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Old 05-16-2018, 11:50 AM
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Default Civil War Road Trip

OK: There are no specific guns or militaria to see here, but I wanted to share my recent experience with fellow history buffs.

I have always been interested in the American Civil War, and of course the Battle of Gettysburg is seen as one of the pivotal turning points of the war. R.E. Lee's second invasion into the north represented what is called "The high watermark of the Confederacy." It was the Confederacy at its strongest and the last major offensive action taken. The remainder of the war, while very costly to both sides, was primarily a defensive war for the Confederates, meant to bleed out the Union and generate enough war weariness to force a negotiated peace.

Anyway, here is a good clip from the film "Gettysburg" which most of you have probably seen. It was based on a mostly accurate retelling of the battle written by Jeff Shaara, called the "The Killer Angels." It specifically shows the battle fought at "Little Round Top" which was strategically valuable land to both armies. Jeff Daniels plays Union Colonel (later General and MoH recipient) Joshua Chamberlain.

It is worth noting that Chamberlain had no formal training as a soldier and was appointed to his rank due to his societal prominence and ability to help recruit soldiers from his home state of Maine. Unlike many of the other disastrous political appointees to high rank in the Union Army, Chamberlain had all the instincts of a great soldier and leader.



I was traveling on the east coast for business earlier this year, and I had to go to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I realized once there that it was only 30 miles away from the Gettysburg battlefield. We did not have any sightseeing time built into our itinerary, but I convinced my associates that it would be worth seeing after our business ended for the day. We drove straight there and still had about 4 hours of daylight, which offered a great opportunity to see most of the battlefield, which is very large.

Some photos I took are below. While it was late afternoon, the entire place was accessible via a self guided driving tour and we stayed until dark. I will say it was a spectacular experience. The history and carnage of the events there hang heavy in the air, hitting the visitor upside the head at every turn. The condition and preservation of of everything was immaculate. Just wanted to share the experience with the collector community. Hope you enjoy the photos, taken with my crummy old iphone.

In the distance behind this memorial, the cupola of the Lutheran Seminary is visible. This was where Cavalry General John Buford stood and observed the approaching Confederate advance forces. Buford set up a dismounted skirmish line and held off the Confederates while the main Union army marched toward Gettysburg on the first day.


Closer view of the cupola:









The marker above is the place where Union General John Reynolds was killed as he directed the approaching Union infantry into the battle lines.



Many statues and markers are arrayed on the battlefield:



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Old 05-16-2018, 11:50 AM
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We were starting to lose light at this point.















Last edited by Bobby Ricigliano; 05-16-2018 at 12:01 PM..
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Old 05-16-2018, 11:50 AM
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This was about the biggest monument I saw anywhere in the area. It is dedicated to and has the names engraved of many Pennsylvanians who fought in the battle.





Minnesota Memorial





Last edited by Bobby Ricigliano; 05-16-2018 at 12:05 PM..
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Old 05-16-2018, 11:51 AM
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This was the first Confederate Plaque I saw. There were more, but it had gotten too dark to read anything by the time we got much further.



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Old 05-16-2018, 11:51 AM
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The place I most wanted to see happened to be at the very end of the route we took, and when it was getting dark (and very cold.)





It is a bit of a climb over large rocks to get to the top, but this is a perspective of Little Round Top from the Union point of view.



And prominently placed on Little Round Top is a General's statue. I assumed it would be a statue of Chamberlain. However, it is of General Gouverneur K. Warren. Interestingly, there was a movement to add a statue of Chamberlain to the location during his lifetime, but it never happened. There is a sign indicating it is forbidden to climb onto the actual rock where the statue is, so this was as close as I got.




There is a tricky path to get to the front where Warren's plaque can be viewed, but it was worth it.



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Old 05-16-2018, 12:30 PM
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For anyone who might be interested, here is the backstory of why there was no statue placed at Gettysburg for Joshua Chamberlain:

https://npsgnmp.wordpress.com/2014/0...hat-never-was/
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Old 05-16-2018, 1:32 PM
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Thanks for sharing. Will be there in the re-enactment July 5-8 working artillery for Hurt's Alabama battery.
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Old 05-16-2018, 1:42 PM
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Thanks for sharing and I hope your feet didn't get too cold walking through all that snow.

