Why The South Lost the Civil War, a companion book to the earlier How The North Won, by Archer Jones, Herman Hattaway, Richard E. Berenger and William M. Still, Jr, published in 1986 has always struck me as giving one of the worst answers to the question of “Why did the South lose the Civil War?” The thesis of this book is that the South lost the War because of insufficient nationalism. To call this argument preposterous is to be kind. Out of a white population of nine million the South lost a quarter of a million dead and many times that number in wounded. The South kept fighting until every Southern city was controlled by the Union. A small agrarian nation, the South fought a large, industrialized nascent world power. Unbelievably the South came close to winning this unequal contest. To contend that the South failed because of lack of will is ahistoric and a contemptible insult to the brave rebels who fell under the stars and bars. A better judge of Southern will during that war was General Grant who, while attacking the Southern cause, admitted that never had men fought harder for a cause than the Southerners.
So why did the South lose the Civil War? A better question to me is “Why did it take the North four years to win?” Considering the heavy preponderance of the North in manpower, money, manufacturing and agriculture, the war should have been a route. That it was not is largely attributable to poor generalship initially on the Union side. Once generals of the calibre of Grant and Sherman came to the fore, generals who knew how to apply the North’s vast preponderance in men and material, the winning of the war was merely a matter of time for the Union. That is my opinion. What is yours ?