Facts, Summary and History Net Articles about the Battle Of Gettysburg during the American Civil War
Battle Summary: The Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (July 1–July 3, 1863), was the largest battle of the American Civil War as well as the largest battle ever fought in North America, involving around 85,000 men in the Union’s Army of the Potomac under Major General George Gordon Meade and approximately 75,000 in the Confederacy’s Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert Edward Lee. Casualties at Gettysburg totaled 23,049 for the Union (3,155 dead, 14,529 wounded, 5,365 missing). Confederate casualties were 28,063 (3,903 dead, 18,735 injured, and 5,425 missing), more than a third of Lee’s army.
These largely irreplaceable losses to the South’s largest army, combined with the Confederate surrender of Vicksburg, Mississippi, on July 4, marked what is widely regarded as a turning point—perhaps the turning point—in the Civil War, although the conflict would continue for nearly two more years and witness several more major battles, including Chickamauga, Spotsylvania Courthouse, Mononacy, Nashville, etc.
A Note on Military Ranks
Ranks shown for regular army Union officers at the Battle of Gettysburg are their ranks as commanders of U.S. Volunteers; their ranks in the U. S. Army were usually lower. Meade, for example, was a Major General of United States Volunteers (USV) but only a brigadier general in the regular army when he was placed in charge of the Army of the Potomac. “Old Snapping Turtle,” as he was called, was brusque with subordinates and superiors alike and would not be promoted to major general in the regular army until August 18, 1864.
The Gettysburg Campaign
In the wake of Confederate victory at Chancellorsville, Virginia (May 1–4, 1863), Robert E. Lee decided to attempt a second invasion of the North. This would take pressure off Virginia’s farms during the growing season, especially in the “breadbasket of the Confederacy,” the Shenandoah Valley. Additionally, any victories won on Northern soil would put political pressure on Abraham Lincoln’s administration to negotiate a settlement to the war, or might lead to the South’s long hoped-for military alliance with England and France.
The campaign began under a dark shadow: Lee’s creative and aggressive corps commander, Lieutenant General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, had been mortally wounded by his own men at Chancellorsville. The Army of Northern Virginia reorganized from two corps to three, with Lt. Gen. Richard “Dick” Ewell replacing Jackson in the Second Corps and Lt. Gen. Ambrose Powell (A. P.) Hill commanding the newly formed Third Corps. Lieutenant General James Longstreet—Lee’s “Old War Horse”—retained command of the First Corps. The Army of Northern Virginia was about to invade enemy territory with two of its three corps commanders newly appointed to their positions, and the secretive, self-reliant Jackson had done little to prepare them for this level of command.
This would be Lee’s second incursion into the North. The previous one ended in the bloodiest single day in America’s history, the Battle of Antietam (called the Battle of Sharpsburg in the South) in Maryland on September 17, 1862. Total casualties from that one-day battle exceeded 23,000.
In order to mask the army’s movement up the Shenandoah Valley into western Maryland and central Pennsylvania, Lee depended upon his renowned cavalry leader J.E.B. “Jeb” Stuart. Upon crossing into Maryland, Stuart loosely interpreted Lee’s ambiguous orders and began raiding Union supply trains. Cut off by the advancing Army of the Potomac, from June 25 until the night of July 2, Stuart lost all communication with the rest of the Confederate army, leaving Lee to operate blindly deep in enemy territory.
Meanwhile, on the Union side, the Army of the Potomac was still under the command of General Joe Hooker, who had lost the Chancellorsville battle, diminishing his reputation as “Fighting Joe.” As reports arrived that the Confederates had crossed the Potomac and were on Northern soil, Hooker dispersed his army widely, trying to simultaneously protect the approaches to Washington, Philadelphia and Baltimore. He’d lost Lincoln’s confidence, and the president made the difficult choice to replace an army commander in the face of an enemy invasion. On June 28, a military engineer, Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade—who had only been promoted to corps command less than six months earlier—was placed in charge of the Union’s largest army. He immediately ordered his scattered corps to concentrate in a manner that would allow each to be quickly reinforced by another. He hoped to draw Lee into attacking him on high ground along Pipe Steam Creek.
As Meade’s corps moved closer to each other, Lee’s army was scattered, moving along multiple roads. He issued orders to his subordinates to not bring on a general engagement until the army could concentrate its forces. Fate had other plans.
Gettysburg: Day 1
On the morning of July 1, Major General Henry Heth, of A.P. Hill’s Third Corps, sent his 7,500-man division down the Chambersburg Pike toward Gettysburg. Encountering resistance, they initially assumed it was more of the hastily assembled Pennsylvania Emergency Militia that they’d been skirmishing with during the campaign.
