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Title: The%20Overall%20Strategic%20Setting

The Overall Strategic Setting
  • Causes
  • Road to War
  • Objectives
  • Strategies
  • Comparison
  • Political leaders

Civil War Causes
  • Slavery
  • States rights vs centralized government
  • Agrarian vs industrialized way of life
  • Cultural differences
  • By the time of the Civil War, an entire
    generation of Southern young men had come of age
    with a sense of Southern cultural identity,
    commitment to slaveholding, and a willingness to
    defend these values against a Northern culture
    (Gary Gallagher)

Road to War
  • War is nothing but the continuation of policy
    with other means.
  • Clausewitz
  • Missouri Compromise (1820) -- Maine admitted as
    a free state and Missouri as a slave, but no
    other slave states from the Louisiana Purchase
    territory would be allowed north of Missouris
    southern boundary

Road to War
  • Nullification Crisis (1832) -- Responding to a
    high cotton tariff, South Carolina declares a
    state can void any act of Congress it feels is
  • Mexican War (1846-1848) -- viewed by some as a
    Southern attempt to expand slavery
  • Wilmot Proviso (1846) fails. Would have formally
    renounced any intention to introduce slavery into
    lands seized from Mexico

John Calhoun argued that each state was sovereign
and the Constitution was a compact among
sovereign states.
Road to War (cont)
  • Compromise of 1850 deals with issues involving
    territories gained in the Mexican War and slavery
  • California admitted as a free state
  • Slavery in New Mexico and Utah territories to be
    determined by popular sovereignty
  • Slave trade prohibited in the District of
  • A more stringent fugitive slave law was passed
    that required all U.S. citizens to assist in the
    return of runaway slaves

Henry Clay, the Great Compromiser, introduces
the Compromise of 1850
Road to War (cont)
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854) -- popular
    sovereignty effectively overturns Missouri
  • Harpers Ferry and John Brown (1859)
  • Lincoln elected (Nov 6, 1860)
  • South Carolina votes to secede (Dec 20, 1860)
  • Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia,
    Florida, and Texas follow

Road to War (cont)
  • Lincoln takes office (March 4, 1861)
  • Fort Sumter (April 12, 1861)
  • Lincoln requests 75,000 three-month volunteers
    (April 15, 1862)
  • Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee

States in the Civil War
  • North
  • Restore Union
  • Therefore couldnt completely alienate or destroy
    the South or the Southern people
  • South
  • Hold on to de facto independence
  • Continue the struggle long enough for the North
    to tire of it
  • Similar to American colonists

Northern Strategy
  • Secure border states
  • Still need to go on offensive to win
  • Scotts Anaconda Plan
  • Blockade
  • Secure the Mississippi River and cut the South in
  • Wait
  • Capture Richmond
  • Anaconda Plan would take too long
  • In June 1861, Lincoln orders an advance on

Southern Strategy
  • Defend at the border
  • Political pressure to defend all territory
  • Maintain legitimacy through territorial integrity
  • Protect slavery
  • Offensive-defensive
  • Realize they dont have the resources to defend
  • Allow Northern thrust to develop
  • Determine the main axis
  • Concentrate and counterattack at an advantageous

  • North
  • 20 million people
  • 110,000 manufacturing establishments
  • 22,000 miles of railroad
  • 75 of nations total wealth
  • 16,000 man Army and 90 ship Navy
  • South
  • 9 million people (5.5 million whites)
  • 18,000 manufacturing establishments
  • 8,500 miles of railroad
  • Wealth lay in land and slaves (non-liquid)
  • No existing military

  • North
  • Had to project forces across large and hostile
  • Requirement for offense
  • Had to maintain supply lines
  • Fighting to regain preexisting status quo
  • South
  • Could take advantage of interior lines
  • Could win by only succeeding on the defense
  • Friendly territory and population
  • Fighting for homeland and independence

Abraham Lincoln
  • Lincoln had little to suggest he would be a good
    wartime president, especially in contrast to
    Jefferson Davis
  • Lincoln had no significant military experience
  • Served as a captain in the Illinois militia
    during the Black Hawk War but never saw combat
  • In actuality he was an excellent commander in
    chief who was well ahead of his early generals in
    his strategic thinking

Abraham Lincoln
  • Almost from the beginning of the war Lincoln
    urged his generals to make the enemy armies their
    objective and to move all Federal forces
    simultaneously against the Confederate line
  • Many of his early generals, especially McClellan,
    arrogantly minimized Lincoln thinking war was to
    be carried on by military professionals without
    interference from civilians and without political

Abraham Lincoln
  • Many of Lincolns generals clung to strategies of
    limited war and conciliation toward the
  • McClellan stated, I have not come here to wage
    war upon non-combatants, upon private property,
    nor upon the domestic institutions of the land.
  • Meade thought the North should prosecute the war
    like the afflicted parent who is compelled to
    chastise his erring child, and who performs the
    duty with a sad heart
  • Lincoln did not find a soul mate in this
    strategic approach until Grant

Jefferson Davis
  • If modern computer-calculators had been
    available in 1861, they would have surely
    forecast that Jefferson Davis would be a great
    war director and Abraham Lincoln an indifferent
  • T. Harry Williams
  • Davis had an excellent military background
  • West Point Class of 1828
  • Regimental commander in the Mexican War
  • Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce

Jefferson Davis
  • Daviss breadth of background probably better
    qualified him for high army command than any man
    in the United States.Yet some of Daviss
    background would also be a handicap.
  • Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones, 9
  • Part of this handicap can be traced to Daviss
    experience in the Mexican War.

Jefferson Davis
  • Commanded the Mississippi Rifles, a volunteer
    regiment, in Mexico
  • Fell under the command of Brigadier General
    Zachary Taylor, the father of Daviss first wife
    Sarah Knox who had died just three months after
    their marriage
  • Unlike Scott who made maximum use of his staff,
    Taylors forte was individual command rather than
    collective effort
  • From Davis would learn a very self-reliant
    command style

Zachary Taylor
Jefferson Davis
  • Davis won great fame for his performance at Buena
  • In 1847, he was offered but declined an
    appointment as brigadier general in the United
    States Army
  • Instead he returned to his political career

Mississippi Rifles at Buena Vista The National
Guard Heritage Series
Jefferson Davis
  • But Buena Vista made Davis very confident in his
    own abilities
  • ... Buena Vista was a relatively minor battle,
    so that the young colonel should not have
    assumed, as he did, that he was expert as a
    tactician and strategist. This assumption led to
    overconfidence when Davis was called upon to
    direct the military effort of the Confederacy
  • Cass Canfield
  • Near the close of the Civil War, the Richmond
    Examiner lamented, If we are to perish, the
    verdict of posterity will be, Died of a V

Jefferson Davis
  • Took his title as Commander in Chief of the
    Confederate Army quite literally
  • considered himself a military leader first and a
    politician second
  • Chris Fonvielle
  • Had six secretaries of war in four years, but for
    all practical purposes, served as his own
    secretary of war and chief of staff.

Confederate Secretaries of War Leroy Pope Walker
1861 Judah Benjamin 1861-1862 George Randolph
1862 Gustavus Smith 1862 (acting) James Seddon
1862-1865 John Breckinridge 1865
Jefferson Davis
  • as everything about the military fascinated him
    and he believed only he was capable of running
    things, the President performed tasks that
    belonged properly to clerks in the War Office,
    and even in the Adjutant Generals office.
    Conversely, as he squandered his time and
    energies in the field of his interests, Davis
    neglected affairs which properly belonged in the
    Presidents office
  • Clifford Dowdey

The White House of the Confederacy
  • Vicksburg Strategic Setting