December 12

Blog #44 – Most important turning point

This blog asks you to pick which of the three turning points in the Civil War are the most important and why. 

Turning Point #1 — Battle of Antietam – Sept. 17, 1862 — On this day, America suffered more casualties (23,000) than the total casualties of the Revolution, War of 1812, and Mexican War combined.  At stake was the Confederate invasion of Maryland and General George McClellan’s reputation as the next great American general.  McClellan stopped the invasion and Lee turned back.  Britain and France delayed their vital recognition of the Confederacy (which could have aided the cash-strapped rebels and also provided them with much-needed aid).  In addition, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation four days later which completely changed the scope of the war by making it not just about keeping the Union together but also ending slavery.  With the EP in place on January 1, 1863, freed blacks could now join the Union Army and fight for their own freedom.  And lastly, the momentum swung to the Northern side, if just for a little while.  Antietam animated map. 


General George Meade

Turning Point #2 – Battle of Gettysburg – July 1-3, 1863 — After two crushing defeats, the Army of the Potomac (led by General George Meade, a.k.a. the snapping turtle) finally got one in the win column by defeating General Lee and the Confederacy on a hot, sweaty battlefield in eastern Pennsylvania.  Over three days, the Union Army was able to defend their positions from ferocious Confederate assaults and turn the tide of the war.  The largest and deadliest battle on the North American continent (53,000 casualties), this Union victory slammed the door shut on any chance of foreign recognition that the Confederacy had left.  Also, Confederate hero Robert E. Lee never went on a major offensive again afterwards, b/c his army was too crippled and further large scale attacks would have been futile.  Coupled with the victory at Vicksburg, Mississippi, Gettysburg dealt a serious blow to the Confederacy’s hopes of winning this war.  They could not continue to lose 1/3 of their best army every time they took on the Union nor lose valuable commanders and field generals.   For many, this July 4 of 1863 had a special meaning as the Union headed towards victory. 


Turning Point #3 – The Election of 1864 – this political battle is considered by James McPherson to be the third turning point of the war because it had still not been decided on the battlefield in the summer of 1864.  Ulysses S. Grant had taken command of all of the Union armies and been expected to bring his pounding style of attack to the eastern theatre of the war (Virginia) like he had done out west in Mississippi and Tennessee.  However, the 4-pronged attack on the Confederacy soon got bogged down in the reality of war and many Americans had expressed their war weariness in many ways.  One of those ways was to support silly peace plans with Jeff Davis that would have ended the war w/o ending slavery. Another way Americans showed their war weariness was by picking Democrat George McClellan to be their presidential nominee.  The Peace Democrats wanted to end the war w/o ending slavery, but McClellan publicly contradicted them by saying he would push for peace through victory – read, war!  Lincoln’s party flirted w/ picking another candidate but never really did that, and by putting Tennessean Andrew Johnson on the ticket as his V.P., Lincoln was trying to be the “Union” candidate.  Luckily for Lincoln (and the country), Union general William T. Sherman captured the pivotal Confederate city of Atlanta in September, and the hits just kept coming.  In October, Union General Sheridan defeated the Confederate army in the Shenandoah Valley.  78% of the Union soldiers voted for Lincoln and only 29% of McClellan’s former army, the Army of the Potomac, voted for their old boss.  Lincoln swept up the electoral college 212 to 21 as well.   This was the final turning point of the war b/c the end of slavery and the Confederacy appeared just to be a matter of time.  Lincoln planned on having a forgiving Reconstruction policy as exemplified in his 2nd Inaugural address (   If McClellan had won this election, who knew what would have happened?  Would there have been peace after four long bitter years with nothing to show for it except the dead and injured? 

Pick what you think is the most important turning point in the Civil War and explain why in your own words. 

200 words minimum (except for Tamia!  You know how much you have to do) due by class on Thursday, Dec. 13. 

