Why was the Battle of Gettysburg such a defeat for the South?

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KeyserSoze

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Great point, The AOP defeated again under the leadership of yet another failed general and this time on Northern soil and the significance of Vicksburg would have suddenly seemed remote.
Not likely. Had Lee won at Gettysburg then he goes back to Virginia, the Army of the Potomac licks its wounds, Grant takes Vicksburg and comes east. In the spring he still heads south, Sherman takes off for Atlanta, and the war ends pretty much on schedule. The only difference being that Vicksburg would have been seen as the turning point that it was rather than Gettysburg.
 

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Tim,
As Joshua points out in his post, most big battles in the West were Union victories. By the time of Gettysburg, the North won the following victories in the Western and Trans-Mississippi Theaters:

Boonville, June 1861--helped hold Missouri in the Union
Forts Henry and Donelson, Feb 1862--pushed Confederacy out of Kentucky and opened up Tennessee to attack
Nashville, Feb 1862--surrendered without a fight, remaining in Union hands throughout the war
Pea Ridge, Mar 1862--ended a Confederate push in Arkansas
New Madrid, Island #10, New Orleans, Mar-Apr 1862--captured most of the Mississippi River
Shiloh, Corinth Mar-Apr 1862--drove Confederate Army further south
Memphis, June 1862--capture of another key city
Iuka, Corinth, Sep-Oct 1862--defeat of Confederate attacks intended to help Bragg in Kentucky
Perryville, Oct 1862--pushed Bragg out of Kentucky, which remained in Union hands the rest of the war
Prairie Grove, Dec 1862--stopped another Confederate push in Arkansas
Stones River, Dec 1862-Jan 1863--start of the campaign to push Bragg out of central Tennessee
Port Gibson, Jackson, Champion's Hill (May 1863)--continuous victories in Grant's Vicksburg Campaign, forcing the seige.
Milliken's Bend (June 1863)--defeat of Confederate forces sent from Louisiana to help at Vicksburg

Also, don't forget the Union victories in the Carolinas during the first part of the war; Hatteras (Aug 61), Port Royal (Nov 61), Roanoke Island & Elizabeth City (Feb 62), New Berne and Fort Macon (Beaufort) (Mar-Apr 62), and Fort Pulaski (Apr 62), which gave the Union control of the Albemarle Sound and North Carolina coast (except Wilmington).

Don't fall into the trap of looking at the whole Civil War in the context of the Army of the Potomac vs the Army of Northern Virginia.

True, but also regard the war as a whole. In the west, the CSA lost territory it could lose. Lots of land, few resources including population, not much in the way of manufacturing and not much in the way of slaves. Only when the east was successfully invaded. Sherman from Tenn into Ga and beyond and Grant into Va threatened what the CSA could not afford to lose. In the end, that was what was fatal.

If a Status Quo peace treaty had been enacted after Gettysburg, the CSA would have won most of its objectives.
As long as the ANV was intact there was hope.
 

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Not likely. Had Lee won at Gettysburg then he goes back to Virginia, the Army of the Potomac licks its wounds, Grant takes Vicksburg and comes east. In the spring he still heads south, Sherman takes off for Atlanta, and the war ends pretty much on schedule. The only difference being that Vicksburg would have been seen as the turning point that it was rather than Gettysburg.

Provided the political will was still there. Gettysburg was not about the military, but the political. Big defeat of the AOP and Lincoln is forced to make peace and there is a whole new ballgame.

Of course space aliens could have sided with the South and forced the North to give up. Speculation being what it is.
 
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Joshua Horn

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Provided the political will was still there. Gettysburg was not about the military, but the political. Big defeat of the AOP and Lincoln is forced to make peace and there is a whole new ballgame.
I think it all would have depended on how badly the Army of the Potomac was defeated. It could very easily have made the North more eager to continue to fight. I think it would have been unlikely that Lee could have captured Washington, and armies would have been quickly forming to surround him. A victory at Gettysburg wouldn't have hurt, but it would have just been the first step on the road to Confederate victory.
 

