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View Diary: Remembering Gettysburg, 150 Years On (76 comments)

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  •  I've never believed... (0+ / 0-)

    That a Union defeat would have left Washington uncovered for Lee to march in and demand surrender, as some people do.

    But the change in the political calculus could have been huge following a big Southern victory on Union soil.

    And of course Lincoln's reelection was hardly assured till Sherman took Atlanta.

    But though I'm no fan of General McClellan I doubt that President McClellan would have simply surrendered.  He would probably have offered a choice of reunion with slavery or continued war.

    Of all the possible outcomes, I think the nightmare of reunion with slavery was the worst.

    "I don't give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it's Hell."

    by Notthemayor on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:41:05 PM PDT

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    •  Lee might have taken Washington (1+ / 0-)
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      Even with the strong defenses for Washington, Lee was extremely bold, aggressive, and successful.  The Union Army wouldhave been in disarray.  i wouldn't count Lee out in that circumstance.

      But even without taking Washington he would be much more free to re-supply off the North and move about at will for a while and really take the war to the North.  And the mere threat of an attack on Washington or other Northern cities could have caused a crisis forcing Lincoln to either resign or sue for peace.

      •  I don't think that Lee... (0+ / 0-)

        Was crazy enough to bash his army to bits against Washington's defenses.

        Even Pickett's charge...foolhardy in retrospect...was the result of Lee's lack of reliable intelligence and the topography on the battlefield that let the General badly misguided on how many troops he faced.

        But I definitely agree that with you that victory there could have altered the political calculus enough to make Southern victory possible.

        However...remember that as Lee marches triumphantly from Gettysburg on the Mississippi Grant has just slashed the Confederacy in two.

        Through that lens I definitely see a longer war...with a very uncertain outcome.

        I'm glad we didn't have to find out.

        "I don't give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it's Hell."

        by Notthemayor on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:28:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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