When asked to define the Civil War’s turning point, many turn to the iconic Battle of Gettysburg. From July1st to July 3rd , 1863, some 160,00 soldiers fought valiantly in a series of horrific battles. Ultimately the Union forces maintained the upper hand, but at a terrible cost: Confederate causalities were 28,000 of 75,000, while Union casualties were 23,000 of 88,000. One in three fighting men – dead, injured, or missing.
Following crucial victories in May, General Lee’s army was in high spirits and Lee began his invasion of the North. And only three days before the battle, General Meade was placed at the head of the Army of the Potomac.
The battle peaked on the third day, July 3rd, with a dramatic infantry assault by 12,500 Confederates against the center of the Union line known as Pickett’s Charge. The charge was repulsed by Union rifle and artillery fire, at great losses to the Confederate army, and Lee retreated back to Virginia.
On November 19, President Lincoln used the dedication ceremony for the Gettysburg National Cemetery to honor the fallen Union soldiers and redefine the purpose of the war in his historic Gettysburg Address.
Look here at a first-hand perspective from a soldier in the field. The writer came out of the battle unscathed, and he was Jewish. He wrote: “The Battle of Gettysburg is fought and thank God The Army of the Potomac has been victorious.”