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Better prepared CSA?

plenka

Banned
I have been doing a little reading about American Civil War, and only when I dug more deeply I realized how much was South inferior to the North in industrial capabilities. They were simply outmached in industry, military and industrial manpower and in some cases agricultural production because of growing mechanization of the Northern agriculture.

They were also inferior in railroads compared to the North, 9500 miles compared to the 22000 miles in the North. And that is without entering into lack of skilled labour, parts, different rail gauges and disconnected railways.

So what could be done to improve the Southern economic situation prior to the beggining of the War?
 
Yes, but it is mostly things that make it far less likely for them secede such as reducing its dependence on slave labor, improving its education system and increasing its industrialization. The problem is that the things it needs to do makes it more similar to the North so there is much less reason to fight.
 

Anaxagoras

Banned
A few simple things:
1. Have all the railroads be of the same gauge.
2. Have at least one facility capable of producing locomotives (in Atlanta, say).
3. Have at least one facility capable of producing steam engines for ships (in Charleston, say).
 

plenka

Banned
Thanks for your replies. I have also been wondering, could have economy of the South been better managed. I really do not know much about the subject, so if anyone could enlighten me I would be very gratefull. Also, does anybody have any information about Confederate production compared to the Union during the ACW.
 
A few simple things:
1. Have all the railroads be of the same gauge.
2. Have at least one facility capable of producing locomotives (in Atlanta, say).
3. Have at least one facility capable of producing steam engines for ships (in Charleston, say).

1) Needs more coordination between the Southern states.
2) Needs considerably more education and industrialization. Locomotives aren't easy to make and need a lot of industry to make parts.
3) The same as above.
To have much of a chance the South had to be more like the North in which case why is it rebelling?
 

Saphroneth

Banned
Here's a few more:

1) The weapons of the US are more concentrated in the south (that is, more guns in the armories in the south).
2) They manage to take Harpers' Ferry and not have it be destroyed.

Combine the two and the CSA will have a larger army than the USA at least until 1862, since weapons production at Springfield is simply not high enough. That's enough to win a relatively quick victory, or at least to delay the OTL victories of the Union by some months.

Also, the weapons in California are distributed to the pro-CS population rather than held by the government. This is easy as the local commander was a CS sympathizer, and it results in California being effectively held by the CS unless the Union can get ~20,000 small arms (possibly with troops) over there... which means the CS, not the US, controls the gold trade!

And the other one I can think of is more ships in ordinary at Norfolk Virginia. Not just the Merrimack, but two or three steam frigates and four or five steam sloops - hard, but gives the US a much smaller navy and boosts the CS one.
 

Anaxagoras

Banned
They manage to take Harpers' Ferry and not have it be destroyed.

They did this IOTL. The arsenal wasn't destroyed, as local citizens put the fires out. The Confederates then dismantled the arsenal and shipped it south.

Also, the weapons in California are distributed to the pro-CS population rather than held by the government. This is easy as the local commander was a CS sympathizer

You'd have to give A.S. Johnston a complete different personality. IOTL, he staunchly refused to take any such action when asked to do so by pro-CSA elements, saying that it would be dishonorable. You know how touchy the Southerners were about their honor.

And the other one I can think of is more ships in ordinary at Norfolk Virginia. Not just the Merrimack, but two or three steam frigates and four or five steam sloops - hard, but gives the US a much smaller navy and boosts the CS one.

That would be a potentially big change, honestly.
 

Saphroneth

Banned
You'd have to give A.S. Johnston a complete different personality. IOTL, he staunchly refused to take any such action when asked to do so by pro-CSA elements, saying that it would be dishonorable. You know how touchy the Southerners were about their honor.
Indeed, but a different pro-CS commander in the same position?
 

Anaxagoras

Banned
Indeed, but a different pro-CS commander in the same position?

But who? None of the high-ranking officer who went over to the CSA - Lee, Joe Johnston, A.S. Johnston, Hardee, or anyone who I can think of - would have done such a thing even if California seceded, as they had not resigned as United States officers yet. You'd need a POD that either changes the personalities of these men (in other words, change the overall character of the Southern military officer) or changes the political situation in California. And if you do that, you pretty much change the entire pre-war situation.
 

Saphroneth

Banned
But who? None of the high-ranking officer who went over to the CSA - Lee, Joe Johnston, A.S. Johnston, Hardee, or anyone who I can think of - would have done such a thing even if California seceded, as they had not resigned as United States officers yet. You'd need a POD that either changes the personalities of these men (in other words, change the overall character of the Southern military officer) or changes the political situation in California. And if you do that, you pretty much change the entire pre-war situation.
I think it's not really possible to stereotype to quite that degree. Even if it means making a TTL officer who simply doesn't move the weapons to Alcatraz (thus making it so it's possible for a lower ranking CS sympathizer to seize them) then you can change things a bit.
 
