View single post by PvtClewell
 Posted: Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 02:50 am
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Joined: Wed Jun 13th, 2007
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 420

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Actual civil war discussion has been pretty slow lately so thought I'd drum up something to actually talk about that relates to the, umm, civil war.

This idea was spawned by a comment from Kentucky Orpahan on another thread where to him, the more significant battle was Antietam rather than Gettysburg. While he didn't say why, and without putting words into his keyboard, I'm guessing it's because the battle at Antietam, a non-loss for the Union, allowed Lincoln to issue a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation (EP), which changed the nature of the war from a fight to preserve the Union to a fight to free a peoples. KO will have to correct me on this if I'm misrepresenting his views.

Having said that, the Union nearly squandered its Antietam momentum before the EP went into effect on Jan. 1, 1863, Grant was stymied in the first seige of Vicksburg late in 1862, Sherman lost a Chicasaw Bayou in Dec. 1862 and Burnside got clobbered at Fredericksburg in Dec. 1862. Only Rosecrans at Stones River provided something of a victory for Lincoln at this critical juncture that otherwise might have made the EP a hollow joke. Lincoln even thanks Rosecrans for his victory.

I'm not going to argue that Stones River was the critical battle of the war — I mention it only to illustrate what a near thing the winter of 1862 was for Lincoln — but I will argue that Gettysburg changed everything for the Union. Lee was forever on the defensive after Gettysburg, something even Lee knew he couldn't sustain indefinitey. The only true hope the CSA had left was a defeat for Lincoln in the elections of 1864 to McClellan and the peace democrats that might end the war and bring recognition to the CSA.

So, yes, I'm saying that Gettysburg was the significant battle of the war. It's why there are thousands of books about the battle. It's why there's a Gettysburg Address. It's why I go to the Civil War Institute in Gettysburg and not the Civil War Institute in Antietam.

Let the debate roll! Any takers?

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