battle of Gettysburg - Page 2




 
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May 11th, 2009  
bropous
 
My own take on Gettysburg is that it was lost the first night that Ewell did not take the heights to his direct South on the first full day of the battle.

What could have dislodged the Union would have been a flanking of the position on the Union left flank, with Hood being allwoed to go around Big Round Top, which of course would have split the forces under command of Longstreet. Had Hood been allowed to go around to the right, the Union troops may have been able to come down from the Little Round Top high ground and roll up the Southerners by placing themselves between the departing Hood's corps and the remaining troops under Longstreet, then turning to their right and rolled up that portion of the Southern line. Had Hood gone too far to the right before the Union moved down from the heights, he may have been too far away to be able to react quickly enough to return to the area directly west of LRT to intervene and save the Southern right.

Pickett's Charge, and Lee's entire attack on the Union center on the third full day, was a terrible idea.

But, had Lee left a covering force and shifted south and east of the Union position, would his force have fared any better? They would have been travelling in column under pretty close observation by Northern cavalry, and susceptible to hit-and-run attacks by Custer's cavalry, as well as Buford's.

Fascinating points below.
May 11th, 2009  
bropous
 
Sorry, the original question was whether the South could have gone on to win the Civil War had they won a victory at Gettysburg.

The South was certainly hoping that a victory near Washington, on Union soil, would have caused the English to throw in with them, break the blockade, and even possibly declare war against the United States. However, the Gettysburg and Maryland campaign cannot be viewed without looking at the entire war at that point. Let us not forget that Vicksburg fell to Union troops on the very days that Gettysburg was being fought.

By seizing the heights at Vicksburg, the Union practically cut the Confederacy in half. Texas, Arkansas and Missouri,with all of their materiel support, were severed from the rest of the South when control of the Mississippi fell to the Union, and their monitors and gunboats patrolling the Mighty Miss would have completely cut off not only logistic support from west of the Miss, but personnel reinforcements as well.

The South's limited industrial capacity, and rapidly degrading railroad capacities, were not going to heal quickly even with a huge infusion of British steel and rail stock. The Union still would have had the upper hand in a war of maneuver, and the industrial capacity to provide its growing armies with materiel. The price of cotton had also dropped, and a massive infusion of shipload after shipload of Southern cotton on the world market would have driven the price into the ground.

Frankly, the odds were against the South from the moment Lincoln declared war. [And, yes, even being a Southerner, I am glad the Union won.]
May 11th, 2009  
03USMC
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bropous
Sorry, the original question was whether the South could have gone on to win the Civil War had they won a victory at Gettysburg.

The South was certainly hoping that a victory near Washington, on Union soil, would have caused the English to throw in with them, break the blockade, and even possibly declare war against the United States. However, the Gettysburg and Maryland campaign cannot be viewed without looking at the entire war at that point. Let us not forget that Vicksburg fell to Union troops on the very days that Gettysburg was being fought.

By seizing the heights at Vicksburg, the Union practically cut the Confederacy in half. Texas, Arkansas and Missouri,with all of their materiel support, were severed from the rest of the South when control of the Mississippi fell to the Union, and their monitors and gunboats patrolling the Mighty Miss would have completely cut off not only logistic support from west of the Miss, but personnel reinforcements as well.

The South's limited industrial capacity, and rapidly degrading railroad capacities, were not going to heal quickly even with a huge infusion of British steel and rail stock. The Union still would have had the upper hand in a war of maneuver, and the industrial capacity to provide its growing armies with materiel. The price of cotton had also dropped, and a massive infusion of shipload after shipload of Southern cotton on the world market would have driven the price into the ground.

Frankly, the odds were against the South from the moment Lincoln declared war. [And, yes, even being a Southerner, I am glad the Union won.]
Personally I think that the losses of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson began ringing the death knell. Those two losses effectively cut the south in two by taking Tennessee out of the equation and lost the south several industrial centers. And giving the union control unhindered of the Cumberland, Tennessee and Ohio rivers.
Vicksburg was a thorn in the side but it would eventually fall. It's main function was as a stop gap. The Union controlled the river north and south.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mmarsh
The South had better officiers in the beginning of the war, I think that was the sole reason why they had better luck until 1863.

But as in everything else the South couldnt afford to take losses. If you take the best 10 major Confederate Army Commanders, 4 of them (AP HILL, Jackson, Stuart, Cleburne) didnt survive the end of the war, and the were mostly replaced by officers inferior to them.

With the Union it was the opposite, the replacement Officers for those who were killed (or more often those sacked by Lincoln) were much better than they officers they replaced. And that, I think was the difference.

I'm with you on Hill, Jackson and Cleburne. I question Stuart be anything other than a good commander of Cavalry.
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May 13th, 2009  
LeEnfield
 
 
The South had to few troops to hold and control any of the ground that they took. If the south had won at Gettysburg, what then. Would they have marched onto Washington and if they had taken that would the war be over or would Linclon moved the Government further north to New York. The North had so much more muscle than the south in the ways of cash, men and production that there could have been only one winner in this war. It took the North a couple of years to get the right Generals in place who knew how to fight a war, and from there on it was down hill for the south.
May 13th, 2009  
03USMC
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeEnfield
The South had to few troops to hold and control any of the ground that they took. If the south had won at Gettysburg, what then. Would they have marched onto Washington and if they had taken that would the war be over or would Linclon moved the Government further north to New York. The North had so much more muscle than the south in the ways of cash, men and production that there could have been only one winner in this war. It took the North a couple of years to get the right Generals in place who knew how to fight a war, and from there on it was down hill for the south.
One theory is that if the South had been able to even threaten Washington that the the Union would have sued for a negotiated peace due to anti-war sentiment in the north which was running high at the time.
July 2nd, 2009  
George
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 03USMC
One theory is that if the South had been able to even threaten Washington that the the Union would have sued for a negotiated peace due to anti-war sentiment in the north which was running high at the time.
Good possibilty! People don't realize that had Johnston/Hood prevented the capture of Atlanta Lincoln might not have been reelected, & the anti-war democrats might have recognised the Confederacy.
June 15th, 2012  
southernboy777
 

Topic: Gettysburg


Actually, Picketts charge was a brilliant idea. However, instead of relying on Longstreet, the cautious, slow guy, Lee should have let AP Hills Corps. AP Hill was thrilled by Lee's plan. If he were leading it, the union line would have broken, and split the AOTP in two. Lee could have then destroyed them by attacking both flanks when the center became broken. Longstreet, as usual, did not like the plan, and was very slow hoping Lee would change his mind.
 


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