda Plan in 1861, instead of laughing him into retirement and then end up using it anyways 3 years later to end the war.

    The non-Polk leadership would have caved to Southern demands though and let them leave.

    And Polk was a southern slave owner.

    The only was the South was ever going to win the Civil War was if the North decided it wasn't worth fighting. In the 1840s, they very well could have won but they likely wouldn't have seceded because they already pushed around the White House. An election of a strong non-Southern puppet was even the trigger for secession. And Lincoln was never going to sue for peace. If the war had gone worse, Lincoln lost in 1864 and the new President was less pro-war than the actual nominee (McClellan) purported to be, maybe the Confederacy could have won independence. But I tend to discount the doomsayer's claims about how close the Confederacy came to prevailing.
    It seems like, if they had been really fanatical about gaining their independence, they would have switched to guerrilla warfare. There's no way the north could have put down a really determined guerrilla force.

    Pi-r8 on
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    Dis'Dis' Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Kipling217 wrote: »
    Kipling217 wrote: »
    The chance of the British and the French intervening was never as big as people think it was. The elites might have wanted to play power politics, but the regular people would have opposed it. Its not like Slavery was a popular institution in Europe at the time. Comunist and Anarchist agitators would have gone apeshits at the idea their goverment supporting the south.

    Nor was it like Britain and France where best buds at the time. They where rivals in Africa and Europe. Getting both of them on the same side would have been hard.

    I'm of the opinion that the British and French governments (and their people) didn't give a shit about morality and were ends (getting the British or French fantastically rich) justify the means type people. So if it looked feasible, they would cripple the Monroe Doctrine by siding with the Confederacy and then go hog wild in Latin America.

    I'm cynical about brutal imperial powers.

    While I certainly agree with you on the goverments, I disagree with you on the people. This was the time of the Paris commune and widespread unrest. Outright support for the South would trigger have riots amongst the common people, especialy in Britain which got 40% of its corn from the Union(not to mention got several fat contracts for union weapons).

    Imagine a Britain that declares its support for the Confederacy, then imagine how pissed of the people are going to be when Food prices go skyhigh as a result.

    And I suspect a populace that didn't give a damn what the British crown was doing in India and Africa wouldn't give a damn about supporting a slave society. Also I suspect something would happen with food similar to what happened with cotton the British could no longer get from the Confederacy.

    Well a) this is long before anything much happened with Africa, and b) people did care enormously what happened with India - you had people picketing parliament to abolish the East India Company and people horrified over the Mutiny. So much so that the government took over India from the company in 1867 and severely reduced the level of dickishness allowed (Things got worse later on though).

    People like to project the 'High Imperialism' of WWI backwards, but that kind of thing really only became fashionable in the 1880-90s.

    Though on the other hand Britain and France were rich - they'd just buy Polish and South American grain, and the starving would be displaced to southern Europe.

    Also the Monroe doctrine? Yeah that was enforced by British gunships at the time, the US having the piddlist of navys, and British finance was already arse deep in Latin America and France was actively invading Mexico. The Monroe doctrine worked by Britain keeping the other Europeans out, as Britain preferred informal control anyway, and America having leverage over Britain with the ability to invade Canada and the Caribbean.

    You can be cynical all you like but neither of the Great Powers would have had any reason or will to support the confederacy unless the Union does something really dumb.
    Kipling217 wrote: »
    Its not like the general populace knew what the goverment did in Africa or India. The US would have been different, it would have had a large English speaking population and several newspapers. US propaganda would have soured a lot of people on the war really quick. Its one thing doing horrible things to darkies in the ass end of nowhere, its another to do so to white people(I get the double standard).

    Plus 40% of the basic food supply is not nothing. I cannot think of a easy replacement for such a loss. Especialy with the US retaliating against British Canada the first chance they got. The British texile industry never did get enough from other sources to completly replace Southern cotton and had to have layoffs as a result. When it comes to food suplies.... lets just say layoffs are not an option.

    That's not right, they were easily able to replace American cotton with Egyptian (though American was cheaper and when the war ended the Egyptian economy collapsed), and they had huge stockpiles for precisely this reason.

    Dis' on
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    MalaysianShrewMalaysianShrew Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Would a crumbling south be better for slaves, though? Reconstruction for blacks or whites who were nice to blacks was bad. But I feel like the slow decay of the way of life for well off white southerners would have caused them to be even more draconian and horrific in their methods of slavery enforcement.