Here’s the closing paragraph of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address:

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

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Posted December 12, 2012 by geoffwickersham in category Blogs

72 thoughts on “Blog #44 – Most important turning point

  1. Melissa Hall

    I believe that the most important turning point of the Civil War was the Election of 1864. Some may think because it was the last turning point, it had the least effect, but I honestly think it impacted the country’s fate the most. Republicans started to accuse Democrats of treason and supporting the Confederacy. Some of these accusations bordered on conspiracy theories. Also, some Republicans tried making peace deals with the Confederacy but Lincoln did not approve. When Democrats nominated former general, George McClellan, it changed many things in the election. A thought lingered over the country that, A McClellan victory in 1864 would lead to uncertainty as to what would happen—war or peace. The election started to pick up and become more intense when William T. Sherman took Atlanta, and practically overnight, the momentum shifted to the Republicans. Because these final victories and shift to the Republicans Lincoln was able to sweep McClellan with 212 to 21 electoral votes and 58Z% of the popular vote. But, before the Union could reunite, the unfinished business of the Confederacy and slavery’s fates had to be decided. On January 31, 1865, the House passed the 13th Amendment and was quickly ratified by almost all northern states and occupied southern states by the end of 1865. Finally to end the long grueling war, in April 1865, Lee’s army surrenders after Richmond falls, and Jeff Davis flees but is then captured. Now why this turning point out of all the other ones? This was what I would like to call the “final stretch” to ending this “never-ending war”. Towards the end, the Republicans seemed to just keep on gaining and gaining power, which gave Lincoln a huge advantage when it came to election time. If McClellan would of won the election what would the U.S. be like now? Would the peace of ever come? What would happen to the blacks? All of these scary questions prove how big of a deal this election was. A change in the office would of easily upset the outcome of the war. The other 2 turning points may have given the North a temporary advantage, but was usually some how turned back to the South eventually. This final turning point ended the war, and decided the Union and Confederacy’s futures.

  2. Gideon Bush

    The most important turning point in the Civil War was the Battle of Gettysburg. The battle not only gave the North a much needed win, it also lowered southern morale and greatly increased northern support. The victory came at the greatest casualty loss ever fought on American soil and lasted 3 separate days. It crippled General Lee’s army so badly he could never go on the offensive again, and the victory ended any dream of the south winning over its right to be a separate nation. Not only did Lee take heavy losses in numbers, he lost irreplaceable officers and generals. The Battle of Gettysburg signaled the end of the confederate dream, and allowed to north to unify behind Lincoln with victory so much closer, and had closed off the threat to the north. The battle itself was won on a defensive stand where the north let the confederates come to them where they had the strategic advantage. The victory proved that victory was very realistic, and that didn’t need to try and sacrifice our goals to negotiate a peace treaty while the tide of the battle was in the north’s favor. That is why the Battle of Gettysburg was the most important turning point, in changing the tide of the war in favor for the north for the rest of the war.

  3. Michael Trease

    In my opinion, the most important turning point of the Civil War was the Battle of Gettysburg. The results of the conflict had completely devastated the morale of General Robert E. Lee and many other Confederate soldiers. General Lee had hoped to secure a massive Confederate victory in Northern territory through defeating the Union Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. However, Lee had suffered a crushing defeat losing 25,000 men of his 75,000 man army at the Battle of Gettysburg, causing Lee and his men to retreat back to Virginia. With the loss of so many men, General Lee was forced to fight a defensive war. Throughout the remainder of the Civil War, Lee could not accumulate a large enough force to take to the offensive again. With the Confederate defeat, the reputation of the Confederate forces had been greatly tarnished, preventing any foreign support and even recognition. The “myth of invincibility” that Lee had built up around his Confederate Army had been made irrelevant, resulting in the increase of Northern morale. As the final Confederate battle fought on the offensive and the massive amount of Confederate casualties (1/3 of Lee’s army), the Battle of Gettysburg proved to be the prime turning point of the Civil War, crippling the Confederate forces.