In reality, Colonel John Buford had deployed part of two brigades of Union cavalry as skirmishers in the brush along Willoughby’s Run three miles west of town. Just two weeks previously, they’d been issued breech-loading carbines, and they used the guns’ fast-loading capability to create the impression of a much larger force, slowing the advance of Hill’s brigades for a time before falling back.
The Confederates followed them across the stream, only to meet a line of Union infantry on McPherson’s Ridge. The Army of the Potomac was arriving piecemeal, and among the first to arrive was a brigade of Western regiments that had earned the nickname “Iron Brigade of the West.” Confederates recognized these “fellows in the black hats” and realized they were in for a rougher day than expected.
Union major general John Reynolds, commander of the left wing of the Army of the Potomac (I, III and XI corps), arrived and took charge of the defense. His men fought tenaciously, and Reynolds was shot dead during the fighting.
From his headquarters at Taneytown, Meade dispatched Major General Winfield Scott Hancock to take command at Gettysburg—although Major General O. O. Howard was already on the field—and assess whether or not the battle should be fought there. Hancock, seeing the strong defensive position offered by the hills near Gettysburg, chose to stand, and Meade ordered the other corps to the little crossroads town.
By afternoon, Confederate reinforcements had also arrived, and the general engagement Lee hadn’t wanted at this stage of the campaign was a fait accompli.
The Union’s XI Corps was driven back through the town of Gettysburg, losing 4,000 men, and by evening was entrenching on Culp’s and Cemetery hills south of town.
Lee expressed a desire for General Ewell to assault the hills without waiting for further reinforcement, but he failed to make it an express order. Ewell did not press his tired men forward, giving Meade time to reinforce the troops on the hills.
James Longstreet’s corps had arrived, and his 20,000 men were sent to outflank the Union left, which was anchored to the south by two eminences known as Little Round Top and Big Round Top. But the Federals had failed to place troops upon those hills, as Lee learned from an early morning reconnaissance report. Ewell was to make a demonstration against Culp’s and Cemetery hills on the Union right and to use his own discretion about launching a full-scale attack.
Longstreet’s men, moving toward their objective, had to reverse, countermarch and take a different route after Brigadier General Lafayette McLaws discovered the planned route would put them in full view of the Federals, negating any advantage of surprise. This cost valuable time but, as events turned out, a Union general was about to present them an unexpected opportunity.
All but one of Meade’s seven corps were now on the field, deployed in a fish-hook shape with its center along Cemetery Ridge; the defensive positions on Culp’s and Cemetery hills formed the hook at one end. The left was held by Major General Daniel Sickles, who owed his military rank to his political importance in the essential state of New York.
Dissatisfied with his position at the lower end of Cemetery Ridge, he took it upon himself to advance his III Corps nearly a half-mile west toward the Emmitsburg Pike and open high ground in a wheat field near a peach orchard. The move dangerously stretched his 10,000-man corps. Longstreet’s men attacked Sickle’s new position, and the fighting at rocky Devil’s Den, the wheat field and the peach orchard was among the fiercest and bloodiest of the three days.
Meade, faced with Sickles’ blunder, sent V Corps and part of the XI to reinforce him. New York’s Irish Brigade received Last Rites from a Catholic priest before charging into the fray; 198 of them would not return from the desperate fighting in the hot, sultry afternoon.
Above the blood-soaked fields, a similar drama was playing out on Little Round Top. Around 4:30 p.m., men of Alabama, Texas and Arkansas, from John Bell Hood’s Division in Longstreet’s Corps, began ascending the steep hill from the west. Had they arrived two hours earlier, they would have captured the heights unopposed, but by the time they arrived Meade’s chief of engineers, Brig. Gen. Gouveneur K. Warren, had discovered the potentially disastrous situation and sent messages to Sickles, who could not send even a single regiment by that time.
One message found its way to Colonel Strong Vincent, commanding 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, of the Federals’ V Corps. He double-timed his men and deployed them among the rocks and trees of Little Round Top’s western and southern slopes. The fate of the Union Army, at that moment, rested on the shoulders of 1,350 men of the 83rd Pennsylvania, 44th New York, 16th Michigan and 20th Maine regiments. Vincent’s orders were to “hold this ground at all costs!”
Nearly 650 Rebels of the 15th Alabama stormed into the saddle between the Round Tops around 6:00 p.m., and into the muzzles of Colonel Joshua Chamberlain’s 20th Maine. After an hour of intense fighting, Chamberlain’s 300-plus men had nearly exhausted their 15,000 rounds of ammunition. He ordered a countercharge. The surprised Alabamians fell back and attempted to make a stand, but Company B of the 20th Maine, which had been detached to cover the regiment’s flank, and fourteen of Hiram Berdan’s Sharpshooters rose from behind a stone wall and charged the Confederates’ flank. Convinced they were outnumbered, the men of the 15th and 47th Alabama retreated onto Big Round Top.
