Three Big Things:
1. The North had more of everything except capable military leadership. They also weren’t fighting to defend their home states, their farms or families, or their overly-romanticized “way of life.” Despite Lincoln’s best efforts, the North kept finding ways to lose for most of the first half of the war.
2. Both sides assumed the war would be brief and glorious. Except for a few experienced military men who remembered the Mexican-American War, troops on both sides went in “green” – inexperienced and ignorant of what they were getting into. Many were excited by the chance to fight. Once they’d “seen the elephant,” however, that enthusiasm was quickly tempered.
3. July 1863 was the turning point of the Civil War. From that month forward, the outcome was inevitable – the South was going to lose. The fact that they prolonged it as long as they did was either noble or especially tragic, given the extensive damage it was necessary to inflict before they surrendered.