How long did the battle last? The battle was fought between July 1 and 3, 1863 between the Union and the Confederate soldiers. The battle witnessed the heaviest loss of life and property in the Civil War.
Summary of the Battle
The battle was a turning point in the Civil War. The defeat of the Confederate army led by Gen. Robert E. Lee by that of the Union, led by Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade was a decisive factor in the civil war. The Confederates marched through Shenandoah Valley, after a successful confrontation at Chancellorsville. The aim was to reach Pennsylvania or Philadelphia, with the intent of furthering Confederate influence on Northern politicians.
Day 1: President Abraham Lincoln ordered Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker to position his army in and around Gettysburg. The two armies clashed on July 1, 1863. The Confederate fight back was effective in bringing down a cavalry division and quickly replenished Union lines. The Union army was forced to retreat to the hills, south of the town.
Day 2: On the second day, the Union held fast as the Confederate army raged through and attacked the fishhook defensive. Throughout the little town, heavy assaults at Little Round Top, Devil's Den, Wheatfield, Peach Orchard, Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill raged, causing significant losses on either side. However, the Union personnel held their positions, strengthening resistance.
Day 3: On July 3, the battle commenced at Culp's Hill. The fronts were by now to the east and south of the town. The main event on Day 3 was the 12,500 infantry assault by the Confederates, on the concentrated Union line at Cemetery Ridge. The Confederate army suffered huge losses and retreated to Virginia.
The three day battle saw nearly 51,000 Americans succumb as casualties. There was a huge cemetery consecrated for the mass burials and it is at this event that President Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg address. The Gettysburg National Cemetery stands in honor of those who died in the battle.
The onset of the monsoons drove the Confederate, half-spirited, out of Gettysburg. After the battle, Union victory in the American Civil War was inevitable. The Confederates lost complete political and military control. Vice President of the Confederate, Alexander Stephens approached Union lines at Virginia to negotiate and announce a truce. European support of the Confederacy was withdrawn without delay.
The battle culminated in favor of the Union army on account of the blind faith in inexperienced commanders placed by the Confederates. The subsequent days witnessed the popular Emancipation Proclamation and the empowerment of the people with President Lincoln's famous definition of democracy - government of, for and by the people. The principles of equality and liberty that were an integral part of the US Constitution were upheld, with the union of the states at the center and the release of thousands of slaves across America. The outcome of the battle was a trigger factor that sparked a crack down on the Confederation and European support of the Confederates.