June 23, 2013
Gettysburg: 150-Year Anniversary Of The Epic Battle
One of the bloodiest and deadliest battles in American history is known as the Battle of Gettysburg. It began on July 1, 1863 and lasted until July 3, 1863 and accounted for the largest number of deaths of the American Civil War.
This battle was considered to be the turning point in the war. After continual advancements to the north, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s army was defeated during these three days of bloodshed, halting his northward invasion.
On July 1, 1863, the two armies encountered each other and a fierce battle began. Lee, hoping to continue his advance, was initially stopped by a Union Calvary division that had been accompanied by two reinforcement corps. However, two larger Confederate corps united with the smaller army and pushed the Union soldiers back in retreat. An estimated 22,000 Union soldiers and 27,000 Confederate soldiers engaged in fighting on the first day.
July 2, 1863, most of the remaining infantries of both armies had arrived at the battlefield. The battle on day two had Lee’s army unleashing a heavy assault on the left flank of the Union army, concentrated around Little Round Top, the Wheatfield, Devil’s Den and the Peach Orchard. On the right flank another assault on Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill was unleashed. Despite being outnumbered and loosing many soldiers, the Union army held their lines.
July 3, 1863, marked the third day of the battle. Fighting resumed on Culp’s Hill and 12,500 Confederate soldiers attacked the Union line on Cemetery Ridge, which was known as Pickett’s Charge. Union rifle and artillery fire thwarted the charge, forcing Lee’s army to retreat back to Virginia.
Being named the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, an estimated 57,225 total casualties occurred between the two armies in the three-day battle. Documented by Busey and Martin in the 2005 book, Regimental Strengths and Losses at Gettysburg, estimates on the union side are 23,055; (3,155 killed, 14,531 wounded, and 5,369 captured or missing). For the Confederates, estimates are, 23,231; (4,708 killed, 12,693 wounded, and 5,830 captured or missing).
This year marks the 150-year anniversary of this epic three-day battle. Reenactments have occurred yearly at this time in various locations.
On July 4 – 7, 2013 on the outskirts of Gettysburg Pa, an all-day event on each day will take place sponsored by the GAC (Gettysburg Anniversary Committee). Battle reenactments, field demonstrations, a living village, guest speakers and more will be part of this four-day event. Click here for a list of events.
During this event an estimated tens of thousands of spectators, reenactors, and reporters will attend from all over the world. Many different organizations will supply horses, bales of hay, and porta-johns for this spectacular display of our history. If you are unable to attend, you can watch a live feed on your pc, tablet or smartphone by subscribing here.
Another organization, Blue Gray Gettysburg, has also planned a reenactment scheduled for June 27 – 30, 2013. Here’s their list of events.