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(1863) Battle of Gettysburg
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reniwqwil5
Berlin
 Germany
Posts: 2
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 7/30/2020 7:11:46 AM

Gettysburg was from 1-3 July 1863, the Vicksburg Campaign ended on July 4, 1863.

Gettysburg, was the first great defeat for Lee, while Vicksburg ended over a two years worth of campaigning and closed the Mississippi river to the Confederacy and cut them in half.

So why is one favored over the other in American lore?
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Larry Purtell
Little Meadows
PA USA
Posts: 1062
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 7/30/2020 8:59:46 AM

Gettysburg had far more casualties than Vicksburg, and Gettysburg had Robert E. Lee whose army had been victorious in battle since 1862. The Western theatre was remote and just didn't get the press coverage that the Army of The Potomac and Army of Northern Virginia did.

Best regards, Larry
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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan
MI USA
Posts: 5964
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 7/30/2020 9:47:48 AM

Also for several reasons Gettysburg had many more books written about it, perhaps because of the mythical status of Robert E Lee, & the nearly undefeated ANV! Also being in the Eastern theater, much more populated, & therefore considered more important to many media sources, so close to Washington DC?

Interesting to hear what others think?
MD
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
Dick Evick
Waco
TX USA
Posts: 340
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 7/30/2020 10:09:52 AM

MD
I agree that the reputation of Lee and Stuart had alot to do with the Gettysburg coverage. Also the proximity to Washington and the fact that Richmond was sparsely defended during the campaign.

Dick.
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Gregory C. White
Canton
GA USA
Posts: 304
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 7/30/2020 12:08:03 PM

Quote:
Gettysburg was from 1-3 July 1863, the Vicksburg Campaign ended on July 4, 1863.

Gettysburg, was the first great defeat for Lee, while Vicksburg ended over a two years worth of campaigning and closed the Mississippi river to the Confederacy and cut them in half.

So why is one favored over the other in American lore?


As Michigan Dave alluded to, it was the Eastern Theatre of the war, and impacted potentially
a much larger segment of the American population. Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Baltimore
& Harrisburg were threatened by the invading Army of Northern Virginia. The Northern media
naturally gave the Battle Gettysburg more press coverage than a siege in Vicksburg.

Best Regards,

Greg
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"I do not believe that any man can adequately appreciate the world of to-day unless he has some knowledge of...[and] some feeling for...the history of the world of the past." Theodore Roosevelt
reniwqwil5
Berlin
 Germany
Posts: 2
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 7/31/2020 3:51:28 AM

Gettysburg was more dramatic though, with the Union defeating the largest invasion of the North in a pitched 3 day battle which ended with Lee's frontal assault on the Union center (Pickett's charge). Lee could have won the battle until he made the frontal assault, and if the Confederacy had won, the state of the war would have changed dramatically.
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Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4730
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 7/31/2020 4:25:55 AM

Heartiest welcome to you, reniwqwil5 !

You take the words from me : Gettysburg was high drama.

I agree with your assessment. It was a closely fought battle : indeed, in terms of casualties, astonishingly so.

Lee could have won : should have, according to some....and , had he done so, who knows how far reaching the ramifications were bound to be ?

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
borderstates
Lafayette
LA USA
Posts: 277
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 10/20/2020 4:18:36 PM

I think it has a whole lot more to do with Jubal Early. Jubal Early was head of the SHS and the Cult of Saint Robert. Nothing was published in the SHS without Early's approval. The need to build Lee up and to find an scape goat for the loss at Gettysburg in order to canonize The Lost Cause was paramount for the SHS. This multi-pronged attack (yes, it was an attack on truth and reality) tainted history for decades. The whole recasting of the Civil War as something other than a fight to defend the brutal, inhuman, indefensible atrocity of slavery was insidious, constant and consuming. The second prong of this assault was carried out the Daughters of the Confederacy. Many monuments, much, much later after the Civil War were erected to venerate the Confederacy. Once again, the Cult of Saint Robert was essential. Gettysburg took prominence as a piece that had to be explained away.

