'You Are Bound to Fail.'
Union officer William Tecumseh Sherman to a Southern friend:
In all history, no nation of mere agriculturists ever
made successful war against a nation of mechanics. . . .
You are bound to fail. (Catton, Glory Road 241)
The American antebellum South, though steeped in pride and raised in
military tradition, was to be no match for the burgeoning superiority of
the rapidly developing North in the coming Civil War. The lack of
emphasis on manufacturing and commercial interest, stemming from the
Southern desire to preserve their traditional agrarian society,
surrendered to the North their ability to function independently, much
less to wage war. It was neither Northern troops nor generals that won
the Civil War, rather Northern guns and industry.
From the onset of war, the Union had obvious advantages. Quite simply,
the North had large amounts of just about everything that the South did
not, boasting resources that the Confederacy had even no means of
attaining (See Appendices, Brinkley et al.
415). Sheer manpower ratios
were unbelievably one-sided, with only nine of the nation's 31 million
inhabitants residing in the seceding states (Angle 7). The Union also
had large amounts of land available for growing food crops which served
the dual purpose of providing food for its hungry soldiers and money for
its ever-growing industries. The South, on the other hand, devoted most
of what arable land it had exclusively to its main cash crop: cotton
(Catton, The Coming Fury 38). Raw materials were almost entirely
concentrated in Northern mines and refining industries. Railroads and
telegraph lines, the veritable lifelines of any army, traced paths all
across the Northern countryside but left the South isolated, outdated,
and starving (See Appendices). The final death knell for a modern South
developed in the form of...