U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > History
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 09-16-2012, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
5,452 posts, read 9,676,748 times
Reputation: 8755

Advertisements

Didn't want to interrupt the wonderful narrative on the Civil War thread to throw this thought out. While you often see Gettysburg cited as the turning point of the CW, especially occurring in tandem with the surrender of Vicksburg, I've often believed that Antietam may have been the more important battle. Had the Confederate Army met their objective and struck at the Union homeland, the impact might have been far greater than the consequences of success at Gettysburg.

I'd like to hear what others think.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 09-16-2012, 09:17 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
37,876 posts, read 17,769,260 times
Reputation: 17318
The American Civil War featured several turning points. If you wish to focus on the last turn, as in when the last chance for a Southern victory was possible, that would have been in the summer of 1864 when Grant, after 60,000 casualties, was stalled before the Petersburg trenches, and Sherman was in the same position outside of Atlanta. The enormous cost in blood for what at the time appeared to be little progress had demoralized the North and it was thought by many, including President Lincoln, that the GOP would be swept from office that November, replaced by a Democrat who had run on the promise of a negotiated conclusion to the war.

It might be fair to say that the singular turning point was when President Davis dismissed defensive specialist General Joseph Johnston and replaced him with the hyper aggressive John Hood. This greatly accelerated the fall of Atlanta because Hood bled out his army in a series of offensives rather than taking actions to prolong the siege until the fall elections.

When Atlanta was captured, followed shortly thereafter by the Confederate loss of Mobile Bay, Lincoln's reelection was assured, as was the idea that the North would see the war through to victory.

Before that, it had been a see saw affair. The early advantage was to the Confederates who prevailed in the first major battle while the Federals seemed to endure nothing but humiliations. That changed at the start of 1862 when the Union offensive in the west was successful for the first six months, and in the east Richmond appeared ready to fall to General McClellan's siege. New Orleans was captured and Union armies occupied portions of the Carolina and Georgia coasts.

The Seven Days Battle, followed by the 2nd Manassas victory and Lee's invasion of Maryland, along with Bragg's invasion of Kentucky, swung the momentum back to the CSA and the North was on the defensive the rest of the year.

The North regained the initiative in mid 1863 with the twin victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg, lost ground with the Chickamauga disaster, regained it with the Chattanooga triumph, and lost it again when the Grant/Sherman offensives of '64 produced more graves than progress.

Antietam was a turning point in the east in that it represented the end of a phase, that of the South holding the initiative in that theater. The North held it through the failed Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville campaigns when it was seized once more by General Lee. Gettysburg ended that phase.

The war winning turning point was definitely the fall of Atlanta, but there were numerous ebbs and flows before that, all of which marked turns in the war.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-16-2012, 03:13 PM
 
Location: Sierra Vista, AZ
16,122 posts, read 20,359,531 times
Reputation: 8228
Shiloh and Antietam demonstrated a rate of attrition which doomed the rebels. repeating rifles, Gatling Guns, and rifled Artillery only promisedd to make it worse.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-18-2012, 07:55 AM
 
11,694 posts, read 17,758,622 times
Reputation: 17612
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boompa View Post
Shiloh and Antietam demonstrated a rate of attrition which doomed the rebels. repeating rifles, Gatling Guns, and rifled Artillery only promisedd to make it worse.
I am not sure Gatling Guns ever served a combat purpose in the civil war, and I don't think the north ever obtained a strategic advantage, one that turned the course of a battle, from repeating rifles (because they just were not numerious enough), although they certainly were effective. No argument that the north was better able to replace casualties, but battle casualties were not a factor as much as desiese and lack of supplies (food and clothing).
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-18-2012, 11:38 AM
 
14,777 posts, read 34,951,225 times
Reputation: 14297
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
I am not sure Gatling Guns ever served a combat purpose in the civil war.
The Gatling Gun In The Civil War

Quote:
The Gatling gun saw only limited use in the Civil War, (Ben Butler used two around Petersburg and eight on gunboats; Porter acquired one; and Hancock ordered twelve for his I (Veteran) Corps), however, the conflict did test this weapon, perhaps the first successful true machine gun used in warfare. Invented by Dr. Richard Jordan Gatling, the Civil War model served as the precursor of more successful models.


