Preview of Coming Attractions


My blog posts covering the months of June and July of 1863 will be significantly longer and a bit more detailed than those of most of my past ones covering the American Civil War. As a student of history I believe that those 61 days from June 1st through July 31st mark the most critical turning points of the war. Although the war will last more than 20 months after July, 1863, the defeat of the Confederacy slowly draws closer and closer to finality after the Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg. Literally and figuratively, Gettysburg marks the high water mark of Confederate success. As one historian claims, after the losses at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, the Confederacy becomes a receding tide, leading almost inexorably to the surrender at Appomattox. The parts of the Confederacy west of the Mississippi River will be cut off as the Union draws an increasingly tighter noose around the biggest part of the South.


Ulysses S Grant during the Civil War

Ulysses S Grant during the Civil War

These sixty-one days will see Ulysses Grant take new prominence among Union generals while Robert E Lee only adds to his fame by brilliantly fighting an increasingly defensive war. Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts will gain immortality as will George Pickett and his division and, to a lesser degree, General John Buford and his cavalry troopers and Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin and the 20th Maine. African American soldiers will continue to take a greater part in combat New York City will be shaken by anti-draft and anti-black rioting. Increasing economic problems and increasing casualties .will exacerbate problems in the South.


 The voices you will hear will be those of soldiers–enlisted and officers, political leaders of both sides, citizens, diplomats, Europeans and Americans, editors and journalists, peace advocates and war hawks, women and men, black and white. I hope that what I offer my readers will enable you to become mental travelers who can at least for a few moments experience some of what soldiers and civilians experienced during those two critical months in the terrible summer of 1863.

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