** the American Civil War -- war campaign Gettysburg

The American Civil War: Military Campaigns--Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863)

Figure 1.--This CDV shows Frank, Frederick, and Alice Humiston. Their father in the 154th New York Volunteer took it with him. Sergeant Humiston was found killed at Gettyburg with this portrait on him. This copy was made after the battle by Wenderoth, Taylor & Brown, 912-914 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. The back of the photo titled the CDV "The children of the battlefield." It states that the CDVs were to be sold in Sunday Schools (called Sabbath School) and the proceeds used to find the National Homstead at Gettyburg for the orphaned children of soldiers and sailors as a nemorial of "our Pepetual Union". (The text on the backs of these CDVs varied.) The CDV was a new format which appeared in America during the early 1860s just as the Civil War was beginning. Almost immediately it became popular to include CDVs of famous people are other celeberties in these albums, in this case orphaned children.
"Once the Confederate tide recedes, once Pickett's Division falls back and than Pedigrew's Division falls back defeated, people could realize that this last spectacuar bid by the Army of Northern Virginia for victory had lapped up on to the farm of a freed black man. A man who by every definition the Confederacy stood for shouldn't even have existed. The final stand of the Confederacy and the Army of Northern Virginia at Gettyburg takes place on his property. And as the sun goes down, not only on the third of July as it goes down non the Army of Northern Virginia, on the Confederacyn itself, Abraham Briand's property will remain his and he will remain a free man. And he will come back and he will farm his acres until he sells the property in 1869. And he will sit under his vine and fig tree and no body will disturb him. And if there is anybody who was the greatest and ultiumate victor at Gettyburg it was, we might be able to say that it was that black farmer, Abraham Briand." -- Dr. Allen Guelzo, Civil War historian

Gettysburg is the largest and most important battle of the Civil War. It is the most intensely studied battle in American history. Lee and Davis in mid-1863 agreed that some action was needed to save the Confederacy. Vicksburg was seen as the key to the Confederacy, but Lee did not dare to weaken his army to send units west. The decission was taken to strike north. It was a fareful decession. Lee had at his command the strongest army he had ever commanded, although still badly outnumbered. He was seeking a battle with the Army of the Potomac that he hoped could deliver a knockout blow. Meade had just been given command of the Fderal army. A few days before Vicksburg fell, Lee's Army of Nothern Virginia Confederates clashed headlong with the Army of the Potomac in the the largest battle of the War--Gettysburg. The resulting battle was the largest ever fought on American soil. It was Lee's second invasion of the North and the South's last real chance to win militarily. The two armies camme together at a sleepy crossroads town in southeatern Pennsylvania. Lee developed a plan to strike at the Fedeal flanks which he persued aggressively on the second day. He was almost successful. Federal troops commanded by an ardent unionist and abolistionist, Colonel Josuah Chamberlin when his Maine brigade exausted thir amunition ordered a rare bayonet charge and finally broke the Alabama unit aving the Federal left. Longstreet's Corps was so mauled on he Confederate right that he could not continue on the third day. Lee was convinced that Meade must have weakened his center to support his flanks. Lee thus against Longstreet's advice ordered a cannonade of the Federal center followed by a charge over open ground by Picket's Division. "Picket's Charge" is often seen as the high tide of the Confederacy. Pickett Division was decimated. Lee was forced to retire back accross the Potomac, but Meade refused to persue him. [Trudeau] Lincoln was angered at this decission and finally turned to U.S. Grant. Lee's losses at Gettyburg were inrreplaceable, but he did succeed in keeping the war out of Virginia for nearly a year.


One of the reasons Lee conceived of an nvasion of the North was the impending fall of Vivksburg. He did not dare detach units of his army to helf form a relef force. Any weakening of the Army of Northern Virginia would have put Richmond and the army itseld in danger given the already sizeable superioity of the army of the Potomac. Major General Ulysses S. Grant in May 1863 converged his army on Vicksburg, a key Confederate transportation hub and last remaining connection between Texas and the eastern Conderate states. Grant in cooperation with Union naval forses commanded by Rear Admiral David D. Porter, conducted a brilliant campaign and trapped a Confederate commanded by Lieutenant General John Pemberton. Grant invested Vicksburg and an extended seige followed. Nearing starvation, Pemberton was forced to surrender on July 4. The loss of Pemberton's army was a serious blow, more serious was the spliting of the Confederacy, denying the eastern Confederacy the resources of the west. Grant's successes at Vicksburg added to the reputation gained in other western campaigns. It was to Grant that Lincoln would turn after Gettysburg in his selection of General-in-Chief of the Federal armies.

