Edward Carr Franks
The bulk of the literature on supplying armies in the field during the Civil War is on Southern supply, no doubt because the South experienced the bulk of the supply problems, on an economy-wide basis and at the level of the armies in the field. In contrast, the story for the North is one of great success, save for brief periods of enemy-induced deprivation for certain field armies ( Chattanooga being the prime example). It appears that the Northern military success caused historians to focus, quite naturally, on the efficacy of Northern strategy and tactics, whereas students of the Southern military failure were unwilling to attribute that result simply to military incompetence and have therefore sought other explanations.
The reasons for the comparative variation in supply experience between the North and South are reasonably well established. First, the South's ports were blockaded. This caused two important problems: it raised the cost of imports (much more than did the impact of Southern privateers on Northern shipping raise Northern import costs) and forced the South to rely much more heavily on its very limited east-west rail network (the South's river system was so good that much antebellum intra-South commerce occurred port-to-port rather than train depot-to-train depot.) Second, the South lost important production and distribution centers early, mainly Nashville, Memphis, and New Orleans, a critical blow to the South's already limited industrial infrastructure. Third, and perhaps most important, the Southern government by late 1863 was virtually bankrupt and unable to obtain additional credit. As a result, not only could it no longer pay for supplies in Europe, it could not even pay for supplies at home. The resulting de facto price controls and forced impressment of goods and services