  4. Maggie Davis

    I think the most important turning point in the war was the election on 1864. Even though major battles in the war were important and seriously crippled the confederacy, none were as pivotal as the election. With Mclellan elected as president, who knows what direction the country could have turned in? His boundaries were unclear and if he was elected president, he very well could have turned the war in a totally different direction. His stances on unification and slavery were unknown, and being a democrat, he may have settled for peace without unification and the abolition of slavery. He may have even pushed for these things! With Lincoln as president, America saw a clear target ahead that would not be missed: reunification of the United States, abolition of slavery, and peace throughout the country. The results of this election sealed the fate of the confederacy and slavery, and made sure that our country was on the track to what we now know was a morally sound and economically helpful decision to abolish slavery. Although war battles were important and helped weaken the confederacy, it could have all been shifted very easily with a change in leadership. Re-election Lincoln also showed that the Union wasn’t going down without a fight, and that the citizens had faith in Lincoln and his abilities to lead them to a victory.

  5. Will Briggs

    I believe the most important turning point in the war was the Battle of Gettysburg. While the Battle of Antietam was important, it did not turn the tide of the war towards either side as much as Gettysburg. After Gettysburg, General Lee never went on the offensive again, and the CSA was crippled. European countries such as Britain and France began to back away from supporting the Confederacy, as the loss at Gettysburg caused them to lose their Foreign Recognition. The Election of 1864 was a close second in my opinion to Gettysburg, because even if Lincoln hadn’t won, he still had a few months to finish the war before McClellan would have been inaugurated. At the same time, Union forces are starting to gain some momentum, as General William T. Sherman fought his way to Atlanta and took it for the Union. I don’t think of the Election as a turning point, but more of the “straw that broke the camels back”. Also, by the time of the Election, the South was so torn apart (crops burned, slaves taken) that they would have had trouble surviving on their own. So Gettysburg was the most important because of the crippling consequences forced on the Confederate Army causing a domino effect into defeat.

  6. Chris Coburn

    The most important turning point in the Civil War was the Election of 1864 because it secured the idea that emancipation would happen and that the war would be won through a military victory. Emancipation is an important aspect of the war because the only way to indivisibly unify the country is to end slavery once and for all. If it remains in the country, the lives lost in the civil war have no meaning. The weariness of many people and the war is justified; the Union wasn’t winning much in the summer of 1864 after Grant’s appointment. This was a major letdown to the people, but Sherman’s victory in Atlanta changed the North’s perspective on the war overnight. This helped Lincoln win reelection, and secured the idea that the war would be won through military victory. A military victory is important because it will give the Union control over readmission negotiations. If they had followed the Peace Democrats plan, the war wouldn’t have been worth fighting. If the Union won on the battlefield, they could implement their own Reconstruction plan and make sure to end slavery with the 13th Amendment. If McClellan had won, this would further divide the North because he was supposed to be representing the Peace Democrats, yet he personally wanted to win the war. This might prolong the war far beyond 1865. McClellan also didn’t have the support of the troops themselves; he had only 29% of his former army. This might help prolong the fighting and increase desertion. The McClellan administration might revoke the Emancipation Proclamation to get faster peace negotiations. This might allow for much needed foreign aid for the exhausted Confederacy.

  7. Anne Kozak

    The Battle of Gettysburg was the definite turning point of the war, which I decided through process of elimination: Antietam and Lincoln’s election seem to be a prelude and result of Gettysburg, respectively. The battle of Antietam resulted in Lincoln’s push for the Emancipation Proclamation, but that certainly might have backfired on him. It also slowed down foreign help from Britain and France towards the Confederates, which may have helped the North’s cause some, but after Gettysburg foreign help was effectively stopped, and Eastern powers no longer recognized the CSA as a country. In fact, there was no real win at Antietam—McClellan was only declared the victor when the Confederates left the field. Meanwhile, the Election of 1864 was with no doubt important: only Lincoln was willing to fight for the Union to be together again; McClellan was vague on his stand for what he was planning should he win the election. However, Lincoln’s win was overwhelming in electoral votes—he received 212 to McClellan’s 21, and Lincoln had 58% of the popular votes. Having already served one term well, Lincoln was trusted to win the war for them—people even didn’t want to end the war because of how hard they had fought already and how close they were to winning. In all, the Lincoln’s win in the election of 1864 is a natural conclusion to the Gettysburg Battle. Gettysburg was declared the bloodiest battle on American soil, with tens of thousands of casualties, but in the end the North won—Lee never went on the offensive again, and with a huge boost of morale in the North, momentum swung to the North, and the North, just under three years later, won the war.