Was there any Confederate monuments?
If so were the liberals there trying to tear them down?
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Old 05-16-2018, 1:49 PM
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Lee was a fool; he should've listened to Longstreet. and don't get me started on Stuart.
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Old 05-16-2018, 1:59 PM
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Is Longstreet Tower still in use?

There was once a huge tower overlooking the battlefield. It was a bit of an eyesore, but you could get a view of the whole battlefield from it. It was demolished in 2000.
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Old 05-16-2018, 2:33 PM
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Thanks for sharing and I hope your feet didn't get too cold walking through all that snow.

Was there any Confederate monuments?
If so were the liberals there trying to tear them down?
There are Confederate monuments and markers there. Many of the landmarks of the battle we just never got to as it got dark. Considering that it is a giant cemetery, and pitch dark at night, we left just as the sun completely disappeared.

There was no political activism anywhere. The few people I saw in the park were all viewing the monuments quietly and respectfully.

A lot of things I couldn't get close to as there was knee deep snow. We had a rental car to return and it would have been filled with mud if we walked off the paved roads and tracked it back to the car.
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Old 05-16-2018, 2:59 PM
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Lee was a fool; he should've listened to Longstreet. and don't get me started on Stuart.
I read Lee's biography by Douglas Southall Freeman and some of Lee's writings (he never wrote an autobiography.)

I wouldn't characterize him as a "fool." Pickett's charge is now widely seen as a blunder, but Lee was a professional soldier and West Point graduate. He did not want war and would not have gone to the Confederacy had Virginia not seceded. He gambled everything for his loyalty to Virginia and lost everything by war's end.

He can be fairly criticized for overconfidence in the ANV to be victorious no matter the odds. He can also be criticized for underestimating the stubborn valor of the Union troops on Cemetery Ridge. But he was no fool. His portrait hung on the wall of Eisenhower's office, a testimony to his leadership and battlefield acumen.

Perhaps Lee's greatest act was his final command as leader of the ANV. As his officers gathered around him soon after the defeat at Five Forks, they looked to him for guidance. Many Confederates wanted to scatter into the woods and carry on the war as bushwhackers and renegades. Lee would have none of that. He made it clear that they had fought honorably, lost honorably, and would surrender peacefully. Even those who seethed against such an ignominious end obeyed, out of loyalty to their leader.

Lee's grace and Grant's dignified treatment of the surrendering foe forestalled a great deal of bloodshed that would have resulted at the end of the organized hostilities.

And it is a credit to Lincoln that Grant was acting on his orders of fair treatment. Lee received no such direction from Jeff Davis, who would have preferred the Confederate army to fight to annihilation rather than surrender Richmond to the Yankees.
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Old 05-16-2018, 3:03 PM
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Bobby,

Great photos. it is indeed hallowed ground. Thanks for taking the time to share.

I first visited the battlefield as a kid during the civil war centennial. I've since taken my children (who are now adults) to see the battlefield.

Here are some pictures of my Great uncle's regiment and detail of his company monument at the battlefield.



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Old 05-16-2018, 3:12 PM
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Nice pictures BR.
I've been to Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Manassas, Harper's Ferry, Antietam, and many more over the years.
If you ever get the chance to go to Harper's Ferry, do it, it's an amazing place.
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Old 05-16-2018, 3:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby Ricigliano View Post
I read Lee's biography by Douglas Southall Freeman and some of Lee's writings (he never wrote an autobiography.)

I wouldn't characterize him as a "fool." Pickett's charge is now widely seen as a blunder, but Lee was a professional soldier and West Point graduate. He did not want war and would not have gone to the Confederacy had Virginia not seceded. He gambled everything for his loyalty to Virginia and lost everything by war's end.

He can be fairly criticized for overconfidence in the ANV to be victorious no matter the odds. He can also be criticized for underestimating the stubborn valor of the Union troops on Cemetery Ridge. But he was no fool. His portrait hung on the wall of Eisenhower's office, a testimony to his leadership and battlefield acumen.

Perhaps Lee's greatest act was his final command as leader of the ANV. As his officers gathered around him soon after the defeat at Five Forks, they looked to him for guidance. Many Confederates wanted to scatter into the woods and carry on the war as bushwhackers and renegades. Lee would have none of that. He made it clear that they had fought honorably, lost honorably, and would surrender peacefully. Even those who seethed against such an ignominious end obeyed, out of loyalty to their leader.

