Each side had a number of advantages as the war began. They included:
- The South only had to fight a defensive war while the North had to conquer the South.
- The South would have shorter supply lines and lines of communication, all of which would be in their own country.
- The South would have better morale since its men were fighting for their way of life.
- The South had a more military culture and most of the best officers in the Army were from the South.
- The North had 3/4 of all the railroads in the country.
- The North had a much stronger navy.
- The North had a much bigger population, especially when you count only free men who could fight.
- The North had about 3/4 of all the wealth in the country.
- The North had the vast majority of the manufacturing in the country.
From this, we can see that the material advantages were with the North, though the South did have some military advantages.