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Old 08-19-2014, 10:45 PM
 
Location: New Mexico
471 posts, read 734,469 times
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Gettysburg was the turning point, more specifically when Lee ordered Longstreet to send General Picket's men across a open valley with scant cover up a hill to a strong fortified Union position that had plenty of cover and could inflict heavy fire upon the Rebs the entire time. The only sad point of honor that could be considered was that Longstreet instantly realized this was a fools errand, but honored his commander's order without hesitation, much to the tragedy of all those who died because of it.

All down hill from there for the South....
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Old 08-20-2014, 08:50 AM
 
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You know it looks as if Antietam foreshadowed Gettysburg particularly I'd say when focusing on Lee's commanding. He took chances at Antietam where at one point his army was split before the battle itself. His commanders didn't like the situation especially if they had to retreat. Yet Lee went on believing he could win. Jump ahead to Gettysburg where he got another chance and then he threw in his lot in trying to complete the invasion. In both battles Lee sure looked aggressive and arguably Antietam 'prepared' Gettysburg. Couldn't tame the tiger in Lee. It was always trying to get out!
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Old 08-20-2014, 11:07 AM
 
Location: The High Desert of the American Southwest
214 posts, read 182,378 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Felix C View Post
In my opinion there was no turning point. The South was steadily losing ground since the commencement of U.S. Federal operations in the western and coastal theatres. The advances and retrograde movements and their battles on the Potomac front only slowed the process and absorbed Southern attention from other fields.

Most concise and accurate quote of the entire thread.

Sure, the July weekend in which the South lost both Gettysburg and the uber-crucially-located Vicksburg fortress on the Mississippi is considered by many Civil War scholars to have been the turning point, or the "High water mark for the Confederacy."

But the simple--and less controversial & interesting!--fact is that the South from the outset had zero chance to win a prolonged war. Their only chance would have been in England and/or France would have jumped on their behalf. (Lincoln new this of course, and it was this fact--not his moral outrage on slavery--that prompted him to issue the Emancipation Proclamation after Antietam, making the Northern Cause a Moral one, not an Oppressive action as the South claimed. After that, there was no way anti-slavery Europe would come running.

The North was just too better equipped, and had more of, well, everything, from men to guns to money to food to railroad, and to time. Once they got their leadership roles figured out after the first year or so, they were not going to be stopped.

As the late Civil War scholar Shelby Foote was fond of saying: "The North was always going to win that war. They fought most of it with one hand tied behind their back, and when things got tough for them, they only had to bring up the other hand."
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:06 PM
 
9,985 posts, read 6,506,354 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travric View Post
You know it looks as if Antietam foreshadowed Gettysburg particularly I'd say when focusing on Lee's commanding. He took chances at Antietam where at one point his army was split before the battle itself. His commanders didn't like the situation especially if they had to retreat. Yet Lee went on believing he could win. Jump ahead to Gettysburg where he got another chance and then he threw in his lot in trying to complete the invasion. In both battles Lee sure looked aggressive and arguably Antietam 'prepared' Gettysburg. Couldn't tame the tiger in Lee. It was always trying to get out!
I think the South would have stood longer.. perhaps even long enough for a stalemate
and treaty (defacto victory) if Lee pulled in and assumed a defensive position across
Confederate lands at key forts and cities - even after Antietam... but he insisted on
invasion of the North.. Gettysburg was a fiasco for the South. It was the turning point.
If the outcome of the war could have stretched onward with a purely defensive stance
from the Confederacy perhaps have gleaned more international support diplomatically,
through equipment, supplies and military goods or even a commitment from one of the
European powers to keep the U.S. divided. This was no longer possible after Gettysburg,
things were proceeding too rapidly in the Union's favor.. but Gettysburg was an unnecessary foible which sealed the fate of the Confederacy.
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Old 08-21-2014, 08:40 AM
 
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Re: 'Gettysburg...fiasco for the a South'

Sure nailed the coffin in. On the other hand if things could have gone perhaps a little better for the Rebs on the first day especially on Cemetery Hill Lee and his armies could have had a longer tour in the Niortheast. Or maybe if Jackson had the reins of battle command against Buford.
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Old 08-21-2014, 11:57 AM
 
28,906 posts, read 45,678,849 times
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Originally Posted by ovcatto View Post
Antietam wasn't a turning point for one simple reason, George Brinton McClellan who allowed Lee and the Army of Virginia to retreat, unmolested, back to Virginia. Yes it was a major political victory because provided Lincoln with an opportunity to issue the Emancipation Proclamation and also kept Great Britain and France from recognizing the confederacy it did not end the lethality of Lee's army.

Gettysburg, despite Mead's McClellanesque refusal to pursue Lee while he was trapped on the wrong side of the Potomac, was the jumping off point for a delayed but sustained offensive that would destroy the main confederate forces, the Army of Virginia and actually end the war.
Proof of the man's incompetence. He had Lee's plans, he knew Lee's forces were divided, and he knew the Union had twice as many troops in the battle against an enemy that was far removed from their base of supply. Between his inertia at Antietam and his bungling of the Peninsular Campaign, McClellan missed two golden opportunities to end the war for all practical purposes in 1862.
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Old 12-23-2018, 10:03 AM
 
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Antietam was important because it verified in Lee's mind that his men were almost supermen, able to win even when their commanders failed them. This misplaced confidence caught up with him at Gettysburg. His men fought as well as ever, but the CSA leadership failed them, and the Union army, both men and officers, fought brilliantly.
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Old 12-23-2018, 02:15 PM
 
Location: bold new city of the south
5,300 posts, read 4,182,026 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travric View Post
Re: 'Gettysburg...fiasco for the a South'

Sure nailed the coffin in. On the other hand if things could have gone perhaps a little better for the Rebs on the first day especially on Cemetery Hill Lee and his armies could have had a longer tour in the Niortheast. Or maybe if Jackson had the reins of battle command against Buford.
Great point!

The turning point of the war was when Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson died. He would have taken the high ground on the first day. He also would have talked Lee out of Pickett's charge. His loss can not overstated.
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Old 12-24-2018, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Texas
33,307 posts, read 18,147,339 times
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For all his ability as a commander General Lee attempted twice to move his army out of the Confederacy and into Union territory and both ended in failure; Antietam and Gettysburg. The South just didn't have the logistical resources for anything more than a stubborn defensive war, which they accomplished well, but it was going to end in failure almost no matter what.



I think even brilliant historians disagree on the Civil War's turning point, if there ever really was one. It was a mismatch from the beginning.
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Old 12-24-2018, 12:50 PM
 
1,015 posts, read 573,084 times
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Longstreet was right. The Confederates should have stuck to a defensive strategy.
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