Gettysburg and Vicksburg fell within days of each other.  Vicksburg's distress and eminent fall must have been on Lee's mind.  He desperately needed victory at Gettysburg.  What did Lee have to...

Gettysburg and Vicksburg fell within days of each other.  Vicksburg's distress and eminent fall must have been on Lee's mind.  He desperately needed victory at Gettysburg.  What did Lee have to say re the fighting at Vicksburg just before the battle of Gettysburg?  Did he say, "If compelled to surrender do it on the fourth of July, for the North has such a peculiar view of liberty".  

Thank you              les will

        

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djrharrison | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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On May 14, 1863, General Lee met with Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate cabinet members to discuss the military situation that faced the Confederacy. On the East, the Confederate Army had won decisive victories at Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg. West of the Mississippi, Vicksburg was under attack by General Grant’s Army. The situation in Vicksburg was desperate.

President Davis wanted to divide Lee’s Army in order to send reinforcements to General Joseph E. Johnston, who had recently taken command of the Confederate Army in the western theater. Lee, on the other hand, realized that a victory at Vicksburg would be just that, a victory in the Western theater. He preferred to increase his own army and invade the North at Gettysburg. That was, Lee believed, the Confederacy’s last chance for victory. Victory to him meant to accomplish the political imperative of the war — independence for the South. To reduce Lincoln’s army, Lee needed every veteran brigade of the Army of Northern Virginia. Though Lee never got all the men he was promised, the Army of Northern Virginia was strengthened while Johnston’s Western Army did not receive reinforcements. We could say that Lee was, at least in part, responsible for the distress and eminent fall of Vicksburg.

After a failed attempt to rendezvous with Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton, General Johnston realized the hopelessness of Vicksburg’s situation and ordered Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton to abandon the city. Pemberton refused, on orders from President Jefferson “to hold the city to the last.” General Johnston felt his troop strength was too weak and decided not to attack Grant to thwart his final attack on Vicksburg. Lt. Gen. Pemberton was forced to surrender. General Grant and Lt. Gen. Pemberton negotiated the surrender, but the men were unable to reach an agreement. Grant promised to send new terms by 10 p.m. on July 3. thus the surrender was delayed until July 4, 1863.

I found no evidence that Robert E. Lee made the statement in your question. However, according to history.com, “Pemberton later argued that he chose to delay because he thought he could get better terms on such an important U.S. holiday.”

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