View single post by Kentucky_Orphan
 Posted: Tue Aug 14th, 2007 12:49 am
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Joined: Wed Dec 20th, 2006
Posts: 125

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Wow, a thousand apologies to everyone, especially PVTClewell, I had no idea this thread even existed. I inadvertantly "inspire" a post and take no part in the discussion untill now! I have to say this is what comes from working and going to school. I do not own a computer myself, and so the only times I can post is when I come back home to visit or visit the university computer lab between work and class to do homework.

Decisive is relative in some respects, decisive in its political or overall military consequences, or perhaps just in the battle itself? If it is just the battle itself, without other considerations, then Richmond Ky. could be considered the most decisive battle of the war. None other than the peerless Shelby Foote called Confederate General Kirby Smith's victory at Richmond the "closest thing to a Cannae" any civil war General accomplished North or South. As for my comment about Antietam, I didn't express the reasons behind my choice of decisive battles because I was merely expressing my ignorance for all the intricacies of the Battle of Gettysburg when compared to other battles/events of the war. I do believe I have stated some of the logic I used to come to that conclussion in other posts, but I don't believe there had been a thread where one could talk about this in depth.

Antietam had so many consequences politically and militarily that I know I will leave a few out, but here it goes...Politically, it was the last real oppurtunity for the south to gain foriegn recognition. Afterwards, it became for the south entirely a struggle to drain the willpower of the north to wage war. This was because it more or less destroyed the momentum the Confederacy had built to this point, and the Emancipation Proclamation, perhaps the most ingenous stroke of the war, was a direct result of the Confederate "check" at Antietam. Now, the political reasoning for assisting the south for european powers were dwarfed when compared to the ending of the institution of slavery. The political situation in the North improved as well...

Also, though the force Lee led into Maryland was materially in poor shape, and smaller in size than in prior or future battle, Lee would never lead a better fighting force. The loss of so many tough veteran soldiers from all ranks, including the officer corps, could never be replaced. It is quite astounding that the army fought so effectively afterwards (or even Jacksons corps fought well at all at Antietam following the losses of Second Manasas). The tactics change, though subtle in some respects, must also be taken into account.

Well, those are a few of the reasons behind my assertion that Antietam was more decisive. If I can give this thread new life it would be great, as more friendly debate and depth on the subject would be enjoyable. 


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