We learned many things from the first Civil War, and we’ll discuss some of those important survival lessons here. 

One of the biggest things we drew from the Civil War is good hygiene of medical personnel. With all the surgeries and treatments going on during the war, the surgeons, doctors, nurses, etc. didn’t wash their hands and spread infections and other germs from patient to patient. Doctors studying the war found the above to be true, and medical professionals today learned to wash their hands between patients while learning their profession.

One important lesson is that it is difficult to have a conventional war with a technologically superior enemy. The USA won the war in large part due to their ability to move troops around with their extensive rail lines and communicate between others using the telegraph (both of which they had developed more than the CSA). A second lesson that’s very important is that you shouldn’t try to pressure a country (The CSA tried to do this with the UK due to their textiles industry needing large amounts of Southern cotton) to help you in a war if you only have one resource they need that’s available in large amounts elsewhere (especially if they have colonies in or have regions that can provide what you’re pressuring them with). The Indians and Egyptians provided all the cotton the British needed in this case.

The longer a war goes on, the more savage and merciless it becomes, and the more likely it is to have unintended consequences. The longer a war goes on the more likely it is to become a war of attrition which the side with the greater material resources – population, industrial capacity, etc. – will inevitably win assuming they maintain the will to continue fighting. Undermining that will to keep fighting is where guerrilla and asymmetrical warfare come into play.

Firing on the fortresses of a nation with two and a half times your population and ten times your industrial capacity is a stupid idea unless you have a plan. Especially if almost forty percent of your population are people whose attitude towards your cause ranges from sullen apathy to active disloyalty.

What do you think are some of the important lessons we can draw from the Civil War?

How about this one: it’s never a good idea to let Jews control your finances, whether it’s Judah Benjamin or Peter Belau? Benjamin, after gaining control over the Confederate treasury, misallocated funding for food and uniforms. Many southern soldiers were without shoes or rations, relying on captured Union supplies for survival. He blamed Generals Beauregard and Stonewall Jackson for southern defeats, all the while he was depositing southern funds into European accounts for himself. Then, Benjamin fled to England with stolen Confederate gold.

Always Safe, Always Prepared

Frank Mitchell