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True, but also regard the war as a whole. In the west, the CSA lost territory it could lose. Lots of land, few resources including population, not much in the way of manufacturing and not much in the way of slaves. Only when the east was successfully invaded. Sherman from Tenn into Ga and beyond and Grant into Va threatened what the CSA could not afford to lose. In the end, that was what was fatal.
If a Status Quo peace treaty had been enacted after Gettysburg, the CSA would have won most of its objectives.
As long as the ANV was intact there was hope.
True to some extent. Regarding the war as a whole is very important, as you say. In that regard, one of the big reasons the Confederacy could not afford to lose Georgia and sections of Virginia is that it had lost so much already. Although the land out west might not have been as resource-intense as other areas, the Union victories in the west meant that the Confederacy had nowhere else to turn when the deep south was finally invaded.

Let's look at the status quo after Gettysburg: The Union held the Mississippi; controlled most of Arkansas and Tennessee, parts of Mississippi and Louisiana including their capitols (and forget Kentucky and Missouri, which were never really part of the Confederacy); controlled the Chesapeake via Norfolk and the Peninsula; and controlled the North Carolina and Gulf Coasts. Do you think the Confederacy could have survived the long haul politically or economically if this status quo was maintained indefinitely? [If you meant a peace based on status quo antebellum, then that's an entirely different argument.]
 

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True to some extent. Regarding the war as a whole is very important, as you say. In that regard, one of the big reasons the Confederacy could not afford to lose Georgia and sections of Virginia is that it had lost so much already. Although the land out west might not have been as resource-intense as other areas, the Union victories in the west meant that the Confederacy had nowhere else to turn when the deep south was finally invaded.

Let's look at the status quo after Gettysburg: The Union held the Mississippi; controlled most of Arkansas and Tennessee, parts of Mississippi and Louisiana including their capitols (and forget Kentucky and Missouri, which were never really part of the Confederacy); controlled the Chesapeake via Norfolk and the Peninsula; and controlled the North Carolina and Gulf Coasts. Do you think the Confederacy could have survived the long haul politically or economically if this status quo was maintained indefinitely? [If you meant a peace based on status quo antebellum, then that's an entirely different argument.]


Speculation: Union loses Gettysburg and Lincoln is forced to a political settlement.
Assumption:
States are not split up except for WV.
Peace based on territory held by belligerents at time of cease fire.

CSA gets Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Virginia, NC and SC. The worst loss would be Tennessee. It gets to keep most cotton gowning areas and most of the railroads and manufacturing. The CSA would be a viable nation. Viable is not the same as prosperous or long term survival. Projecting that creates more assumptions and speculations.
 
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jgoodguy

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I think it all would have depended on how badly the Army of the Potomac was defeated. It could very easily have made the North more eager to continue to fight. I think it would have been unlikely that Lee could have captured Washington, and armies would have been quickly forming to surround him. A victory at Gettysburg wouldn't have hurt, but it would have just been the first step on the road to Confederate victory.
There were political problems in both '62 and '64.


Elections to the United States House of Representatives were held in 1862, mostly in November, in the middle of President Abraham Lincoln's first term. His Republicans lost 22 seats in Congress, while the Democrats picked up 28, for a net swing of 50 seats (or 27 percent) out of a total House membership of 185.
The mid-term elections in 1862 brought the Republicans serious losses due to sharp disfavor with the Administration over its failure to deliver a speedy end to the war, as well as 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. The Emancipation Proclamation announced in September gained votes in Yankee areas of New England and the upper Midwest, but it lost votes in the ethnic cities and the lower Midwest. While Republicans were discouraged, Democrats were energized and did especially well in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and New York. Elated Democrats from the Northwest hailed the elections as a repudiation of the emancipation heresy.[1].

For much of 1864, Lincoln himself believed he had little chance of being re-elected. Confederate forces had triumphed at the Battle of Mansfield, the Battle of the Crater, and the Battle of Cold Harbor. In addition, the war was continuing to take a very high toll. The prospect of a long and bloody war started to make the idea of "peace at all cost" offered by the Copperheads look more desirable. Because of this, McClellan was thought to be a heavy favorite to win the election. Unfortunately for Lincoln, Frémont’s campaign got off to a good start.
 

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True to some extent. Regarding the war as a whole is very important, as you say. In that regard, one of the big reasons the Confederacy could not afford to lose Georgia and sections of Virginia is that it had lost so much already. Although the land out west might not have been as resource-intense as other areas, the Union victories in the west meant that the Confederacy had nowhere else to turn when the deep south was finally invaded.

