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Civil War Spring

Page history last edited by wikiuser0112 13 years ago

Civil War


Before the battle of Gettysburg

By: Eduardo Madera

Before the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1st to July 3rd in 1863 there were several key events before the war. Major cities in North Pennsylvania such as Philadelphia, Baltimore and even Washington were under threat of attack from General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia which had crossed the Potomac River and marched into Pennsylvania. Beginning in April 12, 1861 the confederates attack Fort Sumter which then leads to the Civil war. After the confederates attack Fort Sumter General Lee leads the confederate troops to victory at Chancellorsville, Virginia during May 1-3 in 1863. During June 28, 1863 General Robert E. Lee and General James Longstreet are in Chambersburg, PA and receive word that the Federal Army of the Potomac is heading into Pennsylvania. On a Tuesday morning, June 30, the Confederate soldiers were searching for shoes headed toward Gettysburg which in a population 2,400 people. Then on a Wednesday morning, July 1, General Lee and his confederates decide to have two divisions of Confederates headed back to Gettysburg. When the attacks happen Lee rushed 25,000 men to the scene while the Union had less than 20,000 for the battle.


The Battle of Gettysburg: Day two 

By: Chris Gibson

 July 2nd 1863 was the second day of three that helped determine the outcome of the Civil War.  It was the calmest of the three day event with the two armies trying to get position over the other.   The Union army which had taken a beating retreated to the defensive positions along the Culp's Hill, Cemetery Hill, and Cemetery Ridge and prepared for the anticipated attack from the Confederates.  With the weather in the morning being foggy and the reinforcements arriving late the attacks were halted.  The halted attacks also allowed the Union army time to have their reinforcements get into position along the thinning flanks.   "I went, it is not long ago, to stand again on that crest whose one day's crown of fire has passed into the blazoned coronet of fame...I sat there alone, on the storied crest, till the sun went down as it did before over the misty hills, and the darkness crept up the slopes, till from all earthly sight I was buried as with those before. But oh, what radiant companionship rose around, what steadfast ranks of power, what bearing of heroic souls. Oh, the glory that beamed through those nights and days...The proud young valor that rose above the mortal, and then at last was mortal after all." (Chamberlain, 1913)

The Battle of Gettysburg:  3rd Day and Pickett’s Charge

(note:  a map of the day's troop positions and movements may be found at the bottom of the page)

By: James Alger


It’s the morning of July 3rd, 1863.  Two armies stand entrenched in a small Pennsylvania town called Gettysburg.  The Union army of the Potomac, under the direction of General George Meade, stands entrenched in a fishhook formation along Cemetery ridge between Big and Little Round Top and Culp’s hill (Heiser).  It is a time of stalemate between Meade and General Robert E. Lee, but Little do they know today would go down in history as a turning point in the American Civil War.

            The night of July 2nd concluded with Confederate General Johnson threatening the Union army on their right flank at the bottom of Culp’s hill.  As this threatened the main supply route for Meade’s men, a meeting was held that same night between officers.  As a result, the first shots of July 3rd echoed out at four in the morning.  Union troops opened fire as the Confederates were planning their own offensive (Heiser), and they managed to drive the rebels back.

            News of this came as a major setback to General Lee, who had hoped that General Johnson’s position at Culp’s hill would let him flank and cut off supplies for the Union army.  With no other options in sight, Lee decided to give the Union line all he had.  Due to the attack at Culp’s hill in the morning, as well as Lee’s directive to his cavalry officer, J.E.B. Stuart, to flank the Union army, Lee presumed that the central line of Meade’s men would be thinned due to relocation to the flanks (Heiser).  He gave the command to prepare the artillery for a barrage on the Union line, followed by a large infantry assault.

            Around 1 o’clock, roughly 120 confederate cannon opened fire.  Startled, the Union artillerymen jumped to their guns as well and both sides of battle soon became blocked from sight by smoke.  After roughly an hour of continuous bombardment, the cannons slackened and the order was given from Lee’s corps commander, General Longstreet, for the infantry to move forward.  Roughly 12,000 men, with General Pickett’s division leading the charge, emerged from the Confederate line and marched toward Cemetery ridge.

            As they got out in the open, the Confederates found themselves under fire from the Union guns they thought had been suppressed (Williams).  As shells flew into their ranks and musket balls tore through the lines, the soldiers pressed onward.  Officers spurred their men on, until Brigadier General Lewis Armistead’s group of men managed to push through the Union line.  Roughly 300 Confederates pushed through with him, but were eventually brought back under control.  No other group managed to reach the Union line, and those who could began retreating towards the Confederate line.  Pickett’s charge had failed.

            As the rebels ran back to their own lines, Union soldiers picked up guns and equipment dropped by the dead.  Officers who looked upon the fields saw countless bodies, and prisoners were disarmed and carried off.  In response to the carnage, General Alexander Hays remarked “The angel of death alone can produce such a field as was presented.”

            As the day came to a close, Lee knew he could not stay in Pennsylvania.  During the night, he gave the order to retreat back to Virginia.  The battle of Gettysburg became a Union victory.  After this point, the war continued to go downhill for the south.  However, the valor and sacrifice displayed by the men of Lee, Pickett, and Meade alike was forever immortalized; a testament to the courage of man no matter what side he chooses.


To download the map, click this link.



Works Cited

Heiser, John.  “July 3- ‘I will strike him there...’”  The Gettysburg National Military Park Virtual Tour.  April 2004. National Park Service.  1 May 2011. <http://www.nps.gov/archive/gett/getttour/day3-det.htm>


Bachelder, John B.  “Map of the battle field of Gettysburg. July 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 1863 Published by authority of the

Hon. the Secretary of War, office of the Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army, 1876. Positions of troops compiled and added for the Government by John B. Bachelder.” Map. 1876. Library of Congress.  1 May 2011.<http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/gmd:@filreq(@field(NUMBER+@band(g3824g+cw0325000c))+@field(COLLID+cwmap))>


Williams, Brian.  “Battle of Gettysburg:  Day 3”  10 February 2007.  Military History Online. 2 May                2011. <http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/gettysburg/getty3.as



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