Of all the battles of the Civil War, there is one battle that is recognized by historians as the most disturbing battle of the Civil War, the battle of Gettysburg. In a three day fight, an astonishing 51,000 soldiers were killed in total by both sides. The question is, was Gettysburg a turning point in the Civil War? Based on criteria from the Battle of Saratoga, did it influence foreign aid, support or prevent the major strategy to win the war, increase morale and efforts of one side over another, and change the adversary’s actions from that point forward?
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Generals Lee’s goal in the battle of Gettysburg was to draw the Union out in the open and out maneuver them with better leadership skills. In his arrogance he thought that since he was a better general a difference of a few thousand men wouldn’t affect the outcome. But Confederate soldiers learned that there was a shoe factory nearby and since many of the men didn’t have shoes, the Confederate army headed for the factory. To their surprise they ran into Union troops. It began as a skirmish, and then turned into a vicious three day fight. The last charge by the Confederates was a desperate all out attack on the Union troops on the third day of battle later known as Picket’s Charge by 12,000 men. The Confederate soldiers made a line over a mile wide and marched at the Union line. The Union guns then opened fire and gouged huge holes in the line demoralizing the Confederates. In just 50 minutes 10,000 soldiers were killed. Throughout the battle General Lee was out numbered several times but failed to notice due to his ego which was too big and blocked his view of the mistakes that he made.
The Battle of Gettysburg swayed the foreign aid that General Lee was hoping for since he lost miserably to the Army of the Potomac. The British were considering helping the Confederates, but due to General Lee’s loss decided against it. Did the battle support or prevent the different side’s strategies to win the war? For the Confederates, this was a major crisis in the strategy to win the war. They hoped to defeat the Army of the Potomac and to bring a quick end to the war. The Battle of Gettysburg served as a milestone for the Union army. They had finally defeated Lee’s army and put them on the run. This definitely supported the Union’s major strategy to win the war and also supported the Union’s efforts over the Confederates because the Confederate troops were demoralized after that huge bloodbath. The Union troops, however, had their spirits lifted to some extent after the battle. The Battle of Gettysburg changed the Union’s actions because they were on the offense and Lee had just lost a third of his army. It changed the Confederate’s action because a short time later General Lee surrendered the Confederate Army.
Since the Confederates lost, the Union’s strategy was helped, their dedication to the war effort was aided, the aid that might have come from Britain was swayed, and the Union’s actions from that point forward were affected. If this had not happened, the world as we know it could be very different in that if the Confederates hadn’t surrendered shortly after the battle then the war could have raged on for much longer and might have been decided differently.
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