The Battle of 1863
July 1, 1863...Day 1
The day of July 1, 1863 brought the Battle of Gettysburg to life. It began as an ambush on Union troops on McPherson's Ridge, which laid west of the town, by Confederate soldiers. The Union men struggled to keep their position, although the Confederates had the number of troops on their side, until that afternoon. Then, the southerners pushed the Union men through Gettysburg town, and many Union soldiers were taken prisoner, keeping them from joining others on Cemetery Hill. This hill, to the south of town, would prove to be a strong high ground for the Union to occupy. As the night hours wore on, the Union Army constructed defenses; simultaneously, General George Gordon Meade's army came up into position.
July 1, 1863...Day 2
July 2, 1863 brought more confusion and bloodshed to those still recovering from the first day. By July 2nd, battle lines had formed two arcs. The largest sections of each army were about a mile apart and rested on two ridges that ran parallel to one another. The Union army on Cemetery Ridge were looking in the direction of the Confederates who occuplied Seminary Ridge. It was not long before Confederate General Robert E. Lee called for an attack that would hit the two Union flanks. James Longstreet's corps hit the Union left and disrupted Union General Daniel Sickles' advance lines located in the Peach Orchard. Longstreet's attacks also turned the Wheatfield into a bloody mess and destroyed the lower area of Little Round Top. Another Confederate General, Richard Ewell, attempted to assault the Union right, which rested on the hills, East Cemetery and Culp's.
July 1, 1863...Day 3
July 3, 1863: The Day of the Confederate High Tide. Artillery belonging to General Lee began a barrage, and the cannons of the two sides fought for dominance. Despite this earsplitting attack, the Union center, entrenched on Cemetery Hill, was not much changed. Confederate General George Pickett made one last grab at glory, remembering the short success the South had received the previous day. He gathered together a boggling number of infantry regiments, about 12,000 Confederate men, and sent them helplessly into the fields. They were ordered to march toward the Union lines, not allowed to fire or give the Rebel yell. It was not long until Union shot and shell began pouring into the Confederate lines, but despite this, a few of the southerners managed to reach the Union lines. 10,000 men had lost their lives or their health in this disastrous effort, and all of this occurred in just 50 minutes. Pickett's terrible failure has been named by history, Pickett's Charge.