The Battle of Gettysburg, which took place July 1-3, 1863 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, is considered the turning point of the Civil War (1861-1865). The northerners won a costly but decisive victory on the battlefield over the southerners, who came out of it permanently weakened and could never resume the offensive.
The Battle of Gettysburg
The Army of the Potomac, under the command of Union General George Gordon Meade, numbered about 85,000 men; the Confederate (Southern) army, under the orders of General Robert E. Lee, about 75,000. After his victory at Chancellorsville, from May 2 to 4, 1863, the latter had divided his army into three corps commanded by the three generals, James Longstreet, Richard Stoddert Ewell and Ambrose Powell Hill. Lee entered Pennsylvania where he concentrated his entire army at Gettysburg. His plan was to invade Pennsylvania in an effort to avoid another Union offensive in Virginia. He hoped in this way to increase the war weariness experienced by the Northerners, and force them to recognize the independence of the Confederate States of America.
Battle of Gettysburg "/> The battle began on July 1 with a fight between the advanced brigades of General Hill and the Union cavalry division supported by an infantry corps. The Confederates forced the Union troops to withdraw. retreated to Culp's Hill and Cemetery Ridge, south-east of Gettysburg, and took 4000 prisoners. The next day Lee attacked enemy positions; Longstreet captured Peach Orchard, and Ewell, part of Culp's Hill, but they could not break through. Union front line Early July 3 Culp's Hill was violently attacked and recaptured from the Confederates.
The Union maintained its positions firmly and the Confederates had lost their offensive force. Despite opposition from the other generals, Lee decided to attack, and General George Edward Pickett then led his troops in a charge on Cemetery Ridge where he was stopped by Union artillery barrage and fire. muskets.
A turning point in the Civil War
After this charge failed, the Battle of Gettysburg was practically over. On the night of July 4, General Lee began his retreat to Virginia. During the three days of battle, the Union army had 3,070 killed, 14,497 wounded and 5,434 prisoners or missing. The Confederates counted 2,592 killed, 17,206 wounded and 5,150 prisoners or missing.
The Battle of Gettysburg was a decisive engagement in that it put an end to the second major invasion of the North by the Confederates, destroyed their offensive strategy and forced them to wage a defensive war, in which the insufficiencies of their productive capacity and their means of transport doomed them to defeat.
See as well : The Civil War Part 2
- Gettysburg, 1863 by Lee Kennett. Economica, 1997.
- Gettysburg, 1863 by Lee Kennett. Editions du Rocher, 1995.
- The Civil War, la guerre de secession: 4 DVD box set. Arte Video, 2009.