Defeat at Gettysburg - 1864 elections

What if there was a serious Union defeat instead of victory at Gettysburg. Let's assume that Union victories in the Western theatre still happen. I don't believe Lee could destroy the Army of the Potomac outright or force Lincoln to make peace, but how would it impact the 1864 Presidential elections?

Instead of a National Union Party, could we see War Democrats like Andrew Johnson remain in the Democratic Party. If so, does that change who the Democrats nominate? Would increased presence of War Democrats cause the Democrats to split into Pro-War and Anti-War parties?

Given that the Republicans also split into two parties (regular under Lincoln, and radicals under Fremont) before Fremont rejoined Lincoln to prevent a McClellan victory, how likely is a 4 way contest in the 1864 election?

Lastly, what are the chances that a negotiated peace would happen? I am not talking about the final terms of the negotiations, just whether any of the likely winners would feel compelled to accept an end to the war short of absolute victory. (I expect if that happens, the Confederates would be forced to accept severe territorial losses in the west since Union troops are crawling all over it).
 
A defeat at Gettysburg followed by . . . what? And how serious a defeat?

A Pyyrhic victory for the Confederates where Meade retreats from the battlefield first but Lee has to retreat as well is probably not going to make much of an impression compared to a Second Bull Run level lose that actually impacts Union strategy in the east.
 
By "serious defeat" I mean a serious defeat, not a Confederate pyrrhic victory. Something substantial, but not any fantasy scenario where the war just ends. So no Cannae style defeats where the entire Army of the Potomac is annihilated, but on par with some of its actual worse defeats. Something realistic like Lee holding the high ground and the Union forces are the ones attacking.
 
By "serious defeat" I mean a serious defeat, not a Confederate pyrrhic victory. Something substantial, but not any fantasy scenario where the war just ends. So no Cannae style defeats where the entire Army of the Potomac is annihilated, but on par with some of its actual worse defeats. Something realistic like Lee holding the high ground and the Union forces are the ones attacking.
Okay. Going with that . . .

Let's say Meade suffers about the same percentage of losses as Lee did OTL.

http://www.nps.gov/hps/abpp/battles/pa002.htm

So Meade loses another eight thousand men compared to OTL.

Lee loses about seven thousand less compared to OTL.

Now, this might well mess with Union strategy, and certainly puts Meade's career in a precarious place.

Can Lee follow this up?

We could have a whole thread just on that, but I'll put it this way:

What this boils down to is that Gettysburg the battle being a defeat is only relevant to the extent that leads to changes in the strategic situation.

IMO, Lee's defeats of the Army of the Potomac OTL don't indicate that it would, at least not by 1864.

It's possible - but the reason I mention a Pyyrhic victory is that even if Lee gives the AotP some serious abuse, he'd have to go beyond a victory at Gettysburg for that to mean more than Seventh Corps being called up from the Peninsula.

And so, I don't think it would impact the 1864 elections - it's not that it couldn't, but the path between Gettysburg and influence on the 1864 elections is long, crooked, and steep.
 
How feasible might it be that Lee, after Gettysburg, marches on Harrisburg? How well defended was that city, beyond the Emergency Militia Regiments that the governor called up for the defence of the state?

I think either way, a defeat of Union forces in Pennsylvania might swing the state to McClellan, if it wasn't already a Democrat state, that is. How many EVs did PA have in 1864, and I know that it certainly won't change the election, what sort of effect might a (even slightly) closer election have?
 
How feasible might it be that Lee, after Gettysburg, marches on Harrisburg? How well defended was that city, beyond the Emergency Militia Regiments that the governor called up for the defence of the state?

I think either way, a defeat of Union forces in Pennsylvania might swing the state to McClellan, if it wasn't already a Democrat state, that is. How many EVs did PA have in 1864, and I know that it certainly won't change the election, what sort of effect might a (even slightly) closer election have?
What shape is his army in and what shape is Meade's in?

I don't know what Harrisburg had off the top of my head, but it's going to be reinforced if at all possible if he tries.
 

BlondieBC

Banned
What shape is his army in and what shape is Meade's in?

I don't know what Harrisburg had off the top of my head, but it's going to be reinforced if at all possible if he tries.
Wasn't Lee pretty low on supplies, hence he had his army in a wide looting formation when the battle began. He likely is too weak to take Washington and knows this provided Meade retreats in some sort of good order. I would not be surprised if Lee push towards Washington, and then realizes he can't take the city. Then he realizes his only option is to loot as much as he can for the next month or two before he again falls back into Virginia.

