|View single post by PvtClewell|
|Posted: Tue Aug 14th, 2007 02:01 am||
I'm an eastern theater guy. I'm offended (not really, but I threw that in to illustrate your point about easterners).
I will suggest that it's too simplistic to say nothing decisive happened at Gettysburg except to get a lot of good men killed. Lee lost a third of his effectives at Gettysburg and could never mount a serious offense afterwards. That is significant. Bruce Catton writes in "Glory Road:" '(Gettysburg) might be less than a victory than Mr. Lincoln had hoped for, but it was nevertheless a victory - and, because of it, it was no longer possible for the Confederacy to win the war. The North might still lose it, to be sure, if the soldiers or the people should lose heart, but outright defeat was no longer in the cards. Both the army and the country were in shape to win at last, and from now on it would be a question of courage and endurance.'
I truly understand the value of the western theater toward the final outcome of the war. The fact that Vicksburg and Gettysburg were concurrent still does not convince me one theater was more important than the other. But Gettysburg is pretty darn significant in that it halts apparently unending Confederate momentum in the east. Granted, Lee might not have been able to do much afterwards if he had won at Gettysburg, but another Yankee loss probably throws the North into despair - the people and the soldiers "would lose heart." At least, I think so. And then anything is possible. It almost happened anyway in 1864 where even Lincoln thinks he'll lose the election.
Whew. I thought you were ignoring this thread.
Anyway, I might disagree that Lee never had a better fighting force after Antietam. Even with the loss of Jackson at Chancellorsville, he marched north proclaiming that his army, "if properly led, could do anything." The 'properly led' part, ironically, seemed to be his undoing.