Question of the Week for April 14, 2014

At the outset of the spring 1864 campaigns, do you believe that the Confederacy still had a fighting chance to win the war, or do you believe victory was a forlorn hope?

Confederate Dead at the Alsop House, May 1864.
Confederate Dead at the Alsop House, May 1864.

7 Responses to Question of the Week for April 14, 2014

  1. I believe that the Confederacy definitely had a fighting chance at the beginning of the 1864 campaign season. It was when Atlanta fell in early September that their hopes became forlorn.

  2. I agree with the ‘fighting chance’, but I believe that the Union juggernaut with Grant at the front, it was just a matter of time. The South’s best chance was that the Northern population would no longer support the War. Atlanta sealed the deal.

  3. The Confederate mindset was its own worst enemy. Patrick Cleburne suggested allowing slaves to serve in its armies in return for their freedom, and was, as a result, denied any advancement to corps or army command. When Lee was given permission to do so in 1865 it was too late. If both happened in 1864, Sherman would have been facing a superbly led Army of Tennessee and the numbers in both the AoT and the ANV would have been increased to be on par with the Northern armies facing them. The result would have been a stalemate in both the Eastern and Western Theaters, and McClellan would have been elected. The meeting of the peace commissioners at Hampton Roads Conference would have produced a peace treaty granting the South its independence.

  4. The “what ifs” of history will drive you mad. If the question is “Did the rebels believe they had a fighting chance?” then the answer is “yes,” at least for those who were still fighting. Otherwise they would have gone home, as quite a few had started to do.

  5. The idea that slaves would fight for their own enslavement is disconcerting, at the very least. I do not think “superb” would describe the Army of Tennessee. I think slaves would desert en masse to the Union army if given half a chance.

    The Confederacy was deluded from Vicksburg onward if they truly felt they had a chance to win th

  6. In 1864 the Confederacy had not so much a “fighting” chance as an “exhausting” chance. 1864 was their best and final opportunity to succeed in what their real strategy was: exhausting the Union’s will to pay the price of continuing the fight. Lee believed that if the Confederates could just achieve military stalemate in that campaign season, the North would give up. And they came close. If Sherman hadn’t taken Atlanta right on time, would Lincoln have been defeated in November? With McClellan in the White House, Confederate independence would have inevitably followed.

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