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Gettysburg Essay

1638 words - 7 pages

The Civil War was fought between the Northern and Southern parts of the United States of America, since there were many disputes between the two regions. The South called themselves the Confederates, while the North called themselves the Union army.2
The battle of Gettysburg was one of the most horrific battles of the Civil War. Over fifty thousand soldiers were found dead, wounded, or went missing in a period of three days, July 1-3 of 1863. That is the most number of casualties that has occurred during any battle in American history.3 The battle took place in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where President Lincoln made a speech entitle the Gettysburg Address five months later, on November 19th of 1863.4
General Robert E. Lee, of the Confederate Army, decided to invade the North in June of 1863. Thus, Lee and his seventy-five-thousand-man army began to march towards Gettysburg, coming from Fredericksburg, Virginia. In order to make his troops more manageable, General Lee divided his army of two corps into three corps. James Longstreet was to command the First Corps, Lieutenant General Richard S. Ewell was put in charge of the Second Corps, and Lieutenant General A.P. Hill gained control of the Third Corps.5
Major General Joseph Hooker commanded the Union Army of Potomac. There were over ninety thousand men in his army. Later, President Abraham Lincoln would replace Hooker with Major General George G. Meade, since Hooker had proved to be a failure during the previous battles.6
In the middle of June, the Confederate Army crossed the Potomac River and entered Maryland and southern Pennsylvania.7 Hooker's Union Army followed, staying between Washington D.C. and the Confederates, so that in order for Lee's army to attack the capital, they would have to get through the Union Army first. Trying to avoid the Union army, General Lee allowed J.E.B. Stuart to take some of the troops and go around the Union army. Meanwhile, in a controversial move, Lee allowed J.E.B. Stuart to take a portion of the army's cavalry and ride around the Union army. The plan did not work, however, because Lee had not given clear orders, and Stuart was an incompetent officer. Therefore, Stuart and Lee's three best brigades were not present in the army during the first two days of the Battle of Gettysburg.8
On June 29, Lee had his army in the form of an arc from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania to Harrisburg and Wrightsville, on the Susquehanna River. General Hooker then requested to resign, after having an argument over whether or not he should use the army to defend the Harpers Ferry Garrison.9 Abraham Lincoln, who had been looking for an excuse to fire Hooker, accepted the resignation and replaced him with Major General George Meade on June 28.10
On the same day, General Lee learned that the Union Army had crossed the Potomac River, and he ordered a part of Lieutenant General Hill's Corps to gather around Cashtown, which was located west of Gettysburg. On June 30, on...

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