American Revolution, Vietnam, Civil War, Guerilla War, Fabian Strategy, Jackson, Arnold, Lafayette, Clinton, Cornwallis and Yorktown

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 21st, 2012

Politics 101

In a Civil War where the Enemy was Everywhere and Holding Cities meant little the Only Way to Win was to Kill the Opposing Army

The American Revolutionary War was a lot like the Vietnam War.  Both involved a people on one side of the conflict torn apart by civil war.  Both were bloody.  Both involved a military superpower fighting on the far side of an ocean.  Both involved the French (the French role in Vietnam was in the decade which preceded the American’s two decades).  In both conflicts the French suffered politically at home and profited little for the blood and treasure they invested after the war.  In both the underdog used a Fabian strategy where they avoided major battles for their winning strategy was simply not to lose.  So they fought to extend the war to make it more costly (in both treasure and politics) for the other side to keep fighting.  Both involved poor military planning where decisions were based more on politics than military necessity.  In both the Americans and French were on the same side.  During the American Revolution they were both on the winning side.  In Vietnam they were both on the losing side (though the French stopped fighting before the Americans began fighting).  And, of course, both were wars contesting overseas colonies.

The fighting was cruel in Vietnam.  Especially against the civilians.  As the opposing sides fought through villages people suffered if they had shown the ‘wrong’ loyalties when the other side had controlled the village.  The North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong (the guerilla insurgents in South Vietnam) did some nasty things.  As did the South Vietnamese American allies.  Even some Americans did some nasty things.  There were few innocents.  Though the Americans were probably more innocent than most.  For when they did something nasty it became public.  Eventually.  And the Americans punished those responsible.

Both sides used killing as the primary strategy.  The Americans introduced the body count.  Measuring the success in military operations in the number of enemy dead.  The Viet Cong conscripted anyone who could fight.  Removing most young men from villages in areas they controlled.  Or they killed anyone who could fight against them.  Both sides tried to kill as many of the other as possible because in a civil war where the enemy was everywhere and holding cities and hills meant little the only way to win was to kill the opposing army.  So they couldn’t fight you anymore.

Neither the Patriots nor the Tories could claim the Moral High Ground in the Deep South

General George Washington quickly adopted a Fabian strategy in the American Revolutionary War because he had no choice.  He was fighting the world’s sole superpower.  And when the war broke out the Americans had no army or navy.  So until they did they fought a guerilla war.  Especially in the south.  Where Patriot partisans controlled the country.  And Tories loyal to the British held the cities.  And manned posts in the interior.  Under the command of British General Cornwallis.  Who reported to General Clinton comfortably ensconced in New York City.  Waiting for General Washington to launch an assault on New York.  Which would never come.

The civil war in the south was about as ugly as civil wars get.  And the ugly stuff was American on American ugliness.  Patriot against Tory.  The British charged that the partisans were killing innocents and neutrals.  And the Americans claimed the Tories were doing the same.  Neither side could really claim the moral high ground.  A young Andrew Jackson (hero of the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812 and America’s seventh president) even said, “In the long run, I am afraid the Whigs [the Patriots] did not lose many points in the game of hanging, shooting and flogging.” 

It was a merciless guerilla war in the South.  And they did kill wholesale.  Because that’s the only way to win a civil war.  You kill fighting men until there are not enough of them left to fight back.  And the fighting was not always honorable.  The British captured Jackson in a Waxhaw meetinghouse.  When a body of Tories dressed as locals advanced ahead of a body of Redcoats.  The trick worked.  They captured eleven.  And a British officer gave Jackson scars that would leave him a lasting hatred of the British for the rest of his life.  The officer demanded that Jackson clean his boots.  Jackson claimed he was a prisoner of war.  And that the British officer should treat him as such.  The officer saw him as a partisan traitor.  And brought his sword down on Jackson’s head for his insolence.  Jackson tried to shield his head with his left hand, leaving two deep scars.  One on his head.  The other on his hand.

The Grand Battle George Washington longed for was before him at Yorktown 

The changing fortunes of war in the South often changed the fighting spirit of those fighting the war.  On both sides.  British deserters joined the American lines.  And American deserters joined the British lines.  The Americans serving in the Continental Army were still hungry, thirsty and half-naked.  The Battle of Eutaw Springs was the last big battle in the Deep South.  And it almost ended in a route of the British.  Had not the hungry, thirsty and half-naked Americans stop their pursuit when they entered the abandoned British camp.  As they enjoyed the spoils of war the British returned.  And another 3 hours of bloody fighting continued.  In the sweltering heat of the Deep South.  By the time it was over the Americans lost.  The American casualties were just over 500 (about 25% of their force).  The British lost over 800 (about 40% of their force).  A costly victory for the British.  Despite this loss the Americans were in control of the lower south.

