Sunday, July 03, 2011

Today in 1863...

...was the final day of the battle of Gettysburg. While we're on the subject, do any readers who might be ACW buffs have any thoughts on the importance of Gettysburg or 1863 in general to the outcome of the war?



Son III said...

My opinion is the conventional one: it was the turning point of the war.

Had the numbers been reversed, and the South won the battle, I am certain the war would have ended with the Confederate army encamped a few miles north of Washington, D.C., and a peace treaty offered to Lincoln from Davis.

Union morale would be shattered, and the public would have demanded an end to the war.

But, that didn't happen.

The Confederacy could have won if the initiative had been taken in preparation of the battle, but Lee was too confident to take necessary precautions and preparations to win with fewer casualties.

The Warrior said...

Not a bad analysis, my friend, however I think I must disagree that even a smashing victory for the South at Gettysburg would have stopped the North. Since when have we known Big Brother to stop if they are able to continue?

I must also admit to being a little less conventional in opinion. There are also two other factors that the summer of '63 brought to bear. On May 10th, Stonewall Jackson died due to complications from his wounds/pneumonia after the battle of Chancellorsville. Perhaps I'm a Jacksonite, but without their (arguably) best strategic mind, the loss was definitely felt in practical terms.

Perhaps even more major, the loss of Vicksburg on the Mississippi to Grant's besieging forces on July 4th, 1863 effectively split the South in half.

Three deep wounds in less than a month. Alas, it was not a good time for the Confederacy.

But that's just summer '63...plenty of other death blows fell. The loss of the "breadbasket" of Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley, comes to mind, as does Sherman's March to the Sea....

Very stimulating conversation. I'm glad to have you participate, my friend!