Confederate Strategy

Lee and Confederate President Jefferson Davis in mid-1863 agreed that some action was needed to save the Conderacy. Vicksburg was seen as a key, but Lee opposed detaching any of his army for such operations. His proposal was another offensive to strike into the north. Lee hope to isolate Washington. He was not, however, seeking a massive battle with the Army of the Potomac. Lee envisioned a campign of movement in which his faster, leaner army would engage elements of the Army of the Potomac in a series of small battles before Meade could coalese his forces. What seems to have eluded Confederate stratehgists was the possibility of winning politically--the 1864 election. An alternative strategy would have been to husband Confederate military strength and count on the Northern public to tire of the War. Rather Davis and Lee opted for a military sollution.

The Army of Northern Virginia

The strongest formation in the Confederate military was the Army of Northern Virginia. Lee had at his command in mid-1963 the strongest army he had ever commanded, although still badly outnumbered. He was coming off perhaps his most brilliant victory--Chancellorsville (May 1-3). Although he had lost Stonewall Jackson there, the spirit in the army was high. Most of the men were convinced that even though outnumbered, under Lee they could defeat any Federal force. One Confederate officer wrote home to his children in South Carolina, "The enemy have nothing but raw troops in our front. I think we can whip three or four to one. Then we could march on towards Philadelphia and Gen. Hooker would have to come to our front to save it and we would thus free Maryland and maybe take Washington and Baltimore. This summer is going to be filled with great events and if Providence will favor our efforts I hope mighty things for our country will be achieved. Our Army never was in better health and spirits." [Gaillard] Perhaps even more dangerosly, Lee also shared that belief in victory. Lee was thus seeking a battle with he Army of the Potomac, hoping he could deliver a knockout blow. He was aware of defeats in the West. And he knew that the Federal Naval blockade was sapping the econonimic vitality of the Confederacy. He thus believed that it was now or never. The South would only grow weaker and the North stronger so this was the Army of Northern Virginia's final opportunity for achieving a militaey resolutuon of the conflict. Lee's decession to send Pickett's Division at entrenched Federal forces on Seminary Ridge.

The Army of the Potomac

The Army of the Potomac was responsible for defending Wshington and was tasked with taking Richmond. It was the most powerful formation in the Federal army. Lincolm had struggled to find a competent commander. After the disaster at Chancellorsville, Hooker lost Lincoln's support. Lincoln subequently acdeopted Hooker's resignation. He close Gen. George G. Meade (1815-72), the commahder of V Corps to command the Army of the Potomac. Mede received his command only a few days before fighting began at Gettysburg. He was at Frrederick in western Maryland (June 28). He was surprised and had little knowledge as to Hooker's plans and even more importantly the exact location of the three Federal columns moving northwest to oppose Lee. He immediately decided to keep up the pace. Mede advanced to to Taneytown, Maryland (June 30). There he issued two critiv=cal orders. The first was a general advance in the direction of Gettysburg, an iportat crossroads. Theis began (July 1). Gettysburg was 5-25 miles from each of his seven infantry corps. T he second order, known as the Pipe Creek Circular, envisioned a defensive line on Big Pipe Creek. Meade arrived at Gettysburg in the evening of July 1. He immediately decided it was an ideal place to fight Lee's Army. His army was, however, spread out over a wide area of Maryland and Pennsylvania as it moved to follow Lee north. He struggled to establish his command over a widely dispersed army. He ordered the spread out units to converge on Gettysburg and meanwhile skillfully deployed the available forces for a defensive battle. Meade anticipated reinforcements totaling up to 100,000 men to arrive and strengthen his defensive that had already developed around Culps Hill and Seminary Ridge. It was a question as to to whether the Federals could hold tht secind day while reonforcenents poured in to the Federal positions. Meade has been criticised for a lack of aggression, but he was a competent commander as he had proved at Antitem (1862) and later in the Wilderness (1864). The fact that the Army of the Potomac was so spread out, put Mede in a very dangerous position. Lee hoped to exploit this and defeat Meade's larger army in detail. But this was only possible on the first ahd second day. And Lee had very limited information on the Federal dispositions.

