What do you think the Confederacy did wrong?

By the beginning to the middle parts of the Civil War, the South was winning. They were inflicting casualties on the North and the crowd themselves considered voting Lincoln out of office should the next election come. But the CSA still lost.

Here is the question: what do you think did the Confederacy did wrong? Why did they still lose despite having a winning advantage from the start?
 
By the beginning to the middle parts of the Civil War, the South was winning. They were inflicting casualties on the North and the crowd themselves considered voting Lincoln out of office should the next election come. But the CSA still lost.

Here is the question: what do you think did the Confederacy did wrong? Why did they still lose despite having a winning advantage from the start?
They did not have a winning advantage from the start. Not to mention that while they mostly won in the Eastern Theatre of the war early on, they were getting hammered in the Western Theatre.
 
Their "winning advantage" was a mirage and built on a foundation of sand. They'd already lost Tennessee, were getting split in twain in the Mississippi theater, were still at a colossal disadvantage in manpower and industry, and after the Emancipation Proclamation made the war explicitly instead of just implicitly about slavery there was no chance of any European countries coming to their aid.

Granted, I'm not going to discount the voters fucking things up, but all it took to scupper things was one major victory on the Union's part after a major reversal in Georgia and the exceptionally bloody Overland Campaign stalling out. That suggests to me that the Union political pressure to end the war was either extremely fickle or not nearly as strong as you're painting it as.
 
Why did they still lose despite having a winning advantage from the start?
It's not the biggest reason, but one of the reasons why the Confederacy seemed to be on the way up was because the Union had terrible generals who were appointed based on political connections such as McClellan, Pope and Banks.

 
The Western Theater of the War (between the Appalachians and Mississippi River) is where they made the most mistakes. Idk if solving that is enough but it's where the South messed up the most
 
The Western Theatre for the most part not counting the Kentucky campaign before Perryville and the raids by Nathan Bedford Forrest and John Henry Morgan in Tennessee for the Confederate States not to mention they didn't get Kentucky and Missouri to join them and thus would have given access to extra resources and manpower to counter the Union. We also of course mention the disparity between the Union and the Confederacy in terms of population (especially free whites), industry and other resources by 1860. A Confederate victory is only possible through two means: 1. Foreign recognition from Britain and France whether through mediation or war with America which almost came close to happening in specific periods and 2. Winning a decisive battle or two on their own turf or the enemy's turf to get the Union to give up.

If you had an earlier Civil War erupt in the 1850s for instance from Texas going into New Mexico and getting fired upon by the United States if Henry Clay had died of tuberculosis two years ago on January 21, 1850 before he could unveil the Compromise of 1850 (which is what I am doing myself with research) then you basically have not just Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas secede and form the Confederate States but you'd also have Kentucky and Missouri join in as well. Plus with the United States firing the first shots rather than the Confederate States, Unionism in specific places in the South such as East Tennessee, West Virginia, North Alabama, North Georgia, West North Carolina and others decline drastically alongside that of Kentucky and Missouri. And given that in the 1850s there are very few railroads, no transcontinental telegraph system, no ironclads, submarines, mines or any of the naval innovation, none of the legislation that advanced the North's economy, infrastructure and education, a slightly different blockade thanks to Kentucky and Missouri seceding and of course a very different beginning of the Civil War you give the South/Confederacy a greater chance of winning over the North/America. Granted, there are still disparities between the North and the South as far as population and industry are concerned and foreign intervention would be different due to Britain and France fighting Russia in the Crimean War which means the Confederacy will have to find other means to do it but having an earlier Civil War cuts back on America's advantages a bit.
 
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I’m assuming we’re leaving the moral question of what they did wrong out of this and instead are focusing on militarily wrong? In that case their main sin was being unprepared for a proper war out West. They got lucky early on in the more prestigious eastern theater because Lee and Longstreet were above average general’s facing laughable opposition. If the Confederacy could take DC within a year maybe the unions will to fight on dies. Maybe. Assuming the West stalls more.
 
Tried to secede against a vastly more powerful, more populous north? Seriously, the CSA was doomed from the start, all the Union really needed was the the will to win.
 
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RousseauX

Donor
By the beginning to the middle parts of the Civil War, the South was winning. They were inflicting casualties on the North and the crowd themselves considered voting Lincoln out of office should the next election come. But the CSA still lost.

Here is the question: what do you think did the Confederacy did wrong? Why did they still lose despite having a winning advantage from the start?
They weren't winning, they were continuously losing in the west. They did have some tactical victories in Virginia, but it only led to a strategic stalemate.

Then the bottom fell out in the west 1863/64 and even though they -still- maintained a stalemate in the east the Confederacy basically collapsed after Sherman took Atlanta and Savannah.
 
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RousseauX

Donor
It's not the biggest reason, but one of the reasons why the Confederacy seemed to be on the way up was because the Union had terrible generals who were appointed based on political connections such as McClellan, Pope and Banks.

