The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle is often described as the war's turning point.Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, ending Lee's invasion of the North.
During the three-day event, re-enactors dressed in winter-weight wool uniforms will fire blanks from their cannons, rifles and muskets and douse themselves in fake blood. The re-enactment is being held at The Bushey Farm on Pumping Station Road, two miles southwest of the original battle site. (The National Park Service does not allow re-enactments to take place on the battlefield.)
For the July 4th holiday also marks another major American historical milestone — the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, which took place from July 1st to July 3rd in 1863. For American war reenactors, the battle is the Gettysburg of their annual reenactment calendar...Reenacting the War Between the States took off as early as the 50th anniversary of Gettysburg in 1913, when veterans from both the old Confederacy and the Union returned to that battlefield. The veterans, many in their 70s, were reduced to waving their canes as they reenacted Pickett's Charge,
It is where our greatest gods of war clashed for three days and decided the nations fate; it is where our most revered president set forth both the promise and the hope of the nation's future...the "last full measure of devotion" as Lincoln aptly called it, and it is difficult not to see that act of sacrifice as something precious, something holy, something grandly divine. Thousands of lives were lost on every battlefield in that great and terrible war, and yet Gettysburg resonates with the deepest spiritual connections, hearkening the soul back to the bowers, forging a tangible link with the past that can, for many people, be felt and not just seen
On 4 July his (General Lee) army was too battered to launch another assault. Meade’s army was in slightly better shape, although was not in a fit state to launch its own counterattack. After staying in place at Gettysburg until about one in the afternoon of 4 July, Lee began a skilful retreat back to Virginia. The great gamble had failed. As Lee was pulling back from Gettysburg, the garrison of Vicksburg on the Mississippi was marching out to surrender. East and west the Union was victorious.
On July 3, 1863, Confederate troops attacked the center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge. After a cannonade raged for about two hours, Gen. Robert E. Lee ordered his Confederate infantry to attack. More than 14,000 Confederate troops advanced across the field toward Cemetery Ridge; a deluge of artillery shot and shell raked their lines...The attack that became known to history as Pickett's Charge concluded with a Confederate defeat and also ended the Battle of Gettysburg
The armies at Gettysburg were organized with three to five regiments forming a brigade, two to four brigades forming a division, and two to three divisions forming a corps. Cavalry engaged in classic mounted charges, especially in the large cavalry actions fought on July 3. They frequently fought on foot (dismounted) like infantry.
The artillery supported the infantry and cavalry. Batteries with four to six guns deployed on the crests of ridges and hills to achieve better fields of fire.
Late in the afternoon of July 2, 1863, on a boulder-strewn hillside in southern Pennsylvania, Union Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain dashed headlong into history, leading his 20th Maine Regiment in perhaps the most famous counterattack of the Civil War. The regiment’s sudden, desperate bayonet charge blunted the Confederate assault on Little Round Top and has been credited with saving Major General George Gordon Meade’s Army of the Potomac, winning the Battle of Gettysburg and setting the South on a long, irreversible path to defeat.
The first day’s fighting ended in a Southern victory, but the battle was not over. The high ground of McPherson’s Ridge was lost to the Union, but a rout of the Federal forces had been stemmed on other high ground: East Cemetery Hill, Cemetery Ridge, and Culp’s Hill, running from due south to southeast of town. The Confederates occupied some high ground, too: Oak Hill, northwest of town, and Seminary Ridge, due west of Gettysburg.
The Invasion of Pennsylvania would hopefully serve several purposes. First, a victory on Northern soil could bring much needed foreign recognition for the Confederate government. Second, it was hoped that a Southern victory in the North would strengthen the anti-war movement and bring about a negotiated settlement. Third, invading the north would allow the Confederate troops to forage off the rich Pennsylvania land and relieve pressure on the Virginia farmers. Finally, Lee believed that invading the North and threatening Washington would lead to a recall of Union troops in the West, thereby relieving the pressure on Vicksburg .
July 1st through the 3rd in 1863 was the turning point of the Civil War. With Americans pitted against Americans, the Battle of Gettysburg proved to be the beginning of the end for the War against ourselves. After the bloody three day battle, with around 50,000 casualties on both sided, the Union was victorious.