Move North

A few days after Vicksburg fell, Lee's Army of Nothern Virginia Confederates clashed headlong with the Army of the Potomac in the the largest battle of the War--Gettysburg. The resulting battle was the largest ever fought on American soil. It was Lee's second invasion of the North and the South's last real chance to win militarily.

Gettysburg: Chronology

The two armies camme together at a sleepy crossroads town in southeatern Pennsylvania. It was the roads converging on Gettyburgh that led the two armies to Gettyburgh. This was not the battle Lee wanted. He wanted to use his faster force to catch and engage elements of the Army of the Potomac and defeat them in detail, not a set piece battle with a fully deployed Army of the Potomac. One wonders why Lee then gave battle at Gettysburg. He has never explained this. It is likely that the successes of the first day led him to believe that the Federals could be defeated at Gettysburg. He had reached Gettyburg with most of his army and at first emcountered only a fragment of the Army of the Potomc. The plight of Vicksburgh may have been another factor. The entire battle was a series of Confederate attacks. Despite overwealming advanatages in men and weaponery, Meade took no offensive actons. The first day was fought north of town . It was a series of Confederate victories, but the Federal forces slowed the Confederate advance and held the highground south of town, the beginning of the Federal Fish Hook defensive line. Not only did this create a strong defensive position with internalm lines of communication, but Lee's forces were streached out along a 5-mile perimter making it difficult to move troops and complicating commad abd control. Lee developed a plan to strike at the Fedeal flanks which he persued aggressively on the second day. He was almost successful. Some of the iconic fighting of the War occurred here. Many believe that if Jackson had been with him, he would have suceeded. The final third day he struck at the Federal center on Cemetary Ridge which he believed Meade had weakened to support the flanks. The result was Pickett's Charge--the highwater mark of the Confederacy.

Day 1: The Federal Right (July 1)

Gettyburg as infrequently happens in history was not chosen by either commander as a place to fight a major battle. The two armies simply collided at Gettysburg (July 1). The reason the battle developed at Gettysburg was largely because Federal calvary commander John Buford at Willoughby Run stood and fought overwealmingly superior Confederate forces coverging on Gettysburg. Their repeating carbines proved effective in slowing the Confederate advance. This was important because it significantly affected the development of the battle. Also after 2 years of being bested by Confederate calvalry, the Federal calvary was finally developing into an effective force. Buford was responsible more than anyone else for the fact that a battle was fought at Gettyburg. Strangely the Army of Northern Virginia arrived from the north and west and the Army of the Potomac from the south and east. I Corp Commander Gn. Reynolds engaged the advancing Confedeates and was killed. The Federals were driven out of the town and on to Culp's Hill. And by this accident of war, the Federal forces were given the ability to to fashion a defensive a position that most military commanders could only dream of--the fabeled Fish Hook. It was centered on Culp's Hill in the north and Little Round top in the south, connected by Cemetary Ridge. Gen. Meade who had just been given commnd of the army of the Potomac had envisioned forcing Lee to attack a defensive line he was going to build to the south--The Pike Creek Plan. He was conferring with Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock, II Corps Commnder, when they learned at the fighting at Gettyburg. Meade ordered Hancock to Gettusburg to take command and to report on the situation. Upon arriving, Hancock made several key decisions. One was to move reonforcements on to Culp's Hill and other positions close by to support Culp's Hill. Although not under immediate threat, he ordered troops on to Little Round Top. [Bretzger] These two positions would become the foundation on which the Fish Hook was built. Lee could read a map as well. He ordered Confederate II Corps commander Gen. Ewell to take Culp's Hill on the first day. It was not untill the second day, however, that Lee focused on Little Round Top. The first day was Lee's best chance at victory. It was on the first day that Lee had a superior force available at Gettysburg. The development of the Fish Hook was surely one of the two critical factors in the battle. The fact that Lee had no idea where the Federal army was located and the extent of the forces arrayed against him may well have been the second critical factor in Lee's loss at Gettysburg. This was in large part because J.E.B. Stuart had separated the cavalry forces from Lee's forces. [Heath] The First day was a series of Confederate successes, except the all-important failure to take Culps Hill. Confederate forces pushed the Federals back through Gettsburgh, but did not take Culps' Hill largely because of the Federal calvary stand before Gettysburg had delayed their advance. The II Corps were Jackson's men. Almost certainly the aggressively minded Jackson, if he had been there, would have pursued the Federals and made a more determined effort to take Culp's Hill on the night of July 1. The Condederates under Ewell came close to taking the position as it was. There was intense fighting into the night, but the Federals with a relatively small, but entrenched force held. This gave Meade time to bring up major elements of the Army of the Potomac and begin to build the Fish Hook defense to the east and south of Culps Hill. Meade turned Culps Hill into the impregnable anchor for the Federal right flank. Lee continued to attack Culps Hill and adjoining Federal positions, but began planning a massive attack on the Federal left flank.

