May 1863, Robert E. Lee led his Army of Northern Virginia in its second invasion of the North. Lee intended to collect supplies in Pennsylvania farmland and take the fighting away from 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 in the North.
Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker moved his Union Army of the Potomac in pursuit, but was relieved of command just three days before the battle. Lee concentrated his army around Gettysburg.
Two armies collided west and north of the town on July 1, 1863. John Buford slowed the Confederates until Union infantry, the Union 1st and 11th Corps, arrived. 30,000 Confederates ultimately defeated 20,000 Yankees.
On the second day of battle, the Union defended a range of hills and ridges that was fish- hooked shaped, south of Gettysburg with around 90,000 soldiers. Confederates surrounded the union with 90,000 soldiers.
Lee launched a heavy assault on the Unions left flank, fighting raged at Devil's Den, Little Round Top, the Wheatfield, the Peach Orchard and Cemetery Ridge. The Unions demonstrations escalated into full-scale assaults on Culp's Hill and East Cemetery Hill. The Confederates gained ground, but Union defenders still held strong positions by the end of the day.
On July 3, fighting resumed on Culp's Hill, and cavalry battles raged to the east and south. The main event was an assault by 12,000 confederates on Cemetary Ridge.
The Union took control with riffle and artillery fire and caused a great loss to the Confederates. Lee led his army on a dangerous and terrifying retreat back to Virginia. 51,000 soldiers from both armies were killed, wounded, captured or missing in the three-day battle.
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.
According to local studies The Battle of Gettysburg started without the knowledge or consent of either army commander -- Lee or Meade. Also statistics say - The Battle of Gettysburg was fought on some of the hottest days of the summer. The hottest time of the month, nearly 90 degrees, was right during Pickett's Charge on July 3rd. While each of the three days of the Battle of Gettysburg rank in the top 15 bloodiest battles of the Civil War—the 160,000 troops present at Gettysburg are eclipsed by the more than 185,000 at Fredericksburg.
Entry #10 - Technology
Technology improved majorly at the Battle of Getysburg. For example, weapons such as the Gatling gun, faster-loading rifles with rifling in the barrels, and the new, deadlier ammunition called the min-ball were used. Later on in the war carbine rifles came into use, allowing soldiers to fire six or seven rounds before reloading at the breech. The modern railway was also a technology used.
Entry #11- Some Strategies
Tactics were influenced by the weapons used. When forming for battle, infantry formations marched and fought in a two-rank line of battle, with the men shoulder to shoulder. A line of battle gave the commander the ability to concentrate the firepower of these weapons at a given target. When opposing lines closed within musket range, they opened fire at their opponents. The object was to gain/turn the flank of their opponent’s line, or drive them from the field.
It is one of the more remarkable campaigns of the American Civil War. Ulysses S. Grant and his Army of the Tennessee had been trying to wrest away the strategic Confederate river of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Previous events were blocked by revel counter moves.
April 1863, Grant took on a new and bold campaign against Vicksburg and the confederate defenders.
After conducting a surprise landing below Vicksburg at Bruinsburg, Mississippi, Grant’s forces moved rapidly inland, pushing back the threat posed by Joseph E. Johnston’s forces near Jackson. Once it was clear, Grant again wanted to take on Vicksburg.
Union victories at Champion Hill and Big Black Bridge weakened Pemberton’s forces, leaving the Confederate chief with no alternative but to retreat to Vicksburg's defenses.
The federals attacked the Rebels stronghold on May 19 and 22. They were repulsed with such great loss that Grant determined to lay a military operation to the city to avoid further loss of life.
Soldiers and civilians alike took on the brutal military operation for 47 agonizing days. For a civilian population unfamiliar with war, the exploding shells that fell among them caused shock and terror. The Union fleet pounded Vicksburg with thousands of shells, but the bombardment did relatively minor damage and casualties were light.
Fortunately, many of the civilians trapped in Vicksburg had lived through the 1862 naval Cave Dwellers bombardment of the city, and had already learned to protect themselves by digging caves for shelter. The loess soil of Vicksburg made digging caves very easy.
Breaking news Pemberton’s forces surrender July 4th, 1863. With the Mississippi River now firmly in Union hands, the Confederacy's fate was all but sealed. The people of Vicksburg do not have to live in fear anymore.
Entry #9- Technology
About one-quarter of the army were armed with second-class muskets of both European and American design during the Vicksburg Battle. Even with a light marching load, the typical soldier was still carrying 40 – 50 pounds of equipment. This was as much as most soldiers could carry on a daily basis without placing too great a burden on themselves. The typical items carried by Union and Confederate soldiers were: Knapsack, blanket, canteen, carterage boxes and equipment belts.
Entry # 10- Leaders
Union: Ulysess S. Grant
Confederates: John C. Pemberton