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Gettysburg Seminar Papers

THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR IN 1863
 

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1863 was a pivotal year in both the course and the outcome of the American Civil War. The limited war that some military men and politicians had still believed possible in 1862 vanished by 1863. With the release of the Emancipation Proclamation any hope that there might be a return to pre-1861 conditions in the country went up in smoke. Events in 1863 established that it would be a fight to the finish. It was no longer only a war to save the Union. The Emancipation added a new objective for the North - the destruction of slavery. There could be no compromise on this subject. If the Union were going to be saved then the South would have to be conquered.

1863 was a year of drama, change and upheaval. Some of the largest and most significant campaigns and battles of the war provided the drama as well as tragically long casualty lists. The recruitment of black troops, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the exodus of African Americans from slavery as the Union army advanced into the South all heralded important changes in the fabric of American society, and challenged white Americans view of race. Draft riots in New York City, bread riots in Richmond, and opposition to the war on both the Union and Confederate fronts produced tumult on the home front.

The papers of the Eighth Gettysburg National Military Park Seminar probe this dramatic period of the war. It is with pride that I note that the authors of the essays in this book all work at Gettysburg National Military Park for the National Park Service except for Terry Winschel, who is the NPS historian at Vicksburg National Military Park. They all reflect the high level of scholarship our historians and historical interpreters aspire to.

I would like to extend my thanks to Eastern National for helping to make this seminar possible; to Evangelina Rubalcava, who bore the burden of helping to make the seminar happen, to Eric Campbell, who produced the maps for this book, to Barb Sanders, for her editing assistance, and to D. Scott Hartwig, who is responsible for the layout and design.

Dr. John A. Latschar
Superintendent
Gettysburg National Military Park
February 2000

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