Battle of Gettysburg, July 1 – 3, 1863
This is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg which is in southern Pennsylvania about 100 miles west of Philadelphia. After his victory at Chancellorsville, Virginia, Confederate commander Robert E. Lee moved his army into Pennsylvania, mainly to bring the war onto northern territory and to motivate the people of the north to seek a peace settlement. The Union Army did not aggressively pursue Lee but instead pivoted counter-clockwise around Washington to keep itself between Lee’s army and the capital. But the Union army did pursue and on July 1, 1865 just to the north of the small crossroads town of Gettysburg the two armies met. In the initial encounter, the Confederates prevailed and the Union forces hastily retreated back through the town and began occupying the high ground to the south. For reasons that are still unclear, the Confederates failed to exploit their initial advantage that day which gave the Union time to consolidate this new line. Unable to get around the Union right, General Lee sent one of his more able subordinates, General James Longstreet in an attempt to get around the Union left. This attempt ended at the famous engagement at Little Round Top which was defended by the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment. That attempt ended when the troops from Maine, out of ammunition after numerous Confederate attacks, charged down the hill into the startled Confederate lines and broke the attack. On the third day, July 3, General Lee attempted to punch through the center of the Union line with a massive infantry attack. The below clip is of a guide explaining Pickett’s Charge on the battlefield itself. Although the war lasted for two more years and cost many more men their lives, this action became known as the “high water mark” of the Confederacy.