On this day in 1863, the Confederacy lost its final chance for a battle of annihilation. Like Napoleon in his wars, Lee sought a final battle that could end the war. With the failure of Picketts Charge, the Union Army destroyed the South's offensive striking power. Lee's army no longer had the ability to mount a knockout blow that would bring strategic victory. Henceforward, every battle would be a defensive or tactical loss or win.
The loss of Picketts Charge also showed Longstreet's strategic insight. He knew that the Charge would fail. For that reason, he gave his assent to the attack at 4pm on July 3rd with a silent nod of the head. He understood the need for defensive warfare. I think Longstreet saw that the days of the Napoleonic charge were over. He would have made a very good World War I general. Like most people ahead of their time, he was ignored or despised.
He seemed like a very interesting man. Can anyone recommend a good biography about him?
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