The North's strategy in this war was relatively straightforward. It knew it had to conquer the entire South and set up a plan accordingly. The basic plan was to blockade the South from the sea and then to invade along various strategically important routes to cut up the Confederacy.
A major problem for the South was its lack of a true overall strategy. Some in the South wanted to fight a defensive war. They realized they did not have to defeat the North and that all they had to do was hold out long enough to make the North give up the fight. But others wanted to be more aggressive. This made for a rather uncoordinated approach to the war. One other aspect of the South's strategy was an attempt to use their economic power (their status as major cotton supplier to Europe) to get European countries to take their side (at least diplomatically) in the war.