Up until this point Virginia had seen little of the ravages of war.  Lucky for them as Virginian governor Thomas Jefferson, though a brilliant thinker, was a pretty poor wartime governor.  Washington urged him to prepare some defenses.  But he didn’t.  General Cornwallis urged General Clinton to abandon New York and conquer Virginia.  An action he believed would win the war.  Clinton refused for awhile.  But finally agreed to send a force under America’s greatest traitor.  Benedict Arnold.  A new brigadier general in the British Army.  Who landed unopposed in Virginia.  And moved at will.  Tarleton’s cavalry came up from the south to join Arnold.  Entered Charlottesville.  Captured members of the Virginia legislature with Jefferson just escaping in the nick of time.  With the addition of British reinforcements in Virginia Washington sent a force under Lafayette to Virginia to help with their defenses.  A perfect storm was gathering for the British in Virginia.

Cornwallis himself entered Virginia.  And futilely gave chase to Lafayette.  Cornwallis wanted Clinton to commit a major force to the conquest of Virginia.  Clinton wanted the few thousand troops he sent to Virginia returned to New York.  Clinton ordered Cornwallis to hold a position on the Chesapeake with his reduced force.  Cornwallis thought that order was stupid and ordered a withdrawal of his own forces.  Clinton countermanded that order.  Insisting that he pick a place and defend it.  Cornwallis picked Yorktown.  With his back to the sea.  And hopefully the British fleet.  While he moved towards Yorktown the hunter became the hunted.  Lafayette harassed him all the way.  Worse, the French were also on their way.  And the French fleet would engage the British fleet and defeat them.  And a French force would join Washington who came down from New York.  Finally able to abandon his Fabian strategy.  The grand battle he longed for was before him at Yorktown.  Cornwallis was trapped.  And would surrender his Army.

With the surrender of a second British army the initiative went to the Americans.  To continue the war would cost far more British blood and treasure.  But that price was too high.  The British wanted out.  Conceding that the Americans were indeed independent of British rule.  The delaying Fabian strategy, though costly, had worked.  As they would again in another American war.  Where the Americans instead would be fighting on foreign land.  In a place called Vietnam.  Only the Americans would suffer the same fate the British did in the American Revolutionary War.  As a Fabian strategy can be a very effective strategy.  As long as time is on your side.

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LESSONS LEARNED #47: “Liberals crave attention because that’s what narcissists do.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 6th, 2011

Walter Cronkite Turns the Tet Offensive Victory into Defeat

Walter Cronkite didn’t have a clue about combat in Vietnam.  The Tet Offensive was a disaster for the Viet Cong.  But you wouldn’t know that listening to Cronkite.  The war was now unwinnable.  And he said this after the biggest military defeat the North suffered.  (The north were the bad guys).

The plan was to cause a general uprising throughout South Vietnam to overthrow the South Vietnamese government everywhere.  It failed.  We killed senior and experienced soldiers in the Viet Cong wholesale.  And the Viet Cong ceased to exist as an effective army.  From Tet forward they would only use hit and run ambush attacks.  A Fabian strategy.  Like Washington did during the American Revolution.  When he, too, was up against a military superpower.

The key to using the strategy of Roman general Quintus Fabius Maximus is simple.  But costly.  You got to be willing to endure a lot of hardship for a long time.  This means a lot of your soldiers will die.  And your people will suffer for the want of the basic necessities of life.  It’s a war of attrition.  You just have to be willing to sacrifice a whole lot.  By extending the war indefinitely, you make the war more costly than your enemy is willing to endure.  When they reach the breaking point, they quit.  And you win.  It’s an effective strategy.  But, like I said, costly.  They tend to be long wars.  The American Revolution lasted 8 years.  Vietnam lasted some 10 years (America’s combat operations).

Imagine a World where there are no Possessions

There was division in the North Vietnamese government.  There was Soviet influence.  Chinese influence.  And Vietnamese resentment of outside influence.  First it was the Japanese.  Then the French.  Then the Americans.  And now the Soviets and Chinese.  Luckily for us, big combat won out as a strategy.  Hence the Tet Offensive.  And utter failure.  When some were ready to sue for peace, Walter Cronkite threw them a lifeline.

