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He wanted to abolish slavery system in the U.S.
Expert answered|lycan_1005|Points 424|
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Asked 5/6/2011 11:21:08 AM
Updated 5/6/2011 11:55:53 AM
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Lee actually did this twice, during the Antietam campaign of 1862 and the Gettysburg campaign of 1863.

In 1862, the Union forces had enjoyed an unbroken string of successes during the first half of the year, and it looked as if the war might soon be over. In the east McClellan had his huge Union army at the very gates of Richmond, so close his men were setting their watches by the church bells in town. Lee took command of the southern army opposing him June 1, 1862, and by hard fighting over the next two months drove the Yankees away and transferred the "seat of war" nearly one hundred miles northward, where the Confederates won another victory at the Second Battle of Manassas (Bull Run). The question was what to do next. Though the Confederate army had occupied this area for a few months in the summer of 1861, their supply situation had always been precarious, as they depended on one single-track railroad to bring supplies from the south. Now this railroad was destroyed, so they could not stay more than a few days at Manassas. If they withdrew to the south, it would look like a retreat, when they had just won a smashing victory. If they went west to the Shenandoah Valley, there were foodstuffs, but this would take them away from the war and open the path back to Richmond to the Union army. To the east was Washington DC, now heavily fortified and ringed with imposing earthwork forts, and probably invincible. The only remaining move was north, over the Potomac. At this time Great Britain and France were considering official recognition of the Confederate government. Had they recognized the Confederacy, this probably would have insured Confederate independence. So moving north was risky because it meant taking Lee's army even further away from dependable sources of food and ammunition, and because if they had to fight a large battle in northern territory, and lost, they might cost the Confederacy its chances of international recognition. And, if they lost badly enough that their army was destroyed, then there would no longer be any Confederate force in the east to prevent the Union forces from going anywhere they wished. As they moved north a copy of Lee's orders fell into McClellan's hands, and he moved to resist the Confederates. Lee refused to leave Maryland without fighting, so the Battle of Antietam took place. It was a narrow thing, but McClellan fought poorly and missed a chance to destroy Lee's army and end the war then, in September 1862. Lee's army escaped back to Virginia, but the result was enough to cause Great Britain and France to withhold recognition of the Confederacy at that time, and they never came close to doing so again. Lincoln had been waiting for a Union victory to afterward announce his Emancipation Proclamation, and Antietam was close enough. This helped to insure that Great Britain and France would never recognize the south, as this would make them appear to be pro-slavery, in the wake of Lincoln's Proclamation.

In 1863 the Confederates again faced a decision on their next move. They had won another stupendous victory at Chancellorsville in early May. Lee's army could have stayed where it was, but, if they did, there was a powerful block in the southern government and army who thought that if Lee was not going to be actively campaigning, he should detach a large portion of his army as send it to Mississippi, where Grant was tightening his siege of Vicksburg. Lee was very reluctant to see his army so reduced in strength, when the Yankees always had larger forces to begin with. If the Yankees had tried again to attack after he had sent reinforcements west, he might not be able to stop them again. So Lee was able to prevail in the southern strategic council sessions and gain approval for another invasion of the north. Reasons given included taking the war away from the farmers of Virginia so they could get in a harvest, and instead impoverishing the farmers of Maryland and Pennsylvania to feed his army and the Union force (any army nearby was very bad news for farmers), and Lee also boldly hoped to be able to badly defeat the Union forces on their own soil and "conquer a peace". There was no real hope of foreign recognition by this time. Lee realized, though, that simply continuing to await Yankee onslaughts in the south would eventually use up all southern manpower. If they were to win the war, they had to do something dramatic to cause the Yankees to give up. This was very risky on several counts. A Civil War army without a supply line had to keep moving, "living off the land" (robbing farmers). To "forage" (rob farmers) the army had to spread out over a wide path as it moved. If the enemy appeared in force, the army would have to concentrate and remain in one spot, and thus would be unable to forage for food. The Confederates would also have no reliable means of resupplying their ammunition. So, if Lee was unable to "conquer a peace" while his army was in northern territory, SOONER OR LATER THEY WOULD HAVE TO RETURN TO VIRGINIA. When they did, it was going to look like a retreat. Retreats were always demoralizing to the people and the army. In this sense, the Gettysburg campaign was more a gigantic raid than a true invasion, because more than likely, sooner or later the Rebels would have to pull back. Also going into the north involved a decision NOT to send reinforcements to Vicksburg. The day after Gettysburg ended, Grant captured Vicksburg, and the Union gained complete control of the Mississippi River, splitting the Confederacy in two.

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Added 5/6/2011 11:55:53 AM
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