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View Diary: 150 years ago, the greatest July 4th of them all (117 comments)

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  •  Thanks for pointing this out (6+ / 0-)

    One of the reasons that the U.S. Civil War dragged on for so long is that there weren't many "decisive" battles.

    For all its tactical brilliance, and the fact that it was the bloodiest battle in U.S. history, Gettysburg was a sideshow. Had Lee won at Gettysburg, unless the U.S. forces were utterly incompetent, he would have just besieged Washington, D.C. until his lines were broken by U.S. reinforcements and he was forced to retreat.

    And, even if U.S. forces were incompetent and the Army of Northern Virginia had sacked Washington, D.C., the U.S. government would have just fled to Philadelphia or someplace similar and continued the war from there.

    Strategically, it was just another battle of attrition to wear down the ANV. Basically, it was a precursor to Grant's 1864 drive to Richmond.

    OTOH, Vicksburg cut off the CSA's main transportation artery, cutting the rebellious states in half and completing Scott's "Anaconda Plan". After Vicksburg, the Confederates couldn't ship troops or supplies from the Western part of the country to the Eastern portion. That in itself helped set up Sherman's "March to the Sea.
    Additionally, Grant's brilliant Vicksburg campaign lay the groundwork for him taking command of the Army of the Potomac, for Sherman's Atlanta Campaign and Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley campaign. Consciously or subconciously, after Vicksburg, every U.S. commander emulated Grant.

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