Date of Award

Spring 1975

Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The military history of the Civil War has been covered in depth by American historians. Most general accounts of the struggle devote the vast proportion of their pages to battles, generals and tactics. Huge volumes have been written detailing crucial battles like Gettysburg, Vicksburg and Antietam. Leaders like Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant and Stonewall Jackson have been the subject of numerous biographies. Whole books have been devoted to a single division or regiment. Even minor skirmishes have been the subject of scholarly articles. According to this vast stack of literature, the South lost the war either by default or at a key point in a crucial battle. The former school has held that the South was inferior to the North in virtually all of the quantitative categories that mattered. The confederacy is then easily written off as a romantic lost cause. The latter school has always stressed the self styled high watermark of the Confederacy. The South would have won, if only Pickett had broken through at Cemetery Ridge, or if Lee's orders for the Sharpsburg campaign had not found their way to McClellan's tent, or perhaps, if Albert S. Johnston had not been killed at Shiloh. The list has been endless...