Union Vs Confederacy War Essay

Submitted By ajmckirgan
Words: 1750
Pages: 7

UNION vs CONFEDERACY: Victory or Defeat?
Confed adv at start of war:

- could rely on cotton exports (all time high) to sustain fighting. Eu countries relying on
Southern cotton (GB) expected to back south if threatened them.

- Union had to fight S to impose federal authority, S only had to defend their own land,
easier to defend then attack given 750,000 sq mile South).

- No obvious targets for the North (despite Richmond). S only had to resist long enough to
continue deter N attack.

- S were defending their way of life as they saw it. Almost all S men favoured fight against
the North in 1861. Morale was higher than North and Federalism (abstract battle cry).

- feeling that S and southern men better at fighting than N. Farmers make better soldiers

than factory men.
Southern men dominated military college (e.g Robert E. Lee went to West-point).
North 44% male military service 1864, 90% southern men).
slavery meant fighting could occur without massive damage to agri econ.
S did not need to do anything on grand scale, hit N hard and early to deter further

Union adv at start of war:

- overwhelming large numbers. 22 million vs 9 million Southerners. S restricted further by


not using slaves as soldiers. Not only more soldiers but also meant that industry and
agriculture more sustainable during war.
N way more major cities than the South and industry confined to Appalachian mountains
and mining. N produced 94% US pig iron.
N x2 amount rail road: meant could supply arms and transfer armies much quicker and
more effective than the South.
N dominated sea (navy and merchant navy). S industrial imbalance meant had to import
goods (limited severely by naval blockade). S unable to export cotton which was main
source of income.
Abraham Lincoln managed keep some Upper South states loyal to Union (Maryland,
Kentucky and Missouri). Process of gentle sentiment and more forceful attack helped
keep these states in. These states had large number people, resources and Maryland
and Kentucky act as buffer states to stop C from invading.
These Northern adv became more clear cut as war developed e.g stalemate of


- Confed:
- always likely to find hard to finance war
- had few gold reserves and Union blockade meant hard to export cotton and profit from

- Tax scheme failed to generate significant rev.
- State gov which raised tax reluctant to send to Richmond.
- Rather than tax citizens, States often borrowed/printed money = inflationary pressure
(due to “states rights?).

- Had to impose Impressment Act 1863 to seize assets for the front line and Taxation-in

kind Act which allowed Confederate agents to collect 10% farm produce. Took criticism
from public (“federalism”) but did help supply rebel armies during last 2 years C.W.
Could not raise significant Rev through taxes (only 8%) meant had to borrow). Borrowed
15 million at first but after 1863, tide turned and southern/foreign creditors reluctant to
give to lost cause.
Only raised third of war cause through taxations, bonds etc = print money to finance.
Meant by 1865 prices increased 5000 times since outbreak of war.
Inflation was a significant factor in reducing southern morale.

- Efforts to manage econ:
- Davis gov had to act forcefully to place econ on war footing.
- Before war most people in South felt econ development outside the scope of central

- Ironically more federal overreach in S than North, regulations to manage conscription

- BLOCKADE RUNNING- successful way of importing arms and exporting cotton to
generate money and supplies for war

- State govs: played key role in forcing production of food not cotton and managing scarce
resources e.g. Salt.

- failures:
- did not monitor railroad system enough, kept eroding as was key for transport.
- Cotton may have been used to better effect. Embargo cotton exports aimed to

force farmers to produce food and send signal to Britain to