The Civil War was one of the deadliest conflicts the world had ever seen, with an estimated 700,000 total American dead. Even before the war started, the Union was in a better position to fight, and win, a war. Throughout the Civil War the Union had several major advantages over the Confederate south. From 1861 to 1865, the Union was able to wear down and defeat the Confederates by playing to these strengths.
The Union was a far larger and more populous than the Confederacy. The Union was able to put 2.1 million soldiers on the battlefield, whereas the South was only able to muster 880,000. This near 3 to 1 ratio was a major Union strength the Confederates were never able to overcome. No matter how many men the Union lost, they were always able to put more men on the field.
The Union had a superior system of railroads compared to the Confederates. This allowed the Union to move necessary resources in a more efficient manner. The North was able to ship food, ammunition and soldiers at a higher rate of speed than the South. This was an essential aspect in replenishing the Union army during the war, something the South was not able to do.
Stronger Manufacturing Economy
The North was built to far outlast the South with to its strong manufacturing economy. The North contained 90 percent of all manufacturing output, according the the National Park Service. The Union also produced more leather, cotton and firearms. Thus, the Union was able to sustain itself throughout five years of war. The North relied more on machines to produce resources, rather than slave labor. This freed up more men to fight in the war instead of working in factories.
When the South seceded, the United States Navy remained with the Union. Thus, the Union had a superior number of ships, which made it harder for the South to defend its coasts. The entire Atlantic coast of the Confederacy was almost entirely undefended. The Union was able to take over vital rivers, waterways and supply depots that were crucial to the South.
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