The Battle Of Gettysburg Essay

1704 words - 7 pages

The Battle of Gettysburg was the major turning point of the Civil War. The confederate army was led by General Robert E. Lee, an experienced, educated, and extremely successful career military officer. He was second in his class at WestPoint, as well as a valuable asset during the Mexican War. When Virginia seceded from the Union, Abraham Lincoln initially asked General Lee to lead the Union Army. General Lee declined the position offered by Lincoln due to his loyalty to him home state1. General Lee was appointed as the General of the Confederate Army by Jefferson Davis following the death Joseph E Johnston. General Lee‘s expertise in war strategy and tactics enable the south to become extremely victorious during battle and led to the near defeat of the North. General Lee was a skilled military officer, who always deeply pondered and analyzed every move his military made and especially where it fought2.
At the battle of Gettysburg, General Lee, stripped of the intelligence his mounted cavalry soldiers were to provide, was unable to make decisions based on clear and concise intelligence which was to be provided by General Stuart’s Calvary3. General Stuart was to provide the Army of Northern Virginia with pre-knowledge of the terrain and the Potomac armies’ location. Instead, General Stuart had concerned himself with raiding the Northern States and not the disposition of the Army of Northern Virginia, the South’s army in the field. General Lee was instructed to draw out the Potomac army and destroy it so the South could then make overtures for peace based on a position of strength. General Lee chose to fight at Gettysburg, and had he not chosen to fight there, he feared the war would not end4. The Confederate army was strong until they began to move north onto Union territory. The confederate army was extremely uninformed and unorganized, thus their defeat by the Union. This decision was based on an inaccurate understanding of his enemy’s position and strength. The Battle plan ran against his position of always having the best ground or terrain from which to fight.
Not only was General Lee misinformed, but his soldiers were fighting barefoot, hungry, and low on ammunition, due to the naval blockade imposed by Union naval forces. The Northern war effort benefited tremendously from its superior naval forces, which allowed the Union to implement and maintain an effective blockade of Southern ports2. The South was an agricultural society and the North was more industrial. Consequently, the South had to import much of its armaments
The Union Army had infinitely more supplies all through the war than the South, due to the North being a heavy industrial and manufacturing center. A derivative of the North’s success of the civil war was their abundance of materials needed for proper warfare. Their soldiers were well prepared in terms of ammunition, nutrition, and clothing where as the south was not well equipped at all. Unfortunately...

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