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 Posted: Fri Jan 20th, 2012 03:02 am
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Hellcat
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Joined: Tue Nov 15th, 2005
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csamillerp wrote: hellcat, that is why i said vicksburg was the backbone, by taking vicksburg the union broke the back of the confederacy, crippling them, richmond and petersburg was the killing blows. I still believe though that antietam was the most important turning point. Without the "victory" at antietam the north would have not been able to issue the Emancipation proclamation while also ending any hope of foriegn intervention for the south.

Ok, I thought you were instead saying Richmond and Petersburg were the turning point.

But on Antietam (Sharpsburg) and the Emancipation I have to disagree. Lincoln had the Emancipation ready well before Antietam (Sharpsburg) and could have issued it back in August. But it wouldn't have carried as much weight without something that could be called a major victory. Or more accurately a major victory in the east. Shiloh had already happened in April, New Orleans had fallen into Federal hands, Grant had taken Fort Henry and Fort Donelson in February. You can look at the victories in the western theater and realize that Lincoln could have released the Emancipation just on those alone. But as has been discussed before, too much attention was placed on the Eastern Theater. Lincoln could have just as easily pointed out the victories in the Western Theater saying that the generals in the Eastern Theater were just keeping Lee busy while the generals in the Western Theater gained control of that theater then he'd bring them east to finish the job when he issued the Emacipation, and thus he could have issued it much sooner and put more emphasis on where Federal forces were more succesful.

Instead it began to look like Federal forces in the east could not follow up on a major victory. McClellan claims a strategic  victory at Antietam (Sharpsburg) then he sits on his luarels without following up. He's eventually replaced with Burnside who fails miserably at Fredericksburg. Burnside is eventually replaced with Hooker, who fails at Chancellorsville. It's not until nearly ten months later that the Federal forces claim another major victory in the east when Meade claims a strategic and tactical victory at Gettysburg.

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