  8. Ariel Boston

    The battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863) was the most important turning point in the civil war. It was the most important because it gave the Union more confidence and weakened foreign faith in the Confederacy’s victory. Also, the Confederacy’s army was severely damaged by this battle. Up until this battle the South seemed to have the upper hand in the war, but now they were falling and didn’t seem so much like they would win. The battle of Gettysburg was a turning point for the Union and gave them the advantage that they would uphold for the rest of the war. Also, the appointment of a new general, General George Mead, the whole fight started to look more promising for the Union. The union pulled through because they majorly outnumbered the Confederacy and after this win all the momentum swung to the North and ultimately helped them win the Civil War. The battle of Gettysburg was the thing that set off the string of losses for the South and fueled the North to victory.

  9. Seth Rosen

    Hands down the most important turning point in the Civil War was the Battle of Gettysburg. Gettysburg was the first major defeat suffered by Lee. It stopped Lee’s second invasion of the North and caused major death tolls on the both sides of the war. More men died in Gettysburg than the total of Americans who died during World War II. Since the Confederacy lost so badly, it caused foreign nations to think twice before recognizing the Confederacy as its own nation. Lee’s army lost so many people and generals that he did not attempt any more strategic offensives for the next two years of war. Even though Gettysburg crushed the Confederacy’s hope of winning, it boosted the North’s hope tremendously. Two years were still left to fight after Gettysburg; but after those three days, the North never turned back. The Confederacy kept digging itself into a deeper whole every day after Gettysburg. Neither side could ever replace the amount of soldiers lost; but since the North had more than double the Confederate army since the start of the war, it was easier for the North to fulfill the empty spaces. The Confederate army had a worst time in Pennsylvania than anyone who has ever taken a shower at Penn State (that was a bad joke, but you know it was clever).

  10. Sara Keebler

    I believe the major turning point was the election of 1864. When Lincoln was elected he was very set on ending the war and slavery. All the democrats and southerners knew that he would do this if he were elected. This caused havoc and I believe this was the major turning point. Peace democrats wanted to end the war without ending slavery and the fact that Lincoln was elected ruined their plan. Lincoln had a plan to pass the 13th amendment in the House of Representatives and this caused even more problems throughout America. I believe that if McClellan were to have won nothing would be the same. Eventually someone would have gone through and tried to pass the 13th amendment but it wouldn’t have been McClellan. If it weren’t for Lincoln’s persistence the 13th amendment wouldn’t have been passed until much later in history. Maybe if McClellan were president the war would’ve ended but what would have been won in the North? Nothing would have been won, only more casualties and deaths. This is why I believe the election of 1864 was the major turning point in history of the Civil War.

  11. Ben

    My opinion? No one has ever asked for my opinion, or even cared. But looking at this issue in a more professional light, I must make a decision. The turning point that had the most significance, or was the most important was the Battle of Gettysburg. This battle was the pinnacle tussle of the war. It was significant in many ways.

    Little known to most, the Battle of Gettysburg was actually an accident. The Southern army was cut off from the north’s plethora of manufactured good after the war broke out, thus making getting supplies difficult. With no one to purchase from, armies would have to scavenge or raid towns to get6 fresh supplies. One of these was shoes. When marching north, the confederate army was running low on quality shoes, for the ones they had were all worn and tattered. They heard rumors of shoes being in stock at a nearby town, and so a detachment was sent to secure “the goods”. At the same time, the Union army had caught word of the Confederate’s march north, and was moving reinforcements as to fortify towns. One detachment of the Union arrived earlier than the rest, they were known as “them d***n black hats” to the British. The Southern detachment met with the North’s and the rest is history.

