The Importance Of Confederate Leadership In The Confederacy

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Many argue that the Confederacy possessed far superior military leaders than the Union during the Civil War, and therefor accredit Union victory to the Union’s resource superiority. Though it cannot be disputed that the Union had more men and resources, the idea of superior leadership in the Confederacy is not necessarily the case. Robert E. Lee typically embodies the image of a notable and successful Confederate general, however most Confederate generals—especially those stationed in the West—failed to mirror Lee’s military knowledge and success. Insufficient resources coupled with inefficient leaders eventually led to Confederate defeat in the Civil War.
Though the Confederacy lost the Civil War, the legacy of superior Confederate military
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However, upon actually breaking down and analyzing the battles throughout the Civil War, it becomes clear that the South’s military superiority leans largely on the legacy of Robert E. Lee. Lee, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, won stunning victories despite being outnumbered in almost every major campaign. Jefferson Davis saw Lee as the best general and thus placed him in northern Virginia to protect the Confederacy’s most important industrial state. However, superior Confederate leadership stops with Lee. The Confederate cause suffered under inferior military leadership, especially in the West. In fact, other than Lee, Confederate generals are typically remembered for frequent retreats that often led to disastrous sieges and huge surrenders. Albert Sidney Johnston surrendered Fort Donelson in 1862 after allowing Union forces to break through the defense lines of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. That same year, after Johnston’s death on the battlefield, General Beauregard—whose bad relationship with Jefferson Davis also hampered his military effectiveness—retreated at Shiloh. General Joseph Johnston’s legacy in particular includes “quick to retreat” and/or “unwilling to fight”, as made evident by the loss of …show more content…
In terms of manpower, 22.5 million people lived in the North compared to just nine million in the South, thus giving the Union a 2.5 to one advantage over the Confederacy in terms of available manpower. The Union’s pool of eligible soldiers far surpassed that of the South, allowing for larger Union armies and more available reinforcement when needed. In conjunction with manpower, the Union trumped the Confederacy’s industrial capacity. The presence of factories throughout the Union enabled the production of guns, cannons, textiles, etc., all of which gave Union armies a significant advantage over Confederate troops in terms of preparation for battle. Conversely, the economy of the Confederacy relied on agriculture, with most capital in the form of land and slaves. The property value of slaves totaled to approximately $3 billion, but with their economic resources tied up in non-liquid forms, funding for Confederate military necessities proved incredibly

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