Why? did General Lee fight at gettysburg after witnessing the carnage at Fredricsburg

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klongstreet

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After many years of reading and researching the Napoleonic wars, the wars of ancient Greece I have now began reading the American civil war and would like not only to have my views and questions answered but to listen and learn from others.
 
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Rebel from Finland

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He had found the weak spot of the AotP and routed them in Chancellorsville, outnumbered almost 2 to 1. He had some good reasons to believe that he would do it again. One thing that he didn´t know at the time the wagons were set to motion, was that there would be Meade against him.. And as we know, Meade wasn´t going to run, as had so many done before him.
 
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Carronade

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Welcome aboard! I get the impression from your question that you are asking mainly about Pickett's Charge on the third day of the battle, which most resembles the assault on Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg. Day One at Gettysburg, July 1, was a meeting engagement that went mostly in the Confederates' favor. On Day Two, Lee sought to get around the Union flanks, and his strategy for Day Three also included continued attacks on the Union right. But as you say, the main effort on July 3 was the frontal attack on the Union center. The best explanation might be that Lee and the Confederacy needed a decisive victory, and he was reluctant to break off the battle without trying everything that might achieve one.
 

jay gale

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Welcome aboard from Kirkland Washington.

I have read that Lee wanted to take the war North to take the pressure off of Virginia and to let her farmlands and infrastructure recover and be productive again. He was essentially buying time to ease the burden on the Virginia and her people. He was also hoping to at least get the Army of Northern Virginia into a position where they could defeat the Army of the Potomac on northern soil, pose a threat to Washington DC and force a negotiated peace.
 
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John Winn

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I can only second what has already been well said by others. Those are good synopses.

So, welcome from Southern Oregon. This is a good and knowledgeable bunch. You'll get informed answers to just about any question you could pose.
 

kel1985

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Welcome from Pittsburgh!
IMHO, Lee knew that he couldn't win a defensive war against the Union, for the Confederacy to gain true independence, he had to take the offensive and win a few battles in the North. I really question why after Malvern Hill, he essentially did the same thing with Pickett's Charge...but given all else that transpired up to that point at Gettysburg, he had very few other options...If the timing of actions on Culp's Hill and JEB's cavalry would have been better coordinated maybe he may have had more success, but there are so many other variables, I believe that after the first day of the battle, the ANV really didn't have much chance of success at Gettysburg. (again IMHO LOL)
 

kevikens

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By that point both he and his army were suffering from a superiority complex. Either that, or all their pride and boasting, their overweening hubris, attracted the attention of the gods.
 
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KeyserSoze

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Hubris. In addition to Fredericksburg he had his own experience at Malvern Hill to fall back on. But he thought he could do it anyway.
 
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Billy Yank

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You mean, why did he attack on the third day? Because on the two previous days his Army came very close to severely crippling the Army of the Potomac.

As a whole, the Gettysburg campaign was well planned and executed. Far too much emphasis is placed on Pickett's Charge.
My compliments, Lt. Blackwell. I would take exception with you on two points. 1.) Both armies did more than "come very close to crippling" each other. Each side was most definitely crippled and, in fact, battered when hostilities drew to a close. The statistics are mind numbing. 2.) My contention is although Lee may have planned his campaign well, his failure(s) were due to poor execution.
 
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Each side was most definitely crippled and, in fact, battered when hostilities drew to a close. The statistics are mind numbing.

Mostly agreed, as evidenced by the fact that neither side did much in the East for the rest of 1863. But both armies were still strong enough to send troops to the West. (Longstreet, XI and XII Corps). The resilience of these troops was amazing.

My contention is although Lee may have planned his campaign well, his failure(s) were due to poor execution.

Agreed. Especially his corps commanders, although he put them there, so...
 
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Billy Yank

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So please explain the actions of Grant at Cold Harbor!!! Lee's attack came much closer to success than Grant's.
In real numbers, Lee's casualties, from this point in the war, were much more damaging to his own army than Grant's. Criticize Grant for what some consider "butchery," but Grant understood Lee's ranks were much more limited than his and threw all his resources at the ANV, in my opinion.
 
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