    This battle had many significant points. For the North, it was the farthest the South had ever pushed and is was crucial that they not be allowed to continue. For the South, if they were able to defeat the North making them retreat or maybe even route them, then a path to the capital and victory was a sure thing. Until now, at least in the east, the South had been dominating the North on almost every front. The Battle of Gettysburg shifted the momentum in the North’s favor, and gave them hope. This was the farthest the South would ever push into Northern territory, thus meaning, after this, the North started to push back.

  12. Marta Plumhoff

    I think the most important turning point of the Civil War was the Battle of Antietam. The battle stopped the momentum of the Rebel forces, even if only temporarily, which helped the North get back on its feet and fight back, leading to other turning points like the Battle of Gettysburg and the Election of 1864. If McClellan and his troops hadn’t won this battle, its causes would have been detrimental to the Union. Not only did Antietam stop the Confederates invasion of the Washington and other important Northern states, but it boosted Northern morale. After winning this important battle, Northerners first began to hope for winning the war, which helped the generals find the force to actually win battles. Also, because of the loss for the Rebels, foreign countries like France and England no longer tried to help them with the war effort. Without the help, the Rebels would have future trouble providing troops and supplies for the war.
    Another reason that the Battle of Antietam was the most important was because it was when President Lincoln released the Emancipation Proclamation. Without the win, Lincoln probably wouldn’t have publicized it at this time, and maybe not ever. The battle made Lincoln confident with himself, his nation, and his war, which could have been the most important part of winning the war.

  13. Laine Boitos

    In my opinion, the most important turning point of the Civil War was the Battle of Gettysburg. Although this bloody fight didn’t end the war all together, it shifted a great amount of strength towards the Union. Before this battle, the Army of the Potomac had suffered a series of losses. Their morale was low and this was Lee’s prime chance to strike the blow that could potentially end the war. Taking place over three days, the battle showed the Union’s great strength in numbers. Lee’s men refused to back down, and by the end of the battle more than half of his army was lost. He couldn’t afford to make another offensive move for the rest of the war. This also raised morale and support for the Union. This one win was what truly changed the tide of the war. However it was not only momentous for the soldiers, it was also pleasing to the people. They regained faith in their soldiers, and the cause that they were fighting for. Gettysburg also proved to be a fantastic turning point, because it ended any hope for European aid to the south. After hearing about the great loss that the CSA had suffered, the countries were no longer willing to send foreign aid. Pickett’s Charge, the last fight in this battle, also proved to be quite humbling for the South. Their brigades had been completely overwhelmed by the Union numbers, as well as their superior weaponry. After the fight, was when Lee finally realized that the Union had the advantage. He would continue to fight, but nothing would ever be the same. The Confederate States would never again, strike another offensive blow to the Union.

  14. Oliver Hartzell

    Although all of these turning points in the Civil War are important to the Union victory, I believe the most important is the Battle of Gettysburg. I belieive this because of a few reasons. The first reason is that after the battle, Confederate general Robert E. Lee never went on the offensive again. leading up to the battle, Lee launched his second offensive and went all the way up into Pennsylvania where he met general George Meade’s army (army of the Potomac). Lee went north with 75,000 men and chased the Union who had 90,000 men. The Confedertes attacked all three days but the Union’s defenses were better and they had more men. The second reason was that the Army of Northern Virginia, the Confederate army, lost one-third of its men in the three day long battle. Lee also lost some good commanders in the fight which took its toll on him. The third reason was that the Confederates losing the battle made foreign recognition unfeasible for the Confederates. Britain and France would not help them or send them supplies if they were losing to the Union. If they had supplied the CSA, the Union may not have won the war, most likely not, so it was so important that they didn’t. The battle also gave the Union a huge boost of morale, especially after Grant’s victory in Missouri. After this battle, momentum swung to the North who went on to win the war the next year.