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    RedTideRedTide Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Would a crumbling south be better for slaves, though? Reconstruction for blacks or whites who were nice to blacks was bad. But I feel like the slow decay of the way of life for well off white southerners would have caused them to be even more draconian and horrific in their methods of slavery enforcement.

    The idea that a mentality of "We need slavery now more then ever!" prevailing over "Hey this isn't working anymore!" doesn't exactly seem too far fetched.

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    SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I admit I don't know a whole lot about post civil war history, but I tend to think that only the union winning the civil war, or the complete collapse of the confederate states, would have ended slavery. It seems like it had become far more entrenched than just a purely economic decision. Being a plantation owner and owning a bunch of slaves seems like it was the 'southern dream' that people aspired to.

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    JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited March 2010
    There was also a disadvantage in that man vs man, a Southerner was a better fighter than a Northerner. Hunting was a very popular sport in the South... Not so much in the North. Same with riding. So a typical Southerner had the advantage of already having experience shooting a gun, or riding a horse (although that's only applicable to cavalry, which was much better than the Northern counterpart).

    This is a popular myth that has been debunked since at least the 1960s; any advantage enjoyed by the South is easily accounted for by their being on the defensive, often in entrenched positions and close to home. As I understand it, statistically speaking, the North actually performed slightly better than an army on the offensive could be expected to.

    Just as every Southerner was not a pipe-smoking plantation owner, nor were they all Jed Clampett pegging squirrels at two hundred yards. A "typical" Southerner was not significantly more likely to own a gun or a horse - horses were fucking expensive and most people who owned them worked them, not rode them - than a typical Northerner. This whole meme is revisionist mythmaking designed to paint the picture that the Union Army was composed of weird city folk, gullible furriners, and other not-real-Americans.

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    Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Alexandria, VARegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    jacobkosh wrote: »
    There was also a disadvantage in that man vs man, a Southerner was a better fighter than a Northerner. Hunting was a very popular sport in the South... Not so much in the North. Same with riding. So a typical Southerner had the advantage of already having experience shooting a gun, or riding a horse (although that's only applicable to cavalry, which was much better than the Northern counterpart).

    This is a popular myth that has been debunked since at least the 1960s; any advantage enjoyed by the South is easily accounted for by their being on the defensive, often in entrenched positions and close to home. As I understand it, statistically speaking, the North actually performed slightly better than an army on the offensive could be expected to.

    Just as every Southerner was not a pipe-smoking plantation owner, nor were they all Jed Clampett pegging squirrels at two hundred yards. A "typical" Southerner was not significantly more likely to own a gun or a horse - horses were fucking expensive and most people who owned them worked them, not rode them - than a typical Northerner. This whole meme is revisionist mythmaking designed to paint the picture that the Union Army was composed of weird city folk, gullible furriners, and other not-real-Americans.
    Plus, it seems like hunting and shooting a deer on your own and shooting a Yankee as part of a regiment are two very different things, and having done one won't really help with doing the other.

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    JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited March 2010
    Plus, it seems like hunting and shooting a deer on your own and shooting a Yankee as part of a regiment are two very different things, and having done one won't really help with doing the other.

    That too, yeah. It's a really silly facile notion when you examine it.

    I think what did hurt the US was so much of the officer corps being from the South. Of course that's probably what happens when you make your elite military academy a school for the sons of obscenely rich landowners and then fight a war against those selfsame obscenely rich landowners.

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    BubbaTBubbaT Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    PantsB wrote: »
    BubbaT wrote: »
    The union wasn't half as commited to that war as the CSA was though. If the Union citizenry had gone full tilt into that thing it would have been a much more rapid victory.

    Plus a society where nearly half of your citizens are slaves is not sustainable in any way. It will inevitably lead to an absurdly violent revolution.

    It wasn't a lack of commitment on the North's part, it was incompetence by military leadership - McClellan, Meade, Burnside, etc. The North enjoyed field advantages in size and equipment from the start.

    The best thing for the North would have been for the Civil War to take place in the 1840s, Lincoln or no Lincoln. Winfield Scott would have kicked the tar out of Lee, Jackson, Johnston, Longstreet, or any other Southern general - after all, it was Scott who taught a lot of CW generals everything they knew. Heck, the North would've been better off listening to Scott's Anaconda Plan in 1861, instead of laughing him into retirement and then end up using it anyways 3 years later to end the war.

    The non-Polk leadership would have caved to Southern demands though and let them leave.

    And Polk was a southern slave owner.

