The North furthermore had the naval potential to enact a blockade against the South, which proved effective in disrupting Southern naval activities and restricting Cotton export to Europe. But it was not the North that impeded Southern economy and reinforcements the most - it was the South herself.
The tricky part in a war isn't just attacking, it is holding the occupied territory, fortifying one's positions and organizing reinforcements. The latter can be done either by using the ressources of the vicinity or by actually getting supplies from back home, for which roads and especially the railroad can play a decisive role.
The North excelled in infrastructure in comparison to the South, whose railroad system was in disastrous shape. The South wasn't designed as a battlefield. The defunct economic infrastructure hit back with a vengeance, for its side effects at wartime became visible now. The South had the clear "advantage" in that the fight mostly was fought on her own territory - thus enabling the military to get supplies from friendly neighbors.
But infrastructure also means industry, of which the South had virtually none, again, due to the monocultural economy which was so suitable for slavery, and vice versa. The North waged war almost disinterestedly and hesitantly. She barely used all of her ressources, and if she had done so, the war could've been ended much sooner. The South, however, was on the verge of collapse - and her ressources, both manpower and weaponry, spent.
The South was also isolated politically. No European state would have allied herself with a country owing her existence to the use of slavery, not after slave trade had been banned since 1814 at the latest, the US having banned it in 1808, Britain in 1807 and Denmark already in 1792. The French had emancipated their slaves in 1848, the Dutch in 1863. Thus the international opinion had no choice but to stick with the North.
Internal ruptures in the Southern Confederacy further complicated the scene. The Confederacy was in no way a unified state - it was a loose construction of individual states joined only to defend their common interests. Once secession has been established as a means of solving differences, the occurrence of further secesions is only a matter of time, again due to the wrong understanding of democracy as a kind of anarchy.
Given all that, the Southern cause proved to be an utterly weak one, and its demise unavoidable.
previous: part 3 ·
next: part 5
October 26th/27th, 2000