Dixie Betrayed: How the South Really Lost the Civil War

Dixie Betrayed: How the South Really Lost the Civil War

David J. Eicher

Language: English

Pages: 368

ISBN: 0803260172

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

For more than a century, conventional wisdom has held that the South lost the Civil War because of bad luck and overwhelming Union strength. The politicians and generals on the Confederate side have been lionized as noble warriors who bravely fought for states’ rights. But in Dixie Betrayed, historian David J. Eicher reveals the real story, a calamity of political conspiracy, discord, and dysfunction that cost the South the Civil War.
Drawing on a wide variety of previously unexplored sources, Eicher shows how President Jefferson Davis viciously fought with the Confederate House and Senate, state governors, and his own cabinet. Some Confederate senators threatened one another with physical violence; others were hopeless idealists who would not bend even when victory depended on flexibility. Military commanders were assigned not on the basis of skill but because of personal connections. Davis frequently interfered with his generals, micromanaging their field campaigns, ignoring the chain of command, and sometimes trusting utterly incompetent men. Even more problematic, some states wanted to set themselves up as separate nations, further undermining a unified war effort. Tensions were so extreme that the vice president of the Confederacy refused to live in the same state as Davis.
Dixie Betrayed blasts away previous myths about the Civil War. It is essential reading for Civil War buffs and for anyone interested in how governments of any age can self-destruct during wartime.

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537-39. 40. John Sergeant Wise, End of an Era, 434; Lincoln, Collected Works, 8: 392. 41. Chamberlain, Passing of the Armies, 242; Horace Porter, “The Surrender at Appomattox Court House,” in Battles and Leaders, eds. Johnson and Buel, 4: 737. 42. Grant as quoted in Johnson and Buel, eds., Battles and Leaders, 4: 743; Lee, General Order No. 9, Appomattox Court House, VA, Apr. 9, 1865, Wartime Papers, 934-35; Edmondston, “Journal of a Secesh Lady,” 694-95. 43. Jones, Lantern Slides. 44.

three years, unless the war came to an end. For the time being Davis had bested his opponents. SOMEHOW life in Richmond carried on. At the White House Varina Davis gave birth to another son, William Howell, on December 16. The Davises were both exhausted and feeling rather ill, independent of the demands of the Confederacy. The president confided in his closest associates his worries about the state of the country. “Recent disasters have depressed the weak,” the president declared to Joe

wrong side of the pavement I had to pass right through them. Directly after the hearse went his horse came with his coat pantaloons boots, and spurs, and the flag all draped in black crepe, and Gens. Longstreet, Elzey, and Pickett, and President Davis, and all of General Winder’s staff. 18 The Confederate president attempted to boost hopes for victory that spring. Davis told the Confederacy: At no previous period of the war have our forces been so numerous, so well organized, and so thoroughly

liberties and independence, I believe; but it will be in spite of the most terrible incompetency . . . in our Executive, which has ever afflicted a noble people. 27 The venom went both ways. “I learn that Genl. [Howell] Cobb is getting crazy in the state of fury,” Brown wrote Aleck Stephens. “A friend from Atlanta writes me that he denounced me on the R.R. car between Macon and that place the other day as a traitor, a Tory; said I ought to be hung and would be soon; that he had never been to a

Bell Hood, the veteran of many battles that, among other things, left him without his right leg (lost at Chickamauga) and the use of his left arm (at Gettysburg). Now he would attempt to defend the heart of the rail system supporting the Deep South. In the battle of Peachtree Creek on July 20, Hood attacked and suffered heavy casualties. He then backed into the defenses of Atlanta. The battle of Atlanta, during which McPherson was killed, resulted two days later—as Sherman believed Hood was

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