Let's look at the status quo after Gettysburg: The Union held the Mississippi; controlled most of Arkansas and Tennessee, parts of Mississippi and Louisiana including their capitols (and forget Kentucky and Missouri, which were never really part of the Confederacy); controlled the Chesapeake via Norfolk and the Peninsula; and controlled the North Carolina and Gulf Coasts. Do you think the Confederacy could have survived the long haul politically or economically if this status quo was maintained indefinitely? [If you meant a peace based on status quo antebellum, then that's an entirely different argument.]
The loss of Vicksburg was significant, but victory in the western theatre was hardly anything approaching a done deal in the minds of the Northern public in July of 1863. As far as Federal occupation of parts of the North Carolina coast goes, they were pretty much confined and little more than a nuisance to Governor Zebulon Vance. The all important port of Wilmington and the network of forts guarding the mouth of the Cape Fear River were firmly in the hands of the Confederates.

By mid 18163, the AOP was largely in disarray, with the exception of the less than complete Federal victory at Sharpsburg, that army had suffered one major defeat after another. General Hookerestimated in 1863 that 85,000 officers and men had deserted from the Army of the Potomac” this would have been approximately the entire number of men Lee had under his command at that time. A Gettysburg defeat, so close to major northeastern cities would have been a political disaster for Lincoln’s government. The draft riots in New York City and elsewhere in the North would have seemed like a Sunday outing at Sunny Brook farm compared to what would have happened had the Federal Army lost yet another battle at Gettysburg. To say that the CSA would have had hope after a Gettysburg victory would be an understatement.

“If war must come I preferred to be with my own people. If we had to shed blood, I preferred to shed Northern rather than Southern blood. If we had to slay, I had rather slay strangers than my own kindred and neighbors; and that it was better, whether right or wrong, that communities and States should go together and face the horrors of war in a body—sharing a common fate, rather than endure the unspeakable calamities internecine strife… The arguments having ceased and the sword drawn, all classes in the South united as by magic, as only a common danger could unite them.”

Zebulon B. Vance
 
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ExNavyPilot

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The loss of Vicksburg was significant, but victory in the western theatre was hardly anything approaching a done deal in the minds of the Northern public in July of 1863. As far as Federal occupation of parts of the North Carolina coast goes, they were pretty much confined and little more than a nuisance to Governor Zebulon Vance. The all important port of Wilmington and the network of forts guarding the mouth of the Cape Fear River were firmly in the hands of the Confederates.

By mid 18163, the AOP was largely in disarray, with the exception of the less than complete Federal victory at Sharpsburg, that army had suffered one major defeat after another. General Hookerestimated in 1863 that 85,000 officers and men had deserted from the Army of the Potomac” this would have been approximately the entire number of men Lee had under his command at that time. A Gettysburg defeat, so close to major northeastern cities would have been a political disaster for Lincoln’s government. The draft riots in New York City and elsewhere in the North would have seemed like a Sunday outing at Sunny Brook farm compared to what would have happened had the Federal Army lost yet another battle at Gettysburg. To say that the CSA would have had hope after a Gettysburg victory would be an understatement.

“If war must come I preferred to be with my own people. If we had to shed blood, I preferred to shed Northern rather than Southern blood. If we had to slay, I had rather slay strangers than my own kindred and neighbors; and that it was better, whether right or wrong, that communities and States should go together and face the horrors of war in a body—sharing a common fate, rather than endure the unspeakable calamities internecine strife… The arguments having ceased and the sword drawn, all classes in the South united as by magic, as only a common danger could unite them.”

Zebulon B. Vance
My original post to Tim, who started this thread, was in response to his comment that "up until Gettysburg, the Union was pretty much losing the war." I countered with a list of the Union victories in the west to show that the Union wasn't necessarily losing the war prior to Gettysburg; despite some big loses in the East, it had big wins in the West. Yes, it's true that Americans, both North and South, tended to look harder at the Eastern Theater for their gauge for victory, but its also true that the Confederacy had to deal with many political, manpower, and resource problems caused by the Union victories in the West. AFTER Gettysburg, and when Grant went east, the Union finally was able to push Lee back from his Potomac/Rapidan line all the way to his Petersburg/Richmond defenses, then bottled him up while the other Union Armies continued to take territory and destroy resources elsewhere. [It was because things went so well for the Union in the West that Sherman was able to take a western army through Georgia and the Carolinas, leaving another western army to destroy Hood.]

If the North had lost at Gettysburg....Hmmmm, it depends on the type of defeat. If Meade had held his army together but abandoned the field, I don't think Lee would have been able to last very long in Pennsylvania anyway before his lack of supplies (ammo, etc) would have caused him to withdraw back into Virginia. Yes, it would have been a political nightmare, but one that might have been survivable. We'll never know...

