The American Civil War was a devastating war in American history – the United States was truly a nation torn asunder. One of the bloodiest of battles took place at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on Wednesday, July 1 through Friday, July 3, 1863. The casualties were estimated to be between 46,000 and 51,000 killed, wounded or missing. Gettysburg was near the halfway point of the war – it was a crossroads for the North and a tempting area of supplies for the South. General Robert E. Lee saw the Shenandoah Valley as a major bread basket for the Southern Armies. General Lee made a flanking maneuver to bring the war up into the untouched lands of southern Pennsylvania. If he could win this battle, it would prevent a war of attrition that was slowly starving and killing off the Confederate Army. The majority of the fighting took place in the Southern States. The industry and peoples of the Confederate States were not able to replenish the stores of food, battle supplies and men to their cause. Gettysburg was a great opportunity for Lee to bring the war into the North and tap into their farming and industrial centers. But as Lee’s Army moved north, the Union Army, under the direction of Major General George Meade, was shadowing the Southern Armies movements, and the battle eventually came to a head at Gettysburg. At the end of the three-day battle, the Union had completely stopped the South’s invasion of the North. General Lee retreated to Virginia and never invaded the North again. On November 19, 1863 President Lincoln visited Gettysburg and gave one of the greatest speeches to the Nation – it was only 2 minutes long, but it redefined the purpose of the Civil War. 150 years later, the words he spoke in that now-famous Gettysburg Address still ring true. As our country struggles with its identity today, I urge you to look this speech up and read President Lincoln’s brief but powerful words!
SharLeigh has an inquisitive nature – she is interested in current events, history, science and many more subjects, including things that go bump in the night! Since 1997, SharLeigh has scoured the internet, looking for interesting, fun and timely topics covering all sorts of human-interest subjects for her articles from her home in Fontana, CA.