The liberal left holds up this period of history as a time when they changed the world.  When young people participated in the national debate.  Well, they did.  And really [deleted expletive] things up.  These young heard a few things from some radical college professors and thought they knew everything.  But they were still a bunch of ignorant hippies.  Ignorant hippies, that is, with Walter Cronkite now on their side.  The counterculture was in full swing.  These kids attacked everything American.  Supported communist leaders (Che Guevara, Mao Tse-tung, Fidel Castro, etc.) and tried to start a communist revolution in America.  Really.  Imagine a world where there are no possessions.  Power to the people.  That was John Lennon pining for a communist utopia.  Our enemies couldn’t ask for anything more.  Cronkite and these kids emasculated America.  And we would pay dearly for it in blood and treasure.

These liberals got the attention they craved.  And they were so sure they were right.  About everything.  Infallible.  And wanted to tell others what to do.  Well, these hippies did.  They went on to become university professors.  And they’re now teaching our kids.  Vietnam was the turning point.  It’s when the world lost respect for America.  Not for the reason the Left would have you believe, though.  They lost respect for us because it was the first time we tucked up our skirt and ran away from a fight.  Vietnam would forever be the war we gave up on.  Poor JFK.  The hero of PT-109.  His war in Vietnam would not go into the win column.  Because of a bunch of stupid, long-haired, stoned hippies.  He must be spinning in his grave.

Jimmy Carter’s Détente Almost Assured Nuclear Destruction

The Seventies were a bleak decade.  Because these hippies came of age.  Still full of themselves.  Believing they were making the world a better place.  But they were only making it more dangerous.

After our humiliation in Vietnam our enemies saw us as a paper tiger.  Who didn’t have the nerve to stay in the fight.  Or the will to get into a fight.  The world never came closer to ending when the liberals were in power during the Seventies.  The Soviet Union was getting away with murder.  Jimmy Carter was attacking our allies in Central America.  While kissing Soviet and Chinese ass.  He never attacked their human rights violations.  And no one committed more human rights violations.  But he attacked our allies.  Who committed a negligible amount of violations compared to the two big communist powers.

Jimmy Carter’s détente was a joke.  The Soviets had no respect for him.  To them Carter was a strategic opening.  They concluded that Carter wouldn’t launch his nuclear missiles until after the Soviet missiles hit their U.S. targets.  Reagan they feared.  They had no illusions that he would launch his missiles as soon as we detected Soviet missiles inbound to the U.S.  But not Carter.  This changed nuclear doctrine for the Soviets.  They went from Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) to a first-strike doctrine.  Because they were sure they could beat Carter in a nuclear war.  Never before has the world come closer to nuclear annihilation.  And we didn’t even know it at the time.

The Social Sciences were Made for and by Hippies

What the counterculture hippy left did during the Vietnam War extended the war, damaged the prestige of America and almost gave us nuclear annihilation.  And if that wasn’t bad enough (and don’t you think it should be?) they did even more damage domestically.  Successfully humiliating us on the national stage only empowered them.  The hippies of the Sixties became college professors, journalists, movie stars, television stars and politicians in the Seventies.  Now think about this.  What did the hippies do in the Sixties?  Think Woodstock.  Sex, drugs and rock and roll.  These hippies were stoned all of the time while they were in college.  (If you don’t believe me Google Timothy Leary, Haight-Ashbury, flower children, psychedelic rock, counter culture, or any other Sixties icons.)

And these hippies just weren’t smoking pot.  They were doing some hardcore drugs.  The big one was LSD.  A hallucinogen.  It’d really [deleted expletive] you up.  So you know these hippies weren’t studying to be brain surgeons or rocket scientists.  No, those degrees required advanced math.  And studying.  Which they couldn’t do when they were [deleted expletive] up all of the time.  So they took some of those easier degrees.  One of those social sciences.  Like black studies.  Or women’s studies.  Or Native American studies.  Or communications.  Where all you had to do was bitch about white men on your exams and they’d graduate your ass.  Of course, there wasn’t much you could do with these degrees.  Except teach at a college.  And that’s what a lot of these hippies did.  And destroyed generations of kids.

