Had the South won at Gettysburgh, what was Lees next move? I have read he was going to march on Washington,lay siege, and give Lincoln a letter from Davis demanding a ceasefire and an armistace. Thus ending the war, leaving the South a new nation.
Is that correct? If so, it would have literally changed the course of Hisory,not just US history, but world history. Do Civil war buffs like you guys agree on my prognosis,me being an "outsider",an Australian.?
i think the letter idea came from the book the killer angels.i really dont know if it was true.if lee wins at gettysburg how could he take dc its well protected with thousands of men plus aop remnants undoubtedly still in way.to attack baltimore and philadelphia not as well protected as dc but lee moves further away from his supply line-he could live off the land?maybe but for how long,all the while thousands recruited and active close in on lees army cant escape to east with ocean.lees trapped-better off trying to take pittsburg but again usa closes in and mountains to south dont offer easy way out.lee wanted to relieve burden on virginia.longer he stays in pennsyvania better maybe for foriegn recognition or us public get sick of war but wait, vicksburg surrender doesnt bode well for the cause.did the confederacy have a chance to gain independence after 1862?gettysburg is not true turning point in war-grant in command and spotysvania battles offers better argument.lee wins at gettysburg-fine but wins in 1864 might be bigger victories.
Thanks mate, you explain it well. yes, i have read the "Killer angels"and saw the movie too. I always thought a defeat at Gettysburg would have been a knockout blow for the Union,and a shoe in for Southern independence. Maybe Linclon would have been forced to resign in disgrace,it would not have been a good look for his presidency would it.? Also, wasnt Britain within an ace of recognizing the Confederacy,had they won at Gettys, and sending british troops to help,or the british navy to end the Union blockade of the South.? I think one of the southern generals was very keen on that prospect,of getting the Brits involved. How ironic that would have been, finally Britain gets revenge on the USA for the war of 1812 and Independence war !!
csa hoped britain would heip when the southern cotten market dried up but cotten from other parts of the world picked up the slack.this hope of intervention was gone by end of 1862-plus britain had given up on slave trade along time before-would they reconize a country with slavery,trent affair was best chance but cooler heads prevailed.south had to go it alone
A victory by Lee at Gettysburg would have been a disaster for the Union. Lee wanted to bring the war to the North so Northerners would feel the costs of war as Southerners did. No doubt he would have used the victory to resupply his men with food, clothing, ammunition and anything else they wanted. The telegraphed stories of the Southern victory would devastate Northern Moral.
Washington was well defended but the path would be open to march to Baltimore, a city strongly sympathetic to the South. Who knows how Marylanders would have responded to Lee's victory. Might they have considered secession at that point? Even if they would not have Lee in Baltimore would cut off Washington from the Union and Lincoln would have found himself a prisoner in the Whitehouse. It is hard for me to see how a victory at Gettysburg would not compel Lincoln to come to terms with the Confederacy.
But of course Lee did not win. He lost almost a third of his Army, 27,000 men he could not afford to loose. The Union lost the same number but had replacements while Lee did not. After Gettysburg all Lee could do was to retreat to Richmond and wait for the siege that was sure to come.
by 1863 baltimore was a different city-the majority now sided with the union-they prepared to defend the city. yes if they captured the city washington is cut off by land but sea routes keep it open plus why would lincoln sue for terms when lee is still in a bad position he could bring back vetern troops in va,nc,sc,etc.the armies south of dc woundnt be cut off from the govt because baltimore was captured. plus taking baltimore would put his back to the chesapeake bay where the usa could surround his army.maybe if the csa had a navy to help.how many marylanders flocked to lee in 1862 antietam campaign?how many joined him in 1863?not many, the ones that wanted to fight for the south went in 1861.later not that many.lee never had a chance maybe 1n 1864 with a new us president but even then i doubt it,the north was too strong.plus lincoln could move the working govt to chicago not easy but the way to win was to defeat the armies not take a capitol,even taking richmond in 65 didnt stop the war making lee and johnston surrender won the war.
