The line dividing the Confederate battlefront and homefront was always extremely blurred, and this blurring, though initially a source of strength, contributed significantly to the South losing the Civil War. While fighting the war, the Confederacy faced a terrible handicap which the Union did not: the vast majority of the war's battles happened on its own soil. At first, this situation galvanized Southerners. But as the war dragged on, concern for their families as well as the very real costs of war—Confederate soldiers were nearly three times as likely to die as Union soldiers—encouraged a total of around 103,000 Confederates to desert. And the Yankee waging of total war intensified the effects of the divisive Southern class structure and of the collapse of Confederate patriotism, compounding the dejection of the South. This paper explores Confederate psychological suffering at home—as told through letters, songs, memoirs, and Union military court records—in order to understand the demoralizing effects of total war and how they led to Union victory.
"“When This Cruel War Is Over”: The Blurring of the Confederate Battlefront and Homefront During the Civil War,"
The Gettysburg College Journal of the Civil War Era: Vol. 10
, Article 8.
Available at: https://cupola.gettysburg.edu/gcjcwe/vol10/iss1/8