Jefferson Davis and the Confederacy's "Offensive-Defensive" Strategy in the U.S. Civil War


Jefferson Davis evaluated the Confederacy's national resources and capabilities and decided that in order to win its independence the Confederacy was going to have to fight mostly on the strategic defensive. Davis maintained mostly a defensive outlook throughout the Civil War but shifted to strategic offensives a few times when he believed or was persuaded that an exceptional offensive was likely to contribute to winning independence. During and after the war Davis called his strategic approach the "offensive-defensive." Although it is a cumbersome term, the "offensive-defensive" strategy remains a valid phrase to describe the strategy Davis used to conduct of the war.