The Battle of Gettysburg between the Union and the Confederates

The Battle of Gettysburg fought from July 1 to July 3, 1863, is considered the most important engagement of the American Civil War. Where Confederate forces led by General Robert E. Lee and the Union army led by General George Meade. The battle left more than 51,000 wounded, killed, captured, or claimed to miss. The wounded soldiers were crowded in nearby buildings, and many of the dead bodies lay in scantly graves in the ground (https://rmc.library.cornell.edu/gettysburg/never_forget/battle.htm).

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Confederate General Robert E. Lee launched his second invasion of the northern states. His goal was to defeat the Union army on Northern soil; in which, he hoped would force the Lincoln administration to negotiate for peace. He sought out to take the war out of the Virginia farmland and gather supplies for his Army of Northern Virginia. Lee used the Shenandoah Valley as cover for his army. He was approached by two Union Major Generals, first General Joseph Hooker, and General George G. Meade (who was then replaced by Hooker). Lee’s army crossed into Pennsylvania in mid-June, and the opposing forces meet head-on at the crossroads towns of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on the morning of July 1, 1863. The Confederates surge over the Federals from the fields West and North of town, but were unsuccessful to secure Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill to the South. The next day, following, reinforcements arrived on both sides. Lee’s army then attacked the Federals on the heights and Little Round Top (further South), but they failed to dislodge the defenders. Lastly, on July 3rd, Lee attacked the Union on Cemetery Ridge and was repulsed in what is now known as Pickett’s Charge. His second attempt on the invasion failed and resulted in large casualties on both sides. There was an estimated 51,000 that were listed as missing, captured, wounded, or dead (https://www.battlefields.org).

The ending results of The Battle of Gettysburg were a victory for the Union. The commanders of this battle were as previously stated for the Union General George G. Meade, and for the Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The forces engaged were 165,620 making up for the Union were 93,921 and for the Confederate at 71,699. The numbers were much larger for the Union; therefore, anyone could see why they had their victory. The confederate was clearly outnumbered by the Union. The total estimated casualties were 51,112. The Union alone had 23,049, of which 3,155 were killed, 14,529 wounded, and 5,365 missing/captured. The Confederate had 28,063 of the 51,122 causalities; of which 3,903 were killed, 18,735 were left wounded, and lastly, 5,425 were listed as missing/captured (https://www.battlefields.org/learn/civil-war/battles/gettysburg). Pennsylvania’s Governor Andrew Curtin responded to the crisis by purchasing 17 acres of land for a proper burial ground for the Union dead. Within four months of the battle, reinternment began on the land that became Gettysburg National Cemetery. Today the cemetery is the final resting place for over 6,000 honorably discharged servicemen and their dependents from the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War (https://rmc.library.cornell.edu/gettysburg/never_forget/battle.htm). The 22,000 square foot Museum and Visitor Center is a great place to visit. They have the Soldiers National Cemetery and the David Wills House in town as well, where Abraham Lincoln stayed the night before he gave his Gettysburg Address.

The people of the North and the South after The Battle of Gettysburg were sick of war and wanted skirmish to come to an end. In the summer of 1864 (a year later), the Civil War had been rampant on for three years now. Events on the battlefield, just before the election coming that fall, would cover the South’s defeat, catapult Abraham Lincoln to victory and provide momentum for the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, permanently freeing all slaves in America. Lincoln was expected to lose the election. Late August 1864, most expected former Union General George B. McClellan to defeat Lincoln, yet two months prior General William T. Sherman overpowered Confederate defenses and captured Atlanta. After leaders of his own political party had already considered replacing him on the Republican side, Lincoln won the most known victory in history when he defeated McClellan in the Electoral College with a 212 to 21 vote. His victory in 1864 was made possible by the Union’s victory at the Gettysburg in July 1863. When the Confederates were accumulating for another battle charge up the hill, Chamberlain realized he didn’t have enough ammunition to survive one more defeat. Most Americans are very familiar with the Battle of Gettysburg; however, it is very difficult to appreciate the savagery fight or the sheer volume of bloodshed that is distressed with both sides of the North and South. What happened on the field of battle after the two sides moved on to continue the fight elsewhere may be most symptomatic of the horrendous experience there. The author of A Strange and Blighted Land: Gettysburg, The Aftermath of a Battle, (written by Gregory Coco), exhaustively researched what happened on the Gettysburg battlefield in the three years following the flight. His descriptions are somewhat difficult to comprehend. He explained that there were thousands of dead soldiers but also three thousand dead horses and other animals. It was a down-right bloodbath. He stated: There was every type of corrupting, decomposing corpse you could imagine. The stench was horrifying for those tasked with the cleaning up the land. (Coco, Gregory. 2018. A Strange and Blighted Land. Havertown: Savas Beatie).

The speech is known as the Gettysburg Address given by Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863, dedicating to the Soldier’s National Cemetery, or also known as the battlefield cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The cemetery for Union soldiers killed at the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. The speech was written by himself in Washington and revised after his arrival at Gettysburg. His speech was a sheer 271 words and took about only two minutes. This speech is one of Lincoln’s best-known speech. Lincoln states, Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new, conceived in liberty ad dedication to the proposition that all men are created equal. (https://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/gettysburg.htm). Lincoln began to envision not just a reunited United States, but a nation freed once and for all of slavery.

In conclusion, the Battle of Gettysburg was a battle during the Civil War between the Union and the Confederates. (The north and the south). The Battle of Gettysburg brought over 51,000 soldiers from both the north and the south in a bloodbath, leaving those 51,000 either dead, wounded, captured, or listed as missing. The battle lasted three days beginning on July 1st, 1863 and ended on July 3rd, 1863. The ending resulted in the big victory for the Union over the Confederates, and President Abraham Lincoln winning the presidency by the Electoral College Vote.

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The Battle of Gettysburg between the Union and the Confederates. (2019, Oct 30). Retrieved October 1, 2022 , from
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