Opposing Views: If the newly formed Confederate government had chosen to immediately export as much cotton as possible, instead of withholding it from European markets, could the Confederacy have prevailed?
Could the Confederacy Have Prevailed? YES (Abby Eller)
If Only: The Confederacy could’ve leveraged their “white gold” to prevail. If only the leadership had made some simple yet crucially important decisions that would have made all the difference.
Could the Confederacy Have Prevailed? NO (Jim Rhetta)
If the Confederacy could have exported as much cotton as possible they would not have won, too many other non-cotton factors precluded it. Principal cotton factors against it include: 1. There was a glut of cotton in England which was not used up until fall of 1862. 2. The harvest of 1861 ran from July to October, and the blockade would have been strengthened by that time. 3. The harvest of 3 million bales could not be transported via inadequate rail lines in a combat environment, faced insufficient warehouse storage, and insufficient shipping to move to England.
Abby Eller is President of the Peninsula Civil War Roundtable. She has no ancestors who fought in the Civil War as far as she knows. Growing up in Memphis, Tenn, Abby was intrigued by how the Civil War has meant so much to Southerners, a hundred years later. Civil War history includes much more than military history. Abby is fascinated by how the war transformed the course of American history. Throughout America, the war set in motion changes that are with us today.
Jim Rhetta retired from Lockheed Corp, and also retired from the USAF Reserve as a Colonel in the Intelligence Community. In both careers he monitored, analyzed and reported on global conflicts and crisis for the DoD Community. His careers required him to write and present Daily Intelligence Briefings, threat assessments, and weekly activity reports. He published classified books on foreign air defense threats and Order-of -Battles. He continues to monitor both current events and historical subjects for their impacts on us today.