On the day when General Meade
took command of the Army of the Potomac, June 28, 1863, Lee
was about to cross the Susquehanna
and march on Philadelphia
The militia of Pennsylvania
, who had shown great apathy in responding to the call for help, now, when danger was
at their door, turned out with considerable spirit; and Lee
, observing this, and hearing that the augmented Army of the Potomac was in Maryland
and threatening his rear and flanks, immediately abandoned his scheme for further invasion, and ordered a retrograde movement.
On the same day, Stuart
, with a large force of cavalry, crossed the Potomac
, pushed on to Westminster
, at the right of the Nationals, crossed over to Carlisle
, encountering Kilpatrick
and his cavalry, and followed Ewell
in his march towards Gettsyburg.
had been ordered to cross the South Mountain
range, and press on through Gettysburg
to keep Meade
from cutting Lee
hoped to crush Meade
, and then March in triumph on Baltimore
; or, in case of failure, to secure a direct line of retreat into Virginia
was pushing towards the Susquehanna
with cautious movement, and on the evening of June 30 he discovered Lee
's evident intention to give battle at once.
On the day before, Kilpatrick
's cavalry had defeated some of Stuart
's a few miles from Gettysburg
's cavalry entered Gettysburg
; and on the 30th the left wing of Meade
's army, led by General Reynolds
, arrived near there.
At the same time the corps of Hill
were approaching from Chambersburg
, and Ewell
was marching down from Carlisle
in full force.
On the morning of July 1 Buford
, with 6,000 cavalry, met the van of Lee
's army, led by General Heth
, between Seminary Ridge
(a little way from Gettysburg
) and a parallel ridge a little farther west, when a sharp skirmish ensued.
, who had bivouacked at
Position of the Northern and Confederate armies, sunset, June 30, 1863.|
, a few miles distant, was then advancing with his own corps, followed by Howard
's, having those of Sickles
The sound of fire-arms quickened his pace, and he marched rapidly to the relief of Buford
, who was holding the Confederates
was placing some of his troops on the Chambersburg
road, the Confederates
made an attack, when a volley of musketry from the 56th Pennsylvania led by Col. J. W. Hoffman
, opened the decisive battle of Gettysburg
's “Iron brigade” then charged into a wood in the rear of the Seminary
, to fall upon Hill
's right, under General Archer
were pushed back, but other troops, under the personal direction of Reynolds
, struck Archer
's flank, and captured that officer and 800 of his men. At the moment when this charge was made, the bullet of a Mississippi sharp-shooter pierced Reynolds
's neck, when he fell forward and expired.
had just arrived, and took Reynolds
's place, leaving his own division in charge of General Rowley
Very soon the Mississippi
brigade, under General Davis
, was captured, and at noon the whole of the 1st Corps, under General Doubleday
, was well posted on Seminary Ridge
, and the remainder of Hill
's corps was rapidly
Meanwhile, the advance division of Ewell
's corps had taken a position on a ridge north of the town, connecting with Hill
, and seriously menacing the National
right, held by General Cutler
sent aid to Cutler
, when a severe struggle ensued for some time, and three North Carolina regiments were captured.
Now the battle assumed far grander proportions.
's corps, animated by the sounds of battle on its front, pressed rapidly forward, and reached the field of strife at a little past noon.
He left Steinwehr
's brigade on Cemetery Hill
, placed General Schurz
in temporary charge of the corps, and, ranking Doubleday
, took the chief command of all the troops in action.
The Confederate numbers were continually augmented, and, to meet an expected attack from the north and west, Howard
was compelled to extend the National lines
, then quite thin, about 3 miles, with Culp's Hill
on the right, Round Top
on the left, and Cemetery Hill
in the centre, forming the apex of a redan.
At about three o'clock in the afternoon there was a general advance of the Confederates
, and a terrible battle ensued, with heavy losses on both sides.
They had anxiously looked for reinforcements from the scattered corps of the Army of the Potomac.
These speedily came, but not
Where the battle began.|
until the preliminary engagement in the great battle of Gettysburg
was at Taneytown
, 13 miles distant, when he heard of the death of Reynolds
, and he ordered General Hancock
's junior, to leave his corps with Gibbons
and take the chief command at Gettysburg
He arrived just as the beaten forces were hurrying towards Cemetery Hill
He reported to Meade
that he was satisfied with Howard
's disposition of the troops.
The latter had called early upon Slocum
, and both promptly responded.
joined the left of the troops on Cemetery Hill
had gone back; and, meeting his own corps, posted it a mile and a half in the rear of Cemetery Hill
had now given orders for the concentration of his whole army at Gettysburg
, and he aroused them at one o'clock in the morning of July 2, when only the corps of Sykes
, too, had been bringing forward his troops as rapidly as possible, making his headquarters on Seminary Ridge
On the morning of the 2d a greater portion of the two armies confronted each other.
Both commanders seemed averse to taking the initiative of battle.
had the advantage of position, their lines projecting in wedge-form towards The Confederate centre, with steep rocky acclivities along their front.
It was late in the afternoon before a decided movement was made.
