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142 votes
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Why did the Confederacy think they could win the American Civil War?

The Military Militarily, the south did not need to win the war by invading and defeating the north. Their belief was that they just had to hold on to what they had, hence their largely defensive ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
78 votes
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Did the King of Siam offer war elephants to the Union during the Civil War?

Yes and No. What appears to be true is that the King of Siam did send a letter offering a herd of elephants to the US President in 1861. According to the US National Archives King Mongkut said ...
kuhl's user avatar
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53 votes
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Why did Lincoln wait to issue the Emancipation Proclamation?

@Peter Diehr's answer is a good one and I've upvoted it - but I'd like to expand on that, remembering that Lincoln was a very good strategist. First, The Civil War was about slavery, and the South'...
Mark Olson's user avatar
  • 7,686
45 votes

Why were Civil War battle techniques so bloody, if the US had learned guerrilla fighting in the Revolutionary War?

I do not think it is accurate to say that guerilla techniques weren't used in the Civil War. What did Stonewall Jackson do in the Shenandoah Valley? But guerilla tactics are limited. First, they are ...
Luís Henrique's user avatar
45 votes
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How did the American Civil War help the U.S economy recover from the Panic of 1857 given that civil wars are extremely destructive?

tl;dr Modern industrial warfare pushes the economy to 100% utilization; this cures the effect of an economic downturn (which is effectively suboptimal economic utilization). Wars in general, and the ...
MCW's user avatar
  • 33.7k
45 votes

What did the Emancipation Proclamation exactly do?

Since it only applied to areas that didn't recognize Federal authority, the snarky take on the Emancipation Proclamation has always been that it didn't itself free a single slave. Like a lot of famous ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
41 votes
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Why did Lincoln's election prompt the Southern states to secede?

The tensions between North and South had been growing since long before Lincoln was elected. While it is true than many in the South believed that Lincoln supported the forced suppression of slavery, ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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37 votes
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Was swordsmanship important in the American Civil War?

Generally speaking, swords were not much used during the civil war due to lack of training, lack of quality swords and lack of well-trained horses (plus, of course, improvements in firearms), but ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
34 votes
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Why were Civil War battle techniques so bloody, if the US had learned guerrilla fighting in the Revolutionary War?

Whilst it's an interesting topic, unfortunately, the questions, answers, definitions and many facts are entirely incorrect. Lets address some of the inaccuracies first and see if we can drill down to ...
Anaryl's user avatar
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33 votes
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Flag with 13 white stars and a crescent on red background

It might be a Confederate flag, specifically the Van Dorn battle flag: Quoting its wikipedia description: The Van Dorn battle flag is a historical Confederate flag with a red field depicting a white ...
Denis de Bernardy's user avatar
31 votes

Why did the Confederacy think they could win the American Civil War?

The vast wealth of the Southern plantations was intrinsically tied up with their ability to generate a fabulous annual income, at low risk. Once the Union blockade was established by autumn 1861 those ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
29 votes

Why did Lincoln wait to issue the Emancipation Proclamation?

Lincoln waited until there was a great union victory; the early losses, and the poor showing of the Union generals did not give him a very firm place to stand and make promises. Antietam was the ...
Peter Diehr's user avatar
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28 votes

Why were Civil War battle techniques so bloody, if the US had learned guerrilla fighting in the Revolutionary War?

This article on the civil war's more advanced rifles highlights that: Most American army officers in 1861 had been schooled in obsolete Napoleonic tactics, especially since many of them had served ...
Denis de Bernardy's user avatar
25 votes
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What is the context of Lincoln saying: "if I could save the union without freeing any slave I would do it"

Lincoln needed to write this letter because as a war-time president, two months before the mid-term election, he could not ignore an article in one of the most popular newspapers, written by a very ...
Alexander Barhavin's user avatar
22 votes
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Why did Gen. Lee (Civil War) surrender to the U.S?

The simple answer is that General Lee didn't want to see his men destroyed. There was correspondence between Generals Lee and Grant in the days before the actual surrender, as both recognized the ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
20 votes

Why were Civil War battle techniques so bloody, if the US had learned guerrilla fighting in the Revolutionary War?

My understanding (which could be wrong) is that armies in the U.S. civil war were "bloody" in the sense that soldiers did not retreat or were sent directly into fire, until one side was wiped out. If ...
enderland's user avatar
  • 1,088
20 votes
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Why did Union troops like General McClellan?

McClellan had been a popular commander on several counts. He had come to command the Army of the Potomac after winning two small victories in the modern West Virginia in 1861, which was two more ...
Tom Au's user avatar
  • 104k
18 votes

Why wasn't the American civil war fought between slaves and masters?

There are two great myths of the Civil War. The Southern myth is that it was a matter of State's right i.e. not allowing a distant part of the country control another. In Europe, it was be like ...
TechZen's user avatar
  • 1,128
18 votes
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How did the Dred Scott Decision contribute to the Civil War?

Whole books have been written on this, and I find Frehling's two volume "Road to Disunion" books to be some of the best and most accessible evaluations of the American political landscape (as it ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
17 votes

Why were Union troops referred to as "lop-eared Dutch"?

The Holland Lop is a popular species of lop-eared rabbit. The accusation of being a "lop-eared Dutch" is of cowardice, an expectation that the accused will "run like a rabbit" from ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
16 votes

Why did the Confederacy think they could win the American Civil War?

There were few more pretty important South advantages in addition to already listed in previous answers factors: 1. Far superior military education. It was only one northern-located military school -...
Alexander Barhavin's user avatar
16 votes

What was the South actually afraid Lincoln or Congress would do that precipitated the Civil War?

tl;dr The 1860 election was the tipping point for the slave-owning states. It was then clear that those states could no longer command a majority in Congress, or in a Presidential election. A ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.3k
15 votes

Why did the Confederacy think they could win the American Civil War?

The majority of the economic and political elite of the Southern States were aware of the existential threat to their economy and culture—chiefly as these were the direct result of malapportionment so ...
Samuel Russell's user avatar
15 votes
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When did Lincoln claim that "Vicksburg is the key" to winning the civil war?

The quote is from the recollection of someone who was there, Admiral David Dixon Porter. You can find it on page 95 of his book, Incidents and Anecdotes of the Civil War, published in 1886 (emphasis ...
justCal's user avatar
  • 39.7k
14 votes
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Did Lincoln "usurp" his war powers?

First off, lets dispense with one disagreement: the right to declare war without Congress This did not happen. No declaration of war was ever made for the US Civil war. I haven't looked into the ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
14 votes

If West Virginia could legally secede from Virginia, why couldn't Southern states secede from the USA?

According to the majority opinion of the Supreme Court in Virginia v. West Virginia, the Virginia Legislature gave explicit consent to have the election that resulted in the ultimate recognition of ...
Brian Z's user avatar
  • 20.9k
14 votes
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Can anyone find "War Department General Order No. 207, 3 July 1863" in which "prisoner conduct after capture" was mentioned?

The G.O you are looking for is in fact G.O. 207 (see below) of July 3, 1863. G.O. 205 is the minutes of a court martial convened on March 24, 1863. G.O. 206 is a direction to the commanding officers ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar

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