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The Confederate's Defeat in the Battle of Gettysburg Essay

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The famous Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1 to July 3 of 1863 in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle proved to show the most casualties of the entire war and resulted in a crushing defeat of the Confederates. The Battle of Gettysburg is generally considered to be the turning point of the American Civil War. This paper will demonstrate the various reasons as to why the Confederates, led by General Robert E. Lee, were unsuccessful in the Battle of Gettysburg during their invasion of the north. General Lee’s over-confidence, the confederate army’s disorganization and failed coordination, and the shift of intelligence all contributed to the crushing defeat of the confederates at Gettysburg. Following his…show more content…
A major cause of the confederate loss at Gettysburg was the extreme amount of confidence that General Lee instilled in his men and his inability to adapt. By the year of 1863, when the Battle of Gettysburg occurred, General Lee’s expectations highly exceeded what his army could have realistically accomplished. Two years of heavy battlefield losses had exhausted his army and more importantly their offensive capabilities. The Seven Days Battle in 1862 resulted in 20 000 confederate casualties, as well as 10 300 at the Battle of Antietam in 1862. Despite having suffered many losses in the battles leading up to Gettysburg, Lee remained devoted to the offensive strategy. This mindset placed the confederate army on the operational and tactical offensive which contradicted their need to conserve man power. Chancellorsville had given Lee absolute confidence in his men which blinded him from any deficiencies in the army’s offensive capabilities. This failure to recognize the reality of his army resulted in many costly strikes. Along with Lee’s overconfidence, he also failed to understand what so many other Generals had understood, “Unlike many Union officers, such as Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, and Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade, the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia never recognized that Civil War armies were virtually indestructible.” Lee did not recognize that a victory of annihilation was an impossible
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