Regarding the 85,000 northern deserters, wasn't that during the winter of 1863, after the Fredericksburg debacle and Burnside's poor logistics which added to the AOP's misery? After Hooker took control and refurbished the logistical arrangements, I think many deserters returned to their commands on offer of amnesty. Would you call the AOP that marched north to Gettysburg in disarray? The AOP still outmanned the AoNV about 94,000 to 72,000, and were well equipped and...finally...were led rather well.

My thoughts overall on this thread topic: I don't think that the Confederate loss at Gettysburg was a huge defeat for the South--it was survivable. It was a very important win, however, for the North. After Gettysburg, the Confederacy fought on, fought well, and had high hopes. It was the result of everything that happened to the South, and didn't happen to the North, from 1861 up through the end of 1864 that led to Lincoln's reelection and the failure of the Confederacy to gain the only victory that was possible in this war, a political victory based on a negotiated peace.
 

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I don't think the South would have settled with giving over any territory to the North.
Why not?
My original post to Tim, who started this thread, was in response to his comment that "up until Gettysburg, the Union was pretty much losing the war." I countered with a list of the Union victories in the west to show that the Union wasn't necessarily losing the war prior to Gettysburg; despite some big loses in the East, it had big wins in the West. Yes, it's true that Americans, both North and South, tended to look harder at the Eastern Theater for their gauge for victory, but its also true that the Confederacy had to deal with many political, manpower, and resource problems caused by the Union victories in the West. AFTER Gettysburg, and when Grant went east, the Union finally was able to push Lee back from his Potomac/Rapidan line all the way to his Petersburg/Richmond defenses, then bottled him up while the other Union Armies continued to take territory and destroy resources elsewhere. [It was because things went so well for the Union in the West that Sherman was able to take a western army through Georgia and the Carolinas, leaving another western army to destroy Hood.]

If the North had lost at Gettysburg....Hmmmm, it depends on the type of defeat. If Meade had held his army together but abandoned the field, I don't think Lee would have been able to last very long in Pennsylvania anyway before his lack of supplies (ammo, etc) would have caused him to withdraw back into Virginia. Yes, it would have been a political nightmare, but one that might have been survivable. We'll never know...

Regarding the 85,000 northern deserters, wasn't that during the winter of 1863, after the Fredericksburg debacle and Burnside's poor logistics which added to the AOP's misery? After Hooker took control and refurbished the logistical arrangements, I think many deserters returned to their commands on offer of amnesty. Would you call the AOP that marched north to Gettysburg in disarray? The AOP still outmanned the AoNV about 94,000 to 72,000, and were well equipped and...finally...were led rather well.

My thoughts overall on this thread topic: I don't think that the Confederate loss at Gettysburg was a huge defeat for the South--it was survivable. It was a very important win, however, for the North. After Gettysburg, the Confederacy fought on, fought well, and had high hopes. It was the result of everything that happened to the South, and didn't happen to the North, from 1861 up through the end of 1864 that led to Lincoln's reelection and the failure of the Confederacy to gain the only victory that was possible in this war, a political victory based on a negotiated peace.

Ammunition could have been a problem, but food and the like not so much. The ANV captured several months supplies back to VA after Gettysburg. 42,000 head of cattle, 33,000 head of sheep, many thousand head of hogs, tons of grains and flour. Retreat from Gettysburg by Brown pp 387-388. An abandoned Gettysburg battlefield could have resupplied Lee. Much of his ammo and arms were Union issued and captured on abandoned battlefields. A defeat on the AOP would be one more defeat on an army with too many defeats and yet another General in charge to boot more than likely.

OTOH an aggressive new Union commander might have accomplished what Meade could not, cut Lee off from Virginia while another Union army rampages though Virginia.

The Battle of Fredericksburg was fought December 11–15, 1862 not 1863. Meade was the last commander of the AOP. Grant was his commanding officer a bit after Gettyburg.
 

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Provided the political will was still there. Gettysburg was not about the military, but the political. Big defeat of the AOP and Lincoln is forced to make peace and there is a whole new ballgame.

Of course space aliens could have sided with the South and forced the North to give up. Speculation being what it is.
Anyone who believes a defeat at Gettysburg would have forced Lincoln to make peace has absolutely no understanding of the man at all.
 
