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The Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg is a famous civil war battle that was fought on July first through the third, in
1863. It is considered the turning point in the civil war. The Union general George Gordon Meade
commanded the Army of the Potomac. This army had about 85,000 soldiers. The Confederate army was
commanded by General Robert E. Lee and had about 75,000 soldiers. After the Confederates obtained
victory in the Battle of Chancelorsville, Lee divided his army into three corps. These three corps were
commanded by three different lieutenant generals, James Longstreet, Richard Stoddert Ewell, and Ambrose
Powell Hill. General Lee then made a plan for invading Pennsylvania hoping that he can avoid a federal
offensive in Virginia. Lee hoped that the invasion might increase Northern weariness and lead to the North
recognizing the Confederate States as independent. So to put his plan in motion he moved his army across
the Blue Ridge Mountains, up the Shenandoah Valley, and cros!
sing Maryland, entered Pennsylvania where he had his whole army at Gettysburg.
The battle began on July , with Hillís brigades encountering the federal cavalry division
commanded by Major General John Buford. Buford was supported by infantry under Major General John
Fulton Reynolds. Hill encountered a strong resistance and the fighting was equally matched until Ewell
forced federal troops to move from their forward positions to Culpís Hill and Cemetery Ridge, southeast of
Gettysburg. On July 2, Meade moved his forced into the shape of a horseshoe that extended west from
Culpís Hill and south along the Cemetery Ridge to the hills of Little Round Top and Round Top. The
Confederates were formed in a long, thin line with Ewell and Longstreet at the ends and Hill in the center.
Despite the advice of Longstreet, Lee decided to attack the federal positions. Longstreet could not
attack until late afternoon so the federal troops had time to prepare for the oncoming battle. The federal
troops held Little Round Top and Cemetery Ridge but lost their positions in the Peach Orchard and Devilís
Den. Ewell and his troops could not break the federal line on Culpís Hill or on the eastern part of
Cemetery Ridge. On the night of July 2, Meade held a war council in which the decision was made not to
retreat. The next morning, the federal troops stormed Culpís Hill and retook the ground they lost in the
previous battle. Major General George Edward Pickett then led his own and two other confederate
divisions in a charge on Cemetery Ridge on the federal troops who were running low on ammo. He
breached Meade first defense line but couldnít continue any farther. Pickett fell back after losing three-
fourths of his troops.
After the denial of Pickettís charge, the Battle of Gettysburg was pretty much over. On July 4,
Lee began his retreat to Virginia. During the three days of battle the federal army lost 3,070 to death,
14,497 of them were wounded, and 5,434 were captured or missing. The Confederates lost 2,592 to death,
12,706 were wounded, and 5,150 were captured or missing. The Battle of Gettysburg was the turning point
in the war because the North defeated the Confederate invasion and from that point on forced them to fight
a defensive war that they didnít have the resources to win.
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Military personnel, Gettysburg Battlefield, Geography of Pennsylvania, American Civil War, Gettysburg National Military Park, National Register of Historic Places in Adams County, Pennsylvania, Battle of Gettysburg, Gettysburg Campaign, James Longstreet, Richard S. Ewell, George Pickett, Little Round Top
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