From a strategic point of view, Gettysburg was part of an effort to take pressure off of Vicksburg. Once Vicksburg fell, the fate of the Confederacy was sealed. Even a loss at Gettysburg would not have changed the outcome. Frankly, if you look at what shape Lee's army was in, what was he going to do, even if he won? Low on food, ammunition and needing to care for thousands of wounded, where was he going to go? What was he going to do? He was going back to Virginia, win or lose, IMHO.
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Respectfully yours, Mike OUR DEBT TO THE HEROIC MEN AND VALIANT WOMEN IN THE SERVICE OF OUR COUNTRY CAN NEVER BE REPAID. THEY HAVE EARNED OUR UNDYING GRATITUDE. AMERICA WILL NEVER FORGET THEIR SACRIFICES. President Harry S Truman
Steve Clements
Toronto
ON Canada
Posts: 741
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 10/22/2020 11:49:07 AM

Mike,
Quote:

From a strategic point of view, Gettysburg was part of an effort to take pressure off of Vicksburg. Once Vicksburg fell, the fate of the Confederacy was sealed.


The topic of just how important the loss of Vicksburg really was would make a very good thread.

I have read arguments that the fall of Vicksburg was actually not much of a big deal...in the sense that little in the way of men and materials were flowing from the Trans Mississippi to the major theatres of operation even before the fall. And that shipping down the Mississippi was still subject to major harassment after the fall of Vicksburg. The Confederates may not have held any major centres on the river, but the Union struggles to control the river, particularly from land based guerillas etc.

And that holding Vicksburg/Port Hudson etc., tied up a lot of Union manpower .

I am frankly not knowledgeable enough to offer up my own opinion, and am here doing little more than parroting the arguments of others.

Quote:
Even a loss at Gettysburg would not have changed the outcome. Frankly, if you look at what shape Lee's army was in, what was he going to do, even if he won? Low on food, ammunition and needing to care for thousands of wounded, where was he going to go? What was he going to do? He was going back to Virginia, win or lose, IMHO


Don't think that too many people would disagree with you....I believe that Lee argued that the primary goal of both the Maryland campaign of '62 & the Gettysburg campaign of '63 was to "free up" northern Virginia (bring crops in etc.) for a period of time. Of course, Lee chose to ignore the fact that his presence in a Union state essentially mandated a strong reaction from the AoP etc.

And I do not personally believe that Lee's invasion in '63 could realistically be expected to cause Grant to deviate from his attempt to subjugate Vicksburg.

s.c.
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Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4730
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 10/22/2020 12:47:12 PM

One was a huge cataclysmic battle which entailed all the intensity and drama on an epic scale. The other was a more remote affair that culminated in a siege and the capitulation of the garrison. No contest when it comes to capturing the imagination of the world.

Even if Vicksburg was the more decisive strategic event, how could its story ever quicken the pulse like the legend of Gettysburg ?


Regards, Phil

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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
borderstates
Lafayette
LA USA
Posts: 277
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 10/22/2020 2:23:55 PM

Quote:


And I do not personally believe that Lee's invasion in '63 could realistically be expected to cause Grant to deviate from his attempt to subjugate Vicksburg.

s.c.


This is the course that Lee chose. Davis asked Lee for a Corp to send to Vicksburg. Lee countered that he could do more by invading the North and that would provide relieve for Vicksburg. Magical thinking, IMHO.
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Respectfully yours, Mike OUR DEBT TO THE HEROIC MEN AND VALIANT WOMEN IN THE SERVICE OF OUR COUNTRY CAN NEVER BE REPAID. THEY HAVE EARNED OUR UNDYING GRATITUDE. AMERICA WILL NEVER FORGET THEIR SACRIFICES. President Harry S Truman
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Lafayette
LA USA
Posts: 277
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 10/22/2020 2:29:36 PM

Quote:
One was a huge cataclysmic battle which entailed all the intensity and drama on an epic scale. The other was a more remote affair that culminated in a siege and the capitulation of the garrison. No contest when it comes to capturing the imagination of the world.

Even if Vicksburg was the more decisive strategic event, how could its story ever quicken the pulse like the legend of Gettysburg ?


Regards, Phil


Phil,

This is the heart of my original post. Jubal Early with a lot of help a bit later for the Daughters' of the Confederacy built this legend. The whole Lost Cause myth was built to glorify Saint Robert. Consider the amount of BS that was generated by the SHS. This whole snowstorm of BS was to oviscapte the truth. The applied to Gettysburg most of all.

