About the Battle of Gettysburg

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The Battle of Gettysburg was fought from July 1 to July 3 in 1863 and is considered the most important battle of the American Civil War. After a great victory over Union forces at Chancellorsville, General Robert E. Lee marched his Army from Northern Virginia into Pennsylvania in late June 1863.

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Following this victory for the Confederacy, the Battle of Gettysburg was a Union victory that stopped Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s second invasion of the North. More than 50,000 men fell as casualties during the 3-day battle, making it the bloodiest battle of the American Civil War. Newspapers from both the Union and the Confederacy covered the battle, such as The New York Times or the Daily Dispatch. The Union uses its paper to describe its victory as a massive gain towards victory in the war. Whereas, the Confederacy uses its media to describe its smaller victories within their defeat.

Prior to the Battle of Gettysburg, the Confederacy succeeded in triumphing over the Union at The Battle of Chancellorsville. This battle was essential to the layout of The Battle of Gettysburg, Major General Joseph Hooker of the Union had crossed the Rappahannock River fords above Fredericksburg on April 30, 1863, and placed most of his soldiers on General Robert E. Lee’s vulnerable flank. Rather than retreat before this sizable Federal force, Lee decided to attack Hooker while he was still moving his forces through the wilderness. After encountering General Lee on May 1st along with the turnpike east of the Chancellor house, Hooker pulled his men back and surrendered the initiative to Lee. Later, Lee and General “Stonewall” Jackson conceived a plan, Jackson would lead 30,000 Confederates and would follow the Union.

The May 2nd flank attack stunned the Union Eleventh Corps and threatened Hooker’s position, but the victorious Confederate attack ended with the death of Stonewall Jackson. Finally, on May 3rd the Confederates resumed their offensive and drove Hooker’s larger army back to a new defensive line that held for two days. Lee then defeated a separate Federal force near Salem Church that had threatened his rear. Having divided and successfully fought his outnumbered army four times in the face of superior numbers, Lee’s victory at Chancellorsville is widely considered to be his greatest of the entire war.

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