Root Beer Lover
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|It seems fairly well known that Lincoln wanted Meade to follow up his success at Gettysburg. Had he done so could he have ended the war sooner? Possibly, but people tend to forget that the war ddn't end when Lee meet Grant at Appomatox Courthouse. There were still other armies in the field and it was weeks before they all surrendered. This would have freed the Army of the Potomac to move west and join in the fighting there, though likely the AoP would have had to become more an Army of occupation while the war was still being fought in the Western Theater.
But could Meade have acted quickly? His army had just fought one of the bloodiest battles of the war. The AoP was tired and worn out, they might have had the heart to go on but would they have had that heart for much longer or would the push have turned the tide of battle. That's impossible to say and so I won't begin to guess on that one. But Meade had another thing going agaisnt him, some of his generals were still loyal Hooker men and had already been causing him troubles even before the battle ended. After the battle and his failure to follow up and crush the ANV two of these men, Butterfield and Sickles, tried to discredit Meade and have Congress remove him. Meade had as much to contend with some of his own generals as he did the state of the army. Had he moved sooner than he did then the former might not have been a problem. But the latter would have been a different matter.