    Polk was a slaveowner, but no secessionist. He endorse Andrew Jackson's "Force Bill", which authorized the President to use the army against South Carolina in the Nullification Crisis.

    Tyler was the traitor.

    The rest of the 40s Presidents, while maybe not all pro-North, are definitely pro-Union.
    - Taylor was a slaveowner, but said he would personally lead the army against any anti-Union rebellion, and hang any traitors he caught with less reservation than spies and deserters during the Mexican War.
    - Van Buren, being the consumate politician, I can't see allowing the federal government to be neutered - as shown by his pro-federal stance regarding nullification. By the late 1840s he was a Free Soil-er and would later back Lincoln.
    - Harrison, in his only executive experience as governor of Indiana, was pro-slavery but I'm not aware of any evidence that he willing to secede over it.

    But I was mostly speaking of "better" in military terms. Polk/Scott would have been a more effective duo against the South than Lincoln/Grant. In addition, without the Mexican War Confederate officers like Lee would have considerably less experience. You'd also have less loss of life in the 1840s due to the tactics more closely matching the weaponry. Many of the Civil War's massive casualty counts were a result of using tactics designed for smoothbore muskets when everybody had rifles and Minie balls. Soldiers were still making massed open-field charges against entrenched defensive lines like it was Waterloo or something.

    The 1840s Presidents likely didn't have the strength of will that Lincoln did, but they wouldn't have needed it as much because the war would have been easier to win. As long as they weren't traitors like Tyler, I think they could have held the Union together.

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    Roland_tHTGRoland_tHTG Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    The Civil War was good for keeping our country together so we could whip the Germans when WWII came about.

    As far as the slavery issue goes, it obviously helped the country get to where it was at the time of the war, but was an outdated concept that had reached the end of its usefulness and should have been abolished sooner.

    Now, if only we could free the slaves of today throughout the country and the rest of the world.

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    Kipling217Kipling217 Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    If we are going to talk shitty presidents James Buchanan needs to have his grave pissed on.

    Worst president ever...

    Even worse then Bush/Clinton(pick your own).

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    Alistair HuttonAlistair Hutton Dr EdinburghRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    jacobkosh wrote: »
    There was also a disadvantage in that man vs man, a Southerner was a better fighter than a Northerner. Hunting was a very popular sport in the South... Not so much in the North. Same with riding. So a typical Southerner had the advantage of already having experience shooting a gun, or riding a horse (although that's only applicable to cavalry, which was much better than the Northern counterpart).

    This is a popular myth that has been debunked since at least the 1960s; any advantage enjoyed by the South is easily accounted for by their being on the defensive, often in entrenched positions and close to home. As I understand it, statistically speaking, the North actually performed slightly better than an army on the offensive could be expected to.

    The other reason for Confederate advantage in performance was brigade and battalion organisation. Union forces formed new troops into fresh battalions while the Confederates reinforced their existing brigades, this resulted in the green Confederate troops being surrounded by experienced troops so the chance of them breaking in battle was less while entire green Union battalions could melt away at the sound of gunfire, never mind coming under fire. This also meant the experienced Union battalions were on the small side due to have been thinned out by fighting.

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    SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    jacobkosh wrote: »
    There was also a disadvantage in that man vs man, a Southerner was a better fighter than a Northerner. Hunting was a very popular sport in the South... Not so much in the North. Same with riding. So a typical Southerner had the advantage of already having experience shooting a gun, or riding a horse (although that's only applicable to cavalry, which was much better than the Northern counterpart).

    This is a popular myth that has been debunked since at least the 1960s; any advantage enjoyed by the South is easily accounted for by their being on the defensive, often in entrenched positions and close to home. As I understand it, statistically speaking, the North actually performed slightly better than an army on the offensive could be expected to.

    The other reason for Confederate advantage in performance was brigade and battalion organisation. Union forces formed new troops into fresh battalions while the Confederates reinforced their existing brigades, this resulted in the green Confederate troops being surrounded by experienced troops so the chance of them breaking in battle was less while entire green Union battalions could melt away at the sound of gunfire, never mind coming under fire. This also meant the experienced Union battalions were on the small side due to have been thinned out by fighting.

    Correct me if I'm wrong (the US Civil War isn't my area), but didn't this afford the North sufficient numbers of individual battalions to run around the inland South with a degree of impunity, while Southern armies were already predisposed? Especially given that the North could equip said forces more easily...

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    BubbaTBubbaT Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Kipling217 wrote: »
    If we are going to talk shitty presidents James Buchanan needs to have his grave pissed on.

