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Three Key Battles of 1863

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Presentation on the three key battles of 1863.

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Three Key Battles of 1863

  2. 2. Vicksburg Campaign ~ April-July 1863 • Grant uses cavalry under Grierson to decimate confederate supply lines and plays “a vital role in Grant’s capture of Vicksburg” (McPherson 628). • Grant fractures Confederate forces at Champion’s Hill, fights them in smaller groups and “cooped up an apparently demoralized enemy in the Vicksburg defenses” (McPherson 631). • Vicksburg falls under surrender on July 4th 1863. Summary of Key Events
  3. 3. Impact on the War • Confederate surrender demoralized forces and left civilians feeling outgunned. “The worn men in grey, who were being blindly dashed against this embodiment of modern power”(McPherson 637). • Frees the Mississippi River from Confederate control. “’The Father of Waters again goes un-vexed to the sea.’ "announced Lincoln” (McPherson 638). • Silences Grant’s detractors and solidifies his favorable position with Lincoln.
  4. 4. Unique Characteristics • Successful use of cavalry tactics, which had been a successful Confederate strategy. Grierson tore up railroads and supply lines while successfully skirmishing with the enemy. • Grant risks stranding gunships and ironclads in bold tactic to supply and transport his troops south of Vicksburg. Favorable river currents would help them to pass the Confederate gun batteries heading south, but if they tried to return to Union soil, “they would be sitting ducks”(McPherson 627). • Confederates surrender on July 4th of 1863 adding insult to injury for the South.
  5. 5. Connection to a Contemporary Event • Grassroots campaigning had traditionally been a Democratic strategy, much in the way the Confederates could lay claim to the successful cavalry tactics in the first half of the Civil War. • In the same way that the Union would effectively use the Confederates’ tactics against them; “Grant borrowed a leaf from the enemy’s book and ordered Grierson’s 1,700-man brigade….to tear up Pemberton’s supply lines”(McPherson 628), Republican candidates have embraced the grassroots method of campaigning. • The Democrats used grassroots politics to help put people in office, however the Republicans have managed to start a whole new political party, the Tea Party, with these same methods.
  6. 6. Chancellorsville ~ May 2 – 6, 1863 • Instead of advancing with his superior force General Hooker, “ordered his troops back to a defensive position around Chancellorsville-where the thick woods evened the odds” for the rebels (McPherson 640). • General Lee sent General Jackson around the Union left flank. Jackson took 30,000 men across the front of the Union line so he could swing around behind. This left Lee with only 15,000 men to hold off Hooker’s main Union army. This was to be Jackson’s last battle as he was mortally wounded by friendly fire (McPherson 642). • General Hooker gave up a number of key high ground positions not the least of which was Hazel Grove. “This allowed Lee and Stuart to reunite the two wings of their army and to mass artillery at Hazel Grove” (McPherson 644). • “By any standards Lee had won and astounding victory, recognized as such by both North and South” (McPherson 645). Summary of Key Events
  7. 7. Impact on the War • At Chancellorsville, the Confederates lose arguably their most prolific general in Stonewall Jackson. • “The boost that the battle gave to southern morale proved in the end harmful, for it bred an overconfidence in their own prowess and a contempt for the enemy that led to disaster” (McPherson 645). • While considered a confederate victory this battle did little to change the final outcome of the war. • Lincoln eventually removes General Hooker for his lack of initiative and ability or desire to “go after” General Lee. General Meade is made commander of the Army of the Potomac in June.
  8. 8. Unique Characteristics • Instead of fighting in the open, General Hooker had his troops fall back to a defensive position in heavily wooded and thicket cover area. This order effectively cancelled out his numbers advantage. • Although it would be short lived this battle was a victory for the Confederates. • General Hooker’s Army of the Potomac has a manpower edge of 2 to 1 over Generals Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.
  9. 9. Connection to a Contemporary Event • Like other wars and the battles fought in them, this is a battle that would be studied for years after it ended. • It is somewhat difficult to make a major connection between events of this battle and more contemporary events; however, I think the one constant has been the men (and eventually women) that fight these battles. Weapons, support infrastructures, and even tactics change; fortunately, the drive and determination of our military very rarely if ever does.
  10. 10. Gettysburg ~ July 1 – 3, 1863 Summary of Key Events • When the battle at Gettysburg began neither commanding officer was present on or near the field of battle. Neither Lee nor Meade knew about or authorized the fighting that began on the outskirts of Gettysburg. • “ When Hill’s would-be Crispins approached Gettysburg that morning; however, they found something more than the pickets and militia they had expected. Two brigades of Union Calvary had arrived in town the previous day” (McPherson 653). • John Buford could see the significance of this crossroads and brought his men to Gettysburg, there he held off three times his number for hours till reinforcements came. • One of the largest artillery duels of the war occurred at Gettysburg, “for almost two hours an artillery duel among nearly 300 guns filled the Pennsylvania country side with an ear-splitting roar” (McPherson 661).
  11. 11. Impact on the War • High loses at Gettysburg and the surrender at Vicksburg mark the turning point of the war. • Because of the victory at Gettysburg, Lincoln decides not to meet with Confederate Vice- President Stephens, who is in route to Washington under a flag of truce to try and work out a peace accord (McPherson 664). • Lee attempts to resign, “No one, wrote Lee, is more aware than myself of my inability for the duties of my position” (McPherson 665). Davis does not accept. • Unfortunately, General Meade did not follow up his Gettysburg victory and press Lee’s army as they retreated. Many say that Meade’s inaction may have prolonged that war.
  12. 12. Unique Characteristics • Confederate cavalry commander Stuart caught unaware by Union cavalry. Set stage for “biggest cavalry battle of the war at Brandy Station” (McPherson 649). Union cavalry finally equally matches their Confederate rivals. • First defensive posture for Army of the Potomac against the Army of Northern Virginia. Army of the Potomac is energized by fighting against an invading force, instead of being the invading force. “Their morale rose with the latitude” (McPherson 652). • The loss took the wind out of Lee’s sails, a formidable task. “No one is more aware than myself of my inability for the duties of my position” (McPherson 665).
  13. 13. Connection to a Contemporary Event • General Lee had become too emboldened by the success at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville and thought himself to be invincible against the Union army. There was a parking app, Haystack, who recently had a tragic case of hubris. • Similar to the confederates, the founder of Haystack felt he knew better that his adversary, the city councils of America, “’is not the place of City Hall to determine by doctrine which ideas should fail and which should succeed’“(Rector, Nov 24, 2014: par.7) • His public stance on this idea only solidified his enemies who held the power to enact ordinances banning the use of his app. Even in the face of adversary, he would not back down, and lost. His app was banned and his company folded. “Eric Meyer's start-up parking app Haystack only survived for about six months last year before coming undone amid community criticism and governmental red tape”(Rector, Jan 13, 2015: par. 1)
  14. 14. Works Cited McPherson, James. Battle Cry of Freedom. NY. Oxford University Press, 1988. Print Rector, Kevin. "Canton Resident's Haystack Parking App No Longer Operating." Baltimoresun.com. 24 Nov. 2014. Web. 12 July 2015. Rector, Kevin. "OrderUp Hires Founder of Failed Haystack Parking App to Lead New Market Launches." Baltimoresun.com. 15 Jan. 2015. Web. 12 July 2015.