Question of the Week: 7/24-7/30/23

In your opinion, which Civil War moment in July was the most impactful? Why?

16 Responses to Question of the Week: 7/24-7/30/23

  1. The victory at Vicksburg, because an entire Confederate Army of Mississippi, about 33,000 soldiers surrendered and were taken off the board.

  2. Gettysburg as it led to Lincoln and his guidance of regaining conciliation following the War outlined in the” “Gettysburg Address,” adds strength to “the Emancipation Proclamation” issued in January of 1863, and finally a most needed major defeat of the Confederate incursion into the Union States. Vicksburg, in my opinion, was equally important as a Battle defeat but didn’t have the immense public and political ramifications of Gettysburg.

    1. Removing combatants had more public and political ramifications . The ANV continued to fight for 2 more years, when they could have been captured, ending the Civil War.

  3. In my humble opinion Gettysburg and Vicksburg are equal. Vicksburg as so many soldiers were removed from the war and Gettysburg when the Confederates could not break the Union line at the copse of trees.

  4. The moment AFTER the battle at Gettysburg when it was apparent that Lee’s army was going to escape total annihilation as they retreated back to Virginia. With those hopes of ‘bagging’ Lee’s army gone, the fighting in the East would rage on.

  5. An answer would be Vicksburg/Port Hudson due to the importance of the Mississippi River, but I’d like to throw out some food for thought. Perhaps Fort Massachusetts on Ship Island in the Gulf of Mexico, because this island’s occupation allowed for the capture of New Orleans which effectively closed the “Father of Waters” to the Confederates. In other words denying the Mississippi River to the Confederates from an economic standpoint, as well as a geopolitical standpoint, had a profound effect on Confederate ability to wage a successful war.

  6. First Bill Run (Manassas) Had the Union won, the war would have not lasted near as long.

    1. I’m down with Charlie. The moment in that battle which was most impactful was the two hour delay in pressing the attack after the Union had scattered the Confederates in the morning. More rebs disembarked from a train during that 2 hours and they had the time to march to the battle because of that two hour delay. I’m not convinced we would have had a shorter war, but it was impactful – it was the first major get-together of the two opposite sides for the war. Two July moments I nominate for most impactful runner-up are (1) Gardner & O’Sullivan taking post battle photographs. That brought the war home to thousands of families and led to a great book by Frassanito;-) Most impactful July moment runner-up nominee #2 is that July moment in 1938 where the 90 year old yank and the 90 year old reb shake hands over a stone fence at the 75th and last official Gettysburg battle reuinon of the contestants. That brief moment, captured on film, will live on for as long as pictures have meaning, which with AI may not be as long as I think. It’s impactful because it shows how two enemies can come together after both time and the fortunes of life have had a chance to, like gravity, effectuate their constant pressure. And it’s impactful because you and I can look on that picture today and feel real emotions from it, and so will future generations in their time.

  7. The key word in the question is “moment.” The result of the Vicksburg siege was baked in by the time July rolled around. I’ll go with Reynolds’ decision to use the First and Eleventh Corps to fight northwest of Gettysburg on July 1st (and protect Cemetery Hill), upon which the course of the battle of Gettysburg and Lee’s Pennsylvania campaign flowed.

  8. Vicksburg. It propelled Grant to national prominence as the best northern general. Without Grant no telling what the outcome would be

  9. I would say when Lee detached Early’s corp to counter Hunter’s move toward Lynchburg. He thereby lost any strategic reserve large enough to inflict crippling damage on the AOP, and was reduced to counterpunching. The Confederacy could survive without the Trans-Mississippi; Vicksburg was most important as Grant’s stepping stone. Similarly, had the Union had any General in Chief other than the bulldog Grant in 1864, he who pressed on, Gettysburg may today been see only as a squandered Union opportunity; in itself it decided nothing.

  10. Monocacy in 1864. It really put Washington on alert. Lee’s army, if not successfully delay by Lew Wallace, could have been knocking on Lincoln’s front door.

    Also as a historian studying more human impact the death of Arabella Griffith Barlow not only was a devastating blow to Gen Barlow her loss had impact to her colleagues in the Sanitary Commission not to mention the absence of Gen Barlow for the rest of ’64-’65 for the 2nd Corps.

  11. July 4, 1861, when the first post-Sumter US Congress convened and decided to ratify Lincoln’s war measures. War then was on, when a different course still had been theoretically possible.

  12. I think it was the time period immediately after Pickett’s Charge. Lee had hoped to get the advantage with this maneuver, yet it turned out disastrous for him, with many experienced soldiers killed that he could not replace. The South would never again regain ascendancy, although they continued to fight as they had before, continuing to “bleed” men in numbers. That the Confederacy did not have the manpower or the resources to fight the war to a victorious conclusion became obvious.
    Lee would never again come into Northern territory to try and bring the war to the Yankees.

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