During these days in 1861, both sides endured the impact of the first battle of Bull Run. The Civil War had a number of turning points that changed people's perceptions, from the man on the street to the elite at the top.
Bull Run or Manassas dispelled some craven illusions. Southerners assumed that the North would let them drift away. Northerners assumed that a quick show of force would sweep the South back into the fold. Neither side expected the shedding of blood.
Few people foresaw a long-term conflict. Those that did were not heeded. Before hostilities broke out, Confederate Attorney General Judah Benjamin proposed that a big shipment of cotton be sent to Europe. He wanted to use that revenue to pay for the war. His proposal went nowhere and the Confederacy eventually resorted to printing money to meet its expenses. Runaway inflation resulted.
There is also the episode of Sherman's "insanity" when he correctly predicted the armed strength the North would need to win the war.
Prophecies require time for the general mass of people to accept them.
Bull Run shattered any chance of a peaceful parting of ways. Shiloh demolished any hope of either side obtaining a cheap victory. Vicksburg and Gettysburg ended any opportunity of Southern victory short of Northern exhaustion.
Battles are like disasters. They shatter dogmas and sometimes, beliefs.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry