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 Posted: Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 10:26 pm
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Johan Steele
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Bacon was a generic term for food, see "Honey, I brought home the bacon."

To me Vicksburg is clearly the more devestating loss to the CS, while the men who were captured were quicly returned to the field (most w/out being properly exchanged) the startegic importance of Vicksburg is clear. It split the CS and allowed the use of the entire Mississippi to the US. The loss of small arms, light & heavy guns and morale was a loss the CS could not afford. Add to that one more defeat in the west. While Lee was winning or at the very least consistantly stymieing the AoP, the Western Fed Armies weren't even really slowed until Chickamauga and that was only a slight repreive.

A year ago I would have agreed that the idea that Ft Donaldson & Henry being the turning point was a crazy idea, now I look at them as the beginning of the end, the start of a string of defeats the CS never recovered from.



 Posted: Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 10:51 pm
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Doc C
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The retreat of the CSA to Vicksburg after their defeat at Champion Hill is to me more significant than Vicksburg, because if it were not for this defeat the seige of Vicksburg would not have occurred or would have possibly been delayed.

Doc C

Last edited on Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 10:52 pm by Doc C



 Posted: Tue Sep 23rd, 2008 12:36 am
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ole
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What WAS Gettysburg's significance, other than morale and symbolism?
Another might have been to get Lee the heck off Union Territory.

" Here is the Red River, which will supply the Confederacy with cattle and corn to feed their armies. There are the Arkansas and White Rivers, which can supply cattle and hogs by the thousand. From Vicksburg these supplies can be distributed by rail all over the Confederacy.


I'll note that the urgent explanation was made in early '62. The Red was likely still operating, and possibly the Arkansas. Maybe Memphis hadn't been taken yet. The situation was considerably different in the middle of '63.

ole

 



 Posted: Tue Sep 23rd, 2008 02:19 am
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Charlie Stone
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pamc153PA wrote: What WAS Gettysburg's significance, other than morale and symbolism?


Well, the obvious, really -- much of which has already been stated.  For the Confederacy, this was a battle that determined the morale and ability of the AoNV to continue to offensively assert itself.  The question immediately became: how well can this army continue to defend Virginia?  With Vicksburg serving as another nail in the coffin, the answer soon became painfully and fatally evident.  The divided Confederacy drfited into factionalism, famine riots, and general malaise for the cause.  For the North, the exact opposite, really:  there was an increase in morale, volunteers, and support for the cause.



 Posted: Tue Sep 23rd, 2008 05:20 pm
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HankC
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Militarily, Gettysburg is no more compelling than 2 other battles: Antietam and Monocacy. Okay, Antietam ;)

In that comparison, the military details are very similar: the ANV (or parts of it) invades, the US maneuvers it into a tight spot, a battle is fought and the south withdraws with the US losing the opportunity to inflict more, or mortal, damage.

Militarily, both battles are pretty much the usual murderous bloodletting. In both cases, a landmark document is penned. (One could say that Monacacy created a great Lincoln story.)

Vicksburg, however, changes the entire dynamic of the war in the west. The CSA is now encircled; militarily, US units in the south can be more easily transported and supplied.



HankC



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 Posted: Tue Sep 23rd, 2008 05:40 pm
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ArtorBart
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The Army of the Potomac finally won a big battle {despite arguments for a draw}. The soldiers felt really good about themselves and a bit better about their leaders.

The boys in blue also learned, as did Bobby Lee, that the men in gray and butternut were NOT invincible, that they could be beat.

Sorry, these are still morale and spiritual reasons.

ArtorBart

Last edited on Tue Sep 23rd, 2008 05:42 pm by ArtorBart



 Posted: Tue Sep 23rd, 2008 06:05 pm
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Charlie Stone
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Bama46 wrote: The real significance of Gettysburg came about after the war...



Good point!  It definitely seems that the cult of Gettysburg has allowed it to endure longer (and with seemingly more ramifications) in modern, popular memory than several other more pivotal battles.  Why the cult of Gettysburg has been as strong as it has over the past years, though, I don't know.  There is a certain legendary, perhaps even mythical element about this battle which very few of the others have, in my opinion -- First Manassas and Appomattox being two exceptions that immediately come to mind.

Last edited on Tue Sep 23rd, 2008 06:06 pm by Charlie Stone



 Posted: Tue Sep 23rd, 2008 06:21 pm
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The Iron Duke
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Ed that was an excellent post.  Don't forget how easily Gettysburg jumped up to number one on CWPT's 10 Most Endangered Battlefields because of a casino.  Talk about overkill.

Last edited on Tue Sep 23rd, 2008 06:22 pm by The Iron Duke



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 Posted: Tue Sep 23rd, 2008 10:32 pm
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Captain Crow
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It seems that we almost unanimously agree that Vicksburg is a more important loss...I suspect the increasing amount of interest and general knowledge of the western theater I've noticed among us history buffs lately has something to do with it. As for myself I freely admit that at one time I studied the east almost exclusively due to my ignorant opinion that nothing exciting happened in the west...after all, all the "burgs" were in the east right? But over the last few years(and especially the last one) I've become more convinced that the civil war was lost and won with the Union's control of the Mississippi river. Lincoln knew this, and now I must acknowledge his exceptional insight into this waterway's strategic significance.
I also must admit I'm still a sucker for the high drama of battles such as Gettysburg, Antietam, Chancellorsville, and Fredericksburg. But I also must admit that I find myself increasingly drawn to the relatively unexplored doings in the west.