    Worst president ever...

    Even worse then Bush/Clinton(pick your own).

    Is ineptitude/indecision worse than treason?

    Not that Tyler was some mega-statesman while in office, either. Herbert Hoover wasn't awesome, but at least he didn't join up with the Axis.

    BubbaT on
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    Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    jacobkosh wrote: »
    There was also a disadvantage in that man vs man, a Southerner was a better fighter than a Northerner. Hunting was a very popular sport in the South... Not so much in the North. Same with riding. So a typical Southerner had the advantage of already having experience shooting a gun, or riding a horse (although that's only applicable to cavalry, which was much better than the Northern counterpart).

    This is a popular myth that has been debunked since at least the 1960s; any advantage enjoyed by the South is easily accounted for by their being on the defensive, often in entrenched positions and close to home. As I understand it, statistically speaking, the North actually performed slightly better than an army on the offensive could be expected to.

    Just as every Southerner was not a pipe-smoking plantation owner, nor were they all Jed Clampett pegging squirrels at two hundred yards. A "typical" Southerner was not significantly more likely to own a gun or a horse - horses were fucking expensive and most people who owned them worked them, not rode them - than a typical Northerner. This whole meme is revisionist mythmaking designed to paint the picture that the Union Army was composed of weird city folk, gullible furriners, and other not-real-Americans.

    Because Justus Scheibert, a Prussian military attache to the ANV, was of course a revisionist. :P

    All I know is that a man whose job was to study the composition and performance of the Civil War armed forces wrote a whole half chapter on how and why a Southerner was a better fighter than a Northerner. Maybe he was wrong, maybe he wasn't, but I figure he's much better suited for an analysis of the situation than someone a century later, and he's certainly not a revisionist.

    Edit: On the subject of horses... It doesn't matter the way a "typical" Southerner was. The cavalry was only a relatively small part of the Southern military. Yes, you can't expect every single fucking Southerner to be a perfect rider. But you don't need to. You only need a small experienced core to be able to form an effectively sized cavalry unit of decent size. And the South had that strong core, which didn't really exist so much in the North.

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    PantsBPantsB Fake Thomas Jefferson Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Because Justus Scheibert, a Prussian military attache to the ANV, was of course a revisionist. :P

    All I know is that a man whose job was to study the composition and performance of the Civil War armed forces wrote a whole half chapter on how and why a Southerner was a better fighter than a Northerner. Maybe he was wrong, maybe he wasn't, but I figure he's much better suited for an analysis of the situation than someone a century later, and he's certainly not a revisionist.

    Edit: On the subject of horses... It doesn't matter the way a "typical" Southerner was. The cavalry was only a relatively small part of the Southern military. Yes, you can't expect every single fucking Southerner to be a perfect rider. But you don't need to. You only need a small experienced core to be able to form an effectively sized cavalry unit of decent size. And the South had that strong core, which didn't really exist so much in the North.
    Basic research.
    Although he was personally sympathetic to the South, Scheibert researched both sides of the conflict in order to write unbiased, informed commentary for his fellow Prussian officers. His firsthand account of many aspects of the Civil War included a theoretical discussion of every branch of service and the Confederate high command, illustrated with his personal observations.
    Yeah he was neither an expert on such matters (he was an engineer) nor was he unbiased as he was actually working for the Confederacy. His claims were entirely the Southern conventional wisdom about how the Confederates were tougher and more awesome than the city dwellers and immigrants of the north and how the Southern men were committed to the Cause.

    edit
    Justus Scheibert, a captain in the Prussian engineer corps, probably contributed more to the Confederate cause than Von Borcke. He was ordered to America in January 1 863 by the chief of his corps to observe the effects of artillery fire on fortifications and on armored ships. Under the original orders, he was to have been an official military observer with the Union army. But Scheibert, a strong Confederate sympathizer, somehow convinced the Prussian high command to send him instead to the Confederate Army. During the entire Gettysburg campaign, he was at Lee's or Stuart's headquarters. At first he acted only as a neutral observer. But at some point he decided to doff this status and become a combatant in the Confederate army.

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    Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    PantsB wrote: »
    Because Justus Scheibert, a Prussian military attache to the ANV, was of course a revisionist. :P

    All I know is that a man whose job was to study the composition and performance of the Civil War armed forces wrote a whole half chapter on how and why a Southerner was a better fighter than a Northerner. Maybe he was wrong, maybe he wasn't, but I figure he's much better suited for an analysis of the situation than someone a century later, and he's certainly not a revisionist.

