Prof. Allen Guelzo was quoted in a July 1 Discovery News article that wondered: what if the South had won the Civil War?
One historian believes the battle between Confederate General Robert E. Lee and the Union’s Army of the Potomac led by General George Meade truly was decisive.
“If Lee had been victorious, the Army of the Potomac would have dissolved,” said Alan Guelzo, history professor at Gettysburg College and author the new book “Gettysburg: The Last Invasion.” “There were a number of soldiers who wrote before the battle about how the army had reeled from defeat to defeat, and if it happened one more time they would desert.”
Guelzo firmly believes that the battle was decisive from a political standpoint as well. The Union army had lost at Chancellorsville weeks earlier, and Lincoln was facing trouble across the country. Not only did Lincoln have to manage the war, he also had to maintain support for his agenda of abolishing slavery. That wasn’t as popular as we may believe today.