Day 2: The Federal Left (July 2)

Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia arrived in force at Gettyburgh before Meade and the Army of the Potomac. Meade in fact had jus been given command. Lee's best chance of victory was thus on the first day before the Federals had concentrated their forces and began to enhtrench in the Fish Hook defense. There was still a good chance of victory on the second day, and the opportunity to inflict great damage on the Army of the Potomac which was still arriving piecemeal on the battlefield. Both Lee and Meade knew that Gettysburg was shapeing up to be one of the major battles of the War, if not the most important because of the size of the assembling forces. And officers up and down the line were coming to the same conclusion. Hancock's II Corps would be the major force defending Cemetery Ridge--the Union center. Hancock because of his actions on the first day and constructing a formidable line on Cenetary Ridge on the second day is surely the key Federal corps commander at Gettysburg. While fighting raged to the north (Federal right) and south (Federal left), he offered what support he could and began turning Cemetary Ridge into an inpregnable defensive line. The popular Brig. Gen. William Harrow who had lost his left leg at Ball's Bluff (1861) was given command of the 1st Brigade (2nd Division, II Corps) which would play a key role in the defense of the Federal center. Before the day's battle, he appeared before each regiment. His message was simple, he told the 15th Massachusetts (one of the most formidable regiments in the Army of the Potomac), that the battle had to be won, the fate of the Army depended on it. "Now the first God Damn man I see running or sneaking, I blow him to hell in an instant, this Damn running is played out, just stand to it and give them Hell." [Priest] Having failed to dislodge the Federal right flank on day one Lee decided to strike at the Federal left flank on day two. The Federal Left was defended by the Federal II and V Corps, with some of the regiments just arriving after a long hurried march. The job of turning the Federal Left fell on Longstreet's I Corps. The result was some of the most furious fighting of the entire War including some of the most iconic engagements in American military history. For unknown reasons and the frustration of Lee, Longstreet did not move until the afternoon. The resulting engagements are legendary, the Wheat Field, the Peach Orchard, and Devil's Den. Sickles defined orders and moved his III Corp forward, exposing it to Longstreet's attack. In doing so, he endangered the Federal left. William Barksdale's Brigade was placed directly at the tip of the salient in the Union line anchored at the Peach Orchard. Barksdale, an ardent secesionist, led his men into one of the fiercest battles of the War. He like Harrow was aware of the stakes. Barksdale was killed. Sickle's Corps sufferd substantial casulties and he lost a leg. The III Corps was battered, but fell back, into position and was not destroyed. It was finally on Little Round Top that the issue was settled, both the battle and the fate of the United States. Meade had not fully preceived the importance of the position and only lightly defended it. Meade's focus was on his right and center. He did not think that the fighting would extend as far down the Federal Line as Little Round Top. Longstreet who was closer to the scene, did see the importance and sent the Alabama Brigade of Hood's Division to take it. Little Round Top would prove to be where the assault on the Federal Left was settled. The 20th Maine commanded by an ardent unionist and abolistionist, Colonel Josuah Chamberlin was rushed up to Little Round Top just as Hood's Division in II Corps was preparing to attck. The 20th Maine thus occupied the extreme left of the Federal line. To his right was the 83rd Pennsylvania. To his left -- there was nothing. The Federal Fish Hook defensive line ended with the 20th Maine. And if the Confederates took Little Round Top, they could attack into the Federal rear. Picketts Divivision on day three could have attacked there from high ground instead of across open ground at the Federal center. The under-strength 20th Maine repulsed charge after charge by the Alabamans in Hood's Division who attempted to flank him. Chamberlain was forced to extend his line thus weakening his strength to the breaking point. Finally with their ammunition exhaused, Chamberlain ordered a rare bayonet charge which finally broke the exhausted Alabama Brigade which had also suffered terrible casualties. Chamberlain's desperate stroke saved the Federal left and probably the Union itself. Hood's Division in Longstreet's Corps was so mauled in the fighting that they could not continue offensive operations on the third and final day day of the battle.