Obviously if Dan Sickles had been hung for disobeying orders (or for murder of Keyes), then there would have been less contention in the North about Gettysburg, too.
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Respectfully yours, Mike OUR DEBT TO THE HEROIC MEN AND VALIANT WOMEN IN THE SERVICE OF OUR COUNTRY CAN NEVER BE REPAID. THEY HAVE EARNED OUR UNDYING GRATITUDE. AMERICA WILL NEVER FORGET THEIR SACRIFICES. President Harry S Truman
Gregory C. White
Canton
GA USA
Posts: 304
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 10/22/2020 7:40:44 PM

Quote:
Mike,
Quote:

From a strategic point of view, Gettysburg was part of an effort to take pressure off of Vicksburg. Once Vicksburg fell, the fate of the Confederacy was sealed.


The topic of just how important the loss of Vicksburg really was would make a very good thread.

I have read arguments that the fall of Vicksburg was actually not much of a big deal...






Wasn't the invasion of Pennsylvania an effort to take Union pressure off of Virginia?

Not sure how 30,000 paroled soldiers; 172 cannon; and who knows how many other weapons left behind at Vicksburg -
all sorely needed by the Confederacy and hard to come by, would be considered "not much of a big deal."

Best Regards,

Greg


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"I do not believe that any man can adequately appreciate the world of to-day unless he has some knowledge of...[and] some feeling for...the history of the world of the past." Theodore Roosevelt
Steve Clements
Toronto
ON Canada
Posts: 741
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 10/22/2020 10:16:44 PM


Greg,

I think that the entire sentence should have been quoted, to put the portion that you chose into proper context.

Quote:
I have read arguments that the fall of Vicksburg was actually not much of a big deal...in the sense that little in the way of men and materials were flowing from the Trans Mississippi to the major theatres of operation even before the fall.


As for the 30,000 men, yes, that is a very large capture. Although I stand to be corrected, my understanding is that a lot of those men ended up back in the Bragg's army (and were at both Chickamauga AND Chattanooga) without ever having been exchanged.

And after it's capture, Vicksburg etc., required a fair bit of Northern manpower to garrison.

I do not wish to take anything away from Grant's victory, which was IMO extremely ballsy, but Vicksburg is sometimes pictured as the fatal split of the Confederacy, that the Confederacy never recovered from. And my bias is that this way overstates the case. That what happened west of the Mississippi had little influence on events east of the Mississippi. Both before and after the capture of Vicksburg.

s.c.
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Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4730
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 10/23/2020 3:07:21 AM

Mike,

This Lost Cause business reminds me of the Nazi “ Stab in the Back” folklore and its attribution for defeat in 1918.

What demons was Early wrestling with ?

Was it a “ Virginia” fixation ?

Was Douglas Southall Freeman one of the Devil’s Disciples ?

Word reached me that he worked from an office that was literally in Early’s shadow, because Old Jube’s statue was outside the building.

Gettysburg was bound to transcend , because it was such a mighty thing in its own right.

You certainly convince me, though, Mike. Early spawned something that , through the agency of the SHSP and the Daughters of the Confederacy, and, I daresay, DSF, endows the traditional narrative of Gettysburg with attributes of delusion and denial. An old Alabama pal of mine, who enjoys a beer with me now and then in London, gets agitated and blurts out “ It was nothing to do with slavery ! We were fighting for our rights, our independence ! “. To which I reply, with caution “ It might have been about something other than slavery, if the slaves had been white. “

You can hear a pin drop then.


Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
borderstates
Lafayette
LA USA
Posts: 277
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 10/23/2020 6:20:42 PM

Quote:
Mike,

This Lost Cause business reminds me of the Nazi “ Stab in the Back” folklore and its attribution for defeat in 1918.

What demons was Early wrestling with ?

Was it a “ Virginia” fixation ?

Was Douglas Southall Freeman one of the Devil’s Disciples ?



Phil,

Early was deeply and completely racist. His hatred was intense at a level that isn't easily conveyed. Early clearly wanted to keep the African-American population down. He couldn't abide even the thought of some type of equality. His was a campaign to restore slavery in all but name. After Grant's death, it was a concerted effort to portray Grant as a butcher, drunkard and not worthy of comparison to Lee. This was largely successful. For decades, after his death, Grant slipped into this shadowy character that lacked little connection with who Grant really was. Grant was far too popular to be attacked while he was living. This character assignation had to wait till his passing.

