View single post by booklover
 Posted: Tue Aug 7th, 2007 04:26 pm
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Joined: Sat Jun 23rd, 2007
Posts: 222

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Could it be possble that the most decisive battle of the Civil War was the last one?:P

Seriously, I can't see Gettysburg as being the most decisive. To me the term "decisive" means the one that led to the close of the conflict, and Gettysburg (or even Vicksburg) didn't do that. It would take several more months for the fighting to end. I think one could make a case for the Overland Campaign or Petersburg being just as decisive as it showed that the Union finally had a general who would keep fighting day after day regardless of the number of causualties. Can you imagine what McClellan (or any other general) would have done if they had experienced Cold Harbor?

I think Joe hit on it when he talked about the proximity of Gettysburg to the major population centers and the fact that Lincoln made the greatest (even greater than his second inauguaral address) speech ever given as reasons for Gettysburg's popularity. I would add the influence of Michael Shaara's book and Ken Burns' series with its focus of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. I've always wondered how the numbers of those visiting the park went up from the point before Shaara and Burns compared to after.

Of course, some will even argue that the South had lost at Sumter, but that's a little too Lost Cause for me.


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