The Last Best Hope
Asouthern section containing four of every ten Americans would not likely outlast the northern section in a long war of attrition, not with two of the South's four sympathizing more with the Union, not with few reinforcements from outside the white Confederates' ranks offsetting the many southern defectors. The American Revolutionary War had demonstrated the importance of offsetting reinforcements. Only a slightly lower percentage of southern slaves, to repeat, fled to their masters' enemy during the American Revolutionary War than during the Civil War. Yet the runaways of 1776–;83, compared to those of 1861–;65, did little to tilt the balance of military power. Revolutionary War fugitives exerted comparatively less leverage, partly because the preindustrial British army needed less military labor, partly because the British needed fewer black soldiers for their scant armies of occupation, but mostly because France came to the rescue of colonial Americans. American gains from French military power more than offset the loss of black labor power.
White Confederates sought equivalent counterbalancing reinforcements from Englishmen, from Northern Democrats, and finally in desperation,