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Tue, Jun 27


Assessing Lincoln’s Role in the Gettysburg and Vicksburg Campaigns

John O'Brien will present on Lincoln's military judgements to introduce a discussion of his importance to the success of these critical campaigns. The illustration is "President Lincoln reviewing the Army of the Potomac with Gen. Hooker on Monday, April 6, 1863," by Edwin Forbes.

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Assessing Lincoln’s Role in the Gettysburg and Vicksburg Campaigns
Assessing Lincoln’s Role in the Gettysburg and Vicksburg Campaigns


Jun 27, 2023, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM EDT


About the Event

One hundred and sixty years ago in early July, and over one thousand miles apart, the critically important battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg were fought. Their lengthy campaigns, results, and aftermath largely determined the outcome of the Civil War. From distant Washington DC, Abraham Lincoln had already made the calculations and decisions that had put Ulysses Grant and George Meade in charge with the authority and tools to empower their success. With the victories in hand, Lincoln made sure that the nation honored the generals and the soldiers they led with full credit for the triumphs.

But Lincoln himself played the vital leadership role in arranging the strategic elements to assure that talented generals could secure the laurels. His methods were often little better than correctives after trial and error. But without military command experience of his own and with a panoply of contradictory opinions from purported experts, Lincoln was able to arrive at a winning combination. Past president of the Lincoln Group, John O'Brien, has written about Lincoln's self-education process as he learned to manage the war. His skill with people was already well-established. John will present on the key decisions that were made prior to both battles and how they demonstrated the president's executive evolution. Through discussion, participants will develop how Lincoln set the stage for success by using a consistent strategic vision, his insights into human character, the balance of political considerations, appreciation for technology and logistics, and the effectiveness of his communications and ability to motivate.       

Winston Churchill may have had Lincoln in mind when he observed that Americans could always be relied upon to do the right thing, but only after they had tried everything else. Lincoln would use logic and political sense to arrive at effective military solutions, but often only after several failures. Finding the right general for the right situation at the right time was the continual challenge of the war. Lincoln made many mistakes in promoting and assigning his general officers, often having to react to unexpected circumstances, but he never stopped learning how to do it better throughout. Join us to help develop these concepts of how Lincoln shaped the conditions for success at Gettyburg and Vicksburg.    

This zoom-only presentation and discussion will take place on Tuesday, June 27, at 6 p.m. eastern time.  

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