Well, after being on top of the world during the Sixties a little reality settled in during the Seventies.  Some realized they were about as useful as a paperweight.  And they couldn’t stand that.  They believed they were smarter than everyone in their youth.  Now they were realizing they were dumb as posts.  And it’s hard to feel superior to others when you’re dumb as a post.  So you do something about that.  You become active.  In something.  You show off that brain.  That college degree.  You support a cause.  Or go into politics.

Journalists and Celebrities Just want to be Loved

That’s the path a lot of liberals took.  But not all.  Some are too young to have lived through the Sixties.  But their college professors no doubt did.  So they keep the spirit of the Sixties alive.  Though a little lighter on the drugs these days.  Some don’t need mind altering drugs to get high.  Love of self is enough for some.  Which is the drug of choice for a narcissist.  Journalists and politicians in particular love this drug.

Dan Rather appeared to have a personal vendetta against George W. Bush.  He referenced documents on air critical of Bush’s Air Force service before the presidential election.  He said on air that experts at CBS authenticated the documents.  Well, they didn’t.  Worse, they were forgeries.  Rather, who appeared to be envious of Cronkite’s fame, wanted a little fame for himself.  He wanted that big story.  To influence a presidential election.  Instead, he ended his journalism career.

Celebrities are narcissists.  They have great big egos.  And a lot of fame.  But it’s an empty fame.  Most make a living by pretending to be other people.  Or they can sing.  Or look good while just standing still.  It’s nice but eventually they want more.  To be more than a pretty face.  A pretty voice.  A good pretender.  So they flex their minds to show off their all around superiority.  Ted Danson warned us that the oceans would be ‘dead’ in 10 years…20 years ago.  Cher warned that George W. Bush would force all the gays and lesbians into New Jersey should we elect him.  Cameron Diaz said Bush would legalize rape.  (Last I checked he didn’t do either.)  Sean Penn praises Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez while their people suffer some of the worst human rights violations.  Does he do this because he favors human rights violations?  Or is he so smart that he can’t believe he’s ever wrong?  (For the record, Penn doesn’t choose to live in Cuba or Venezuela.  So it would appear that although he speaks out in favor of Marxism over capitalism, he prefers the comforts of capitalism for himself.  So I think it’s fair to conclude that he is at least a hypocrite.)

Elite Intellectuals with an 8th Grade Education

The Vietnam War to liberals was like Christ’s crucifixion to Christians.  It defined them.  Made them.  It was the first inklings of their powers.  And they liked that power. 

They prolonged the war and killed hundreds of thousands more (Americans, Vietnamese, Laotians, Cambodians, etc.).  They had something to protest for almost a decade.  This empowered them and made them feel invincible.  The world was theirs.  They could do anything.  And some did.  Some even became terrorists (e.g., the Weather Underground). 

They were elite intellectuals.  Elite intellectuals with maybe an 8th grade education.  They knew nothing.  But believed they knew everything.  They destroyed a decade.  While their heads were filled with dreams of sugar plum fairies and illusions of grandeur.  Virtually unemployable in the real world, they took these feelings of superiority to our colleges, Hollywood, newspapers and television networks.  Where they lived insulated from the real world.  And continued their destruction.  Craving attention.  Constantly shouting ‘look at me’.  Never caring about the consequences of their actions.

Liberals are not inherently evil.  The destruction they cause is not on purpose.  They’re just a bunch of idiots.  They typically lived isolated from the real world.  In positions that can influence the masses.  And they tend to be charismatic.  Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.  Such as Al Gore.  Who you would find in the dictionary if you looked up ‘not charismatic’.  But he craves that attention more than most.  And is one of the biggest idiots out there.  He still believes in global warming even though those emails leaked from the University of East Anglia showed they were manipulating the global warming data. 

But Al Gore is not an idiot.  Idiots don’t make enough money to buy mansions on the ocean.  But he did.  While warning people about the danger of global warming.  And rising sea levels.  That will flood our seashores.  Like the seashore he just moved to.  You see, even he doesn’t really believe in global warming.  So he’s not an idiot.  He’s just a charlatan.  Praying on the people’s gullibility to make himself a millionaire.  He may not know anything about science, but he’s highly skilled in the arts of fleecing.  While making himself feel important.  Giving himself value (in his own mind).  Stroking that ego while he spends his days just dicking around in his big, empty mansion.  And this is liberalism at its best.  Empty shells of people.  Trying to feel good about themselves.  By pretending to do good for others.