  15. Alex Cross

    The biggest turning point in the civil war was definetly the Battle of Gettysburg. It was one of the bloodiest battles of all time and changed the Confederates view on whether they will be able to win the war or not. It was a major turning point in the war and the union wa declared the winner. By defeating the confederate soldiers the union gained control of the war and changed the view of other confederates. The momentum was now in the Unions favor. There was thousands of casualties which showed that the Union wasn’t backing down. This battle also ended the confederate army’s Robert E.Lee. He lossed too many men and could not continue to fight losing 1/3 of his men each time. The battle was not only a social victory for the union but also a political victory. A win meant almost complete control over the entire U.S government. The northern morale was increased a lot after this battle and the northerner a trust on Lincoln also increased. This was very important because the Union ha started to lose faith in Lincoln, but now this battle regained theri trust in him. Both armies did lose many men during this battle, but the Union is considered the winner of the battle and this win helped us win the War.

  16. Kacey arnold

    I feel that turning point number 2 is most important because it was memorable, it was when we finay just decided to make a stand. Even. Though had been battling and would contiue to battle for 2 years after the patroitisim and strength that went into fighting the battle agianst there own countrymen simpling for something they belived in enough to die for. Gettysburg was a true display of american conviction and was the final blow to tell the south that we will fight and we intend to win at all cost and even if you are my brother you conciously betrayed me and chose to disgrace the words of god and our founding fathers. Gettysbury showed the south that they were still in the fight. The south had just thought that the north would be easy to take out since they were already in the border states and yet to see any real battle. They were wrong the north was prepared to fight and ready to win the war and little did the south know the north was ready to win.

  17. Jeremy Ellis

    My personal opinion that probably does not matter all too much is that the Election of 1864 was a huge blow to the “Confederacy.” Why might I believe this you may ask? I simply believe if the Democrats nominated a legit, a politician, a man who was not a complete failure at war, then, Lincoln might have lost. But a BIG FAT NO to that, they nominated the 1 win- probably 10 loss, former, fired ex General McClellan. They could not have possibly done a stupider thing, when the Battle of Gettysburg was fought and won by the Union. That victory was a guarantee that Lincoln would be reelected as tribune I mean President. The so called “peace” democrats wanted to end the war but not end slavery and they nominated a man with intentions of ending the war through violence and victory which is ironic. McClellan was so bad on the battlefield that if I were a solider who voted, I would think to myself, “why vote for a man to run a nation during a war when he cannot even win a war.” 78% of the Union’s army voted for Lincoln when McClellan, there former General could not even put up 30% of the votes. I personally think that if McClellan won the election, we would be called the Confederate States of America. But that’s just my personal opinion. But, still if the Union never won the Battle of Gettysburg then that would have been the most important part of the Civil War. BUT, the Union came out on top and it just was the cherry for the ice cream sundae for Lincoln’s reelection.

  18. Nick Berry

    I believe that the most important turning point of the Civil War was the Battle of Gettysburg. The Battle of Gettysburg sent the Confederate army backwards on their best chance to win in the war. This battle had the largest amount of casualties of any on the North American continent with about 53,000 casualties. This was General Robert E. Lee’s last assault of the Northern states. In this one battle he lost almost a third of his total forces. The loses sustained from this battle crippled the Confederates so much that any more large scale attacks would be stupid and only cause greater casualties. The Battle of Gettysburg was combined with the victory in the south at Vicksburg, Mississippi, to seriously hurt any chances that the Confederate states would have of winning the war. The stop of the Confederate assault in the North was important because if the Union had lost at Gettysburg, Lee could have taken major cities in the North. In the time span of a couple days the Union stopped the best and strongest assault on the North and crippled the Southern supply chains. Theses twin victories propelled Lincoln to a victory in the election of 1864. His reelection was also a significant turning point in the war.

  19. Michelle Confer

    I believe the greatest turning point of the civil war was the battle of Gettysburg. Although many may argue that the battle of Antietam was just as important, it didn’t sway the favor in either direction like Gettysburg did. Led by General George Meade, the North showed their strength as they defeated the South in one of the largest and bloodiest battles in North America. This caused General Robert E Lee of the South to never go on defensive again, thus losing the support of Britain and France or any foreign aid to ever come again. After this battle general Lee could no longer afford to lose 1/3 of his army for every time he lost to the North and forced the confederates to lose sight of their goal. Up until this battle the south seemed to be in the lead, but now the North changed that notion. Sure the battle of Antietam helped the North gain more troops through the emancipation Proclamation, but the North didn’t show their strength with these new troops until they won Gettysburg. As the South lost much of its confidence, the North found a new kind in its self and a new precedent was set for them for the remainder of the war.