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IMHO it was a bit more muddled than that. The definite defeat is known as it is history.

A different history, say British and French intervention which became unlikely only after January 1863, would have been different. The Union went through a whole stable of Generals before they got Grant. The Southern Strategy was simply to make the cost for the Union too high politically to continue. Lincoln almost was defeated in '64. So I'd say not known in say 62 or early 63. Reasonably questionable until after the Battle of Atlanta.
Grant chewed up the Western Confederacy before he was brought East. I reckon you mean before they got Grant in the East.. sorry, small point.
 

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Anyone who believes a defeat at Gettysburg would have forced Lincoln to make peace has absolutely no understanding of the man at all.
I agree, but political forces put in motion by a defeat could have or replaced him in '64.

Using the big 'what if' speculation, what if Lincoln was faced with defeat in '64 or make peace? What would he chose?

We have a partial answer in '64


Before the election, the War Democrats joined the Republicans to form the National Union Party.[5] With the outcome of the Civil War still in doubt, some political leaders, including Salmon P. Chase, Benjamin Wade, and Horace Greeley, opposed Lincoln's renomination on the ground that he could not win.

For much of 1864, Lincoln himself believed he had little chance of being re-elected. Confederate forces had triumphed at the Battle of Mansfield, the Battle of the Crater, and the Battle of Cold Harbor. In addition, the war was continuing to take a very high toll. The prospect of a long and bloody war started to make the idea of "peace at all cost" offered by the Copperheads look more desirable. Because of this, McClellan was thought to be a heavy favorite to win the election. Unfortunately for Lincoln, Frémont’s campaign got off to a good start.
So in the real time line of '64, Lincoln had serious political problems that were solved in the main by Union victories at Atlanta. Now imagine an alternative time line where Gettysburg ended badly, Rosecrans lost Chattanooga and Atlanta never happened. In that time line President Lincoln could negotiate a peace to insure reelection and to keep the union from fracturing more.
 

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Grant chewed up the Western Confederacy before he was brought East. I reckon you mean before they got Grant in the East.. sorry, small point.
Yea, still it took him a bit to pin Lee to the mat. I think a lot of why he won was that he did not retreat and leave the battlefield for Lee to plunder. Lots of Lee's supplies were marked US.

The Union ran through all their first string of Generals before looking at the 'walk on' Grant.
 
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I agree, but political forces put in motion by a defeat could have or replaced him in '64.

Using the big 'what if' speculation, what if Lincoln was faced with defeat in '64 or make peace? What would he chose?

We have a partial answer in '64
If Lincoln had lost in 1864 his successor would not have taken office until March 1865. Do you really think that McClellan would have surrendered to the rebels at that stage of the war?
 

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If Lincoln had lost in 1864 his successor would not have taken office until March 1865. Do you really think that McClellan would have surrendered to the rebels at that stage of the war?

Surrender? Who said surrender? A surrender would be giving the whole US to the CSA, a fantasy of the more extreme alternate history writers.

There are lots of possibilities: A peace treaty, a more or less permanent cease fire. A permanent armistice. A letter of understanding. A internal self determination arrangement where national defense and foreign affairs is handled by the union while the CSA manages internal affairs. A 15 foot masonry wall between the borders. And so on.

Current informed speculation is that given the 1864 situation with a Lincoln defeat McClellan would have not given the the CSA independence.

I personally think that for political gain, he would have.

Now just plan speculation with a collapsing Union AOP, more defeats, Northern riots, foreign intervention and so on, any candidate 'could have' been the opponent, won and signed a treaty. Lincoln might have to retain power.
 

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The Battle of Fredericksburg was fought December 11–15, 1862 not 1863. Meade was the last commander of the AOP. Grant was his commanding officer a bit after Gettyburg.
Not sure what your point is with these observations. In discussing the high rate of desertion in the AOP in 1863, I intended to point out that it occurred in the winter of 1863--i.e. Jan-Feb of 1863, right after Fredericksburg and the Mud March --and was mitigated by Hooker's reorganization after he took command of the AOP. Post-Chancellorsville and just before Gettysburg, of course, Meade took command of the AOP but by that time Hooker had rebuilt it and it was not experiencing supply problems, low morale or high desertion.