I hear what your saying, but surely if the Union lost Washington DC, and moved govt to Chicago,that would have a devstating effect on the US, and overseas too.Many Nations may have diplomatically recognised the Confederacy on that basis alone,because the US had lost the Capital of the United States.Not a good look at all,it may have turned history on its head.
victory at vicksburg overshadows some of this loss the north was too powerfull-industry,manpower,supply,naval,i just used chicago as an example the north was too powerfull-weapons,horses,food,money ,manpower,sure it looks bad to lose washington but losing the city does not change having a strong army or navy.the us lost capitol in war of 1812 yet still won[i know its not exactly the same]maybe if it was year 1450 it matters but not in 1863.what nations would reconize?they want to back a winner with money or land wealth.robert edward lee alone kept all thier hopes afloat but i bet in his heart he knew odds stacked against them"only a matter of time"but if people chose to believe gettysburg could have saved them-go for it,i will say no more on this subject
Yeah, good points. You are right, the North had all the industry, the industrial heart of it all. Gable summed it up in "Gone with the Wind" when he said something like "The North can bottle up our harbours with their Navy, they have all the industry,-what have we got-courage, passion and arrogance "
I feel that if Lee won at Gettysburg, the Union would be in no position to attack, or defend. Lee would've been able to knock on any major city in the east with little opposition, and if necessary, find ground to which to fight either the offensive battle he needed, or fight a defensive battle if it came to it.
Such a victory at Gettysburg may have changed the course of the war in the west as well. Grant still would've captured Vicksburg (the city was too far gone from the siege), but would've been compelled by Washington to ship the bulk of his troops in defense. This opportunity would allow General Bragg to reevaluate his situation and possibly deliver the final knockout blow to the North anywhere he saw fit... even possibly vanquishing Vicksburg and recapturing the Mississippi River Valley.
This battle (if won by Lee) would've been the turning point of the war by far. The South had been victorious the first 2 years, and that trend, with this battle, could've ended the war.
As far a Lee delivering a letter to Washington, It was not in his power to issue such a message... his message was that he had power and that he was willing to use it. The letter would've been delivered by someone in the Confederate Government officially requesting an end to hostilities in recognition of Southern Independence.
does anyone realize how many men the north had under arms?bragg delivering a knockout blow?invasion of kentucky,stoneriver,chickamauga,chattanooga all possible knockout blows how did he do?grants army to the east,why not send men from us army in arkansas,texas coast,new orleans,south carolina,north carolina, west virginia,army of the cumberland,plus militas training in new york and pennsyvania.
Yeah... quite a few, but most new units in training in the north were green troops against seasoned veterans. The numbers would've been nullified. You, kakman, are taking battles fought after Gettysburg as part of your basis. These battles may not have happened. Chickamauga and Chattanooga were 1864 battles.
I am merely stating that Washington would've needed to call another seasoned army to stay Lee's invasion. This would've freed Bragg and changed the war in the west. In this instance (if Lee won at Gettysburg), the more imminent threat would be Lee with free rein in the North. Washington needs to protect itself (which it did with fortifications), and Grant, with his reputation of being a fighter, would've been called on to help.
Other commands that you are suggesting (Arkansas, Texas Coast, New Orleans) were either too far away to be immediately effective, or had other more pressing operations to work on.
what are we talking about?chickamauga and chattanooga were fought in 1863.
Lee would have accomplished nothing but gaining a badger by the tail...and a guerrilla war in a state where private gun ownership, has always been very high.
