I agree Joe. I haven't read all of the books listed but I have read some. Even with just the Lincoln Papers one can see he wasn't the wise, benevolent man we were all required to read of in school. I don't think any of those in the higher command believed the war would drag out as long as it did. It may well have been shortened if Lincoln and Davis had made different choices for leaders in the early stages. It would also appear that South Carolina believed if it said it was leaving the Union, it would pretty much do so with token resistance. They were wrong. When other states grabbed their coattails, the wild ride began and Lincoln had a real mess to deal with. Had he done nothing, a huge chunk of tax revenue would be lost. That was his motivation to win. Had Lee been successful at Gettysburg and more of the fighting had been in the Northern area, it may have made some difference but in the end, we didn't have the goods for a prolonged war. Old Abe knew that and came up with his big speech that had no legal bearing on the Southern states but that fact seems to have been ignored throughout history. Another ignored reason for that speech was that he needed to stoke the coals on the fire to get the Union machine moving again (I'll give him credit for that). Sadly, it seems to have worked. He could stir the pot behind the scenes and on the podium. I know we can't do it here, but it's so much easier to understand in today's political climate than it was before. History is repeating itself.