Battle of Gettysburg

An HMS American Cultures collaborative production

The Battle of Gettysburg was one of the most memorable and important battles of the Civil War. The days of July 1st, 2nd, and 3rd 1863 were 3 days that meant so much to the future of America. These days and this battle were a climax of the Civil War. The 2 opposing sides, the Confederates (South), lead by General Robert E. Leewho commanded an army of 75,000 men, and the Union, lead by General George G. Meadewho commanded 97,000 men, met by accident in the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Day 1 of the battle, The Confederates started things off by attacking the Union on McPherson Ridge which was west of the town. Even though outnumbered, George Meade and the Union drove the Confederates back. Later on the South came back and drove the Union back through town. Thousands of Union troops were captured before they could reach Cemetery Hill. This was absolutely perfect for the Confederacy! The Confederates relied on capturing opponent Union Soldiers. If a man was killed on the Confederate side, then he couldn't be replaced so the Confederates relied on slave trades which allowed both sides to give a certain amount of slaves captured back to their normal side. That's why the Confederates were really desperate with capturing the opponent's men. The more men they captured that day, they more men they got back which got mean winning or losing the war. Day 2, The armies were stationed a mile apart. The Union was on Cemetery Ridge facing West towards the Confederates on Seminary Ridge. The Confederate's attack on East Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill was devastating as it ended in a blow away. The Confederates stood no chance against the entrenched Union men stationed here. In the Southern part of Lee's other attack, the Confederates broke through the Union's advancing lines heading for the Peach Orchard. They left the Wheatfield and Plum Run as a graveyard of all the casualties like the dead and wounded and left Devil's Den to smithereens. If it wasn't for the sight of General G. K. Warren, then the Union might not of kept Little Round Top. He took control of the Hill noticing it was unmanned which saved the Union for that day. The lack of effective communication proved to be the downfall of the Confederates this day. Day 3, Lee pressed the attack towards Cemetery Ridge where the Union was positioned. The South had opened up an attack of bombardment which was not executed as well as it should have been. It had absolutely no effect on the Union soldiers and it did not help as much as Lee wanted it to. Then, on that day, July 3rd, 1863, one of the most memorable moments of the war took place. This was the climax of Gettysburg. General George E. Pickett of the Confederacy made a very risky maneuver that could help win the war for slavery. Pickett needed to succeed in this battle. In a desperate attempt for victory, he led a 15,000 Confederate troop assault toward the Union lines on Cemetery Ridge. Pickett and his men marched an entire mile while being attacked by artillery and rifle fire from the Union. Anybody would say that this was a magnificent effort, but unfortunately for the South, it ended in disaster. The Confederates failed to break the Union lines and in just 50 minutes, 66 percent of those men, 10,000 out of 15,000, became casualties of the Confederacy. This was one of the most incredible efforts in military history, it was later referred to as: Pickett's Charge. After that last desperate attempted to save the battle for the Confederacy, the Union came out victorious for the Battle of Gettysburg. This battle was believed to be the turning point of the war. Even though the Union obviously won, neither side had a reason to celebrate. In that battle alone there were 50,000 casualties. In fact, more Americans died that battle than any other battle previously fought on American soil.

Online Sources:

"George Edward Pickett." Civil War Home. 18 May 2009. <>
"George Gordon Meade." Civil War Home. 18 May 2009. <>
"Gettysburg Pennsylvania July 1-3 1863" American Civil War Battle. 15 May 2009. <>
"Robert E. Lee." Wikipedia. 18 May 2009. <>
"Cemetery Ridge." Wikipedia. 30 May 2010 <>.