Could the South have won the Civil War?
To many, the very question seems absurd. After all, the Confederacy had only a third of the population and one-eleventh of the industry of the North. Wasn’t the South’s defeat inevitable?
Not at all, as acclaimed military historian Bevin Alexander reveals in this provocative and counterintuitive new look at the Civil War. In fact, the South most definitely could have won the war, and Alexander documents exactly how a Confederate victory could have come about—and how close it came to happening.
Moving beyond fanciful theoretical conjectures to explore actual plans that Confederate generals proposed and the tactics ultimately adopted in the war’s key battles, How the South Could Have Won the Civil War offers surprising analysis on topics such as:
•How the Confederacy had its greatest chance to win the war just three months into the fighting—but blew it
•How the Confederacy’s three most important leaders—President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson—clashed over how to fight the war
•How the Civil War’s decisive turning point came in a battle that the Rebel army never needed to fight
•How the Confederate army devised—but never fully exploited—a way to negate the Union’s huge advantages in manpower and weaponry
•How Abraham Lincoln and other Northern leaders understood the Union’s true vulnerability better than the Confederacy’s top leaders did
•How it is a myth that the Union army’s accidental discovery of Lee’s order of battle doomed the South’s 1862 Maryland campaign
•How the South failed to heed the important lessons of its 1863 victory at Chancellorsville
How the South Could Have Won the Civil War shows why there is nothing inevitable about military victory, even for a state with overwhelming strength. Alexander provides a startling account of how a relatively small number of tactical and strategic mistakes cost the South the war—and changed the course of history.
About the Author
BEVIN ALEXANDER is the author of nine books of military history, including How Hitler Could Have Won World War II, How Wars Are Won, How America Got It Right, and Lost Victories, which was named by the Civil War Book Review as one of the seventeen books that have most transformed Civil War scholarship. His battle studies of the Korean War, written during his decorated service as a combat historian, are stored in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. He lives in Bremo Bluff, Virginia.
"Alexander argues persuasively that the wartime policies of President Jefferson Davis and the military strategy of General Robert E. Lee led to the failure of the Confederacy. . . . Thought-provoking and informative."