Gettysburg, Sharpsburg, Chckamauga, Shiloh, Bull Run and Appomattox Courthouse are peaceful and spectacular.
Well, I am a Southron, and I do believe Bobby Lee sitteth foremost in the pantheon at the right hand of Joshus, Sword of the Lord, and Scourge of the Unrighteous. But as an historian, I gotta say, we ate doo doo.
We won Battles up the wazoo. There was 7-Days, 2nd Mannassas, Fredricksburg, Chancelorsville, Murfeesboro (c.f.), Chicamauga, you frikkin name it it, but it didn't mean nothing. There was nothing we could do but push the Union troops back to someplace they could regroup, recruit and reorganize and come back for more. Lee and Jackson tried, and tried, and tried, but just couldn't kill the beast. Once we was there, it was just a matter of time. Lee knew this.
So the interesting parts of this conflict (if any part of it could ever be called interesting) is those little things called "engagements" in the ORs. That's where you, as a military historian, will find those personal accounts as to how a single Division, with 2766 total troops fought off 2 Union Corps with 11,982 troops, so very informative.
Read. Learn. Read more. Learn more. Your heritage is captured in your history. The more you know of it, the more complete a person you will be. Ciao. John
This describes a situation where one side never came up with a potentially winning strategy and the other side, once Grant was appointed to command over in the east, did come up with a war winning strategy.
Ultimately to win a war one has to destroy the enemy's will to resist. Winning battles might work against weak willed opponents but against leaders of the calibre of Lincoln who retained the confidence of his electorate, they just don't lose heart over tactical defeats.
The only potential winning strategy I can see for the south was to get the Europeans involved. Not an easy task in itself, quite possibly an impossible one. Still potentially the intervention north of the Rio Grande of the large and experienced French army (assuming Maximilian could do without them) would have helped stretch Union resources but the real aid would have been a British naval blockade to disrupt northern trade and as a byproduct undermine popular support for the war.