A century and a half later, the battle of Gettysburg’s place in the national consciousness is so secure that you think of it as inevitable: the great contest of arms toward which all the previous battles of the Civil War had been leading. Thus, all that came before the breaking of Pickett’s Charge was rising action, and all that followed, conclusion and denouement.
While Robert E. Lee was whipping Joe Hooker at Chancellorsville in May 1863, there were ominous developments for the Confederacy in Mississippi. During that month, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Tennessee crossed the Mississippi River south of Vicksburg and then executed a lightning campaign of maneuver that sealed the doom of that important Confederate stronghold, which surrendered on July 4.
Journalist Bob Woodward explained this morning on CBS that "there's a civil war in the Democratic party":
"There's a civil war in the Democratic party," said Woodward. "You had Nancy Pelosi on, saying, oh, we're not going to change the eligibility age for Medicare. And down at the White House they very much want to do that."
Geoffrey Norman’s lovely piece on the Seven Days Battles of June 1862 in this week’s edition of the magazine needs no glossing, but the fights that brought Confederate General Robert E. Lee to the fore also marked the beginning of a period where the future of the United States was increasingly in doubt.