Question of the Week: 3/27-4/2/23

With the anniversary of the breakthrough battle at Petersburg (1865) coming up…what do you think was the most important “breakthrough moment” during the Civil War? Why?

11 Responses to Question of the Week: 3/27-4/2/23

  1. Chickamauga: Longstreet’s breakthrough of the Union lines after Rosecrans mistakenly ordered Wood to move his division creating a hole in the Union lines. It was also the greatest missed opportunity by Bragg failing to follow up on the collapse of the Army fo the Cumberland.

  2. I think Lincoln being able to FINALLY “break up” with McClellan, finally ending that doomed dystopia Era. It would take a while to get to Meade, and even longer to find Grant as a fit to run the show, but finally moving on from the dead-end general was a breakthrough first step.

  3. Missionary Ridge at Chattanooga…opened the way for a deep thrust into the western bowels of the South in the spring & completed the generalship foundation of U S Grant for his promotion to National commanding general & transfer to the Eastern theater.

  4. Battlefield breakthrough – Agreeing on Missionary Ridge. General Early crushing the Union right at Gettysburg is a strong contender, for me.
    Mental breakthrough – Sheridan chasing down Lee at Appomattox. The Union army was pushed like never before and soldiers just as worn as those thin men of the Confederate army, no room for errors. That was the mental breakthrough necessary to end the war.
    Honorable mentions:
    Soldiering breakthrough – McClellan turns a mob into an army.
    Weapons breakthrough – the musket replaced by the rifled barrel, and the accuracy improvement of artillery, John Griffen’s 3″ Ordnance Rifle, wasn’t that the cannon that killed General Polk?
    Generalship breakthrough – Grant heading east from the Wilderness, turns right.
    Worst non-breakthrough – Meade changing Burnside’s order of battle for the Crater the day before the event. Worst selection of a battlefield leader: Burnside chooses Ledlie at the battle of the Crater. (by luck of the draw no less.) Sorry got off topic.

  5. President Lincoln “breaking through” the conflicting advice over the Fort Sumter crisis and making the decision to provision it. This directly led to war, but with the CSA as the aggressor, sparking the rallying round the Flag effect in the North, allowing Lincoln to prosecute the conflict with an initially greatly united home front.

  6. Gotta say First Bull Run–the initial “big” battle purposefully announced that, indeed, we had a war.

  7. I read all of the above comments, and fully understand all of them and agree, also. However, I would like to suggest two other very important events, at Stones River. One was the stoppage of a breakthrough at the Hell’s Half Acre on December 31st and the other is the breakthrough on January 2nd by Federal forces at McFadden’s Ford under the commands of Colonels John Miller, 37th Indiana and Timothy Stanly, 18th Ohio. That , I believe made Bragg’s decision to abandon the area, thus the state and thus loosing the War in The West even more important.

  8. My question of the week is Why wasn’t there any coverage of A.P. Hill’s reburial back in January?

Please leave a comment and join the discussion!