An Unexpected Turn

Battle of Gettysburg 5/01-03/1863

Bloodiest Battle

Being the turn point of the war and in favor of the Union Army the battle of Gettysburg was one of the bloodiest battle of the civil war resulting in 51,000 men being killed, wounded, capture or missing in only three days.

Union Generals

Confederate Generals

How the Battle

After his victory at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Lee led his army to the second invasion of the North. With his army in high spirit Lee intended to collect supplies in the abundant Pennsylvania farmland and take the fighting away from war-ravaged Virginia.He wanted to threaten Northern cities, weaken the North's appetite for war and, especially, win a major battle on Northern soil and strengthen the peace movement in the North. When Meade hear about Lee's intentions he moved his army in between Lee's forces and Washington DC. When Lee learned that Meade was in Pennsylvania, Lee concentrated his army around Gettysburg.

July 1, 1863: First Day of the Battle

On July 1,1863 element of the two army's collided. Union cavalry under Brig. Gen. John Buford slowed down Lee's forces until Union's infantry arrived, which were the 1st and 11th corps. Having numbers on their side with 30,000 soldiers, Confederate General Ewell defeated the two corps making them fall back to Gettysburg.

July 2, 1863: Second Day of the Battle

On the second day of the battle the union with the size of around 90,000 men assumed an upside down hook-like defense line south of Gettysburg, Meade kept his 5th corps behind the line and General Sedgwick with the 6th corps on the way were ready to immediately fill in gaps in the line that would allow Lee's forces to hit Union's Flanks. On that afternoon Lee launched a heavy assault on the Union left flank, and fierce fighting raged at Devil's Den, Little Round Top, the Wheatfield, the Peach Orchard and Cemetery Ridge.With Lee's assault the confederate army gained land, but the Union held their position strong by the end of the day.

July 3,1863: Third Day of the Battle

On July 3, the Battle continued in Culp's Hill, and cavalry battles raged to the east and south, but the main dramatic event was Picket's Charge (led by General Longstreet) in the center of Union's line with 12,000 infantry men on Commentary Ridge, which ended up being repulse by Union's rifle and artillery fire, a great looses for the Confederate army. Lee led his army on a torturous retreat back to Virginia.

Gettysburg Address

Four months after the battle, President Lincoln used the dedication ceremony for Gettysburg's Soldiers National Cemetery to honor the fallen Union soldiers and redefine the purpose of the war in his historic Gettysburg Address.