Gettysburg Essay

1101 words - 4 pages

The most important battle of the Civil War After much fierce fighting and heavy casualties on both sides, the Federals were pushed back through the town of Gettysburg 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. Ewell hesitated to attack thereby giving the Union troops a chance to dig in along Cemetery Ridge and bring in reinforcements 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 massive number 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 left alone. He argued that the Confederate Army should instead move east between the Union Army and Washington and build a defensive position thus forcing the Federals to attack them instead. But Lee believed his army was invincible and he also didn't have his cavalry which served as his eyes and ears. With his cavalry he could track the Unions troop movements. Cavalry leader Jev Stuart had gone off with his troops to harass the Federals leaving Lee with a disadvantage.Lee decided to attack the Union Army's defensive position at the southern end of Cemetery Ridge which he thought was less defended.Around 10 a.m. the next morning, Thursday, July 2, Gen. Lonstreet was ordered by Lee to attack. but Lonstreet was quite slow in getting his troops into position and didn't even attack them until 4 p.m. that afternoon. This gave the Union Army more time to strengthen their 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 (which can all be seen on my model). 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 (which can be seen on my model also). The attack lasted into darkness but was finally decided unsuccessful at Cemetery Hill, although Rebels seized some trenches on Culp's Hill.By about 10:30 p.m., the day's fighting came to and 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.Generals from each side gathered in war councils to plan for the coming day. Union commander Meade decided his army would remain in place and wait for Lee to attack. On the Confederate side, Longstreet once again tried to talk Lee out of attacking such a strong position. But lee thought the beaten up Union soldiers were nearly done and fall under one...

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