How the South Could Have Won the Civil War : The Fatal Errors That Led to Confederate Defeat
Could the South have won the Civil War?
To many, the very question seems absurd. After all, the Confederacy had only a third of the population and one-eleventh of the industry of the North. Wasn't the South's defeat inevitable?
Not at all, as acclaimed military historian Bevin Alexander reveals in this provocative and counterintuitive new look at the Civil War. In fact, the South most definitely could have won the war, and Alexander documents exactly how a Confederate victory could have come about--and how close it came to happening.
Moving beyond fanciful theoretical conjectures to explore actual plans that Confederate generals proposed and the tactics ultimately adopted in the war's key battles, How the South Could Have Won the Civil War offers surprising analysis on topics such as:
?How the Confederacy had its greatest chance to win the war just three months into the fighting--but blew it
?How the Confederacy's three most important leaders--President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson--clashed over how to fight the war
?How the Civil War's decisive turning point came in a battle that the Rebel army never needed to fight
?How the Confederate army devised--but never fully exploited--a way to negate the Union's huge advantages in manpower and weaponry
?How Abraham Lincoln and other Northern leaders understood the Union's true vulnerability better than the Confederacy's top leaders did
?How it is a myth that the Union army's accidental discovery of Lee's order of battle doomed the South's 1862 Maryland campaign
?How the South failed to heed the important lessons of its 1863 victory at Chancellorsville
How the South Could Have Won the Civil War shows why there is nothing inevitable about military victory, even for a state with overwhelming strength. Alexander provides a startling account of how a relatively small number of tactical and strategic mistakes cost the South the war--and changed the course of history.
Military historian Alexander (Lost Victories et al.) offers a well-reasoned brief that lays the blame for the Confederate defeat in the Civil War primarily on President Jefferson Davis and Gen. Robert E. Lee, and their war-long insistence on conducting toe-to-toe frontal assaults against the much-stronger Union Army. Alexander argues that had Davis and Lee listened to Gen. Stonewall Jackson, things very well could have turned out differently. Jackson--and like-minded generals Joseph E. Johnston, Pierre G.T. Beauregard and James Longstreet--warned against conducting an offensive war against the North. Instead, they advocated waging unrelenting war against undefended factories, farms, and railroads north of the Mason-Dixon line, bypassing the Union Army and winning indirectly by assaulting the Northern people's will to pursue the war. While Alexander convincingly argues that there was nothing inevitable about a Southern defeat, he is no Lost Cause advocate. Instead, he presents well-drawn and clear-eyed tactical and strategic analyses of the war's most crucial battles (including First and Second Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg) to buttress his contention that had Jackson not perished in May of 1863 (and had Lee and Davis adopted Jackson's strategy), the South just might have won the Civil War. (Dec.)
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December 30, 2007
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