Now the point about Penn going against Lincoln makes sense, because the longer Lee stays north of Virginia the more Penn and Maryland suffers. But even if Lincoln lose Maryland and Penn, it is not a close election.

It is also important to remember that Gettysburg being the most important battle is a modern view, not the view at the time. Vicksburg was the most important battle, and it is where each Northern state built its memorial post war. So this is not really a "What if D-Day failed?" type question, but more a "What if D-Day went like OTL, but in Italy, we had to fall back to Naples?" type question. No where near enough to cost Lincoln the election.
 
Wasn't Lee pretty low on supplies, hence he had his army in a wide looting formation when the battle began. He likely is too weak to take Washington and knows this provided Meade retreats in some sort of good order. I would not be surprised if Lee push towards Washington, and then realizes he can't take the city. Then he realizes his only option is to loot as much as he can for the next month or two before he again falls back into Virginia.
Lee was low in supplies in Virginia, but his army was eating well in Pennsylvania - as for other supplies he's still able to fight.

But yeah, if Meade is able to stand between him and Washington, the ANV is no position to take the city. The most Lee can do here is mess with Union strategy for the Eastern theater in a way that allows him to tie up Union resources, and doing that on any really substantial level would take more than one win vs. the AotP.

I think Gettysburg was more relevant than Italy in WWII, but not Vicksburg of the East.
 

BlondieBC

Banned
I think Gettysburg was more relevant than Italy in WWII, but not Vicksburg of the East.
I was focusing more on the political impact that it was the secondary battle. So perhaps not Italy in 1944, but maybe the attack on Saipan failing. Something that you don't want to happen in an election year, but something you can say is a secondary, less important defeat. It is a lot easier to handle politically in an election cycle than losing THE big battle.

If you want Lincoln to not get reelected, a better scenario is for Grant to lose his entire army and Gettysburg to go like OTL. Now I know it is a hard to do with the confederate forces at hand, but Grant did take chances just like Sherman did. So perhaps on one of his aggressive moves leaving his supply train vulnerable, he could lose the supply train and find himself in a difficult situation. Politically, I think the Union needs to lose at least one major command for Lincoln to lose.
 
I was focusing more on the political impact that it was the secondary battle. So perhaps not Italy in 1944, but maybe the attack on Saipan failing. Something that you don't want to happen in an election year, but something you can say is a secondary, less important defeat. It is a lot easier to handle politically in an election cycle than losing THE big battle.
Except that with the Eastern theater - even then - attracting a disproportionate amount of the press attention, it would be blown out of proportion.

If you want Lincoln to not get reelected, a better scenario is for Grant to lose his entire army and Gettysburg to go like OTL. Now I know it is a hard to do with the confederate forces at hand, but Grant did take chances just like Sherman did. So perhaps on one of his aggressive moves leaving his supply train vulnerable, he could lose the supply train and find himself in a difficult situation. Politically, I think the Union needs to lose at least one major command for Lincoln to lose.
I agree with the last bit. Ideally in a way that leads to a Confederate advance - New Orleans or Nashville being retaken would sound disasterously bad even if the only real loss was the army - say Snake's scenario of Chattanooga being a Confederate triumph.

That's going to look ugly even if militarily the Union can probably pull something together given the will.
 
How feasible might it be that Lee, after Gettysburg, marches on Harrisburg? How well defended was that city, beyond the Emergency Militia Regiments that the governor called up for the defence of the state?
I'm remembering Gingrich's trilogy, which starts from Lee winning at Gettysburg. At least there, the Susquehanna floods, and Lee doesn't have enough bridging material to span that large a river. So, the Emergency Militia is able to stand beyond the river and give the AotP time to regroup. I haven't checked anything beyond there, but I'd think Gingrich would at least get the weather right.
 

BlondieBC

Banned
I agree with the last bit. Ideally in a way that leads to a Confederate advance - New Orleans or Nashville being retaken would sound disasterously bad even if the only real loss was the army - say Snake's scenario of Chattanooga being a Confederate triumph.

That's going to look ugly even if militarily the Union can probably pull something together given the will.
Grant came from the North through some very swampy land. I think it would be first Memphis the confederates would have to be regain. I guess if I was writing a TL, I would then have some cavalry raids break out north and make it into Illinois. The rebels were just so weak that Nashville seems way too far.
 
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