After Grant's passing (read about Grant's reconstruction as President and his character shines through) a full assault was launched to place the African-Americans back under subjugation. The KKK blossomed after Grant nearly stamping out event the embers of this evil. Murders, lynchings and other hate crimes became far too common place. The United States took a huge step backwards into prejudice, violence and evil. Jubal Early was not the only driver, but he was surely one of the conductors of this slide into darkness. This evil still reaches forward to today in the resurgence of violent, white nationalist domestic terrorists (our own domestic Nazis).
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Respectfully yours, Mike OUR DEBT TO THE HEROIC MEN AND VALIANT WOMEN IN THE SERVICE OF OUR COUNTRY CAN NEVER BE REPAID. THEY HAVE EARNED OUR UNDYING GRATITUDE. AMERICA WILL NEVER FORGET THEIR SACRIFICES. President Harry S Truman
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4730
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 10/27/2020 8:45:18 AM

Mike,

Your depiction of Early arouses my interest.

Was he an authentically malevolent person , or did he espouse views that are so abominable by today’s standards that it’s difficult to think about him with equanimity ?

I must find out more about him and see if we can pitch more into the discussion.

He certainly punched above his weight as a divisional commander at Gettysburg.

His command was the most successful in terms of the casualty exchange rate : his division was engaged on every day of the battle, and suffered the fewest casualties of any division in Lee’s army, and inflicted the most disproportionate damage on the enemy, attributable mainly to the performance of Gordon’s Brigade.

His subsequent role in the war, and especially its aftermath, will make for interesting reading.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Jim Cameron
Ossining
NY USA
Posts: 916
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 10/27/2020 9:57:17 PM

Quote:
Gettysburg was from 1-3 July 1863, the Vicksburg Campaign ended on July 4, 1863.

Gettysburg, was the first great defeat for Lee, while Vicksburg ended over a two years worth of campaigning and closed the Mississippi river to the Confederacy and cut them in half.

So why is one favored over the other in American lore?


One reason was that Gettysburg was easier for people to visit once the war was over. Almost all the other battlefields were in the south, surrounded by a hostile population.
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Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4730
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 10/28/2020 11:31:33 AM

Another thing might be worth suggesting.....in a sense, Vicksburg was a remorseless affair that became all too predictable in its outcome. As Steve C. emphasises, we must not overlook how “ ballsy” Grant’s campaign was : his manoeuvring was inspired and risky, that fight at Champion’s Hill was very fiercely contested, and the repulse of 22 May was pretty ghastly....but the sense one gets is that was a “ done deal” by the time the siege lines were established, and that things ran their course.

Not so Gettysburg : here we have a battle of extreme closeness, with a touch and go aspect to it from first to last, replete with vital moments and golden opportunities that were either exploited or relinquished, with all attendant controversy. I can think of no other battle in history that exceeds Gettysburg in these respects, and few to rival it.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Larry Purtell
Little Meadows
PA USA
Posts: 1062
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 10/28/2020 11:39:13 AM

Quote:
Quote:
Gettysburg was from 1-3 July 1863, the Vicksburg Campaign ended on July 4, 1863.

Gettysburg, was the first great defeat for Lee, while Vicksburg ended over a two years worth of campaigning and closed the Mississippi river to the Confederacy and cut them in half.

So why is one favored over the other in American lore?


One reason was that Gettysburg was easier for people to visit once the war was over. Almost all the other battlefields were in the south, surrounded by a hostile population.

Excellent point Jim. One I had not considered previously. Thank you.

Larry.
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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
morris crumley
Dunwoody
GA USA
Posts: 2879
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 10/28/2020 12:31:19 PM

It is an excellent point Jim!

Like the reason why the Union Army fumbled about so much in Virginia and elsewhere.....because they were surrounded by the ever watchful eyes of civilians-spies.

Why did the Confederates struggle so much on Union soil......because they were surrunded by the ever watchful eyes of civilians-spies.

Respects, Morris
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Steve Clements
Toronto
ON Canada
Posts: 741
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 11/1/2020 11:06:17 AM

North and South Volume 7/Number 3

Article by Gary Gallagher "High Tide for Gettysburg".

Although much of the article focuses on whether Gettysburg has been "exhausted as a topic for serious scholarship", Mr. G. does spend some time trying to understand "why" the CW market is so fascinated with Gettysburg.

