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Northern army fighting in the heart of the South, and therefore having to guard every mile of the way back home, could not meet a Southern one with equal strength in battle unless it had left the North with fully twice as many.
Conscription came a year later (1863) in the North than in the South and was vitiated by a substitution clause. The fact that a man could buy himself out of danger made some patriots call it “a rich man’s war and a poor man's fight.”, And the further fact that substitutes generally became regular bounty-jumpers, who joined and deserted at will, over and over again, went far to increase the disgust of those who really served. Frank Wilkeson's Recollections of a Private Soldier in the Army of the Potomac is a true voice from the ranks when he explains “how the resort to volunteering, the unprincipled dodge of cowardly politicians, ground up the choicest seedcorn of the nation; how it consumed the young, the patriotic, the intelligent, the generous, and the brave; and how it wasted the best moral, social, and political elements of the Republic, leaving the cowards, shirkers, egotists, and money-makers to stay at home and procreate their kind.”
That is to say, it was so arranged that the foxywitted lived, while the lion-hearted died.
The organization of the vast numbers enrolled was excellent whenever experts were given a free hand. But this free hand was rare. One vital point only needs special notice here: the wastefulness of raising new regiments when the old ones were withering away for want of reinforcements. A new local regiment made a better “story” in the press; and new and superfluous regiments meant new and superfluous colonels, mostly of the speechifying kind. So it often happened that the State authorities felt obliged to humor zealots set on raising those brand-new regiments which doubled their own difficulties by having to learn their lesson alone, halved the efficiency of the old regiments they should have reinforced, and harassed the commanders and staff by increasing the number of units that were of different and ever-changing efficiency and strength. It was a system of making and breaking all through.
The end came when Northern sea-power had strangled the Southern resources and the unified Northern armies had worn out the fighting force. Of the single million soldiers raised by the South
only two hundred thousand remained in arms, half starved, half clad, with the scantiest of munitions, and without reserves of any kind. Meanwhile the Northern hosts had risen to a million in the field, well fed, well clothed, well armed, abundantly provided with munitions, and at last well disciplined under the unified command of that great leader, Grant. Moreover, behind this million stood another million fit to bear arms and obtainable at will from the two millions of enrolled reserves.
The cost of the war was stupendous. But the losses of war are not to be measured in money. The real loss was the loss of a million men, on both sides put together, for these men who died were of the nation's best.
THE NAVAL WAR: 1862
BULL RUN had riveted attention on the land between the opposing capitals and on the armies fighting there. Very few people were thinking of the navies and the sea. And yet it was at sea, and
not on land, that the Union had a force against 7 which the Confederates could never prevail, a force
which gradually cut them off from the whole world's base of war supplies, a force which enabled the Union armies to get and keep the strangle-hold which did the South to death..
The blockade declared in April was no empty threat. The sails of Federal frigates, still more the sinister black hulls of the new steam men-of-war, meant that the South was fast becoming a land besieged, with every outwork accessible by water exposed to sudden attack and almost certain capture by any good amphibious force of soldiers and sailors combined.
Sea-power kept the North in affluence while it starved the South. Sea-power held Maryland in its relentless grip and did more than land-power to keep her in the Union. Sea-power was the chief factor in saving Washington. Sea-power enabled the North to hold such points of vantage as Fortress Monroe right on the flank of the South. And sea-power likewise enabled the North to take or retake other points of similar importance: for.. instance, Hatteras Island.
In a couple of days at the end of August, 1861, the Confederate forts at Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina, were compelled to surrender to a joint naval and military expedition under Flag-Officer Stringham and Major-General B. F. Butler. The immediate result, besides the capture of seven hundred men, was the control of the best entrance to North Carolina waters, which entailed the stoppage of many oversea supplies for the Confederate army. The ulterior result was the securing of a base from which a further invasion could be made with great advantage.
The naval campaign of the following year was truly epoch-making; for the duel between the Monitor and Merrimac in Hampton Roads on