Essay Battle of Gettysburg

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Battle of Gettysburg

This most famous and most important Civil War Battle occurred over three hot summer days, July 1 to July 3, 1863, around the small market town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It began as a skirmish but by its end involved 160,000 Americans.
Before the battle, major cities in the North 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.

The Union Army of the Potomac under its very new and untried commander, General George G. Meade, marched to intercept Lee.

On Tuesday morning, June 30, an infantry brigade of Confederate soldiers searching for shoes
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Cavalry leader Jeb Stuart had gone off with his troops to harass the Federals. Stuart's expedition would turn out to be for the most part a wild goose chase which left Lee at a disadvantage until he returned.

Lee decided to attack the Union Army's defensive position at the southern end of Cemetery Ridge which he thought was less well defended.

About 10 a.m. the next morning, Thursday, July 2, Gen. Longstreet was ordered by Lee to attack. But Longstreet was quite slow in getting his troops into position and didn't attack until 4 p.m. that afternoon thus giving the Union Army even more time to strengthen its position.

When Longstreet attacked, some of the most bitter fighting of the Civil War erupted at places now part of American military folklore such as Little Round Top, Devil's Den, the Wheat Field and the Peach Orchard. Longstreet took the Peach Orchard but was driven back at Little Round Top.

About 6:30 p.m. Gen. Ewell attacked the Union line from the north and east at Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill. The attack lasted into darkness but was finally unsuccessful at Cemetery Hill, although the Rebels seized some trenches on Culp's Hill.

By about 10:30 p.m., the day's fighting came to an end. The Federals had lost some ground during the Rebel onslaught but still held the strong defensive position along Cemetery Ridge.

Both sides regrouped and counted their causalities while the

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