Lee's grace and Grant's dignified treatment of the surrendering foe forestalled a great deal of bloodshed that would have resulted at the end of the organized hostilities.

And it is a credit to Lincoln that Grant was acting on his orders of fair treatment. Lee received no such direction from Jeff Davis, who would have preferred the Confederate army to fight to annihilation rather than surrender Richmond to the Yankees.
you are correct, Robert E. Lee was one of, if not the best American general ever. his tactics are still taught.

in this battle however I stand by the 'fool' comment. he had sound tactical advice that he ignored.

it's almost like he did not want to win there.
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Old 05-16-2018, 3:14 PM
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Add Ft Sumter to that list.
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Old 05-16-2018, 4:13 PM
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Default Always been my assessment too

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Lee was a fool; he should've listened to Longstreet. and don't get me started on Stuart.

Lee had a tendency to not address issues with his Officer Corps until they really screwed up big.
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Old 05-16-2018, 7:30 PM
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That’s awesome. One day I’ll make it there! Glad y’all had a good time.


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Old 05-16-2018, 7:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby Ricigliano View Post
I read Lee's biography by Douglas Southall Freeman and some of Lee's writings (he never wrote an autobiography.)

I wouldn't characterize him as a "fool." Pickett's charge is now widely seen as a blunder, but Lee was a professional soldier and West Point graduate. He did not want war and would not have gone to the Confederacy had Virginia not seceded. He gambled everything for his loyalty to Virginia and lost everything by war's end.

He can be fairly criticized for overconfidence in the ANV to be victorious no matter the odds. He can also be criticized for underestimating the stubborn valor of the Union troops on Cemetery Ridge. But he was no fool. His portrait hung on the wall of Eisenhower's office, a testimony to his leadership and battlefield acumen.

Perhaps Lee's greatest act was his final command as leader of the ANV. As his officers gathered around him soon after the defeat at Five Forks, they looked to him for guidance. Many Confederates wanted to scatter into the woods and carry on the war as bushwhackers and renegades. Lee would have none of that. He made it clear that they had fought honorably, lost honorably, and would surrender peacefully. Even those who seethed against such an ignominious end obeyed, out of loyalty to their leader.

Lee's grace and Grant's dignified treatment of the surrendering foe forestalled a great deal of bloodshed that would have resulted at the end of the organized hostilities.

And it is a credit to Lincoln that Grant was acting on his orders of fair treatment. Lee received no such direction from Jeff Davis, who would have preferred the Confederate army to fight to annihilation rather than surrender Richmond to the Yankees.
Thank you so much for sharing those photos, I've never seen that area in winter! Imagine doing the fighting in wool uniforms in the summer!

I've also heard from others that have visited those areas about the "feeling" they got there also.

Good Job!
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Old 05-16-2018, 8:06 PM
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WOW, I'm glad you documented all of that before Liberals erase it.
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Old 05-16-2018, 9:06 PM
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I love the civil war

Very humbling
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Old 05-16-2018, 9:08 PM
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Nice job, Bobby -

Thanks for posting, a great travelogue and nice read.

Fascinating about the lack of Chamberlain's memorial - “but he was absolutely unable to tell the truth and was of an inordinate vanity.”

They reward that sort of thing nowadays - !
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Old 05-17-2018, 7:02 AM
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WOW, I'm glad you documented all of that before Liberals erase it.
Perhaps I am mistaken, but I did not see a single thing anywhere in Gettysburg that glorified either side or had any sort of political slant one way or the other. Interestingly, the town of Gettysburg is full of souvenir shops and hotels that cater to visitors of the site. There is also a small university that sits right at the edge of the battlefield.

It would seem that the entire surrounding area is so permanently anchored in the history of the Civil War that it would be hard for some paid professional activist group to roll into town and start defacing things. It would be far more difficult than when some lowly vandal sneaks into a park at night and defaces a single statue.
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Old 05-17-2018, 7:32 AM
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you are correct, Robert E. Lee was one of, if not the best American general ever. his tactics are still taught.

in this battle however I stand by the 'fool' comment. he had sound tactical advice that he ignored.

it's almost like he did not want to win there.
Yes, I take your point. My idea of foolish tactics is more along the lines of Burnside, who dawdled for days in front of Fredericksburg as Lee and Jackson rushed troops in to reinforce the weak defensive Confederate lines there.

