In June 1863, General Robert E. Lee and the 75,000-strong Army of Northern Virginia launched a second invasion of the North, crossing into Maryland and Pennsylvania to try to win a decisive victory over Federal forces. On July 1, Lee’s army encountered Major General Meade’s 90,000 strong Army of the Potamac at the small town of Gettysburg. After some initial success in dispersing the Federal advance guard, Lee launched attack after attack against the main army, but everywhere the Union line held. On July 3, Lee ordered a final assault of 12,500 Confederates at the center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge, known as Pickett’s Charge. The charge was repulsed with huge loss of life, bringing the battle to an end. Today, Gettysburg is recognized as the turning point in the Civil War and one of the iconic battles of the great struggle between North and South. Lee’s gamble didn’t pay off, leaving the Army of Northern Virginia fatally weakened and unable to continue its invasion of the North.
Gettysburg is divided into five chapters, outlining the campaign, the fighting on July 1, July 2, and July 3, as well as a chapter dealing with the aftermath; an extended appendices provides biographical background of the main Federal and Confederate leaders who fought in the battle. Through letters, journal entries, and official reports, the book includes numerous first-hand accounts from those who survived. Color maps show the battle as it unfolded over three days of fighting in places that have a place in Civil War legend: Seminary Ridge, Little Round Top, Cemetery Hill, Devil’s Den, the Wheat Field, Culp’s Hill, the Peach Orchard.
Including more than 200 archival photographs, illustrations, paintings, and maps, Gettysburg is a colorful, accessible guide to the great battle that marked the turning point in the Civil War.