, on the left, between Cemetery Hill
and Round Top
, expecting an attack, had advanced his corps we11 towards the heaviest columns of the Confederates
attacked him with Longstreet
There was first a severe struggle for the possession of the rocky eminence on Meade
's extreme left, where Birney
Meanwhile there was a fierce contest near the centre, between Little Round Top
and Cemetery Hill
While yet there
Battle-ground of little round top.|
was strife for the former, General Crawford
, with six regiments of Pennsylvania
reserves, swept down its northwestern side with tremendous shouts, and drove the Confederates
through the woods to the Emmettsburg road, making 300 of them prisoners.
were then in an advanced position, the former with his right on the Emmettsburg road, when Hill
, advancing in heavy force from Seminary Ridge
, fell upon him and pushed him back, with a loss of half his men and three guns.
In this onset Sickles
lost a leg, and Birney
took command of the corps.
Elated by this success, the Confederates
pushed up to the base of Cemetery Hill
and its southern slope, throwing themselves recklessly upon supposed weak points.
In this contest Meade
led troops in person.
, just at sunset, directed a general charge, chiefly by fresh troops under Doubleday
, who had hastened to his assistance from the rear of Cemetery Hill
These, with Humphreys
's shattered regiments, drove the Confederates
back and recaptured four guns.
The battle ended on the left centre at twilight.
Then the battle was renewed on the National
right, where General Slocum
was in chief command.
had attacked him with a part of his corps at the time Longstreet
assailed the left.
The assault was vigorous.
Up the northern slopes of Cemetery Hill
pressed in the face of a murderous fire of canister and shrapnel to the muzzles of the guns.
Another part of Ewell
's corps attempted to turn the National
right by attacking its weakened part on Culp's Hill
The Confederates were repulsed at the right centre; and, after a severe battle on the extreme right of the Nationals, the Confederates
there were firmly held in check.
So ended, at about ten o'clock at night, the second day's battle at Gettysburg
, when nearly 40,000 men of the two armies, who were “effective” thirty-six hours before, were dead or wounded.
The advantage seemed to be with the Confederates
, for they held the ground in advance of Gettysburg
which the Nationals had held the previous day. During the night Meade
made provision for expelling the Confederate
intrusion on the National
right by placing a heavy artillery force in that direction.
Under cover of these guns a strong force made an attack, and for four hours Geary
kept up a desperate struggle.
Then the Confederates
fell back, and the right was made secure.
was repulsed on the right, and Round Top
, on the left, was impregnable; so Lee
determined to strike Meade
's centre with a force that should crush it. At noon (July 3) he had 145 cannon in battery along the line occupied by Longstreet
All night General Hunt
, of the Nationals, had been arranging the artillery from Cemetery Hill
to Little Round Top
, where the expected blow would fall.
determined to aim his chief blow at Hancock
's position on Cemetery Hill
At 1 o'clock P. M. 115 of his cannon opened a rapid concentrated fire on the devoted point.
Fourscore National guns replied, and for two hours more than 200 cannon shook the surrounding country with their detonations.
Then the Confederate infantry, in a line 3 miles in length, preceded by a host of skirmishers, flowed swiftly over the undulating plain.
Behind these was; a heavy reserve.
, with his Virginians
, led the van, well supported, in a charge upon Cemetery Hill
In all, his troops were about 15,000 strong.
The cannon had now almost ceased thundering, and were succeeded by the awful roll of musketry.
Shot and shell from Hancock
's batteries now made fearful lanes through the oncoming Confederate ranks.
was wounded, and Gibbons
was. placed in command.
pressed onward, when the divisions of Hayes
opened an appalling and continuous fire upon them.
The Confederates gave way, and 2,000 men were made prisoners, and fifteen battle-flags became trophies of victory for Hayes
moved on, scaled Cemetery Hill
, burst through Hancock
's line, drove back a portion of General Webb
's brigade, and planted the Confederate
flag on a stonewall.
could go no farther.
View from little round top.|
's Vermont brigade of Doubleday
's division opened such a destructive fire on Pickett
's troops that they gave way. Very soon 2,500 of them were made prisoners, and with them twelve battleflags, and three-fourths of his gallant men were dead or captives.
, and met a similar fate at the hands of the Vermonters.
had advanced upon the Confederate
right from near Little Round Top
. The Confederates fled; and in this sortie the whole ground lost by Sickles
was recovered, with 260 men captives, 7,000 small-arms, a cannon, and wounded Unionists
, who had lain nearly twenty-four hours uncared for. Thus, at near sunset, July 3, 1863, ended the battle of Gettysburg
During that night and all the next day Lee
's army on Seminary Ridge
prepared for flight back to Virginia
His invasion was a failure; and on Sunday morning, July 5, his whole army was moving towards the Potomac
This battle, in its far-reaching effects, was the most important of the war. The National loss in men, from the morning of the 1st until the evening of the 3d of July, was reported by Meade
to be 23,186, of whom 2,834 were killed, 13,709 wounded, and 6,643 missing. Lee
's loss was probably about 30,000.
The battle-ground is now the National Soldiers' Cemetery
, nearly all of the Confederate
dead having been removed to Southern cemeteries.
The battle-field is now studded with State and regimental monuments marking the most important spots in the three-days' battle.
Near the centre of the battle-field stands a national monument of gray granite, erected at a cost of $50,000, and also a bronze statue of General Reynolds
Almost immediately after the battle the government determined to acquire and set apart the battle-field for a National Soldiers' Cemetery.
On Nov. 19, 1863, the field, which then contained the graves of 3,580 Union soldiers, was dedicated by President Lincoln
, who delivered the following memorable speech:
See Adams, Charles Francis
; Everett, Edward.