Turning the tide - Antietam Campaign

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Salty, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    When the War Between the States began - the citizens of the CSA saw it strictly as a defensive war. However, many soldiers were resentful when Gen Lee led an invasion of the North (Antietam - Sep 1862).
    His purpose was to to damage Northern morale in anticipation of the November (crogessional) elections.
    Although a tactical draw, the Battle of Antietam was a strategic victory for the Union. It forced the end of Lee's strategic invasion of the North and gave Abraham Lincoln the victory he was awaiting before announcing the Emancipation Proclamation.on September 22.

    So If Lee had not crossed the Mason-Dixon line, would that have made a difference in the WBTS?
     
  2. Crabtownboy

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    Lee also hoped that with a successful invasion of the North that England and France would enter the war on the side of the South. We will never know if this would have happened. It is still being debated by historians.

    I doubt in the long run it would have made a real difference in the war. In time the North would have won as they had so many more resources available.

    If the Union had had a competent general at the battle the North could have crushed Lee. The Union had many more soldiers available for the battle. The Potomac River was behind Lee which meant he could not quickly retreat if necessary.

    With the draw, Meade could have inflicted much damage the next day. He had troops that were not used the day before. But he did not press this advantage.

    Lincoln visited the battlefield some weeks later. Meade still had not moved his troops. Lincoln was reported to have looked out over this vast army and said, "This is not the Army of the Potomac. This is General Meade's bodyguard.

    An excellent book on the battle is, "Landscape Turned Red: the battle of Antietam," by Stephen Sears.
     
  3. Salty

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    If England and France had entered or at least supported the CSA- well, it could have made a big difference.
    Also a defeat of the Union Army at that battle could have meant a defeat of pro-war politicians in the congressional elections. The "R" lost over 20 seats as it was. Another 8 lost seats could have put the House in Dem control. In fact the House Speaker lost his district election in '62.
    In addition to the War, concerns also included rising inflation, high new taxes, ugly rumors of corruption, the suspension of habeas corpus, the draft law, and fears that freed slaves would undermine the labor market.

    And as you said, we will never know (at least on this side of Glory). but it is interesting to guess "What if".
     
  4. AntennaFarmer

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    Don't you mean the "battle of Sharpsburg"?

    It seems like things went wrong every time Lee was north of the line.


    ...A.F...
     

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