Day 3: The Federal Center (July 3)

The principal action on the third day was fought at the Federal Center. And the importance of this action have mdeant that action elsewhere has been neglected. There weas an important cavalry action before Lee turned General Pickett's Divion loose on the Federal Center which coild have affted Pickett's Charge. Federal cavalry commanded by Brig, Gen. David M. Gregg met Confederate calvalry units commanded by J.E.B. Stuart on what came to be known as East Cavalry Field. Gregg's division had fought off Stonewall's Brigade at Brinkerhoff Ridge the previous day. This left Gregg's troopers in control of the key Hanover and Low Dutch Road intersection. This protected the Federal Center from a Confederate Calvalry attack from the rear. If Stuart could dislodged Gregg's troopers, he could have make a mounted dash at the rear of the Federal center at the same time that Pickett made his frontal assault. This resulted in the most important calvalry action of the War. The clash on East Calvalry Field saw the largest mounted charge and counter-charge of the War. [Wittenberg, Protecting.] Lee without effective scouting by Stuart was not fully aware of the strength of the Federal forces he now faced. More Federal units arrived on both the first and second day of fighting. Longstreet and Lee discussed the next step. After the fighting on the Federal left, Longstreet was convinced that the Federals were too well entrenched to dislodge. He advised disengaging and moving the Army between Gettysburg and Washington. This would force Meade to abandon the Fish Hook defense and attack the Confederates. Lee's blood, however, was up. He had been repulsed by the Fedral right and center, which rarely occured in previous battles. Lee looked at the Federal center--Cemetary Ridge. He became convinced that Meade must have weakened his center to support his flanks. Lee was also concerned about protecting his supply wagons. Lee against Longstreet's strong advice, decided to fight it out there and then. Longstreet protested, "General, I have been a soldier all my life. I have been with soldiers engaged in fights by couples, by squads, companies, regiments, divisions, and armies, and should know as well as any one, what soldiers can do. It is my opinion that no fifteen thousand men ever arrayed for battle can take that position." Lee was, however, committed to battle. He decided to strike at the Federal Center, what he saw as a weakened sector. This was an assumption and not based on scoutiung reports. Lee concentrated his artillery and ordered a cannonade, the most intense of the War up to that time--a 2 hour pounding. It made it obvious that Lee was preparing an assault. The Federal guns responded, but were then ordered to cease firing to convince Lee that they had been disabled. All the cannon fire had created a veil of smoke which meant that the Federal lines could not be observed. Lee then ordered Pickett's Division, some 12,500 fresh soldiers forward. Pickett's Division, part of Longstreet's I Corps was intact having just arrived on the battlefield. Because Hood's and McLaw's Division had been mauled, Lee ordered A.P. Hill's III Corps to support Pickett. The charge toward the Federal center had to move forward over open ground. The rest of Longstreet's Corps was to support Pickett when he broke through. 'Pickett's Charge' is often seen as the high tide of the Confederacy. When Pickett's Division plunghed into the open field in front of the Federal line on Cenmetary Ridge, the largely undamaged Federal artillery opened up. Pickett's men fell in heeps. One Fderal artillery officer later said, "We could not help hitting them with every shot." The Division was shatered by the Federal artillery and met by Hancock's largely untouched II Corps well-entrenched on Cemetery Ridge. Mede had not weakened his center as Lee believed and the Confederate artillery barage had done little damage. Defending a portion of the Federal line were II Corps Indianians commanded by Brigadier General William Harrow. Harrow braced his men who had fought attacking Cionfederates to a standstill on day two. Harrow's Indianians helped repel Pickett's Charge. Hancock, the II Corps commander, was seriously wounded. The surviving Virgnians were forced back after suffering catastrophic casualties and failing to breach the Federal lines. Lee met the survivors on Traveler as they straggled back to Confederate lines. He was not at first aware of the dimensions of the defeat in part because the field was obsured by all the artillery smoke. He told Pickett to rally his division for a second assault. Pickett replied, "General Lee, I have no divisionn now." Lee is generally seen as the greatest field commander in the Civil War. He ceratinly was audacious. [Alexander] Given his inferority in men and material, he was often forced to gamble. He had gambled in the Seven Days Campaign (1862) before Richmond, at Second Bull Run (1862), and at Chancellorsville (1863) and won. His gamble with Pickett at Gettysburg failed and so with it the last chance of a Confederate military victory.