That's actually true on both sides, the Confederate ones just tended to end up in the west

The list btw is garbage, Hood was a pretty good division commander who got promoted way beyond his level of competence. McCellan while flawed was not one of the worst generals of teh civil war lol, if you want someone bad look at someone like Buckner at ft. Donelson
 
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They were inflicting casualties on the North and the crowd themselves considered voting Lincoln out of office should the next election come.
This is kind of a misconception based on Lincoln's own incorrect assumptions about his chances in the election of 1864. The reality was that the election wasn't even close.. McClellan got stomped flat in almost every state. You'd need huge shifts in voters to get him just to be semi-competitive, much less victorious.

Setting that aside, the idea that the CSA was winning in the early Civil War is based almost entirely on Lee's defense of Virginia. But looking at the details of even that defense paints a stark picture. The reality was that Lee's victories were wins that the Confederacy could ill afford. Chancellorsville had virtually identical dead and wounded, but the lopsided army sizes meant Lee had lost almost a quarter of his force. The Seven Days Battle saw Lee lose over five thousand men more than McClellan despite having a smaller army, and once again a full quarter of his force.

For reference Lee's great defeat at Antietam also saw him lose a quarter of his men.

Fundamentally Lee's victories while seemingly a win for the CSA were wasteful. When he finally went up against commanders who were willing to fight things out using their full resources, in particular Grant, Lee's command style was always going to fail once he went up against a commander willing to use the resources available to the AotP.
 
Here is the question: what do you think did the Confederacy did wrong?
Slavery.

Oh, you wanted an answer to during the ACW? Starting a war they had no hope of winning purely for the sake of maintaining a clearly immoral institution.

The South was outnumbered in population, outgunned in terms of weapons, and massively outproduced in industry. People talk up their generals and early successes, but they were fighting an industrial war on their own territory against a nation with far great industrial might, greater manpower, and its own suite of effective generals.
 
Top mistakes, by my estimation.

1. King Cotton. Self-inflicted embargo that only hurt the south's economy and quickened Britain's sourcing of cotton elsewhere, namely Egypt and India. They should have sold all they could before the blockade strangled all trade to ensure the maximum import of weapon, nitrates and hopefully some industrial machine tools as well as credits in European banks.

2. Losing New Orleans early. The largest city in the south, a vital port and naval base and the control of the mouth of the Mississippi-Missouri vital river transport network. Without it, the Union blockade over the Gulf of Mexico would take longer to grow tight, the advance along the Mississippi would take far longer coming only from the north (and the south would be able to concentrate more resouces fighting that rather than trying to keep the Union at New Orleans not coming up the Mississippi).

3. Violating Kentucky neutrality. If played right, Kentucky could have been either a neutral barrier, shortening the front and lengthening Union supply lines for any advance into the western parts of the south, or an ally angered by Union invasion.

4. Not managing the economy and letting hyper-inflation run rampant, further deluting what little economical resources they did have.

5. Not managing the manpower and forced they did have properly. Large number of armed men remained in militias, chasing deserters and looking dapper but not aiding the war effort. Large numbers of men (although poorly armed) remained west of the Mississippi, in the department of the Trans-Mississippi, not being of much use at all. Confusion on who had the authority to commandeer militias and state troops and the lack of authority of generals in the area to commandeer those troops again dispersed and used poorly the little manpower and weapon resources the south did have.

6. The uneven application of conscription, giving deferrals to sons of large estate holders created a lack of enthusiasm and willingness to fight, and desertions became rampant among men from regions not dominated by large slave estates. A different application, such as "each family may withold one son from conscription" or similar, applicable to all families would probably be much smarter.
 
To be fair the confederacy did move troops from west of the Mississippi to the east in 1862 but the outcry was large in Arkansas as it left the state nearly empty of troops while a union force was advancing in the state.
 
That's actually true on both sides, the Confederate ones just tended to end up in the west

The list btw is garbage, Hood was a pretty good division commander who got promoted way beyond his level of competence. McCellan while flawed was not one of the worst generals of teh civil war lol, if you want someone bad look at someone like Buckner at ft. Donelson
Yeah, McClellan was much too cautious for his own good, but he built the Army of the Potomac into a formidable force. He was more suited to the role of logistician or quartermaster than as a battlefield commander.
 
Seceding too late. A south that leaves in the 1830s or '40s could fight to a peace.
But in the 1830s or 40s they didn't feel threatened by Northern political hegemony. They weren't going to secede until their "peculiar institution" was under political threat.
 

RousseauX

Donor
Yeah, McClellan was much too cautious for his own good, but he built the Army of the Potomac into a formidable force. He was more suited to the role of logistician or quartermaster than as a battlefield commander.
He had the right strategy for taking Richmond and he came up with in 1862: when Grant came east in 1864 he actually wanted to just repeat it but Lincoln/Halleck vetoed him even though it -was- the correct military strategy.

Also a lot of the early union losses in the east was contributed by Halleck actively undermining his political opponents within the army
 
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