As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
I have addressed previously the fallacy and racism of the Lost Cause promoted by the failed Jubal Early after the Civil War in attempted to shift the blame to General James Longstreet. The year though 1865 in the late winter or early spring of that year is important to understand in the war was not lost if measures had been taken at that critical point.
General Longstreet had fought the Union forces in Tennessee to stalemate, had returned to Virginia for the Wilderness Campaign and been severely wounded. He returned to active duty command in early 1865 and began formulating a necessary strategy which would have defeated General Grant.
The following letter is important in this time period at the end of the war, to refute the Ken Burns racist Lost Cause scenario, which made an excuse for the butchery of Abraham Lincoln on Southern Americans, and excused the failures of the Southern political and military leadership.
In the following sentences General Longstreet lays out a plan for victory which are:
- Longstreet would need to drill the army into trusting his leadership and out maneuver the Union army which would build Southern confidence and destroy Union morale.
- Grant's leadership in not being able to win would then degrade the Union army further, as the Union Soldiers would understand the South had better Generals.
- Once that confidence was lost in the North, then the South would maneuver Grant into combat on Southern terms which would lead to victory for the South and crush General Grant.
In all of this Lincoln's army was always under the misconception that greater numbers meant victory and trusted in that lie. The South never appeared with greater numbers than the North, and in most battles defeated the North, by simple discipline and generals who could handle troops in combat.
After reporting the return of my command to service
with the Army of Northern Virginia, I took the earliest
opportunity to suggest that the preliminaries of the cam-
paign should be carefully confined to strategic manoeuvre
until we could show better generalship. That accom-
plished, I argued, the enemy's forces would lose confidence
in the superiority of their leader's skill and prowess ; that
both armies were composed of intelligent, experienced
veterans, who were as quick to discover the better hand-
ling of their ranks as trained generals ; that by such suc-
cessful manoeuvres the Confederates would gain confidence
and power as the enemy began to lose prestige ; that then
we could begin to look for a favorable opportunity to call
the enemy to aggressive work, while immediate aggression
from us against his greater numbers must make our labors
heavy and more or less doubtful ; that we should first
show that the power of battle is in generalship more than
in the number of soldiers, which, properly illustrated,
would make the weaker numbers of the contention the
In this connection I refer to the policy of attrition
which became a prominent feature during part of the
campaign, and showed that the enemy put his faith in
numbers more than in superior skill and generalship.
This was the policy of attrition, of degrading the Union army by time, as enlistment would expire, break confidence in the Union commanders again, and in that lack of trust in the officers, the South would then prepare a battle which Grant would be pressured to accept, and in that position the South would win.
General Lee and Jefferson Davis never engaged in the necessary evils of increasing ranks, using the gold horded by the Southern financiers, nor pushed the war to it's completion, as their war plans were to have the French or English join in the war against the Union.
In addition, General Longstreet was wounded and out of action for a number of months prior to this, and on his return with the above strategy, the South was of a siege mindset of hanging on, and by this time no actions were taken to marshal the forces necessary for success and the South was losing the war of attrition.
The above though is necessary to refute the Lost Cause. Lincoln had come close to bankrupting America. Confidence in him and his generals were spent. The army was a draftee military. If the South could have managed a victory, strung the war out for time, the South would have won by the autumn of 1866, in Grant would have been in retreat and General Sherman would have been in rags in Carolina and surrendered.