The gun had a number of problems, however. The bores were tapered, and often the barrels and chambers did not exactly align, affecting accuracy and velocity. The chamber system itself, in which a paper cartridge was contained inside a capped steel chamber, was both expensive and fragile. While the gun showed much promise and fired the standard .58-caliber ammunition, it had so many drawbacks and was so radical in both design and purpose that Gatling was unable to interest the U.S. government. The army purchased none of his guns, but Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, after a field test, purchased 12 for $1,000 each and two were used on the Petersburg front in 1864 and apparently were considered successful.

In Jan. 1865 Gatling's improved Model 1865 gun was tested by the Ordnance Department. Among other things, this weapon used rimfire copper-cased cartridges instead of the steel-chambered paper variety. Though this model did not see service, it was adopted officially in 1866. Having at last received government approval, Gatling began to sell his guns throughout the world; they achieved lasting fame in the post-war years.
It was no an official weapon in that it was purchased by the US Army, but it was used in combat in the Civil War as a sort of "beta test".
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-18-2012, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Miami, FL
8,088 posts, read 7,449,918 times
Reputation: 6650
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.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-19-2012, 02:54 PM
 
31,385 posts, read 31,398,207 times
Reputation: 14885
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.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-22-2012, 04:45 PM
 
Location: Sierra Vista, AZ
16,122 posts, read 20,359,531 times
Reputation: 8228
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
I am not sure Gatling Guns ever served a combat purpose in the civil war, and I don't think the north ever obtained a strategic advantage, one that turned the course of a battle, from repeating rifles (because they just were not numerious enough), although they certainly were effective. No argument that the north was better able to replace casualties, but battle casualties were not a factor as much as desiese and lack of supplies (food and clothing).
But the south had to inflict casualties at two or three to one to break even against the Americans. Getting sucked into battles of attrition was a sure loser for them
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-17-2014, 07:32 PM
Status: "The only person in America who liked Halloween 3 (?)" (set 4 days ago)
 
1,477 posts, read 884,066 times
Reputation: 2767
Quote:
Originally Posted by maf763 View Post
I'd like to hear what others think.
Hi.. I find Antietam is grossly overlooked in American history. I rarely hear it referenced outside of Civil War circles/forums. Just based on it's tragic distinction as the bloodiest day in American military history; seems like it should & would be a household reference (?)

To the original question, I believe Gettysburg was the ultimate turning point in the war (when I'm attempting to pin down a singular turning point..). But I agree with the knowledgeable comments in this thread, Antietam was a catastrophic omen (& exposure of) the South's limited manpower.

Did Lee ever comment that the heavy % of soldiers lost @ Antietam, went into his subsequent thinking about basically going all-in @ Gettysburg (?)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-19-2014, 10:11 PM
 
Location: Central Nebraska
553 posts, read 461,419 times
Reputation: 554
The North won the war in the first year:

The Naval Blockade--thanks to much early help from Jefferson Davis who tried to prod the Europeans to intervene by helping the cotton famine instead of getting as much out as possible and buy weapons before the Blockade made that impossible--was established and slowly choked the South.

The Military Occupation of Maryland insured the nation's capitol would remain in Washington, DC rather than agrevating sectional rivalries by trying to relocate to another city.

Kentucky remained in the Union. Had Kentucky seceeded the South could have driven across Ohio and divided the Union in two. By remaining in the Union Kentucky brought the Union into contact with pro-Union eastern Tennessee and within reach of Atlanta and a march across Georgia would divide the South.

Kentucky and northern Virginia--which fell early to the Union--had the biggest mules that had the strength to haul supply wagons through the muddy roads. The South had to make do with smaller mules, making it more difficult to keep Confederate forces supplied.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > History
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top