Paid Advertisement
Historynet/feed historynet feedback facebook link Weider History Group RSS feed Weider Subscriptions Historynet Home page

Why did the South invade the North?

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: April 02, 2013 
Print Friendly
1 comment FONT +  FONT -

Mr. History,

Why was the South so set on invading the North? I would think that if they had just held out and conducted a war similar to George Washington's tactics they would have faired much better. Was it also a matter of funding and resources for the war?

Mike

? ? ?

Dear Mike,

Most Southerners, including President Jefferson Davis, were not for invading the North. Aside from the logistical risks, they thought it would undermine their status as the wronged party, defending their states' rights and resisting aggression from the North. Carrying the war north was essentially General Robert E. Lee's idea, based on more military considerations, starting with the unlikelihood of the Confederacy having the industry to sustain a prolonged, projected conflict. He hoped to land a knockout psychological blow by following up his startling victory on the Peninsula and at Second Manassas with a deep penetration into Maryland and Pennsylvania, threatening important cities such as Harrisburg or even Philadelphia, encouraging secessionists in Maryland and other borderline states to join the rebel cause and above all, spreading a nervous feeling of dread throughout Congress. By threatening Washington, rather than by taking it outright, Lee hoped to pressure senators and representatives to  pressure President Abraham Lincoln into curtailing hostilities, negotiating with Richmond and perhaps even recognizing the Confederacy. It was a bold long shot, but Davis finally, grudgingly, approved it. Even then, hundreds of members of the Army of Northern Virginia deserted on principal when Lee invaded Maryland in September 1862—only to rejoin him in Winchester after his return, to resume their defense of the South and the Cause.

Generals Braxton Bragg and Edmund Kirby Smith held similar ambitions with their invasion that fall, with the less sweeping hope of pushing Kentucky into official, active support of the Confederacy (but then again, they probably rationalized their move into Kentucky as more "liberation" than "invasion.") The earliest, most boldly ambitious and arguably the least plausible invasion of them all, launched from Texas in February 1862 by Brigadier General Henry Hopkins Sibley, was to run through New Mexico and Arizona, seize the gold and silver mines of Colorado, and perhaps go from there to seize the mines and ports of southern California.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group
More Questions at Ask Mr. History

 

 


990, Ask Mr. History|, Ask Mr. History

One Response to “Why did the South invade the North?”


  1. 1
    John Merkatatis says:

    Mike,

    The North had already being invading the South and Virginia was a giant battlefield;bad for moral,bad for production and generally bad for the confedarate cause,a good enough reason for Lee to move the battlefield North and give Virginia a breathing space.

    Ion Guttman's reason is a good one since the North would feel the enemy army in its soil,the threat real enough to induce certain people in the governing circles to advocate negotiations;that was the aim
    of the South and not victory over the North.



Leave a Reply

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Related Articles


History Net Images Spacer
Paid Advertisement
Paid Advertisement
History Net Daily Activities
History net Spacer
History net Spacer
Historynet Spacer
HISTORYNET READERS' POLL

Which of these wars resulted in the most surprising underdog upset?

View Results | See previous polls

Loading ... Loading ...
History net Spacer
STAY CONNECTED WITH US
RSS Feed Daily Email Update
History net Spacer History net Spacer
Paid Advertisement

Paid Advertisement
What is HistoryNet?

The HistoryNet.com is brought to you by Weider History, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines.

If you are interested in a specific history subject, try searching our archives, you are bound to find something to pique your interest.

From Our Magazines
Weider History

Weider History Network:  HistoryNet | Armchair General | Achtung Panzer! | StreamHistory.com
Today in History | Ask Mr. History | Picture of the Day | Daily History Quiz | Contact Us

Copyright © 2014 Weider History. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Advertise With Us | Subscription Help | Privacy Policy