US Civil War
War and Military History
US Civil War Battles

How were the Battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg significant to ending the US Civil War?


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In reality the several battles of Vicksburg were not significant ones, nor were they battles that signified that the North was on a winning path. Vicksburg had long been charged off as a loss by the Confederate military high command. For propaganda purposes Jefferson Davis had hoped to save it, however, in the Western theater of the war, most Confederate generals agreed that Middle Tennessee was the most valuable target in the West. Vicksburg never supplied the East with products from the West. In fact the reverse was true. The Union wasted time and manpower to capture Vicksburg and it only was able to do so in a siege. Then were burdened to garrison the city.As for Gettysburg, once again a misnomer. A careful read by military historians shows that Lee's army was able to escape to Virginia after losing Gettysburg.

Lincoln was correct in his criticism of General Meade. The Army of Northern Virginia would live to fight on for another two years despite all the advantages the Union army had.

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Northern victories that served as turning points in the war.

There have been many books written on this subject, so it is pretty complicated but there is a simple answer, as well. By the end of the day July 3 1863, the South's eastern army commanded directly by Robert E. Lee, had lost a full one third of its force; in the three day battle at Gettysburg. Even though the North had lost a few more men, they were in control of the battlefield and still had 4 times as many men on the field than did the south. Lee was forced to abandon the field and his "Northern Campaign" and head back south out of Pennsylvania. Against the advice of some of his most trusted generals, he had taken the offensive at Gettysburg and had failed (his only major field error) and had left his army in a position were it would never again be able to "take the fight" to the Union army. With the size of two he Armies now always heavily favoring the Union, all he was able to do, was to take defensive positions and retreat when the odds got too bad. This, he did brilliantly, for two more years and preserved his army the best he could losing only one Confederate to every four or five Union soldiers. At Vicksburg, the very next day, the Union's western army commanded by U.S. Grant, defeated the southern forces which had been holding the city during a long siege. Vicksburg was the last southern stronghold on the Mississippi River and by taking this the North now controlled the traffic on the Mississippi and, although still two years in the future, the end of the Confederacy was now in site. So, it could be said that the South, lost the war in two days; July 3rd and 4th, 1863.