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 Posted: Mon Apr 16th, 2012 08:03 pm
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HankC
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Both confederate repulses on northern soil, Antietam and Gettysburg, lead to iconic moments: the emancipation proclamation and the gettysburg address.

without these political events they would be merely two more in a long list of bloody battles...



 Posted: Tue Apr 17th, 2012 02:29 am
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Hellcat
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Sherman had taken Atlanta by the time November 8, 1864 came around, which helped contribute to Lincoln's re-election. As did the fall of Mobile Bay. Going into the summer of 1864 Lincoln's re-eleaction campaign was stalling out, these events helped his campaign. I don't think the re-election campaign was a turning point, personally when these events helped it happen.

As for the blockade being overrated I have to disagree. I think it is more underrated as more attention tends to be paid to the land actions of the war.



 Posted: Tue Apr 17th, 2012 02:13 pm
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HankC
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Yes the re-election of Lincoln was *the* turning point but what lead to it?

My position is that the most significant action in the war is:


Browns ferry at Chattanooga.


The union army of the Cumberland had marched into Georgia 2 short months earlier and were threatening to cut the south in 2. Now, that same army was hunkered down in Chattanooga and threatened by starvation and surrender.

the loss of 1/3 of the north's major armies is bad enough but it's loss would have effectively pushed this 'front' of the war all the way back to Nashville for the Spring 1864 campaign.

It doesn't take much imagination to see that the best the North could hope for in that circumstance is to be back in Chattanooga by the election of 1864 (remember in actuality it took almost all year just to get from Chattanooga to Atlanta).

Opening the cracker line through Brown’s ferry saved the army from starvation, cemented the army group being formed, preceded the rout of the confederate army and the consolidation of the US position in Tennessee and on the doorstep to the deep south…



 Posted: Tue Apr 17th, 2012 02:18 pm
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ebg
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Lee's invasiion of Pennsylvania wasn't just an exercise in Napoleonic manuvering.

Lee had to set out to destroy the Army of the Potomac.

If Lee could destroy the Federal Army in the East, then he destroyed the North's ability to wage war in the East.

If the North could no longer wage war in the East, then Confederate resourse could be redirected exclusively to Johnston in the West.

If Lee had won Gettysburg...the South would have been saved, despite the previous victories of the Union at Vicksburg & New Orleans.

Gettysburg was the most critical battle of the Civil War because Lee HAD to win it in order to be able to redirect Confederate military resourse to the West.

After Gettysburg, Lee never had the ability again to destroy the Union Army.

We all know what happens after Gettysburg...Sherman attacking in the West, Sheridan attacking in the Shenandoah, and Grant attacking in the East was too much of a strain on Confederate military resources.

Last edited on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 02:20 pm by ebg



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 Posted: Tue Apr 17th, 2012 07:49 pm
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HankC
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not as effective in what way?

the blockade completely choked off export of the south's only major commodity and the base of it's economy and political power.

The blockade, all by itself, showed the south was unprepared for independence as it could do little for and by itself...



 Posted: Wed Apr 18th, 2012 12:30 am
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Mark
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Not entirely true Hank. The Confederate government forbade export of cotton until late 1864 in a bid to force Great Britain's hand and to encourage planters to produce things more useful to the war effort. Unfortunately for the Rebs, GB found that once they finally ran out of cotton in 1863, they could produce their own cotton in Egypt and India. I do agree with you, however, that the blockade had the psychological effect of isolating the Confederacy from the rest of the world. Historians have argued as to whether this isolation effect helped or hindered the war effort. People do tend to rally around the cause when they feel persecuted.

Mark



 Posted: Wed Apr 18th, 2012 03:12 pm
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HankC
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I wonder how much the self-embargo was merely a stating of the obvious - similar to me saying 'I wont be playing quarterback for the Colts this year'.

As Sherman said just after SC seceded:

'The North can make a steam engine, locomotive or railway car.

Hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make.

You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical and determined people on earth - right at your doorstep.

You are bound to fail.

Only in your spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared.'



 Posted: Thu Apr 19th, 2012 12:27 pm
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Gettysburger
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During the war no one ever thought of a turning point. That kind of thinking was the luxury reserved for the historians and students of the war from wars end to the present time.

Both sides fought the war as best they could using resources as well as they were able.

You can't argue the blockade was not effective. It's effect helped to cripple the souths ability to maintain commerce, wage the war and feed, clothe and supply it's armies.

Without england's and france's intervention, the south was doomed.

If you believe what Sherman said from LSU to his colleague after SC seccession, you would agree the souths resources would be limited in every way and his prophecy would eventually become the reality.

I realize Southerns to this day didn't think they could lose the war. That is a large part of the myth of the Lost Cause:The noble and just Southern people had God on their side and they could prevail under any and all hardship.

