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June 2, 2002

Lost cause. You got that? Lost.
Posted by Teresa at 01:01 AM *

Having settled that question…

The New York Review of Books has published Could the South Have Won?, a nice chewy thoughtful review of recent books on the evergreen subject of how and why the South lost the war. Titles discussed include William C. Davis’s Look Away! A History of the Confederate States of America, William W. Freehling’s The South vs. the South: How Anti-Confederate Southerners Shaped the Course of the Civil War, Gary W. Gallagher’s Lee and His Army in Confederate History, and Brian Steel Willls’ The War Hits Home: The Civil War in Southeastern Virginia. Which is all very interesting; but what’s really interesting is that the piece is by James McPherson.

Have fun, Steve. Will, I’d say something here, but you’ve already caught flak today from Patrick, and catching it from both of us in one day is Just Too Much. If you’re interested, I can tell you later on why you’re wrong.

Comments on Lost cause. You got that? Lost.:
#1 ::: James Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2002, 06:03 PM:

Lee could have lifted the blockade if, instead of heading east to Gettysburg, he'd headed northwest into coal country, destroyed the track and rolling stock of the Reading Railroad, and collapsed the coal mines.

The Federal fleet was burning 3,000 tons of coal per week, and had none stockpiled.

#2 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2002, 06:34 PM:

Except, of course, it would have worsend his supply and desertion problems, and the Ohio and Illinois coal mines were producing plenty of coal on thier own, and the lines *north* of the Reading Railroad would have moved the coal to the east coast just fine.

Never mind coaling in Canada, since the US Navy was the blockader, not the blockcaded (and was rich in Coaliers, as well.)

Furthermore, since the US was rich in iron, repairing those rails would have been trivial. It was lack of iron that killed the southern railroads. The South could only despair at the bowties -- the North merely would have (and, when needed, *did*) ordered new rails.

Destroying rolling stock is easy, tearing up rails is easy, but completly wrecking the ties, rails and roadbed takes time (see, Sherman's March, speed thereof.) Lee could not have afforded to stop and take that time -- Meade would have thought Providence Herself was watching him if he could catch Lee's army strung out along the railroads trying to destroy them. Anything less than destruction of the roadbed would have barely stopped the Union railroaders.

#3 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: June 03, 2002, 11:25 PM:

Do you think there'd be a market for a Civil War-themed Monopoly set?

#4 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2002, 12:29 AM:

I love you guys.

#5 ::: James Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2002, 08:55 AM:

They say we have no officers
But O! they are mistaken,
And soon we'll make the Rebels run
For all the fuss they're making.
McClellan is the man I mean,
He'll show the foe no quarter;
We're heading down to Richmond town
To fight for Abraham's daughter.

#6 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2002, 09:26 AM:

That's a sadder song than it set out to be. What is it? (And who is Abraham's daughter?)

#7 ::: Clark Myers ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2002, 11:17 PM:

Oh! Should you ask me who she am,
Columbia is her name, sir;
She is the child of Abraham,
Or Uncle Sam, the same, sir.
Now if I fight, why ain't I right?
And don't you think I oughter.
The volunteers are a-pouring in
From every loyal quarter,
And I'm goin' down to Washington
To fight for Abraham's daughter.

Abraham's Daughter
Words and music by Septimus Winner

#8 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2002, 12:23 AM:

"Do you think there'd be a market for a Civil War-themed Monopoly set?"

Well, it would bring new meaning to Sherman Antitrust.

#9 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 05, 2002, 12:33 AM:

That was his brother, John Sherman.

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