Gettysburg Essay

1281 words - 5 pages

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 the time it ended, itinvolved 160,00 Americans.Before the battle, major cities in the North such as Philadelphia, Baltimore and even Washington itself, were underthreat of attack from General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia which had crossed thePotomac River and marched into Pennsylvania.the Union Army of the Potomac under its new and untried commander, General George G. Meade, marched tointercept Lee.On Tuesday morning, June 30, an infantry brigade of Confederate soldiers searching for shoes headed towardGettysburg (population about 2,400). The Confederate commander looked through his field glasses and spotted along column of Federal cavalry heading toward the town. He withdrew his brigade and informed his superior, Hen.Henry Heth, who in turn told his superior, A.P. Hill, he would go back the following morning and "get those shoes".This kinda of tells you how much of an advantage the North had over the South. Desperate bare-footed men riskedtheir lives for shoes.Wednesday, July 1, two divisions of Confederates headed back to Gettysburg. They ran into Federal cavalry west ofthe town at Willoughby Run (I have Willoughby Run on my model here) and the skirmish began. Events quicklyescalated. Lee rushed 25,000 men to the scene while the Union had less than 20,000.After much fierce fighting and heavy casualties on both sides, the Federals were pushed back through the town ofGettysburg and regrouped south of the town along the high ground near the cemetery (which is here on my map).Lee ordered Confederate General R.S. Ewell to seize the high ground from the battle tired Federals . Gen. Ewellhesitated to attack thereby giving the Union troops a chance to dig in along Cemetery Ridge and bring inreinforcements with artillery. By the time Lee realized Ewell had not attacked, it was too late to attempt the attack.Meade arrived at the area and thought it was an ideal place to do battle with the Rebel army. He expected a massivenumber of Union soldiers totaling up to 100,000to arrive and strengthen his defensive position.Confederate General James Lonstreet saw the Union position as nearly impenetrable and told Lee it should be leftalone. He argued that the Confederate Army should instead move east between the Union Army and Washington andbuild a defensive position thus forcing the Federals to attack them instead. But Lee believed his army was invincibleand he also didn't have his cavalry which served as his eyes and ears. With his cavalry he could track the Unionstroop movements. Cavalry leader Jev Stuart had gone off with his troops to harass the Federals leaving Lee with adisadvantage.Lee decided to attack the Union Army's defensive position at the southern end of Cemetery Ridge which he thoughtwas less defended.Around 10 a.m. the next...

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