First things first, the Battle of Gettysburg was the SECOND invasion of the
North. And it only happened because General Lee forced General Hooker to retreat at the battle of Chancellorsville, and it made him think he could divide
Pennsylvania and split the Union in two. In a way, he didn’t get his way.
The battle began on July 1, 1862. Confederate troops were on the search for shoes and were met by Union troops in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. By the end of the first day of battle, 45,000 troops were engaged in battle and the Union troops were able to create and maintain defensive lines along Cemetery Ridge and hills known as Little Round Top and Big Round Top.
F.Y.I: GENERAL MEADE WAS IN CHARGE OF THE UNION ARMY AT THIS
TIME. HE WAS ALSO A LITTLE BABY, MEANING HE NEVER “WENT ON
Little Round Top: The Ticking Clock Maneuver
July 2, 1862
Colonel Chamberlain was in charge of protecting a hill known as Little
Round Top. He ordered his men to move the cannons onto the hillside. He then split up the troops he had into groups. A regiment behind him, battalion to the right, and a brigade to the left. (For those who don’t know how many soldiers are in a
Regiment, there are 1,ooo. There are 2 Regiments in a Brigade. There are anywhere from 300 to 1,200 men in a Battalion.)
The Rebels attacked repeatedly and left the Union soldiers tired and gravely injured if they didn’t end up dying on the battle field. Even though the Union forces were spread thin, Colonel Chamberlain managed to defend Little Round Top using a maneuver where his troops “went on the offensive.” (This was after a couple of days of watching his men die so he decided that they would run towards the Rebels and see what would happen…. Brilliant strategy isn’t it?) They shot the Rebels from the top of the hill day one and two of the battle and nearing the end, his troops ran screaming down the hill towards the Rebels and killed those who didn’t retreat in time. This was one of the few times the Union army “went on the offense.”
Cemetery Ridge: Pickett's Charge Maneuver
July 3, 1862
Lieutenant General Longstreet was in charge of breaking up General Meade’s forces. First things first, General Longstreet did not want to make this charge.
Whenever General Longstreet was asked whether or not he wanted his men to charge, he answered with a nod because it was what General Lee told him to do.
(And one does not go against the General’s orders!)
When his men charged forward, there was no real plan. They were not as organized as the Union army, but they always won the battles because they were much better shots than those city boys (Union soldiers). So they marched forward into the Union’s cannon range and knew that they would die. They fought for a cause that they truly believed in. Even though the Union forces were much bigger than the Rebels’, the Rebels never stopped coming forward.
The Outcome: Devastation and Death For BOTH Sides
This was the bloodiest battle of the civil war. About 93,000 Union soldiers were alive and on their way or at Gettysburg on July 1, 1862. Around 3,000 were killed, 14,000 (at least) were wounded, and 5,000 were missing or captured. About
71,000 Rebel soldiers were alive on their search for shoes in Pennsylvania on July
1, 1862. Around 4,000 were killed, 19,000 (at least) were wounded, and 5,000 were missing or captured.
One thing that everyone forgot, was the fact that the battle site, where everyone was burying the fallen soldiers, belonged to farmers. So the United States bought the land and turned it into an official cemetery.
The Gettysburg Address
On November 19, 1863 a “dedication ceremony” took place at Gettysburg
(which hereafter none to be Gettysburg Cemetery). Edward Everett was the main speaker and he spoke for TWO HOURS. He was a well renowned speaker and politician. Because of this, it made him the obvious choice to speak at the ceremony. A couple days in advance, the people planning the ceremony…