Why the North Won the Civil War

1264 WordsDec 29, 20056 Pages
Why the North Won the American Civil War Union officer William Tecumseh Sherman observed to a Southern friend that, "In all history, no nation of mere agriculturists ever made successful war against a nation of mechanics. . . .You are bound to fail." While Sherman 's statement proved to be correct, its flaw is in its assumption of a decided victory for the North and failure to account for the long years of difficult fighting it took the Union to secure victory. Unquestionably, the war was won and lost on the battlefield, but there were many factors that swayed the war effort in favor of the North and impeded the South 's ability to stage a successful campaign. The advantages of the Union going into the war are numerous. The system…show more content…
The Union was also capable of providing industry with the raw materials necessary for production. Mines and refineries existed in abundance in the North, which also had large amounts of land available for growing food crops, unlike the South which had devoted most its arable land to cash crops like cotton (Perman, 12). The existing infrastructure of roads and railways allowed the Union to transport weaponry, clothes, food, soldiers, and other supplies to almost any location in the entire theater, which greatly benefited the Northern army. The war, however, was not won on attitude and preparedness alone. Military leadership played a large role in winning the war. The land advantage went to the Confederacy at the beginning of the war as it did not need to conquer the North. It could win the war simply by defending its territory and by waiting for the North to become discouraged. Fighting in the South also provided an advantage to the Confederacy as the men were fighting on their own land and had a better knowledge of it than the Yankees as well as a better incentive to defend it against invasion (Perman, 235). Confederate General Robert E. Lee managed to outmatch almost every Union general with the exception of Ulysses S. Grant, who eventually overcame Lee by force of numbers and determination of will. The fatal flaw of Lee was that he held on to the belief that his army would win the war in a single,
Open Document