The Battle Of Gettysbury Essay Research Paper

The Battle Of Gettysbury Essay, Research Paper

The Battle of Gettysburg

The battle of Gettysburg was the turning point in the American Civil War.

When looking at the causes of the Civil War, and eventually the Battle of Gettysburg, one

must understand the differences between the differences between the North and the South.

The South was fighting the war because they believed that the government treated them

unfairly. They believed that the government overtaxing them, with tariffs and property taxes.

On the other hand the North was fighting the war for two reasons. first to keep the Nation

together and second to abolish slavery.In almost every category: manufacturing, amrywise and

moneywise the North was better off. This set the stage for a very monumental battle we now

call Gettysburg!

The battle of Chancellorsville had just ended and during that battle General

Robert E. Lee made the historic decision to divide his already outmanned and outgunned Army

of Northern Virginia. Lee created three corps from his 75,000 men, which mad it easier for him

to accomplish more tasks in the same amount of time. Lee decided to the offensive role of the

battle by invading Pennsylvania and Maryland in an attempt to end the war quickly by

threatening the northern capitol and waging ?total war? on the Northern citizens. Unfortunately,

for Lee because of General Stuart?s joyriding he was left without and clue to the whereabouts,

intentions, strengths, or capabilities of the Union Army of the Potomac. Lee did not know that

Meade(a union commander) was marching straight for him with almost 82,000 men, and more

importantly, a competent and mission orientend calvary commander, John Buford.

July 1, 1863 was the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg. The battle begun

when some of General Ambrose Powell Hill?s advance brigades entered the small town of

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania looking for shoes. Because of General Stuart?s failure to complete

his mission of tracking the Union army, Hill?s troops encountered a Union calvary division

commanded by Major General John Bufford. During battle in front of Cemetery Hill,

General Hill encountered resistance from the Union forces which were trying to hold

the Confederates off until more Union troops could help them. The fighting went on until

General Richard S. Ewell arrived and forced the federal troops to retreat to better ground

southeast of Gettysburg. Although the Confederated won the day, Ewell made the mistake of

not allowing General Hill to force the Union forces further back leaving the Union with the

high ground

On the following day, July 2, General George Gordon Meade, commander

of the Union Army of the Potomac arrived, along with the majority of the army. He formed his

forces in a horseshoe formation, anchored at Big and Little Round Top on the west, Culp?s Hill

on the east, and dug in behind a stone wall along Cemetery Ridge. Determined to annihilate

the Army of the Potomac once and for all, and end the war swiftly, General Lee ordered an

attack. The attack was delayed time and time again, eventually kicking off just before

noon and failing soon after that. Confederate gains were limited to the Peach Orchard and a

sector of Culp?s Hill( soon to be lost to a Union counterattack). The second day concluded with

with planning for the third and final day. General Meade and the federal forces believed that an

attack would come, but expected an attack at the same place that it had happened earlier that


General Lee was determined to strike at the center of the Union army in the belief that Meade

would move most of his forces up the flanks that had been barely held on the second day.

The morning of July 3rd brought along little besides light firing by both sides.

Preparations for the South?s attack were delayed again, but the half hearted attack began around

noon with the infamous Picket?s Charge. Major General George Picket, a division commander

Longstreet, led roughly 13,000 men across hundreds of yards of open field, across a road and

a number of fences, and up the side of Cemetery Ridge, all the time while under fire from the

Union cannons. This assault and its achievements in the face of all odds are a incredible

tribute to the leadership of General Lee, Longstreet, and Picket. In mentioning the incredible

leadership of the Confederacy one must also mention the heroic stand of the Union troops, from

the first day and the dismounted calvary of John Buford to the third day and the combined

effort of the entire Army of the Potomac.

On the night of July 3rd, General Lee and the Confederate Army began there

retreat back to Virginia. During the costly three days the Union casualties were: 3,070 soldiers

killed, 14,497 wounded and 5,434 captured or missing. The Confederated suffered 2,592 deaths,

12,706 wounded and 5,150 captured or missing. Gettysburg had important psychological effects

also, demoralizing the South and causing the North to celebrate a great victory with Abraham

Lincoln?s Gettysburg Address. Although the casualties seem pretty equal, the Battle of

Gettysburg second and last great invasion of the North, for the South had neither the arms or

numbers to continue an assault, but the war dragged on for two more years.


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