1 July 1863

American Civil War: The Battle of Gettysburg begins.

The Battle of Gettysburg was a significant battle fought from July 1 to July 3, 1863, during the American Civil War. It took place in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This battle is often considered the turning point of the Civil War because it marked the last major Confederate attempt to invade the North.

The Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Major General George G. Meade.
The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, led by General Robert E. Lee.

General Lee sought to bring the war into the North to relieve pressure on Virginia’s farmlands during the harvest season and to sway Northern public opinion against continuing the war.
Lee’s army moved into Pennsylvania, with the hope of winning a decisive victory on Northern soil.

Battle Overview:
Day 1 (July 1, 1863): Confederate forces attacked Union cavalry, initially gaining ground. However, Union reinforcements arrived, and they retreated to stronger positions on high ground south of the town.
Day 2 (July 2, 1863): Fighting occurred at locations such as Little Round Top, the Wheatfield, Devil’s Den, and the Peach Orchard. Despite fierce fighting, the Union lines held.
Day 3 (July 3, 1863): The battle’s climax came with Pickett’s Charge, where about 12,500 Confederate soldiers made a direct assault on the center of the Union lines at Cemetery Ridge. The charge was repulsed with heavy Confederate losses.

The Union victory at Gettysburg ended Lee’s invasion of the North.
The Confederates suffered around 28,000 casualties (killed, wounded, captured, or missing), about one-third of Lee’s army.
Union forces had approximately 23,000 casualties.
The battle was one of the bloodiest in American history.

The Union victory bolstered Northern morale and weakened the Confederacy’s ability to wage war.
It marked a turning point in the Civil War, as Confederate forces were largely on the defensive thereafter.
The Gettysburg Address, delivered by President Abraham Lincoln four months later, further emphasized the significance of the battle and redefined the purpose of the war, highlighting the principles of liberty and equality.