Most importantly to me is in the north, life went on like it had before the war. Unless you had a son, brother, father or other relative fighting and dying, mostly you were uneffected by the war since life had not much changed.

The Harvard-Yale boat race was not affected. The Morrill Act of 1862 gave birth to the great land grant universities. Vassar college was founded, etc.

The new york stock market soared on the monday after the news of Gettysburg.

You can't say that life in the South was unchanged or that it improved much during any part of the war. Very few families were uneffected by war. Nearly every family had a man in the army and every family felt the sting of shortages.

As far as Gettysburg being an important event for the south, the value of CSA bonds fell drastically in europe after the news of the battle and by the end of 1863, the bonds value were about 12%.

Was there a high water mark of the war? I don't think that took place in the west or the east. Historians credit Gettysburg to be the point from which the south never recovered fully. Whether it was the ANV and it's ability to harass DC or the morale of the confederate people, GB changed more than some are still willing to admit.

dr. t.



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 Posted: Sun Apr 22nd, 2012 11:37 am
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Gettysburger
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Just wanted to finish this thread of 'Gettysburg being overrated' by stating that even William Faulkner said
that the whole war after the battle of Gettysburg: "was a long walking backwards slowly."

I am fairly certain he meant this in reference to the south's war effort after the battle of Gettysburg.

Every person has their individual opinions regarding the significance of Gettysburg. But you cannot reasonably argue that general Lee or the ANV was ever the same fighting force
after July 3, 1863.

dr. t.



 Posted: Sun Apr 22nd, 2012 11:57 am
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Mark
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Gettysburger wrote:

But you cannot reasonably argue that general Lee or the ANV was ever the same fighting force
after July 3, 1863.



Faulkner was writing with the benefit of Appomattox hindsight. Lee and his ANV (and every other Army and commander) changed after each battle they fought.

Mark



 Posted: Sun Apr 22nd, 2012 07:00 pm
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pender
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Gettysburger, I would have to disagree that Lee's army was not the same fighting force after Gettysburg. I agree that Lee lost alot of good Commanders and men, plus suffering his first major defeat. Lee's next major battle after Gettysburg was the Wilderness. And in that battle the ANV looked the same, another Union defeat on Virginia soil. The Union army did not retreat, the difference in my opinion after Gettysburg is Gen. Grant. Lee now faced a Union General that would not retreat. At the Wilderness if the Union General had retreated it would have been the same old act as before.

Pender



 Posted: Thu Apr 26th, 2012 05:08 pm
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JG6789
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pender wrote:
Lee's next major battle after Gettysburg was the Wilderness. And in that battle the ANV looked the same, another Union defeat on Virginia soil.

Why do you write that the Wilderness a Union defeat?



 Posted: Thu Apr 26th, 2012 06:26 pm
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HankC
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maybe the key to gettysburg is that afterwards 'winning' battles means less than before.

both sides realize the battle record in 'wins' and 'losses' meant little in the long-term strategy, of which there had been very little...



 Posted: Wed May 9th, 2012 09:06 pm
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Insecurity
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With the victories at both Gettysburg and Vicksburg under their belts, the Union army's morale was sent skyrocketing, and the Confederate's plummented, not to mention Lee lost about 1/3 of his forces, and enough equipment (just at Gettysburg) to make it impossible to ever mount an offensive again.

Was Gettysburg overrated? No. I don't think so. The way it's been broadcast as a 'turning point' may not be totally correct, but Gettysburg isn't overrated, in my opinion.

Love,
~Insecurity



 Posted: Sun Jul 8th, 2012 05:20 pm
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bolaman1975
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ebg got it right...the south would occupy northern soil...and all the resources that go with it.



 Posted: Sun Jul 8th, 2012 06:51 pm
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Texas Defender
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bolaman1975-

  It was never a war aim of the Confederate Government to permanently occupy northern territory.

  General Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania in 1863 was done for a number of reasons. The primary goal was to win a victory on northern soil. It was hoped that this would shake the morale of the northern people, strengthen the peace movement there, and perhaps even lead to foreign recognition and/or assistance to the Confederacy (Though this last wish was very unlikely by 1863).

   General Lee did not conduct this campaign with the idea of freeing military assets to send to the western theater.

Encyclopedia Virginia: Gettysburg Campaign

 

Last edited on Sun Jul 8th, 2012 10:41 pm by Texas Defender



 Posted: Mon Jul 9th, 2012 02:14 am
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Hellcat
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Why does it seem that all of a sudden I'm seeing folks say the South was interested in occupying Northern territory? If the South wanted to occupy Northern territory why weren't there more major invasions of the North? Certainly there were more invasions/raids than Lee's Maryland and Gettysburg campaigns and the Raid on DC by Early.



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