  20. Sherami Fernando

    The most important turning point of the Civil War was undeniably the Election. The election being between Lincoln and McClellan, Lincoln was much more direct, practical and even took risks that that others might not have had the guts to do. McClellan from the get go was hesitant, which Lincoln vowed never to be, neither in the eyes of his foes or his friends. McClellan created excuses while Lincoln created improvements, and though McClellan had previously stood behind Lincoln, I doubt he would have taken the measures Lincoln took in the Civil War. Lincoln even went against the pleas of the people that stood beside him and passed the Emancipation Proclamation which took a huge role in turning the war into his hands. The Proclamation was so important to the African Americans and soldiers, that they even celebrated it as their own Independence Day. When Lincoln found out they had finally captured Atlanta, he was relieved, this was the reason Lincoln was elected, but if McClellan had been in charge, with the Peace Plan the Democrats, the Emancipation Proclamation and the soul reason for fighting in the war would have been for naught. Even the soldiers themselves had voted for the continuation of the war for this very reason. Lincoln was well equipped in both intellectual and moral virtues that McClellan might have wanted to imitate, but never could. Both McClellan’s and Lincoln’s role in the election was key to the Civil War, maybe in more ways than we originally would have thought.

  21. Chris. G

    On July 4, 1863, the most important Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River, Vicksburg, Mississippi, surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant. The previous day, Maj. Gen. George Meade had decisively defeated Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg. These twin events are the most often cited as the ultimate turning points of the entire war.

    The loss of Vicksburg split the Confederacy, denying its control of the Mississippi River and preventing supplies from Texas and Arkansas that could sustain the war effort from passing east. As President Abraham Lincoln had stated, “See what a lot of land these fellows hold, of which Vicksburg is the key! The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket…. We can take all the northern ports of the Confederacy and they can defy us from Vicksburg.” Furthermore, the 30,000 soldiers who surrendered with the city were a significant loss to the cause.

    Gettysburg was the first major defeat suffered by Lee. It repelled his second invasion of the North and inflicted serious casualties on the Army of Northern Virginia. In fact, the National Park Service marks the point at which Pickett’s Charge collapsed—the copse of trees on Cemetery Ridge—as the high-water mark of the Confederacy. From this point onward, Lee attempted no more strategic offensives. Although two more years of fighting and a new, aggressive general (Grant) was required, the Army of the Potomac had the initiative and the eventual end at Appomattox Court House seems inevitable in hindsight. While Gettysburg was seen by military and civilian observers at the time as a great battle, those in the North had little idea that two more bloody years would be required to finish the war. Southern morale was not strongly affected by the defeat because many assumed that Lee had suffered only a temporary setback and would resume his winning ways against ineffective Union generals.

  22. Sydney Alexander

    The Battle of Gettysburg was the most important turning point of the war. This bloody, three day battle made the odds in the Union’s favor to win the war all together. In addition to turning the tables, The Battle of Gettysburg also made it nearly impossible that any foreign country would recognize the Confederacy as it’s own country. This would prevent all possible foreign affairs with the Confederacy, as well as prevent the Confederacy from getting any aid that might be needed from other countries because they were considered to be to high of a risk. The Battle of Gettysburg also gave the Union soldiers much needed hope to continue on in their fight for a mended and united country. In addition, the Battle of Gettysburg acted as an “insurance policy” for the Union. Because the Confederates were so harmed and broken due to the Battle of Gettysburg, General Robert E. Lee did not have his army involved in any other major attacks; the Confederacy couldn’t afford to lose as many men as they did in the Battle of Gettysburg again. This forth of July, similar to July 4, 1776, gave hope to many that had fought for so long.

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