The turning points in the civil war. Vicksburg, Gettysburg, and a Surge for the Union. Vicksburg, Mississippi.
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Vicksburg, Gettysburg, and a Surge for the Union
The city of Vicksburg was the last stronghold in along the Mississippi River for the Confederacy. By taking control of the area, the Union could claim complete control over the Mississippi River, from Minneapolis to New Orleans. It would also split the Confederacy in half, separating Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana from the other states in the Confederacy.
After Fredericksburg, Ambrose Burnside was beside himself with grief. His resignation was accepted, and Joseph Hooker took command of the army. Attempting to put Lee on his heels by splitting his army, Hooker soon found himself outmaneuvered, just as so many other Union generals had been before.
Pickett’s Charge on the final day of Gettysburg was a desperate and unsuccessful attempt to break through the Union lines. Scarcely a trained soldier in the field though it could ever be successful. Union guns inflicted over 7,000 casualties in twenty minutes of fighting, and the Army of Northern Virginia fell into retreat.
Lincoln and the Union Army relied upon the railroads to provide supplies and reinforcements throughout the war, but never was it more important than during the engagement at Chattanooga. Over 20,000 men were sent over 1,200 miles in just a few days – along with all of their supplies, ammunition, horses, and heavy guns.
Ulysses S. Grant was placed in charge of all of the Armies of the West immediately after his victory at Vicksburg. Grant’s ability to achieve victory – even if it came at a cost in terms of men and materials – was essential. Over the course of the war, Grant had proven to be the most reliable general in the Army as far as Lincoln was concerned. Now, he sought to reward Grant for his steady leadership.