Did the "character" of the war change around 1863?


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63rdOVI

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Yes.

In the North a lot of early volunteers were re-upping, and the Emancipation Proclamation hinted at what became the Lincoln administration's ultimate goal after preservation of the Union.

In the South, they were finally coming to grips with the juggernaut they'd dragged into war.
 

Robin Lesjovitch

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There is a misconception that Longstreet’s mindset was purely defensive. Longstreet led some of the fiercest attacks of the war and helped sustain some of the greatest victories ie Second Manassas and Chickamauga. A general can be effective both on the offensive and defensive when opportunities present themselves. The north had more manpower to replace the losses.
There is no question that Longstreet delivered 3 of the most powerful assaults of the CW.
But, (1) at 2nd Bull Run Lee had to almost twist Longstreet's arm off to get him in motion. (2) at Gettysburg on July 2 I think Longstreet only attacked because he could devise no more delays and excuses and realized he would be guilty of gross insubordination in fact, if not by charges. (3) At Chickamauga, Longstreet was 2 hours behind the rest of Bragg's army attacking. I will not offer an explanation as to why he attacked then, but I have an idea.
 

leftyhunter

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I used the term "homicides" to enforce the notion that killing began during the CW before real bitterness came. The bitterness came later and did affect the nature of the war.
I am reasonably sure that nobody fighting during the CW cared what the Supreme Court might rule after the war. Not Lincoln, and not Early.
You referenced the legitimacy of Secession so it is fair to point out judicial rulings regarding the legality of Secession.
Yes Civil War's are by definition bitter affairs.
Leftyhunter
 

Robin Lesjovitch

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You referenced the legitimacy of Secession so it is fair to point out judicial rulings regarding the legality of Secession.
Yes Civil War's are by definition bitter affairs.
Leftyhunter
Ok.
i referenced Early's perception of the legitimacy of the CSA at the start of hostilities.
 

Lost Cause

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There is no question that Longstreet delivered 3 of the most powerful assaults of the CW.
But, (1) at 2nd Bull Run Lee had to almost twist Longstreet's arm off to get him in motion. (2) at Gettysburg on July 2 I think Longstreet only attacked because he could devise no more delays and excuses and realized he would be guilty of gross insubordination in fact, if not by charges. (3) At Chickamauga, Longstreet was 2 hours behind the rest of Bragg's army attacking. I will not offer an explanation as to why he attacked then, but I have an idea.
I meant to add the Wilderness in the mix. I would add Longstreet was more methodical than reluctant (Gettysburg aside). IE waiting for the enemy to demonstrate a mistake before launching a coordinated attack, especially with 2nd Manassas and Chickamauga.

If you are to criticize him for delaying an attack at Chickamauga bear in mind:
1. He arrived the previous night to the new theater unfamiliar with the terrain and several troops under his command.
2. Bragg was being Bragg.
3. Hill and Polk were also delayed in attacking in the morning and were uncoordinated.
4. Longstreet was delayed organizing his divisions for attack.

If he deserves criticism for the attack it would be stopping for a picnic rather than coordinating the follow through.

There are several on topic threads here that discuss him in greater detail.
 

Robin Lesjovitch

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I meant to add the Wilderness in the mix. I would add Longstreet was more methodical than reluctant (Gettysburg aside). IE waiting for the enemy to demonstrate a mistake before launching a coordinated attack, especially with 2nd Manassas and Chickamauga.

If you are to criticize him for delaying an attack at Chickamauga bear in mind:
1. He arrived the previous night to the new theater unfamiliar with the terrain and several troops under his command.
2. Bragg was being Bragg.
3. Hill and Polk were also delayed in attacking in the morning and were uncoordinated.
4. Longstreet was delayed organizing his divisions for attack.

If he deserves criticism for the attack it would be stopping for a picnic rather than coordinating the follow through.

There are several on topic threads here that discuss him in greater detail.
I hope you did not think I was being unfair.
In the matter of Chickamauga, Hill and Polk were over 3 hours late in moving, mostly due to terrible staff work on the part of Bragg's headquarters. But Longstreet was two hours longer. I am quite aware how successful Longstreet's assault was, but it was at a cost of a lot of the men in the rest of Bragg's army whose fighting had precipitated the gap that was mistakenly made in Rosecrans' line.
At 2nd Manassas, Longstreet was preparing his attack (after Lee's absolute insistence) before he saw what he wanted to do. Jackson's Corps was just about at its end at that point.
There may be a point here. a commander that waits opportunity may wait out a war.
That does not make ol' Pete a bad general. But he did need watching by superiors.
 

Lost Cause

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I hope you did not think I was being unfair.
In the matter of Chickamauga, Hill and Polk were over 3 hours late in moving, mostly due to terrible staff work on the part of Bragg's headquarters. But Longstreet was two hours longer. I am quite aware how successful Longstreet's assault was, but it was at a cost of a lot of the men in the rest of Bragg's army whose fighting had precipitated the gap that was mistakenly made in Rosecrans' line.
At 2nd Manassas, Longstreet was preparing his attack (after Lee's absolute insistence) before he saw what he wanted to do. Jackson's Corps was just about at its end at that point.
There may be a point here. a commander that waits opportunity may wait out a war.
That does not make ol' Pete a bad general. But he did need watching by superiors.
Perhaps, but can you list an abler Confederate Corps commander who’s direct involvement as a suboordinate general led to as many victories (the ongoing Jackson comparable withstanding)?
 

Andy Cardinal

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I was watching one of the Gettysburg winter lecture series with Chris Gwinn, in which he conjectures that Gettysburg was a major turning point for the Union Army, because it was the last battle that was fought by the Volunteer Army, and that the beginning of conscription changed the nature of the army in many ways. He makes a good argument and it made me think about the consequences of this change and how it affected the war.
I agree with this (as I tried to say perhaps not very well in an earlier post). It was also the last major battle not dominated by entrenchments -- which became a regular feature of all subsequent battles.

I think the eastern war and the western war were completely different animals. I'm more knowledgeable about the east, but I believe the change can be detected a bit earlier in the West.
 

damYankee

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The answer to the question posed in the OP is yes. 1863 was the pivot point, both militarily and politically.
 

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