By the time Burnside ordered the attack, the Confederate positions were so well dug in that it was a lopsided slaughter for the Federals. Stonewall Jackson also brilliantly deployed his pioneers to carve out a service road behind the Confederate lines. That allowed them to quickly move their artillery back and forth across the road to reinforce anywhere a breakthrough might occur.

Burnside was fired by Lincoln almost immediately after the battle. The most ironic thing is that the Union General who finally destroyed Lee's army was not an especially brilliant tactician. He simply knew that the southern losses could not be replaced, while he had almost limitless resources. Grant's playbook all through 1864 was to find, fix, and destroy the enemy with mostly frontal assaults. This overwhelmed Lee's "fire and maneuver" strategies. Thus Grant became known as "The Butcher." Grant was also not rattled or intimidated by Lee, whereas by midwar Lee's reputation among some northern commanders was almost mythic and he was viewed as unbeatable. The last year of the war in the east was especially gruesome for the Union, but Grant simply took the long view that it was the only way to win the war.

Now, had Lincoln lost reelection in 1864, his opponent would have ended the war and recognized the Confederacy, as that was his platform in the election. But that is a story for another day.
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Old 05-17-2018, 7:39 AM
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Looks like another peaceful year, but you never know. article
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Old 05-17-2018, 7:50 AM
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Default General Lee at Gettysburg; 1863.

Great job, Dan (B.R.). Fascinating to see your photos of Gettysburg in winter. I wholeheartedly agree with your statement that ‘General R. Lee was no fool’. General Lee was a great general; audacious when on the offensive, stubborn when entrenched in a defensive position. His men loved him.

The primary problem that he had at Gettysburg was that the bulk of his cavalry was with Stuart, located far to the southeast and east of Gettysburg, screened from rejoining the Army of Northern Virginia by the Army of the Potomac. Lee therefore did not have the ‘reliable’ mounted troops available to provide for an adequate reconnaissance of the Union left flank. He therefore felt compelled to attack the Union left flank at Devils Den and Little Round Top, rather than be able to flank those positions as recommended by General Longstreet.

He also was unable to coordinate his attack on the Union left with the Confederate assault on the Union right flank at both Culps Hill and Cemetery Hill. There were no radios in those days; only mounted runners.

As for the third day’s assault on the Union center (Pickett’s Charge); he had to either attack or withdraw, as his army had to keep moving in order to forage for supplies. It is true that he had an unshakeable faith in his soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia, but I agree that the attack on the Union center (Pickett’s Charge) should have never been attempted.

Lastly; I do believe that General Ulysses Grant was a sound tactician, especially so in the western theatre of the war as exemplified by command decisions during the Vicksburg campaign.
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Old 05-17-2018, 9:29 AM
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There are numerous histories of the Civil War and individual battles and campaigns out there. Some are rather dry. If anyone has an interest in really high quality and interesting Civil War literature I would recommend any of Bruce Catton's work.

For a comprehensive read that just about covers everything, Shelby Foote's 3 volume set is as good as it gets. They are massive works, but you get drawn in and the pages will fly by. I read all 3 volumes cover to cover.
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Old 05-17-2018, 10:25 AM
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Yes, I take your point. My idea of foolish tactics is more along the lines of Burnside, who dawdled for days in front of Fredericksburg as Lee and Jackson rushed troops in to reinforce the weak defensive Confederate lines there.

By the time Burnside ordered the attack, the Confederate positions were so well dug in that it was a lopsided slaughter for the Federals. Stonewall Jackson also brilliantly deployed his pioneers to carve out a service road behind the Confederate lines. That allowed them to quickly move their artillery back and forth across the road to reinforce anywhere a breakthrough might occur.

Burnside was fired by Lincoln almost immediately after the battle. The most ironic thing is that the Union General who finally destroyed Lee's army was not an especially brilliant tactician. He simply knew that the southern losses could not be replaced, while he had almost limitless resources. Grant's playbook all through 1864 was to find, fix, and destroy the enemy with mostly frontal assaults. This overwhelmed Lee's "fire and maneuver" strategies. Thus Grant became known as "The Butcher." Grant was also not rattled or intimidated by Lee, whereas by midwar Lee's reputation among some northern commanders was almost mythic and he was viewed as unbeatable. The last year of the war in the east was especially gruesome for the Union, but Grant simply took the long view that it was the only way to win the war.

