Why was the Battle of Gettysburg a turning point?

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War. General Lee was willing to abandon the South’s war goals by invading the North. The South wanted to avoid large battles, but at times, they deviated from that plan. At Gettysburg, General Lee's forces were in desperate need of food. By invading the North, he could get food as northern farms weren’t as damaged as Southern farms. Thus, plenty of food was available.

General Lee also wanted to get a significant military victory. If he could win at Gettysburg, he could get help from foreign countries. It would also increase pressure on President Lincoln to negotiate a peace agreement as opposition to the war was increasing in the Union.

However, General Lee and his forces were defeated at Gettysburg. As a result, the South would never be on the offensive again in the war. General Lee had to retreat to the South and never received the foreign aid he desperately wanted.

The Battle of Gettysburg turned the war in favor of the North. From this point on, things would only deteriorate for the South.

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