When the threat of foreign intervention cropped up, Lincoln threw ambassadors like John Quincy Adams' son at the Europeans while the Confederates had nothing to offer but peach cobbler and the overuse of "y'all." In short, the South never stood a chance against the Union politically, militarily or diplomatically.
But what about the brilliant strategy? Didn't they have Robert E Lee and all those guys? Well ...
The American Civil War Was Defined by Brilliant Generals and Strategy
How many Dodge Chargers have you seen running around sporting Union flags and blasting The Battle Hymn of the Republic? And of those zero, how many were christened The General George McClellan? You know a commander had to be spectacular to get his name slapped on the getaway car of moonshine running Southern outlaws.
Why it's Bullshit:
General Lee aside, both the North and the South had their share of dumbass generals, and the case has been made that the Confederates had the larger share, which is not too surprising when you consider that they lost.
The biggest problem was that the military elites from both the North and South were educated in old school battle techniques, but were firing off state of the art weaponry. Which meant they were still lining up and squaring off against each other in battle, but instead of shooting Revolutionary War muskets, they were shooting longer ranged rifles and the very first machine guns. Which made as much sense as taking grenades to a water gun fight -- one where no one shows up with water balloons. And why early Civil War battles like Shiloh killed more soldiers than every war in American history up to that point put together ... in just two days.
"I can't help thinking we're not using these guns very efficiently."
But better guns coupled with opposing soldiers so close they could foxtrot together wasn't the only problem for the generals. Both the North and South executed some bafflingly stupid strategies that cost the lives of thousands of men. Like when Robert E. Lee ordered Major General George Pickett to lead over 12,000 soldiers across an open field and into the
loving arms firing rifles of Union soldiers, getting half of his men killed on the spot. Or when Union commander George B. McClellan became one of the few commanders in U.S. history to desert his troops not once or twice, but three times on the battlefield.
When clouds cover the sky, and America is in dire need of a hero, they say his statue comes to life and runs away.
Seriously, with friends like that, who needs anything other than a last will and testament?
When not writing about history for Cracked, Jacopo writes about history for Wordplague, a collective of artists and Cracked writers. Their book is available for Kindle here. All proceeds go to the charity, Kiva.org
For more misconceptions that need to be corrected, check out 6 Things From History Everyone Pictures Incorrectly and 6 Ridiculous History Myths (You Probably Think Are True).
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