Now, had Lincoln lost reelection in 1864, his opponent would have ended the war and recognized the Confederacy, as that was his platform in the election. But that is a story for another day.
Somewhat like Montgomery v. Rommel in North Africa.
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Old 05-17-2018, 10:51 AM
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Thanks for sharing. I want to visit sights also someday of the Civil War. But I am much more interested in the Southern side of things, than the Northern aggressors side. All is fascinating. Just have always been more interested in the Confederate History side.
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Old 05-17-2018, 1:20 PM
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But I am much more interested in the Southern side of things, than the Northern aggressors side. ...
Haha good one but the South fired first, the "war of northern agression" is a myth to soothe the losers in the "war of southern submission."

The south's perspective can be summed up as acting before thinking, and underestimating the north. The south didn't think it through and got their cans kicked by the north and that is a matter of fact. Pride cometh nefore the fall. The south thought they would rout the north.

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Old 05-17-2018, 2:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Bobby Ricigliano View Post
Yes, I take your point. My idea of foolish tactics is more along the lines of Burnside, who dawdled for days in front of Fredericksburg as Lee and Jackson rushed troops in to reinforce the weak defensive Confederate lines there.

By the time Burnside ordered the attack, the Confederate positions were so well dug in that it was a lopsided slaughter for the Federals. Stonewall Jackson also brilliantly deployed his pioneers to carve out a service road behind the Confederate lines. That allowed them to quickly move their artillery back and forth across the road to reinforce anywhere a breakthrough might occur.

Burnside was fired by Lincoln almost immediately after the battle. The most ironic thing is that the Union General who finally destroyed Lee's army was not an especially brilliant tactician. He simply knew that the southern losses could not be replaced, while he had almost limitless resources. Grant's playbook all through 1864 was to find, fix, and destroy the enemy with mostly frontal assaults. This overwhelmed Lee's "fire and maneuver" strategies. Thus Grant became known as "The Butcher." Grant was also not rattled or intimidated by Lee, whereas by midwar Lee's reputation among some northern commanders was almost mythic and he was viewed as unbeatable. The last year of the war in the east was especially gruesome for the Union, but Grant simply took the long view that it was the only way to win the war.

Now, had Lincoln lost reelection in 1864, his opponent would have ended the war and recognized the Confederacy, as that was his platform in the election. But that is a story for another day.

Can't argue with any of this. especially that about Grant- he used the industrial and manpower advantages of the North to the fullest degree. they could afford the men lost.

when I visited the site back in the summer of 1994 I was impressed by how little visibility of terrain there was. here in SoCal we have vistas of 20 miles and better; there if you can see 3 miles you're doing good.

I noticed the Union was better represented numerically with monuments. having said that there was distinct reverence for the fallen of both sides.

to put the fine point on my opinion- the first night, after Heth had been checked by Burford, Lee should have listened to Longstreet and concentrated his army around Meade's left flank, between it and Washington. days 2 and 3 should never have been fought.
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Old 05-17-2018, 2:12 PM
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Default Addressed to 'God Bless America'.

Addressed to 'God Bless America':

So you don’t believe that a state can divorce itself from a compact with an overbearing federal government? I believe that all states have the inherent right to voluntarily leave a confederation of states, a confederation that the state originally joined voluntarily.

The southerners wanted to leave the union; Lincoln wouldn’t let them leave without a fight. The north invaded the south and for years after, the southern armies (specifically the Army of Northern Virginia) handed the Army of the Potomac it’s *** in a hat.

The reason that the North won the war was due to it’s much larger population to draw soldiers from and the dominance of Northern commerce and industry.

Last edited by Ayacuchano; 05-17-2018 at 2:18 PM.. Reason: Clarification
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Old 05-17-2018, 5:02 PM
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Addressed to 'God Bless America':

So you don’t believe that a state can divorce itself from a compact with an overbearing federal government?
That's not what I (or anybody else) in this thread said.

