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Sunday, July 05, 2009

More Data on the Civil War

This is Steven Petrick Posting:

While at Origins SVC and I found a book on the Civil War titled "The Quest for Annihilation". It has been an interesting read so far, at least for me in that it touches on some subjects that have occurred in my own thoughts, but that I had never seen elsewhere (at least I definitely do not ever remember having read of these things before).

One is that I had come to the theory that the South had better militia regiments than the North at the start of the Civil War. This is because generally east of the Mississippi there was no real perceived threat in the Northern States. West of the Mississippi the threat of attack by the indigenous population was possible and very real. In the Southern States, however, was the constant threat of "slave uprisings". Such things had occurred historically (and indeed John Brown's raid was an attempt to foment one again). The result was that most Northern militia organizations had degenerated into "social clubs", while Southern Militia retained a "real world" mission resulting in greater earnestness. While this book did not come right out and state that, it mentioned that while the Northern States had a greater population, there were actually fewer militia organizations, and those that existed were smaller than the ones that existed in the South. This helped with the South having immediate access to trained bodies of troops and existing equipment (in addition to stocks that would confiscated from Federal Armories).

Because this, and other things I had concluded, were mentioned, I have to assume that there is other scholarship to support it. Yet I find it odd that I cannot recall ever having read specific comments about it. Rather, I had drawn the conclusions simply from my own (rather limited) military experience and a historical record indicating various slave revolts at different times (not all of them within the United States).

Indeed, one cannot help but believe that Southern plantation owners had to have read of "Spartacus", and had sought to avoid such an eventuality, even if they did not pit their slaves against each other in mortal combat.