Why Was the Battle of Gettysburg a Turning Point? Essay example
729 WordsSep 3rd, 20133 Pages
Why was the Battle of Gettysburg a Turning Point?
(May 8, 2013
What comes to mind when you hear the words “The Battle of Gettysburg”? To me, I think of the event itself. The United States was two years into the Civil War, when the bloody battle in Pennsylvania broke out. General Lee, also known as the general of the Confederate army, plotted an attack at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle started on July 1st, 1863 and continued on for 3 straight days. In just those 3 days, it turned the Civil War around. A turning point is an action or event that alters the outcome of a situation. Why was the Battle of Gettysburg a turning point? The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point for three reasons; geographic advantage, the many losses and…show more content…
Of that total loss, 12,800 were wounded, 5,250 were missing and 2,600 to 4,500 were killed. At the end, both sides lost nearly the same amount of men. The North started with thousands of more troops than the South. Therefore, compared to the North, the South was the size of a pea. This wouldn’t be a problem for the South if they had enough eligible men to serve, but their numbers, once again, were millions of men short from the North. This evidence shows that the numerous losses were a reason that the Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point because the South couldn’t afford to take another major loss of men without knowing they were going to lose and that they would not have enough men to replace. The change in morale was a reason why the Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point. In Doc C, General Lee wrote a letter to the president; President Jefferson Davis. He describes his feelings after the tiring battle and states that he should resign from being the general because of the awful failure in Pennsylvania. In Lee’s letter, it’s obvious that his morale has been greatly diminished. This is probably because he’s won every battle, expect Gettysburg and now the Confederacy’s winning streak has ended. When Davis writes back, he tells General Lee that he’s still going to be General. In my textbook, it’s a fact that, for the first two years of the war, the North got several blows from the South. General Lee never lost one
There are a number of reasons why the Battle of Gettysburg can be (and usually is) seen as a major turning point in the Civil War.
First, we can say that it was a turning point because it removed any thoughts that President Lincoln might have had about making peace with the Confederacy. The Union had not necessarily been doing very well in the war at this point, and it was possible that Lincoln would have considered a peace treaty. The vice president of the CSA was, in fact, making his way to Washington during the battle to discuss prisoner exchanges, but he also had the power to discuss peace. When Lincoln heard of the victory at Gettysburg, he denied the vice president permission to enter the country. This showed that he had stopped considering the idea of peace with the South.
Second, the battle boosted morale greatly in the North and lowered it in the South. Up until this point, General Lee had had an aura of invincibility. He had seemed to win every battle he fought against the Federal army. In this battle, however, his forces were defeated in an even fight. This made it clear that he was not invincible. In the process, it made Northerners much more confident in their eventual victory and made the South feel much less optimistic.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the battle ended the South’s hopes of winning the support of European countries. The battle happened because Lee had invaded the North. If he had succeeded, many European countries might have recognized the Confederacy, just as France started to support the colonies after the Battle of Saratoga in the Revolutionary War. Worse yet, some of them might have even given the South military support. Either of these scenarios could have forced the North to make peace.
For all of these reasons, the Battle of Gettysburg is rightly seen as a major turning point in the American Civil War.