Repository logo

Confederate military strategy: the outside forces that caused change




Varnold, Nathan, author
Gudmestad, Robert, advisor
Orsi, Jared, committee member
Black, Ray, committee member

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


When addressed with military strategy the first thought is to drift towards the big name battlefields: Shiloh, Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga. Our obsession with tactics and outcomes clouds our minds to the social, cultural, and political factors that took place away from the front lines. Less appealing, but no less important to understanding the war as a whole, this study incorporates non-military factors to explain the shift of Confederate military strategy in the Western Theater. Southern citizens experienced a growth of military awareness, which greatly influenced the military policies of Richmond, and altered how Confederate generals waged war against Union armies. The geography of Mississippi and Tennessee, and the proximity of these states to Virginia, also forced Western generals to pursue aggressive military campaigns with less than ideal military resources. Finally, the emotions and personal aspirations of general officers in the Army of Tennessee, and the Western Theater as a whole, produced a culture of failure, which created disunion and instability in the Western command structure. Confederate generals pursued aggressive military campaigns due to a combination of social, cultural, political, and military factors.


Rights Access



Associated Publications