why were the battles at gettysburg and vicksburg significant
Vicksburg and Gettysburg were two crucial Union victories that were made even more important because they occurred just days apart in July of 1863. Vicksburg, Mississippi occupied bluff atop a bend in the river, and as long as it was under Confederate control, the Union could not fully control navigation on the river, which had been a major strategic objective from the beginning of the war. Vicksburg fell on July 4, 1863 after a siege of almost two months. The loss was a crippling one for the Confederacy, which saw its western department severed from the East. It also resulted in the appointment of Ulysses S. Grant, the victorious commander at Vicksburg, to command of all Union forces.
One day before Vicksburg's surrender, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia had been halted in its invasion of Pennsylvania at the battle of Gettysburg. Lee's forces, which had achieved a series of stunning victories, were repulsed after a series of attempts, over three bloody days, to smash through the Union lines outside the small town in the Pennsylvania countryside. The battle marked the "high-water mark" for the Confederacy, which would engage in strategically defensive operations only from that point forward.
Taken together, the two battles are viewed by historians as the crucial turning points of the war in the western and eastern theaters, respectively.
The signifigance of the Battle of Gettysburg is the fact that it was a watershed moment in the Civil War. P Prior to the battle the southern forces, lead by Robert E. Lee had largely controled the military course of the war. P Lee had invaded the north one other time the previous year resulting in a costly draw. P His second invasion of the north was intended to give relief to the state of Virginia from the constant fighting, and to threaten Washington DC and possibly end the war with a southern victory on northern soil.
PPPP Lee's Army of Northern Virginia was at its strongest point in the war prior to Gettysburg, and he used the strength of his army to carry out a bold plan to carry the war to the north. P General Geroge Gordon Meade defeated Lee at Gettysburg; a defeat that nearly crippled Lee's army. P PPP After the battle Lee's army was never able to go on the offensive again, and the Civil War went on to become a war of attrition with the Union bleeding the Confederate states to death.
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