 Posted: Tue Sep 23rd, 2008 11:36 pm
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pamc153PA
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Good post, Ed. You are right when you said "don't for one moment think that federal spending does not influence the perception we have of the park and the significance of the battle." If all anyone vaguely interested in the CW hears about is Gettysburg, and if so many of the books on the bookstore shelves are about some aspect of Gettysburg, and the popularity of "Ghost Tours" and so-called paranormal shows like "Most Haunted" (which plans to air live from Gettysburg in October) grows, then people will believe Gettysburg is the only CW battlefield worth seeing.

Don't get me wrong. Gettysburg will always be near and dear to my heart, because it was there my interest in the CW first started, but I'll readily admit that I think I am fascinated by Vicksburg and other western theater battles precisely because they are not as widely known as Getysburg et. al. They also give me a whole new area to learn about!

Pam



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 Posted: Wed Sep 24th, 2008 02:47 am
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susansweet
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Ed I agree without the speech and Sickles and Chamberlain Vicksburg might be more famous  as a site to visit.  Nothing against Gettysburg.  Vicksburg on the other hand didn't celebrate Independence Day til during WW2 after the surrender on July 4th . 

Susan



 Posted: Wed Sep 24th, 2008 02:51 am
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susansweet
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Ed I envy you going back to Shiloh again.  I had no relatives there but it is not that far from family homes in Northern Mississippi .  I feel a close relationship to the field there.  Maybe because the first time I was there I was the only one there .  I got there at 5 pm and the rangers were leaving.  They handed me a map and said I could stay til dark.  I had no idea what I was seeing but wandered around in my car looking at everything and reading the map .  I have been back twice since then and now need to go again since reading Cunningham's book. 

 
Vicksburg I hired a female guide to see the battlefield as I knew I was over myhead and didn't know what I was seeing .  She helped me a great deal then I went back in the afternoon and did it all again taking my time.  Ended up at the Cario sitting next to a female park ranger who was reading a book on reconstruction.  We had one of those grand conversations that I seem to have with park rangers most places. 

I would go back to Vicksburg in a minute.  Also Port Hudson, Port Gibson and Grand Gulf now that I know more about them. 

Susan

Last edited on Wed Sep 24th, 2008 02:53 am by susansweet



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 Posted: Wed Sep 24th, 2008 03:07 am
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susansweet
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Bama I have done part of the trace , mainly up in Tennessee . I have also done some by Natchez. Would love to drive the whole Trace one day. First time I stopped at a state park that said Natchez Trace State Park. That is when the park ranger explained about the old trace and the newer one. I also stopped off to see the site where Lewis died and is buried right off the Trace , hence the reason I didn't get to Shiloh til 5 Pm.



 Posted: Wed Sep 24th, 2008 11:01 am
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gettysburgerrn
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I agree that the western theatre was certainly where the war was won. Thus I agree that Vicksburg certainly carried more significance ultimately than Gettysburg. But interestingly enough, I wonder which would have had more significance had Lee pulled it off and won at Gettysburg..just some thoughts from an overworked and undercaffinated individual....

ken



 Posted: Wed Sep 24th, 2008 02:45 pm
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HankC
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ah,

which would have had more significance had Lee pulled it off and won at Antietam, or Mine Run, or Wilderness, or Spotsylvania?

Not the only 'what-if' is at Gettysburg...



 Posted: Thu Sep 25th, 2008 12:06 am
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Captain Crow
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Bama46 wrote: Port Hudson, Port Gibson, Grand Gulf and Natchez are all part of going to Vicksburg so far as I am concerned
As is driving the Trace... interesting, I am not that interested in that part of the Trace that goes thru NW Alabama, but the section around Natchez if georgeous

for those who don't know, the Trace is the Nachez Trace, a series of animal paths, Indian trails, and now a road that goes generally from Natchez Mississippi to Nashville, Tn. The trace can trace its roots to the mid 1700's.
Today the trace is a 2 lane blacktop, with no commerical ads allowed, no commercial vehicles allowed, and a 50 mph speed limit. Rest stops are placed at the approximate locations they were historically.. it is a cool drive
for sure Bama! I did the Trace from Port Gibson to Raymond on my recent trip. It was very nice...but that 50mph things gotta go! Although it did give my boots the chance to dry out after sloshing around in the wet mushy grass at Grand Gulf. I love Shiloh/Corinth as well...I plan to return there within the next couple of years.



 Posted: Thu Sep 25th, 2008 12:14 am
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Captain Crow
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gettysburgerrn wrote: I agree that the western theatre was certainly where the war was won. Thus I agree that Vicksburg certainly carried more significance ultimately than Gettysburg. But interestingly enough, I wonder which would have had more significance had Lee pulled it off and won at Gettysburg..just some thoughts from an overworked and undercaffinated individual....

ken
I think it would depend on how costly a victory was won at Gettysburg. Personally, as I've stated before in other topics, I propose that Lee's greatest blunder of the war was in fighting at Gettysburg at all. Even if Longstreet's assault had succeeded in breaking Meade's center and possibly routing the Union forces from the field, how much strength would Lee have had left to follow up with?



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