If CSA had won, North America would be made up of 3 countries, Canada, USA, and CSA. I suspect USA would not have joined WWI against Germany and as a result it would have been a stalemate: no humiliating Versailles Treaty and Hitler would be a foot note. Without Nazi Germany and WWII, no Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Because CSA lacked manufacturing capability, it would have been forced into creating manufacturing industries by importing European technologies and immigrants which in turn would have changed their agrarian society into an industrialized one similar to the one North. Slavery would have died but at a pace dictated by economy. CSA would eventually realize that interstate commerce regulation would be a must and also would see the need to use the money from a rich state to help the poor ones for infrastructure improvements which may have led to more secessions.
Interesting take and it certainly makes sense as realistic scenario. Below is my alternate scenario.
One would be hard pressed to find a more pointless war than WWI. The road to the war more or less began when Germany, moving in the opposite direction of the CSA, slowly unified into a single nation as opposed to a confederation of regional principalities loosely held together by a common ethnic heritage. The new nation, dominated by Prussia, wanted a bigger slice of the Imperial colonial pie dominated by Britain. The British were able to control such widely scattered colonies because of the Royal Navy, and Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm (Queen Victoria's nephew) decided they needed a much larger navy to challenge the RN and get more colonies. In time, the British responded by developing newer, more powerful warships and producing large numbers of them, which lead to Germany feeling the need to keep pace. Thus a naval weapons race was begun.
Colonialism was the driving force in the road to war. Had the CSA won, North America wouldn't have been made up of 4 countries (don't forget, Mexico is a part of North America, and at the time it was moving toward becoming a French colony). Instead, the CSA, a series of small sovereign nations formed in a loose confederation no longer held together by the glue of a strong central government, would in time fragment into ever smaller pieces. At the same time, Canada was also a confederation of Provinces held as a dominion of Britain. This unstable, weakened condition of the continent might well cause Britain, Germany AND France to salivate over the prospect of so many resource rich potential colonies ripe for the picking. Both France and Britain already had a significant political and military presence in North America. It's very possible the CW ending with a CSA victory would lead to a general European war well before it actually started in 1914. Slavery as it existed in the CSA -- as opposed to it's tacit existence in the assorted colonies -- would be essentially irrelevant.
I hate it when I'm automatically signed out from the Forum after a couple of weeks. I never notice and then show up as a guest.
I just finished reading book that touches on this topic in the last chapter. As stated, slavery would have ended on it's own, naturally, as it had everywhere else in the New World in the 19th century. They suggested that Britain would have been a natural ally through ties of trade and culture. They also suggested that had the south won, they would have annexed Cuba.
But we'll never know, so may possibilities of changes that would have come from it, they are almost endless to imagine.
If the Federal army lost Gettysburg the next fight would likely have been approx. 20 miles south along Pipe Creek, Maryland. (A defensive line Meade was considering; prior to Hancock's sending word that Gettysburg was in fact the place to stand). Union armies had been beaten many times before & never annihalated. Which was Lee's goal. The AOTP had always retreated under discipline & wouldnt give up on Northern soil what they failed too give on southern (The best chance for that was after 1st Manassas). Logistics & supply would have gotten tougher for the ANV, but easier for the AOTP.
Having said that, I dont know what America would look like if the Confederacy were victorious. However, I dont think the CSA would desolve into smaller nations. The north would remain to much a threat for that. I'm not sure about Cuba in the CSA either. With what Navy would the Confederates fight the Spanish? The gov. would be bankrupt for yrs....
I don't see the CSA fragmenting either, as for the Cuba thing, I don't know, I don't know why that was suggested in that book. Cuba was a different place then, maybe it could have been gotten back then without a battle.
Yeah, I think I read an alternate history by Turtledove in which Cuba becomes part of the CSA too. But you need money for a Navy. Honestly how broke would the Confederacy be even if victorious? I read the Union war effort was costing 4 million dollars per day by wars end (a ton of money back then)! How much was it costing a bankrupt CSA? I dont know the answer to that, but the blockade inflated all prices. It would most likely have taken decades to rebuild the South & pay off that debt.
Yeah, the other part of Harry Turtledove's alternate history said that the CSA bought Sonora and Chihuahua from a broke Mexican government in order to have access to the Pacific Ocean. I'm not sure where they would have found the money to do that though.
