Legendary Military Battles: The Battle Of Gettysburg, Brother Against Brother

The Battle Of Gettysburg

During the American Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg had brothers fighting against brothers. The South took quite the blow in the epic battle fought 35 miles southwest of Harrisburg in Pennsylvania.

Initial Invasion

Union Gen. Joseph Hooker was defeated in Chancellorsville, Virginia, by Gen. Robert E. Lee. Lee had hoped that invading the North would gain recognition from European countries and stop the North from fighting back.

Lee’s army had over 71,000 troops with high morale, while the Union army’s morale was low. Lee reorganized the army into three sections under Gen. A.P. Hill, Gen. James Longstreet, and Gen. Richard S. Ewell.

Gen. Jeb Stuart was in charge of the cavalry. Stuart and the cavalry were supposed to be Lee’s eyes. However, that was not the case. At the end of June 1863, Stuart swept around the Federal forces moving between them and Washington D.C.

On June 29, Meade moved north with Gen. John Buford’s cavalry brigades, aiming to keep Lee away from the capital and get him to fight before crossing the Susquehanna.

On June 30th, a Confederate brigade was driven back from their Gettysburg approach by Buford. However, Hill realized that Gettysburg was strategically important and sent Gen. Henry Heth’s division there.

Battle of Gettysburg

Buford’s brigade used Spencer repeating carbines to hold off Heth’s division until back up from Gen. John F. Reynold’s I Corps came. At 11 a.m., there was a massive counterattack, and Reynolds was killed during the skirmish, making him one of the highest-ranking officers to die during the war and at Gettysburg.

I Corps three divisions arrived by 1 p.m. with Gen. Oliver O. Howard’s XI Corps defending any northern approaches. The Federals held strong for an hour and a half but were attacked by Gen Jubal Early. With their attack, the XI Corps defenses fell with 50 percent casualties. At the end of the first day, there were 15,500 soldiers either killed, wounded, captured, or missing.

Despite objections from Longstreet, Lee attacked the Union forces which included new troops from Gen. George Pickett. At 3 p.m., 15,000 Confederate troops moved toward the Federals, who fired artillery, weakening the army, leading to their retreat.

Lee was ready for an attack on Seminary Ridge, but it did not happen, and he ended up retreating. Overall, there were around 23,000 Northerners killed and 28,000 Southern casualties.

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