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LESSONS LEARNED #16: “The military part of the military has been a success story. The Big Government part of the military has not.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 3rd, 2010

BIG GOVERNMENT DID NOT create the greatest military power of all time.  It’s not a top down success story.  It’s a bottom up success story.  You win wars by winning battles.  And you win battles with a rifle in your hands.  Those who matter don’t hear the clash of arms from afar.  They hear it from within the battle itself.

The successes of the military are due to the people who fight the battles.  They are not due to governmental bureaucrats.  In fact, you can say the fighting people achieve success despite the governmental bureaucrats.  I can give you a list of esteemed military personnel that would agree with me.  Here’s an abbreviated list:  George Washington and Robert E. Lee.   Of course, you can’t ask either of them because they’re dead.  But the history speaks for itself.  Their most difficult enemies were the politicians.  And the ones on their side.  Not the enemies’.

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR was a lot like the Vietnam War, only without the Ho Chi Minh Trail.  Both had the mightiest military power in the world taking on a military lightweight.  Therefore, both used Fabian tactics.  Like Roman general Quintus Fabius Maximus, the underdog avoided major engagements with the enemy.  (Excluding the Tet Offensive, of course, which was very un-Fabian-like.)  Theirs was not to win.  No, theirs was not to lose.  For he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day. 

But the big difference between these wars was supply.  The Viet Cong and the NVA had the Ho Chi Minh Trail.  No matter how many of them you killed or how many of their supplies you destroyed, more just kept coming down that trail.  George Washington and his ragtag armies, on the other hand, were, well, ragtag.  Plead as he might for supplies the Continental Congress delivered little.  Including pay.  His armies were chronically under-supplied, under-fed and under-paid.  But still they carried on. 

When they took winter quarters in December 1777 on the barren hills on the west side of the Schuylkill River in eastern Pennsylvania, they had not received any supplies from the Quarter Master General since the previous July.  Now the winter at Valley Forge was not the coldest during the War, but it was cold.  Especially if you were barefoot and half naked.  And this was the condition of the average soldier.  While the British quartered themselves in the warm houses of Philadelphia and enjoyed the comforts of regular meals and warm beds, the Americans left trails of blood in the snow from their bloody, bare feet.  They slept by fire for warmth.  Shirts as well as blankets were lacking.  And there was a lack of food, for man and animal.  Hundreds of horses starved to death that winter.

But the British did well that winter.  Why?  Why did they have food, drink, clothing, blankets and forage for their horses?  Because not everyone felt the Spirit of ’76 as earnestly as others.  Thomas Paine, just before the Battle of Trenton a year earlier (at perhaps the low point of morale in the Army) wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”  There were no summer soldiers or sunshine patriots at Valley Forge.  They were in warm houses.  Well fed.  And making money.  From the War.  There were supplies, yes, but there were more profitable markets than Washington’s armies.

So while graft and speculation made some rich, the Army suffered at Valley Forge.  The Continental Congress did little for them.  The states did little for them.  They suffered that ordeal alone.  Together.  And they became better soldiers.  Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter of introduction for a Prussian captain, Baron Friedrich von Steuben.  He came with exaggerated credentials.  Franklin said he was a general under Frederick the Great even though he was only a staff officer.  And an unemployed staff officer at that.  But he knew how to make and drill an army.  And he did.  Washington held the Army together.  The men persevered.  And the army that emerged from Valley Forge could face any European army on the field of battle.  And they fought on.  And about 4 years later, General Cornwallis would surrender at Yorktown.

THE UNITED STATES offered the command of the Union Army in the American Civil War to General Robert E. Lee.  He declined.  He could not raise his sword against his own country.  Virginia.  So he would fight on the Confederate side in what they called the War of Northern Aggression.

There is an interesting exchange in the movie Gone with the Wind before war breaks out.  Rhett Butler is discussing the South’s prospects with his fellow southern gentlemen. 

RHETT BUTLER: I think it’s hard winning a war with words, gentlemen.
CHARLES: What do you mean, sir?
RHETT BUTLER: I mean, Mr. Hamilton, there’s not a cannon factory in the whole South.
MAN: What difference does that make, sir, to a gentleman?
RHETT BUTLER: I’m afraid it’s going to make a great deal of difference to a great many
gentlemen, sir.
CHARLES: Are you hinting, Mr. Butler, that the Yankees can lick us?
RHETT BUTLER: No, I’m not hinting. I’m saying very plainly that the Yankees
are better equipped than we. They’ve got factories, shipyards, coal mines…and a fleet to bottle up our harbors and starve us to death. All we’ve got is cotton, and slaves and…arrogance.

