By the last days of August 1863 President Abraham Lincoln believed that the North had gained the upper hand against the Confederacy. In July, Vicksburg in the West and Gettysburg in southern Pennsylvania had been clear Northern victories.
Rosecrans had punished Bragg’s Confederates in Tennessee, and a major effort was currently underway against Charlestown, South Carolina, where the war had started in 1861. With these endeavors, Lincoln on Wednesday, August 26, 1863 wrote his supporters in Springfield, Illinois, acknowledging, “I do not believe any compromise, embracing the maintenance of the Union, is now possible.”
By inference, Lincoln also could have added to that statement the words “or necessary.” Union victory on the battlefield strengthened the president’s resolve to see the South defeated; compromise was no longer either possible or even necessary.