A major turning point in the Civil War was the Battle of Gettysburg. The Confederate’s leader, General Lee, decided to head North into Gettysburg to attack the Union and kill the Northern morale. His army was also running low on food and supplies so they needed to get some from the North. His plan backfired when the Confederacy lost and their morale became low. The Confederate army lost 8.27% of their total army at this one battle compared to the Union who lost about 2.5% of their total army. The Confederacy was massacred and the union had about 6 million men that they could fall back on to recruit compared to the Confederacy who only had 1.2 million. General Lee became worried about the Confederacy’s future and told President Jefferson Davis that the morale of the Confederacy dropped a lot and he could no longer continue being General. This battle really affected the Confederacy and advanced the Union. It also made President Lincoln create the Gettysburg Address. The goal of the Gettysburg Address was to change the purpose of the War so it was to fight for the freedom of all Americans. There were other battles around the same time as Gettysburg that contributed to the turning point.
Generals Grant, Sheridan, and Sherman of the Union conducted total war campaigns in the Confederacy. They made civilian property targets of warfare. This was acceptable for them to do because it was a big help to end the Civil War. Grant was told by President Lincoln to destroy the Souths capacity to wage war, eliminate the things they needed to conduct war and destroy people’s homes, food, and crops.Vicksburg was a town that stood in the way of the Unions complete control of the Mississippi River so they decided to siege it. Every day citizens had to avoid being killed by shells, their homes got destroyed so they dug hills in cave sides as homes with furniture and they ate horses mules and dogs. The Confederates ended up surrendering because of scarce food. One time General Sherman said, “War is cruelty… the crueler it is, the sooner it will be over” which shows us that he thought if people were suffering because of the war they would want it to end. Sherman’s march to sea was a march across Georgia where the Union destroyed bridges, factories, railroads, and homes. Even though the total war campaign was dangerous and destructive it helped end the war because it left the confederacy outnumbered, surrounded, and running out of supplies.
The war finally ended when General Lee surrendered for the Confederacy at Appomattox Court. Their were different reactions to the end of the war from all over the country. The Confederate soldiers were upset under the circumstances but Lee told them if they were as good citizens as they are soldiers they will be fine. The North was surprised, relieved and excited over the war ending. People surrounded the White House and their were fireworks. The South on the other hand was sad that they lost but they honored Lee. John Wilkes Booth reacted to the war ending by killing Lincoln. People made posters targeting anyone who was willing to help find the killers. Some people created poems to express their sadness and honor Lincoln and everyone really tried to memorialize him and provide a symbol of what he contributed.
- “The Battle of Gettysburg: Why was it a turning point?” . http://www.edline.net/files/_zGHaC_/af6d0e7ca09b73443745a49013852ec4/Gettysburg_DBQ_-_Student_Version.pdf. Accessed April 27, 2014.
- Pathways to the Present. Chapter 11, Sections 3 and 4. PearsonSuccessNet.com. (Accessed April27, 2014)