Civil War History

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Both sides at the beginning of the Civil War were less than prepared for a war of any type, much less what it would become over the next four years. Not only were they not prepared with the amount of basic war supplies they would need, but a basic command structure was less than perfect, particularly in the South. No one foresaw the scope that war would take on, since the only experience that either side had with relatively large scale battle was during the Mexican War. With the election of Abraham Lincoln the South reacted with predictable results. Lincoln had been portrayed as such an enemy of slavery, that it was automatic that they would fear that he would try to remove their property. In 1860, four months before the start of actual hostilities, South Carolina, and six other southern states seceded from the Union. At the time of secession these states immediately started to form their governmental structure. Unlike in the north there was, at least on the national level, a great need to create a working government as quickly as possible. This included everything from elected officials, such as a president, and congress to the ability to finance all that that included. A provisional government was established in Montgomery, Alabama, and in February, 1861, they selected Jefferson Davis as president. This time period between the initial secessions, and Fort Sumter was used to great advantage by the South to do what was necessary, so that by April, they were well along in getting their nation started, and were as prepared militarily as the Union at the time of the battle of Manassas. Had Lincoln been more willing to prepare in advance for hostilities the war might have taken a different turn early on in the conflict. ... ... middle of paper ... ... his Northern counter part, he was much more likely to take the offensive than the defensive in any given situation. This tended to use up his most precious resource, and the one that was in the shortest supply, his men. When fighting an enemy that could avail itself of almost unlimited supply of men and material, this was not a good idea. Had he taken a more defensive tact early on, and used offensive tactics only when he was sure of his position, the war might have taken a different route. Command structures developed on both sides through the war, on the battlefield, as well as their civilian leaders. Perhaps the most important fact about this is that the structure changed and grew much more in the North, while in the Confederacy it was much more static. Whether this was good or bad, can be debated, and discussed, but the final results will be the same.
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