Actually, I don't remember reading it in the Turtledove book, maybe that's in a sequel, I saw it suggested in the last chapter of that Politically Incorrect guide.
The conjecture of a Southern victory against the USA is a fascinating one for sure. Its ramifications would have literally changed history. I have often pondered, as a non American, that Lincoln could have thought-if defeat at Gettysburgh for the North, and an Armistice proposed by Lee- " OK, **** them, if they want to break away, let them, they ( CSA) will soon come crawling back when their economy falls apart and flat on its face, they have no industrial might,no industry resources ( ala the Ukraine or Ruhr valley in WW2) we are the industrial heartland, they will come back to us on bended knees."
Now, had Lincoln thought that, and done it, i think he would have been proved correct, compromise out of economic necessity may have forced a victorious CSA to come back to the Union, say by about 1900 ? But, who knows, its all conjecture, a bit like the French were only two weeks away from claiming Australia for a French colony in 1788, the french fleet under La Perouse was only beaten by the British by around a fortnight, and we aussies would now all be speaking french and eating snails.!!
That's possible, but let's remember, we're thinking in terms of their industrial status at that time. It's totally possible that afterwards, they could have started developing industrially, and in the meantime, they were doing very well agriculturally, enough to support getting what they needed until they developed industrially.
One of the most successful parts of the Federal grand strategy was the naval blockade of the south. It was economically devastating. An armistice based on continued mutual hostility a la present day Korea would have continued the economic tribulations unless the north dropped the blockade. On the other hand, as an independent nation, no matter how shaky, one has to wonder what the British would have done about a continued blockade. The answer to that is hardly cut and dried, because Britain was at the height of her colonial aspirations. It's not safe to assume Britain wouldn't make an attempt at reestablishing a colonial presence on the continent beyond their Canadian presence.
The Cuban issue came up several times in the pre-war period, though it's hard to believe it was seriously thought it could be acquired by the USA or the CSA. Nonetheless, Cuba was ruled by the Spanish, at that time a mere paper empire. It was hardly more than 30 years later when the reunited USA snatched it from Spain.
If the CSA had won their independence, it's easy to imagine the Federals would have had to end their blockade, how could they justify blockading the ports of another country. If they tried that, then I'm certain you would have seen Britain getting involved. They wouldn't get involved after Lincoln made the issue slavery, but blockading the ports of another country would have been a whole different story, one that would have superseded the slavery issue.
A book called, The Glittering Illusion: English Sympathy for the Southern Confederacy, saw the Confederacy becoming a part of the British Empire, but I don't see that happening, after just having fought for their independence. But I have no doubt they would have become very strong allies.
As a southerner and a student of history, had lee won the citizens of the north would have demanded peace. I agree that he would have marched on Baltimore or New York. Before the war Maryland and Rhode Island were slave states. They both would have joined the winning team, the confederacy. The capitol would have then been surrounded by southern states, thus the capital would have to be moved to Philadelphia. I believe Great Britain would have entered the war on the side of the south and maybe, the French may have entered the war on the side of the us. British ships were supplying the csa from Bermuda and the Bahamas. The largest lynching of blacks in America was during the civil war in New York City, where the Irish were concerned about free blacks taking their jobs. In a short period of time 500 blacks were lynched. The north did not have the stomach for war. I think lee would have moved On Baltimore to be greeted by British war and supply ships. Kentucky and Missouri would have joined the south also and maybe even southern Illinois. I also think Lincoln would have been impeached, leaving a southerner (Tennessee) as president. He may have been impeached also, leaving the country in chaos.
I just want to Clear up some geographical confusion.
North America includes the Following countries.
Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico.
Also includes, Cuba and Greenland.
Although at the time most of these countries were colonies of the European powers.
In my previous post, I forgot about,
Mexico, USA and Canada! Oops!