The South vs. the South: How Southern Anti-Confederates Shaped the Course of the Civil War by William W. Freehling

Read: September 28 - October 7
Format: Hardback 206 pages
Source: Public library ILL
Subject: Civil War, Confederate preparedness
Category: Civil War and its Leaders
Genre: History
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL, TIOLI,
Stars: 2½

In the various discussions/writings about the Civil War, several reasons have been presented as to why the South lost, but in this book, noted historian William Freehling offers readers an additional cause for the defeat of the Confederacy. Usually historians cite the overwhelming forces and industrial development of the North as the major contributing factors, but in this book, we are shown that the framework of the Confederacy itself, may have been to blame.

The Confederacy was composed of three different sections - the Cotton states of the deep south, the middle South, and the Border States. The most vital section was the border states (Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland) and due to their failure to secede and join the struggle, the Confederacy was hampered by a lack of manpower and transportation ports (St. Louis, Louisville, Baltimore). Divided loyalties had far more white soldiers from these states joining the Union Army as well as the industrial contributions made.

The Black population of the South also was a major factor- not simply because of the issue of slavery - but because of the volume of manpower that the North was able to utilize after Emancipation. The South lost its forced labor for creating fortifications while at the same time the North gained valuable manpower to supplement the troops.

Victory, however, was secured by the 13th Amendment. The Blacks (who had wisely assisted their struggle by doing anything to help the Union as well as fighting against their former masters) had proven themselves not to be insurrectionists, barbarians, but patriots for the Union cause. By supporting the Union in all its endeavors, the Blacks gained the white support in the vote for the 13th Amendment which finally broke the South.

In the end, it was the South's lack of recruiting the support of the black population which finally ended the South's hope of defeating the vast numbers of the North.

This book was informative, but a bit academic and very dry reading. While it gave the reader new insight into the actual reasonings for the South's defeat, it's not a book I would recommend unless someone was looking for very detailed information concerning the Civil War.

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