What Advantages did the North and South Have as the Civil War Began – Assignment Example

1. What advantages did the North and South have as the Civil War began? Take each side separately. Looking back, it is easy to see the advantages of both sides as the civil war began. First, it is simple to see the reasons why the North won over the South. Their advantages include huge population, economic resources, bigger industries, and strong naval force. The Union had a total population of 22.5 million against 9 million in Confederate states. Because of this, they had larger armies and more military troops in reserve – 2.5 million men fought for the Union compared to 850,000 who fought for the Confederacy. Also the North, being rich in economic resources, was able to supply its armies with better equipment. The Union states owned most of the country’s industries including shipping, bank capital, railroad mileage, and taxable wealth. With bigger industries, the North does not need rely on foreign trade to provide materials for the war. It had its own commerce and industry to provide necessary supplies for its troops. Also, the North had a naval advantage to block the Southern ports so that it cannot receive their much needed supplies.

Meanwhile, it cannot be said that the South had no reasons to believe that it is going to win the war. There are crucial advantages that the South had over the North such as its ‘home field advantage’, strong fighting spirit, more military leaders, and early war preparation. Since the civil war was fought with the North invading the South, soldiers from the Confederacy fought on a more familiar terrain that is close to home. Because of this, Southerners had strong fighting spirits being proficient in hunting, riding, and other skills necessary to fight within their territory. Also, the south had better military leaders since a higher proportion of Southerners had attended West Point and other military schools, became army officers, and fought in military operations. Adding to this, the South prepared for the war much earlier than the north which gave and this gave them an advantage when it comes to preparedness for the fight.
2. What were the Monitor and the Virginia?
The USS Monitor were CSS Virginia the two famous ironclad warships which participated in the naval battle between the North and South. While the Union had a strong naval force, the confederate army was able to convert its steam frigate USS Merrimack into CSS Virginia as an ironclad rams that would sank one Union warship with its iron ram and 10 with its torpedoes. This sent panics in Washington that prompted them to build USS Monitor – a smaller warship with two 11-inch guns with revolving turret. With its size, USS monitor presented a small target with an intense gun power with its revolving turret. Because of this, the naval war between the Monitor and Virginia was dubbed as the “battle of the ironclads”. It resulted to a draw with Virginia going home to Norfolk, unable to engage the battle again.
3. How did the South raise an army? What methods did they use to find men to fight?
In 1862, the South instituted drafting by requiring three years of service for males who are 18 to 35 years old. Later however, the confederate decided to increase the draft age up to 45 in October 1862. Additionally, an overseer exemption was implemented for one white man who has 20 or more slaves on every plantation.
According to the Twenty Negro Law, the purpose of this is to prevent slave uprising and to keep up the production. As such, many non-slaveholding farm families regarded the policy as discrimination towards them. As a result, the law provoked avoidance and widespread desertions in the Confederate army. Additionally, the South allowed substitution in its drafting policy, enabling drafted men to pay a commutation fee of $300 for exemption. Because of this, the policy was labeled as “rich man’s war, poor man’s fight” just like in the Northern States.
4. What was the Conscription Act of 1863?
The Conscription Act of 1863 was signed by President Abraham Lincoln to require every male citizen and immigrants filing for citizenship between 20 to 45 years old to enlist in the military. This was done by both the Union and Confederacy to solve the problem of military losses and shortage of soldiers. In this act, the government provided a 50-day quota for new troops in each congressional district before resorting to draft via lottery. Some districts implemented a bounty system which was abused by some draftees who deserted as soon as they got the money or enlist again under another name somewhere else. Also, under this act, some men could escape the military service by paying a fee or finding a substitute and this permitted military avoidance for those who are rich enough to pay the fees.
5. Why were there draft riots in New York City? What did the newspapers claim would happen?
Because of the recruiting difficulties, the North also Conscription Act of 1863 was passed to draft soldiers from 20-45 years for military service. But because some men can pay or find a substitute, many cried foul that this was a “rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight”. This means that it is an unfair act to poor people who could not pay fees or who agree to be a substitute because of poverty.
Additionally, democratic newspapers perpetuated that the draft would force them to fight a war to free the slaves, who would then come to the North to take the job of white workers. As a result, riots in working-class sections of New York broke out in protest. It was the bloodiest and most violent ones were in New York City. Protesters, mostly Irish Americans, stormed draft offices, assaulted several blacks and destroyed areas through looting and burning.
6. What was Shermans March to the Sea?
Shermans March to the Sea is the campaign led by Maj. Gen. William Tecumsen Sharman to inflict total damage on the South’s industries, infrastructures, and civilian properties. According to Sherman, the defeat of the confederate armies was not enough to win the war. Instead, the will of the civilians who made it through the war should be crushed by destroying railroads, factories, and farms so that the war would be “so terrible and so sick for them (Southerners) that generations would pass away before they would appeal to it again”.
Indeed on November 16, Lincoln and Grant permitted Maj. Gen. Sherman to launch his total attack. As a result, a third of Atlanta City was burned including civilian properties. The troops marched down to Savannah, destroying everything on their path.