The Battle of Gettysburg
General William T. Sherman put it best when he said "War is Hell"( Foote 1 ). The Civil War was the largest war fought on American soil. Over a million lives were lost and millions more were affected. Billions of dollars were spent by the United States and billions were spent by the Confederate States to fund this war.
Three days were spent in the month of July of 1863 in pure "hell." The largest battle of the Civil War was fought near a small town in Pennsylvania. Over 50,000 lives were lost on battle grounds like Round Top, Little Round Top, the Peach Orchard, and the Devil's Den. Cannons volleyed shots from Cemetery Ridge to Seminary Ridge and back to Cemetery Ridge. It would be here, near this little Pennsylvania town, which the turning point war and was a great defeat for the Confederates in one of the most decisive battles of the Civil War. This paper is to tell of the inaccurate approaches to war by the Confederates and why they lost the battle.
Two months earlier, the Confederates, with the Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee, were victorious at the battle of Chancellorsville over the Army of the Potomac under Major General Joseph Hooker. The Federals outnumbered the Confederates two to one. The Army of the Potomac was heading toward the capital of the Confederacy which at this time was Richmond, Virginia. The Confederates turned the Federals around toward the North. Yet this was not a great win for the rebels. Major General Stonewall Jackson was shot and killed by one of his own men by mistake and Lee was still outnumbered by the Federals.
But the situation was not great all over the South. General U.S. Grant had taken the river city of Vicksburg under siege. If the Federals took Vicksburg, the Mississippi River would be theirs and so would be the South. Vicksburg needed help, but got none. Lee had a plan of his own, to invade Pennsylvania (The Civil War:Catton 206).
Lee thought that an invasion of the North would help in many ways. First is that the war was getting to the people in the North. The appearance of the Confederate Army would make that even worse. So much so that President Lincoln might have to recognize the independence of the Confederate States. It might also bring the recognition of the British. Lee also needed food for his army that could not be gained from the ravaged lands of Virginia. But the best reason for marching North was that the Army of the Potomac would probably march toward Richmond again. The drive north would disrupt their plans and postpone the march on Richmond. But in simple laymans terms, Lee's army was going to fight somewhere that summer, why not fight north of the Mason-Dixon line than south of it (Leckie 69).
The Commander-in-Chief of the United States, President Lincoln knew that Lee's advance would be an advantage for that...