It's debatable--not a sure thing--that a victory for Lee would have allowed him to stay in Union territory, or that Lincoln would have been forced to negotiate a peace. Lee's campaign was more of an extended raid through Union territory--perhaps a kinder, gentler precursor for Sherman's "March to the Sea", with Harrisburg (or maybe even Philadelphia) substituting for Savannah--but Lee had no expectation of a link-up with a supply line there (food was ample but military equipment was problematic) and he had to contend with much more resistance than Sherman would eventually face. Lee was hoping to destroy the AOP and pressure the northern politicians by raiding a Union capitol, and did not expect to hold territory for any length of time. It really depends on how big a victory Lee could have gained over Meade, and how much consternation his raids on Union cities could have created, as to the likelihood of Lincoln giving up his goals and negotiating a peace with the Confederacy. I think the likelihood of all that happening was rather low. More likely was a situation similar to that which actually occurred; some battle that would not result in the AOP's destruction, and Lee still having to pull back across the Potomac without causing enough political and social upheaval in the north to force a settlement between Union and Confederacy.
 
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Not sure what your point is with these observations. In discussing the high rate of desertion in the AOP in 1863, I intended to point out that it occurred in the winter of 1863--i.e. Jan-Feb of 1863, right after Fredericksburg and the Mud March --and was mitigated by Hooker's reorganization after he took command of the AOP. Post-Chancellorsville and just before Gettysburg, of course, Meade took command of the AOP but by that time Hooker had rebuilt it and it was not experiencing supply problems, low morale or high desertion.

It's debatable--not a sure thing--that a victory for Lee would have allowed him to stay in Union territory, or that Lincoln would have been forced to negotiate a peace. Lee's campaign was more of an extended raid through Union territory--perhaps a kinder, gentler precursor for Sherman's "March to the Sea", with Harrisburg (or maybe even Philadelphia) substituting for Savannah--but Lee had no expectation of a link-up with a supply line there (food was ample but military equipment was problematic) and he had to contend with much more resistance than Sherman would eventually face. Lee was hoping to destroy the AOP and pressure the northern politicians by raiding a Union capitol, and did not expect to hold territory for any length of time. It really depends on how big a victory Lee could have gained over Meade, and how much consternation his raids on Union cities could have created, as to the likelihood of Lincoln giving up his goals and negotiating a peace with the Confederacy. I think the likelihood of all that happening was rather low. More likely was a situation similar to that which actually occurred; some battle that would not result in the AOP's destruction, and Lee still having to pull back across the Potomac without causing enough political and social upheaval in the north to force a settlement between Union and Confederacy.

It is all more or less informed speculation. In that regard, the matter of military material' 'could be' solved by battlefield captures which supplied Lee in Va assuming the AOP retreats. No AOP retreat, no military supply. In actual fact, Meade's supplies had been held back away from Gettysburg to prevent such a happening. Retreat from Gettysburg by Brown p45. '"..Meade's army was suffering from serve shortages of quartermaster and substance supplies on the battlefield. Most of the quartermaster and substance supplies were at or near Westminster Maryland nearly twenty five miles to Meade's rear". Also in actual fact Lee was short of ammo. This was intended to be a raid not a siege. Retreat from Gettysburg by Brown p38. 'only enough reserve artillery ammunition to supply a small battalion. There were fewer musket caps in the (supply) train than fighting men in the army and not enough rounds of ammunition to supply a brigade."

Brown argues that Lee did not intend to have a confrontation with the AOP and took the opportunity using as evidence the shortage of military material'.

A lot of speculative assumptions to have to be made for Lee win and to exploit that win. The same with the political outcomes.

A minimalist speculation would consist of a Lee win at Gettysburg, retreat unmolested back to Va ready to maul the AOP again. Chattanooga falls to Bragg and Sherman never starts his journey. Grant is never called to the East, because he lost Chattanooga. Lincoln is defeated in '64 and a peace candidate settles with the CSA.
 

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The results of the Battle, convinced Lincoln the AoP could not win the war in the East with the generals it had. If not for Chickamauga, Grant would have been called East sooner than he was.(Meade was the caretaker of the AoP, keeping the army out of trouble and marking time until Grant could arrive)


P.S. In point of fact, though. For a negotiated settlement to occur, either Lincoln or Davis had to go. Between their goals and policies there was no room for compromise(the first prerequisite for negotiation) To paraphrase, if Davis was as concrete on passing on an independent CSA that the people of the confederacy had entrusted him, intact, Lincoln was as Steel itself in the exact same position concerning the Union.
 
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