Useful Notes: Rebels with Repeaters
"Advance the flag of Dixie, hurrah, hurrah!" "In Dixie's land we take our stand, and live or die for Dixie!" "To arms! To arms! And conquer peace for Dixie!" "To arms! To arms! And conquer peace for Dixie"
In the US, once it became clear that war between the abolitionist North and the slave-holding South was inevitable, the Confederate States quickly passed a motion to get an army together for what would eventually prove to be a futile war.
Compared to the North, the South had a relatively easy strategy: a defensive war. They knew the land and only had to bleed out the Union, whereas the North had a grand strategy to cut off the southern states from European trade and split it in two with the capture of the Mississippi. However, the South was pretty much doomed from the start, because the North had a much larger population and the vast majority of America's productive industry, forcing the agrarian South use their diminishing balance of trade to smuggle munitions from abroad through an ever-tightening Northern blockade as their armies shrank through unreplaceable losses. In truth the Rebels didn't have
repeaters: they couldn't make them, afford to buy them or even produce ammunition for those they captured. The hope that England would be forced to intervene on their side by the power of "king cotton" proved unfounded because England had other sources for cotton and was even more dependent upon Northern wheat. And, of course, there was that whole slavery thing...
Nevertheless, the South did have a strong advantage in leadership
. For the first half of the war, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were an almost unbeatable team. Lincoln, on the other hand, fired his Union generals after almost every single engagement
. Nevertheless, their tactics only slowed the inevitable, as the North had a much larger manpower pool
and industrial capacity, and Southern generals proved no better at preserving their men's lives
. Many historians agree that even if the South won engagements such as Gettysburg or Antietam, they still would have been overwhelmed in the long run. By 1864, the only hope the South had to win was to hold out in sieges from the Union army until the North, sick of war with no end in sight, would vote for a government more open to a peace agreement. But then Atlanta fell and Lincoln was reelected, showing everyone that the Confederacy had lost.
The average southern soldier came from a rural, agrarian background and were generally used to privation and hardship and familiar with firearms and horses. The first allowed a great deal of strategic and tactical mobility (especially in the case of Jackson's famous "foot cavalry") and the last gave the South an inherent advantage in Calvary that they would maintain until the last year of the war. If Johnny Reb had one disadvantage against the more citified Billy Yank (other than a general lack of resources) it was disease resistance, as surviving city life in the 19th century required a powerful immune system.
As for their navy, the South did have two claims to fame: the ironclad Virginia
), one of the first iron-plated vessels; and the submarine Hunley
, the first to sink an enemy ship (which proved to be a Mutual Kill
, as the Hunley
sank with all hands soon after). Still, they were never able to break the Union blockade. A number of foreign-built high seas raiders, such as CSS Alabama
, are also well-known among history buffs, notable for causing a decade-long diplomatic dispute between US and Britain (who built and sold the ship) and the fact that these ships never actually came anywhere near the waters of Confederacy, as they operated from overseas bases with mostly mercenary crews except for their officers. Some, such as French-built ironclad raider CSS Stonewall
were taken over by US government after the war and sold to foreign countries where they were occasionally involved in other historical events (The Stonewall
, for example, became Japanese Azuma
and was involved in the wars of the Meiji Restoration