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I believe that all states have the inherent right to voluntarily leave a confederation of states, a confederation that the state originally joined voluntarily.
That's nice, but it's no excuse to blame others if you shoot first.

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The southerners wanted to leave the union; Lincoln wouldn’t let them leave without a fight.
I'm not sure we know that, given that the South started fighting. For all we know, Lincoln may have been content with economic or diplomatic pressure. As a result of South Carolina's initial aggression, we cannot and will not ever know that for certain.

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The north invaded the south
Only after South Carolina treasonously first fired on Union troops in Fort Sumter.
Because South Carolina were the aggressors. And that is a fact.

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and for years after, the southern armies (specifically the Army of Northern Virginia) handed the Army of the Potomac it’s *** in a hat.
Until the North beat the **** out of the South and Sherman ****ed the South in their ***.


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The reason that the North won the war was due to it’s much larger population to draw soldiers from and the dominance of Northern commerce and industry.
It is true that the South was at a fatal disadvantage in matters of commerce and industry and manpower. Which means they were proud fools to start the war prematurely. Whose fault was that? They should have prepared themselves. They invited their own loss. They punched a bigger and better-supplied adversary in the nose, got their asses kicked, were forcibly reconstructed, and are still in denial over those facts.

But that is what happened. They picked a fight they could not win, and some of their descendents and their fanboys don't have the courage to admit they picked the fight.
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Old 05-17-2018, 5:10 PM
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^^^ interesting. I saw your post in initial window where you could edit it incognito.

you first said "... and their fanboys don't have the courage to admit their wrong."

why did you change that?
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Old 05-17-2018, 5:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Ayacuchano View Post
Addressed to 'God Bless America':

So you don’t believe that a state can divorce itself from a compact with an overbearing federal government? I believe that all states have the inherent right to voluntarily leave a confederation of states, a confederation that the state originally joined voluntarily.

The southerners wanted to leave the union; Lincoln wouldn’t let them leave without a fight. The north invaded the south and for years after, the southern armies (specifically the Army of Northern Virginia) handed the Army of the Potomac it’s *** in a hat.

The reason that the North won the war was due to it’s much larger population to draw soldiers from and the dominance of Northern commerce and industry.
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Originally Posted by 2761377 View Post
^^^ interesting. I saw your post in initial window where you could edit it incognito.

you first said "... and their fanboys don't have the courage to admit their wrong."

why did you change that?
It was vague. The South was undoubtedly "wrong" to rashly pick a fight against a bigger adversary with much better resources. It is a different argument whether their cause or their beliefs were wrong, so I made my response more specific to avoid that argument. I meant "wrong" in the sense of error, mistake, or poor decision. Not a moral or legal judgment.

Last edited by God Bless America; 05-17-2018 at 5:23 PM..
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Old 05-17-2018, 5:40 PM
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well they didn't 'pick a fight', it was thrust upon them by the election of 1860.

Lincoln never had any doubt that his mission was maintain the Union. the South saw the writing on the wall, their way of life would be subjugated by Northern financial and industrial hegemony. as happened after the war. btw, slavery is a convenient excuse, especially today.

the last thing they could do was secede. if Lincoln hadn't wanted war, he would not have continued to resupply Ft. Sumter.
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Old 05-17-2018, 6:06 PM
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well they didn't 'pick a fight', it was thrust upon them by the election of 1860.

Lincoln never had any doubt that his mission was maintain the Union. the South saw the writing on the wall, their way of life would be subjugated by Northern financial and industrial hegemony. as happened after the war. btw, slavery is a convenient excuse, especially today.

the last thing they could do was secede. if Lincoln hadn't wanted war, he would not have continued to resupply Ft. Sumter.
They picked a fight when they fired on Fort Sumter and declared war.
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Old 05-17-2018, 6:20 PM
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Thanks for sharing. Appreciate the photos. Definitely on my bucket list to visit.
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Old 05-17-2018, 6:37 PM
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They picked a fight when they fired on Fort Sumter and declared war.
they fought back against the rapist
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Old 05-17-2018, 7:00 PM
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they fought back against the rapist
Yes, just like the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. And operation Barabarossa. They weren't attacking, just defending unilaterally in advance tbrough offense.

Last edited by God Bless America; 05-17-2018 at 7:07 PM..
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