Retreat (July 4)

Lee after the failure of Pickett's charge was forced to order a retreat. The Confederate calvalry at Fairfield fought a short, but bloody engament at Fairfield which kept the Hagertown Road open, providing an escape route for the Army of Northern Virginia (July 3). The 6th U.S. Calvalry was nearly destroyed. [Wittenberg, Gettysburg's] Meade refused to persue Lee. [Trudeau] Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia crossed the Potomac to the safety of Virginia (July 13-14). Meade declined to pursue tge Confederates. Historians have debated Mede's decission not to prsue a retreating Lee. Some believe that Mede could have ended the War at Gettyburg if he had attacked in force. This was Lincoln's view. Other historians argue that the exausted Army of the Potomac was not capable of a major offensive stroke on July 4. [Sears] Another historian focuses more on Mede's state of mind. Mede had been appointed commander only days before Gettysburg. He almost immediately was engaged in the largest battle of the War and his army stuggled for its very existence in some of the most intense fighting of the War. Mede was cautious, but was concerned that if he repeated Lee's mistake (Pickett's Charge), the consequences could be disastrous. [McPherson]


Gettyburg was largely an infantry battle. The role of the artillery and calvalry, however, is important to consider. The artillery played an important role, especially in defeating Pickett's charge on the third day. Artillery was less important on the first two days because in the early stages of manevering, there was less time for the artillery to manever and set up the batteries, especially as the Federal positions were on hills where it was difficult to position artillery (Culps Hill on the right and Little Round Top on the left). This was an advatage for the Confederates because the Federal forces had a much larger artillery component which by 1863 was becoming increasingly powerfull. Cemetary Ridge, the Federal Center, was only a slight elevation and perfect to position thecFederal artillery. Gettysburg is notable for the relatively limited involvement of the calvalry, especially the Confderate calvalry commanded by J.E.B. Sturart. Lee admonished Stuart for separating the calvalry from the rest of the Army of Northern Virginia, a rare event in the close association between the two commanders. While limited, there were calvalry engagements of some importance at importance, ironically occuring at the beginning and end of the battle. The Federal calvalry under Buford helped prevent Ewell from taking Culps Hill on the first day of the battle (July 1). This would have destablized the Federal position and probably forced Meade to withdraw. Sunsequent Federal calvalry action protected the Federal center from a rear ttack on the climatic third day (July 3). The Confederate calvalry helped keep the Haggerstown road open for the Lee's retreat as a result of an egagement at Fairfield (July 3).