No.  The South’s prospects were not very encouraging.  And the North’s advantages would make up for her failings.  In time.

The American Civil War was not a war of Fabian tactics.  The First Battle of Bull Run (or the First Battle of Manassas as the Confederates called it) was a shock.  Casualties (killed, wounded and lost) were high.  About 4,800 in total.  No one had anticipated such carnage.  If that wasn’t enough to sober them up, then came Shiloh in the West.  This 2-day battle claimed about 23,750 casualties.  This exceeded the total of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War combined.  By the time the Civil War was over, casualties would top 1,000,000.  Over 600,000 Americans would eventually die.  Including a president.

Why such high casualties?  A couple of reasons.  This was one of the first wars benefitting from the Industrial Revolution.  Better and more powerful weapons created more powerful armies.  And a network of railroads brought them efficiently to the battlefield.  Unfortunately, these armies still employed Napoleonic tactics.  Mass in formation, fire and charge with bayonets.  Rifled barrels, though, replaced smoothbore muskets.  This tripled the effective range of an infantryman’s weapon.  Improved cannon, like the Parrot gun, made cannon fire more devastating.  So, while they stood en masse and fired, and marched forward with bayonet, they faced a withering, accurate fire.  Before the Battle of Cold Harbor, life expectancy in battle was such that soldiers sewed their name inside their jackets.  Why?  They wanted their fallen bodies identified and sent home for burial.

Another reason for the high casualties?  Two of the best armies in the world were fighting each other.  American was killing American.  In the beginning, the Confederates had the edge.  Robert E. Lee and General Stonewall Jackson were displaying by far the greater competence in battle.  But that was in the east.  In the west, Generals Grant and Sherman advanced along the Mississippi River with dogged determination.

At the Battle of Chancellorsville, though, Stonewall Jackson would fall from friendly fire as he reconnoitered the front.  He lost his left arm.  Lee would lament that Jackson may have lost his left arm, but he had lost his right.  Jackson would subsequently die from complications of pneumonia 8 days later.  A couple of months from that, Lee would be in Gettysburg, the ‘high water mark’ of the Confederacy.  And after 3 days of battle, he would lead his defeated army back across the Potomac.  Meanwhile, in the west, Grant had just taken Vicksburg and, as a result, control of the Mississippi river.

Lee’s foray into Pennsylvania may have not been a wise move.  It was only the second time a Confederate army invaded the North (the last resulted in the bloodiest single day of the war – Antietam).  Battle in the north favored the North.  Shorter lines of communications.  Better network of railroads.  Coal mines.  Factories.  It was a bold plan.  But a poorly executed plan.  The armies came into contact, after all, because barefoot Confederate soldiers looking for shoes came into contact with dismounted Union cavalry.  That’s what was in Gettysburg.  Shoes.  That, and one big-ass road intersection that brought all those armies together.

Lee’s forces started the Battle of Gettysburg prematurely because of singular defect in the South.  Supply.  Lee faced the same problems Washington did.  The Confederate Army was superior to the Union Army at many times.  They often outgeneraled the North.  And often outfought the North.  But they took heavy losses.  As did the North.  But, as Rhett Butler pointed out, the North was in a position to replace their losses.  The South simply was not.  It became a war of attrition.  And the north simply outlasted the South.  And had the time to become a superior army. 

The problem was the very thing they were fighting for.  States’ rights.  The north was able to wage total war.  The South, try as they might, could not.  States had some warehouses full of material, but a state allotted its material stores for its own regiments.  A state may have had a surplus of shoes, but they held them for their own soldiers while others went barefoot.

The southern soldier suffered beyond human endurance.  Days would go by without food or provision.  Some would pick up horse droppings and pick out undigested kernels to eat.  When they broke out of the siege around Richmond/Petersburg, they marched for days to promised provisions.  When they reached the rail cars, they opened them to find unneeded equipment.  Not food.  But they still fought on, emaciated as they were.  Until they found themselves surrounded near Appomattox Courthouse.  When faced with the choice of surrender or guerrilla warfare, Lee chose surrender.  He saw one country destroyed.  He did not wish to see another.

WASHINGTON DID PREVAIL in the end.  Despite his government.  Lee did not.  In part because of his government.  All the while the soldier in the fight persevered through great privations.  But never gave up.  They fought, and died, together.  For God.  For country.  And for each other.  All the while, no doubt, cursing their respective governments.

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