Civil War, in U.S. history: Turning Point

Turning Point

The Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg in July, 1863, marked a definite turning point in the war. Both sides now had seasoned, equally valiant soldiers, and in Lee and Ulysses S. Grant each had a superior general. But the North, with its larger population and comparatively enormous industry, enjoyed a tremendous material advantage. Both sides also resorted to conscription, even though it met some resistance (see draft riots).

Under Stanton, successor to Simon Cameron, the overall administration of the Union army was more efficient. Problems of organization still remained, however, and Henry W. Halleck continued in the difficult role of military adviser, with the title of general in chief. The Joint Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War, organized in Dec., 1861, attempted to influence the actions as well as the appointment of Union generals (its efforts were particularly strong on behalf of Hooker). The chairman, Benjamin F. Wade, was frequently at odds with Lincoln, and the committee's investigations and high-handed actions lowered morale among the Union forces.

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