    Edit: On the subject of horses... It doesn't matter the way a "typical" Southerner was. The cavalry was only a relatively small part of the Southern military. Yes, you can't expect every single fucking Southerner to be a perfect rider. But you don't need to. You only need a small experienced core to be able to form an effectively sized cavalry unit of decent size. And the South had that strong core, which didn't really exist so much in the North.
    Basic research.
    Although he was personally sympathetic to the South, Scheibert researched both sides of the conflict in order to write unbiased, informed commentary for his fellow Prussian officers. His firsthand account of many aspects of the Civil War included a theoretical discussion of every branch of service and the Confederate high command, illustrated with his personal observations.
    Yeah he was neither an expert on such matters (he was an engineer) nor was he unbiased as he was actually working for the Confederacy. His claims were entirely the Southern conventional wisdom about how the Confederates were tougher and more awesome than the city dwellers and immigrants of the north and how the Southern men were committed to the Cause.

    He wasn't "working" for either side. He worked for the Prussian military. He was a military observer. So while, yes, he was pro-Confederate, it's not like Jefferson Davis had hired him to come over and talk about how great the South was.

    If you actually read his works, it is fairly unbiased. His political stance does crop up in a few passages (esp the beginning of his first work, a few little biographies on some of the leading figures of the war), but those can be safely ignored in favor of the bulk of the book, which discusses the actual military. He has plenty of instances where he mentions the North as being superior to the South. His sections on combined arms in particular (the entirety of the second of two works, and he brings up combined arms from time to time in the first) are basically just splooging all over what the Northern navy was able to accomplish. You can't really expect a modern historian to do much better.

    And I don't really think his background as an engineer really matters that much. Most of the work is fairly well fleshed out. He goes fairly well in depth even in the non-engineering sections. The main thing is, though, I don't really think the Prussian high command would send over some novice who knew engineering but jack shit about anything else. I'm willing to bet he had fairly decent experience and knowledge even in other fields. If not, that kind of defeats the purpose of having a military observer. Yes, that's a bit of speculation, but it's a pretty reasonable assumption.

    Edit: Your quote isn't quite right. The bit about being sent over to observe the effects of artillery fire on fortifications and on armored ships... I don't know about that. I don't remember him ever mentioning the effects of artillery on ironclads, except very briefly, and I only read it about month or so ago. Artillery on fortifications has a little bit more, but he still focuses more on the fortifications themselves, how they were built and how they were used. "...become a combatant in the Confederate army" is an exaggeration, as well. He mentioned one instance where he was working with a small unit when he was forced to pick up a rifle. That's about it.

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    PantsBPantsB Fake Thomas Jefferson Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Edit: Your quote isn't quite right. The bit about being sent over to observe the effects of artillery fire on fortifications and on armored ships... I don't know about that. I don't remember him ever mentioning the effects of artillery on ironclads, except very briefly, and I only read it about month or so ago. Artillery on fortifications has a little bit more, but he still focuses more on the fortifications themselves, how they were built and how they were used. "...become a combatant in the Confederate army" is an exaggeration, as well. He mentioned one instance where he was working with a small unit when he was forced to pick up a rifle. That's about it.

    Yeah. But he was full of shit. He wasn't supposed to participate and if the King of Prussia found out he would have been in trouble but he did [2nd source] The point is that he wasn't some kind of neutral expert. His expertise was in fortification and he was supposed to study that. He turned that into being part of the Confederate army.

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    Solomaxwell6Solomaxwell6 Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    PantsB wrote: »
    Edit: Your quote isn't quite right. The bit about being sent over to observe the effects of artillery fire on fortifications and on armored ships... I don't know about that. I don't remember him ever mentioning the effects of artillery on ironclads, except very briefly, and I only read it about month or so ago. Artillery on fortifications has a little bit more, but he still focuses more on the fortifications themselves, how they were built and how they were used. "...become a combatant in the Confederate army" is an exaggeration, as well. He mentioned one instance where he was working with a small unit when he was forced to pick up a rifle. That's about it.

    Yeah. But he was full of shit. He wasn't supposed to participate and if the King of Prussia found out he would have been in trouble but he did [2nd source] The point is that he wasn't some kind of neutral expert. His expertise was in fortification and he was supposed to study that. He turned that into being part of the Confederate army.

    Helping out a bit with pontoons is quite a different from "working for the Confederacy." And as I already said, if you actually read his work, he's pretty unbiased in his military analysis.

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