The Battle of Gettysburg took place from July 1 to July 3, 1863. It was fought in and around the town of Gettysburg, PA as part of the Gettysburg campaign. It had the largest number of casualties of any single battle in the American Civil War. It is frequently cited as the war?s turning point. General George Meade?s Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Confederate General Robert E Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia, and effectively ended Lee?s invasion of the North.
After his success at Chancellorsville in May 1863, Lee led his army through the Shenandoah Valley in his second attempt to invade the north. He hoped to reach Harrisburg, PA, or even Philadelphia. He hoped to influence northern politicians to give up the war by doing so. As ordered by Lincoln, Major General Joseph Hooker pursued Lee. Hooker was relieved 3 days before the battle and replaced with Meade.
The armies collided on July 1, 1863, as Lee attacked some low ridges to the northwest of town. They were initially defended by a Union cavalry division, and it was soon reinforced by two corps of Union infantry. Two large confederate corps attacked them from the Northwest and North, and sent the Union defenders retreating through the streets of the own to the hills just to the south.
On the second day of the battle, most of both armies had assembled and the Union line was laid out properly in a fishhook shaped defensive formation. Lee launched a massive attack on the Union left flank, and the fighting raged at Little Round Top, the Wheatfield, Devil’s Den, and the Peach Orchard. On the Union right flank, there were assaults on Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill. Despite significant losses, the Union defenders held their lines.
On the 3rd day, 12,500 Confederates attacked the center of the line and were crushed by Union rifle and artillery, forcing Lee to retreat.