Lee's losses at Gettyburg were inrreplaceable, but he did succeed in keeping the war out of Virginia for nearly a year. Most historians, however, look at the twin battles (the siege of Vicksburg and the Battle of Gettysburg) as the turning point of the War. President Abrham Lincoln had hoped for more. He had wanted Mede to engage and destroy Lee's retreating army. This could have in effect ended the War in 1863. Mede who saw his performance as a commander as admirable, objected to Lincoln's criticism and offered to resign. [Sears] In the end, Lincoln finally turned to U.S. Grant who was given command of Federal forces. And the Army of Northern Virginia, the Confederacy's principal military force was significantly weakened. Lee lost 28,000 men at Gettysburg, more than Meade' losses of 23,000 men. The differebce was that the Confederacy was bing bkled dry abd was unabke to replace the losses. As atestment to the inteebnsitybof the fighring, the Army of Northern Vie=rginia losrt a third of its offucers. This made possible Federal military victories in 1864 that would make possible Linoln's reelection. A less aggressive Confederate strategy would resulted in fewer casualties and might have allowed them to put up a better fight in 1864 as the outcome of the War was being decided by the election of 1864.

Gettysburg Address (November 1863)

A few months after the feroious battle at Gettsburgh, Lincoln traveled to that small Peenstlvania town to participate in the ceremonies there to dedicate a military cemetary. His speech, little regarded at the time, eloquentedly stated the Federal cause. It is ceratinly the nost famous presidential speech ever delivered. Many consider it to be the greatest speech ever delivered in the English language. It was not at the time generally considered to be an important speech at the time. One of the few was Edward Everett, the renoouned orator who gave the major orration dedicating the cemetary. "... Mr. Lincoln perhaps said more to the purpose in his brief speech than I in my long one". [MacVeagh] What Lincoln did was to eloquently make the case for democratic government. This of course it taken for granted today. But at the time American was the only republic of any consequence. Britain was becoming more democratic, but was still ruled by a poweful monarch. The rest of the world, however, was goverened by kings, emperors, and tsars, many of whom ruled with absolute or near absolute authority. The world was watching while the sole republic tore itself apart in civil war. Lincoln's address was a rising endorsement of democracy ending with the soaring acclamation that "... governments of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Implicit in this statement was the preservation of the Union.


Alexander, Edward Porter. "Lee at Appomattox," The Century Magazine (April 1902).

Bretzger, Paul. Observing Hancock at Gettysburg (2016).

Gaillard, Franklin. Letter to his children (June 30, 1863). Franklin Gaillard was a Lt. Col. He survived Gettyburg, but was killed in the wilderness leaving his two children orphans.

Guelzo, Allen. Commentary. "Gettysburg: The Finl Measure of Devotion. Json Media/

Heath, Henry. "Why Lee lost at Gettyburg," Weekly Times (Philadelphia), September 22, 1877. (Heath was a brigadier general who commanded a division in A.P. Hill's corps. It was his divisdion that launched the battle.

McPherson, James M. Hallowed Ground: A Walk at Gettysburg(Crown Journeys, 2003).

Priest, John Michael. "Stand to It and Give Them Hell: Gettysburg as the Soldiers Experienced it from Cemetery Ridge to Little Round Top, July 2, 1863 " (Savas Publishing: 2014), 432p. Priest has been described as the Ernie Pyle of the Civil War soldier. The value of the is volume is its effort to draw a realistic picture of what Civil War soldiers actually experienced without the histrionics often appearing in historical accounts. .

Sears, Stephe. Gettysburg (Houghton Mifflin, 2003).

Trudeau, Noah Andre. Gettyburg: A Testing of Courage.

Wittenberg, Eric J. Gettysburg's Forgotten Calvalry Actions: Farnsworth's Charge, South Calvalry Field, and the Battle of Fairfield, July 3, 1863 (2011).

Wittenberg, Eric J. Protecting the Flank at Gettyburg: The Battle for Brinkerhoff Ridge and Easy Calvalry Field, Juky 2-3, 1863 (2014), 224p.

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Created: November 10, 2002
Last updated: 4:43 AM 11/1/2021