|Thanks for posting the link- interesting lecture. Gallagher does not assert that the Seven Days was the turning point - just a tuning point. He makes strong points. Lee took command, replacing Johnston, substituting an aggressive general for one that relied on maneuver - and retreat. And before the Seven Days, the confederate armies were being defeated almost everywhere. Confederate civilian morale was at low ebb - but it rebounded through Manassas II and even Antietam. He also argues that the Seven Days lead to a more aggressive war and the confiscation of confederate property leading to the announcement of Emancipation at Antietam. So Seven Days resulted in major shifts in the war - hard to argue that this was not a tuning point. In contrast, he argues that Gettysburg changed little. Lee said that he would have lost as many men if he stayed on the defensive in Virginia. Lincoln in his unsent letter to Meade said that Meades failure to follow up meant that the "war would be prolonged indefinitely". I think that Gettysburg may be the 'high water mark" of the confederacy, but since neither army gained a permanent advantage, it was not a turning point. I think the point in the war where confederate military defeat became inevitable was when Grant and Meade turned south after Wilderness. THAT was not just a turn, but THE final turning point.
Last edited on Sat Aug 11th, 2012 08:42 pm by MildMan