Gettysburg, A Critical Review

Essay by dajesterCollege, UndergraduateA, October 1996

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The battle of Gettysburg, fought from June 30 through July 3, 1863 in Southeastern Pennsylvania After fatter four days of fighting over 53,000 men were killed or wounded. was the largest battle ever fought on the North American continent. The battle involved about 60,000 Confederate and over 70,000 Federal troops.

Most historians regard the battle of Gettysburg as the turning point in the American Civil War. The battle of Gettysburg marked the change in attitude and morale for the north. The battle also broke the myth of invincibility of General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia.

The Strategy

The Confederate general staff and Civilian government hoped to accomplish two thins by marching north into Pennsylvania. They wanted to draw the Union army out in to the open and win a decisive battle in the North. The defeat of a large Union force would leave the way open to Washington, D.

C. and force the United States to negotiate for peace or possibly surrender unconditionally. The public mood in the North was defeatist or pro-peace at the best.

The South needed a series of quick but decisive victories to shake, if not tender the federal government.

Once the Southern advance was discovered the area around Gettysburg, Pennsylvania became the default battle ground, the Southern forces hoped to capture Harrisburg the state capitol further north.. Gettysburg was a transportation center with five roads running in and out of the town. The town also had a rail road track nearby.

The Flaws

For the Confederacy the battle of Gettysburg became an avalanche of mistakes. The Confederate advance or point was discovered by Union cavalry. The cavalry alerted the five Union corps.

The Southern Cavalry, under the leadership of Jeb Stewart became caught up in hit and run attacks of...