Would it be possible to have the South industrialise more, but using slave labour to staff the factories? That would make them better-able to fight the North, without taking away their reason to be afraid of abolitionism.
 

Anaxagoras

Banned
Would it be possible to have the South industrialise more, but using slave labour to staff the factories? That would make them better-able to fight the North, without taking away their reason to be afraid of abolitionism.

They industrialized quickly during the war itself (one of the untold stories of the war's history, IMHO), so it's not impossible. The issue with them doing it before the war is that the very ideology that pushed them towards secession was centered around their economic model: slave-based cash crops, the profits from which were used to buy what they needed elsewhere. It's no surprise that the most fervent of the Fire-Eaters were also often men who wrote agricultural treatises. You'd have to tweak the pre-war Southern economy and political mindset a bit, which then changes the path towards secession and war in the first place. Changes, but does not necessarily prevent.

Now, if the South is more economically developed than IOTL, one can wonder if the Northern public will rally around the flag to bring the South back into the fold by force in 1861-62. Lincoln (if it is Lincoln) would have a harder time building political support if it is clear to all from the get-go that the war will be long and bloody.
 

Saphroneth

Banned
Here's one way I could see them better prepared - they start the Civil War with a shopping list of what military hardware to get right away and sell lots of cotton to pay for it. If they manage to buy up all the good quality rifles in Europe right at the start, along with a few dozen top-quality artillery pieces and the like, then they could get the jump on the Union army of Bull Run quite easily.
To give some idea what I mean by top quality, if they managed to buy up about 22,000 Dreyse needleguns and 40 Krupp or Armstrong guns then you've got the entire Army of Northern Virginia (Bull Run period) armed with weapons the Union couldn't possibly match at that point. Even if they're not great at using them that'll smash the Union army decisively enough the CS could manage a pursuit.
 
Here's one way I could see them better prepared - they start the Civil War with a shopping list of what military hardware to get right away and sell lots of cotton to pay for it. If they manage to buy up all the good quality rifles in Europe right at the start, along with a few dozen top-quality artillery pieces and the like, then they could get the jump on the Union army of Bull Run quite easily.
To give some idea what I mean by top quality, if they managed to buy up about 22,000 Dreyse needleguns and 40 Krupp or Armstrong guns then you've got the entire Army of Northern Virginia (Bull Run period) armed with weapons the Union couldn't possibly match at that point. Even if they're not great at using them that'll smash the Union army decisively enough the CS could manage a pursuit.

That would require the Union to not notice these activities and do nothing different in response, though. I understand that McDowell has a worse reputation than he really deserves, so he'd probably be smart enough not to advance against a superior force, and instead dig in in Washington.
 

Saphroneth

Banned
That would require the Union to not notice these activities and do nothing different in response, though. I understand that McDowell has a worse reputation than he really deserves, so he'd probably be smart enough not to advance against a superior force, and instead dig in in Washington.
Fair point, though I can't imagine the Union would do well defending Washington against the force I describe either. The defences really were not all they could be (and trying to hold such a large area didn't help).
 

Anaxagoras

Banned
To give some idea what I mean by top quality, if they managed to buy up about 22,000 Dreyse needleguns and 40 Krupp or Armstrong guns then you've got the entire Army of Northern Virginia (Bull Run period) armed with weapons the Union couldn't possibly match at that point. Even if they're not great at using them that'll smash the Union army decisively enough the CS could manage a pursuit.

Could they have produced the ammunition for such weapons?
 
Could they have produced the ammunition for such weapons?

And how long would delivery have taken? And I guess the last question is whether Prussia/Britain would have been willing to deliver that much heavy artillery, given the latter at least implicitly condoned the Union blockade.
 

Saphroneth

Banned
They could have purchased it.

As for permitting it, Krupp and Armstrong are companies and not national concerns - and the blockade does not yet exist. A few dozen guns is expensive, but not impossible IMO when you realize that OTL the CS got Whitworth guns and 100,000 plus rifles through OTL.
The whole idea here is to go fast and do it before the blockade is set up.
 
Here's one way I could see them better prepared - they start the Civil War with a shopping list of what military hardware to get right away and sell lots of cotton to pay for it.



To do that they'd have to reverse their policy of stopping cotton exports to run the price up and pressure European countries to support them. There doesn't seem to have been much, or any, realistic planning before the war, by either side.
 
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