View single post by PvtClewell
 Posted: Sun Aug 5th, 2007 02:31 am
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Joined: Wed Jun 13th, 2007
Location: North Carolina USA
Posts: 420

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I think you're actually making my point for me. After an unending string of losses or nonvictories up until the Gettysburg Campaign (I use that reference to include Brandy Station), the Union seized the momentum and never let go. Sure, there were bumps and burps along the way, but the general Union offensive, beginning with the Overland Campaign, was relentless afterwards. I agree that all your points are valid — I can't debate you over those, hence, my view that Gettysburg really did change everything for the Union, which didn't experience those things prior to the Gettysburg Campaign.

I don't think Meade could mount a serious pursuit of Lee immediately after Gettysburg, having been beaten up pretty badly himself. Plus, I think Lee was able to establish a strong defense along the Wiliamsport-Falling Waters line. Unlike Lee, however, Meade ultimately had unlimited resources from which to draw men and material. After Gettysburg, Lee was forced to become a superior defensive tactician, which manifested itself in the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna River and Cold Harbor. But each of those battles eventually resulted in Lee withdrawing closer to Richmond. You can argue that Lee never won after Gettysburg.

CF, nice use of Vicksburg to tie in with Gettysburg, by the way. When I originally posted the premise of this thread, I was thinking in terms of one specific battle. My gaff. In the immortal words of Curly Howard, 'Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.' (How come I can quote the Three Stooges and not Shakespeare?)

But since both victories came in tandem, it's difficult to say which was more important. What if the Union had won at Vicksburg, but lost at Gettysburg? Would Vicksburg alone still have brought an earlier end to the war? Very doubtful, even though it splits the Confederacy in half. The Union must regroup and figure out what to do next. Complicating the issue is the New York draft riots, a serious distraction just a few weeks after Gettysburg. By contrast, I think a Gettysburg victory and a defeat at Vicksburg still maintains the Union momentum.

It's why I don't go to the Civil War Institute at Vicksburg.

Last edited on Tue Aug 7th, 2007 04:28 am by PvtClewell

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