He lists four reasons:

1) Lost Cause writers obsessed with Gettysburg i.e. did Early lose the battle on Day One, did Longstreet on Day Two etc.

2) In retrospect, Gettysburg was the largest battle of the war, the last major invasion of the north, the place where Lincoln gave his speech etc. It certainly was not viewed as being the apex of the war at the time, especially in the spring/summer of '64, when five major Union armies were either totally bogged down or had been cleanly defeated.

3) Shaara's "The Killer Angels", and of course, the movie that this book spawned. And maybe Ken Burns documentary, have all "boosted popular perceptions of Gettysburg's centrality".

Notes the demand for civil war art is heavily focused on Gettysburg. Between 1960 and 2003, in Civil War Times, Blue and Gray and North & South, there have been nearly 400 ads for prints and sculptures on Gettysburg, and just four for comparable work on Vicksburg. Antietam is second with nearly sixty, then the '62 Valley campaign with nearly forty.

4) Commercial interests. "Books on the campaign sell, at at least authors and publishers believe they will sell".

On this, I am also guilty....at last count, I have around three dozen books just on Gettysburg, some of which cover minute sections of the battles (Battle for Bliss farm etc.). And I doubt most CW fanatics are much different.

s.c.
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Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4730
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 11/1/2020 1:51:04 PM

Steve,

You’re a Canadian, and I’m British, and we both attest to the incredible fascination of this battle.

You’ll forgive me if I sound a note of one-upmanship, but I’ve just counted 48 books about Gettysburg on my shelves : four dozen !

Good Grief ! What’s possessed me ?

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Steve Clements
Toronto
ON Canada
Posts: 741
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 11/2/2020 12:58:50 PM

Phil,

Quote:
You’ll forgive me if I sound a note of one-upmanship...


I think that you accomplished that when you stated that you were able to identify 35 out of the 36 Confederate brigades-:)

I am happy to just keep the nine Confederate division commanders straight in my head-:)

s.c.
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scoucer
Berlin
 Germany
Posts: 2809
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 11/2/2020 2:15:35 PM

Another point.

There are countless books with "Battles in History" along the lines of "Famous/biggest/important/decisive" etc. Along with Waterloo, Leipzig, Marne, Marathon,Arbela, Plassy, Quebec,Leuthen,Blenheim, etc,etc. Among them you always find Gettysburg.

Trevor
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`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
scoucer
Berlin
 Germany
Posts: 2809
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 11/2/2020 2:41:58 PM

Quote:
Mike,

This Lost Cause business reminds me of the Nazi “ Stab in the Back” folklore and its attribution for defeat in 1918.

Regards, Phil


Now that is interesting. There are far more comparisons between the CSA and Imperial Germany than one would expect. Itś something Ive noticed over the years. Sounds like an interesting thread I can start.

Trevor
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`Hey don´t the wars come easy and don´t the peace come hard`- Buffy Sainte-Marie Some swim with the stream. Some swim against the stream. Me - I´m stuck somewhere in the woods and can´t even find the stupid stream.
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4730
How did Gettysburg come to so greatly overshadow Vicksburg
Posted on: 11/3/2020 4:25:22 AM

Quote:
Quote:
Mike,

This Lost Cause business reminds me of the Nazi “ Stab in the Back” folklore and its attribution for defeat in 1918.

Regards, Phil


Now that is interesting. There are far more comparisons between the CSA and Imperial Germany than one would expect. Itś something Ive noticed over the years. Sounds like an interesting thread I can start.

Trevor



Please do so, Trevor !

In the meantime, let me suggest a rather more prosaic but pertinent feature of Gettysburg that makes the battle’s reputation transcend.

It was an “ apogee” of black powder warfare. I’ve borrowed that word from John Keegan, who applied it to his description of Waterloo.

At Gettysburg we have all the classic encounters : infantry v. infantry ; artillery v. artillery ; artillery v. infantry ; cavalry v cavalry and cavalry v infantry. Is there any other battle in that war that so thoroughly blends all the ingredients of battlefield arms in array against each other ?

Gettysburg , is, in a sense , the perfection of warfare of the era.

It does indeed resemble Waterloo in certain aspects : panoramic, dramatic and closely contested. The significant difference being that Gettysburg was an encounter battle, bestowing an extra “touch and go” aspect to its course. That, and, of course, it was also a civil war with a unique poignancy.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

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