On the western slope, Colonel Vincent’s other regiments also stood firm until part of the 16th Michigan was pushed back. Gouvenor Warren, receiving a plea for reinforcements, ordered the 140th New York Zouaves to charge, and they broke the Rebels’ line long enough for more reinforcements to arrive.
By the time the sun went down on the second day at Gettysburg, the Union left still held, but III Corps would no longer be a significant factor in the battle, and V Corps had been badly mauled. Meanwhile, a desperate contest was taking place on the slope of Cemetery Hill.
Ewell’s troops had advanced from around the town of Gettysburg to assault Culp’s and Cemetery hills. For an hour they struggled across rough ground while Union batteries threw shot and shell among them, but when they got far enough up the slopes, the Federals could not depress their barrels enough to fire into them, and the Rebels routed infantry of the XI Corps. Union regiments pulled from one area of Cemetery Hill to plug a gap created by the retreat created their own gap, and Confederate infantry poured through.
Down on Cemetery Ridge, Winfield Hancock sent the 14th Indiana and 7th West Virginia regiments to reinforce Cemetery Hill. Arriving after dark, they formed up and charged into the Rebels who were fighting with artillerymen around the Union guns. The Confederates fell back. In one of the ironic events of the war, the 7th West Virginia, which had been the 7th Virginia (Union) until June 20 when West Virginia was admitted as a state, fought hand to hand with the 7th Virginia of the Confederacy, capturing a nephew of their own regimental commander.
The long day of bloodshed finally ended. Meade called together his commanders for a council of war. He’d already sent a message to the War Department stating that he intended to stay and fight; he may have called the council in order to make sure no one would do the next day what Sickles had done. Meade’s army had been attacked on the left and the right; that fact, combined with other intelligence he’d received, led him to believe his center would be the target the next day.
Read more about General Lee’s plan for Gettysburg Day 2
Throughout the war, Robert E. Lee had always sought a way to “get at those people over there.” His aggressiveness had served the Confederate cause well on many battlefields, but on July 3, 1863, it led to disaster.
Despite the passionate arguments of Longstreet, Lee instructed his “Old War Horse” to strike the Union center on Cemetery Ridge, using the divisions of Brig. Gen. James Johnston Pettigrew, Maj. Gen. Isaac Ridgeway Trimble, and the recently arrived division of Maj. Gen. George Pickett. In all, approximately 15,000 men were to advance three-quarters of a mile across open ground, climb fences along the roads, and charge up the gradual but steep slope of Cemetery Ridge to assail a force of about 6,500, but the Federals had reinforcements close by.
At 1:00 in the afternoon, a prolonged artillery barrage by the Confederates, utilizing an unprecedented number of guns spread two miles wide, preceded the assault, intended to silence the Union’s cannons and weaken the infantry. Most of its shells went high, plunging to earth behind the Federals’ line, though some found their mark. One nearly struck Meade, standing outside his headquarters.
For a time, Federal guns replied, until the order came down to conserve ammunition for the attack that was obviously coming. When the Union cannons fell silent, Lee’s artillery chief, Col. Edward Porter Alexander, sent word for Longstreet to bring up his men.
Pettigrew’s division of four brigades formed the left of the attack line, with two of Trimble’s brigades behind them and to their right for support. Pickett’s men stepped out on the right.
The advance was disordered by terrain and by flanking fire on Pettigrew’s left as it neared the Union line. Pickett’s advance drifted left, exposing his right to enemy fire. Through shot, shell, canister and rifle fire, the long Confederate line surged forward. Near the Union center, it broke through temporarily until reinforcements drove it back. As the survivors straggled back to Confederate lines at Seminary Ridge, many of them passed Robert E. Lee, who told them, “It is my fault.”
The day also saw cavalry action, as the horsemen of brigadier generals George Custer and David Gregg stymied Stuart’s attempt to get into the Union rear..
On July 4, Lee started a 27-mile-long train of hospital wagons down the road to Virginia. His army halted at the flooded Potomac River and entrenched for another battle, but Meade’s army, too, was battered and exhausted and had consumed much of its ammunition. The Army of the Potomac did not pursue, for which Meade would be soundly criticized. He remained in command of that army for the rest of the war, even after Ulysses S. Grant was promoted to lieutenant general, placed over all Northern armies and attached himself to the Army of the Potomac. Lee offered his resignation to Confederate president Jefferson Davis, but it was refused and he, too, remained in command for the rest of the war.
Notable Facts about the Battle of Gettysburg
Ammunition at Gettysburg: An estimated 569 tons of ammunition was fired during the three days of fighting.
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was delivered November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the “Soldiers’ National Cemetery” at Gettysburg. The speech was extremely short by the standards of the day and received scant notice at the time, but its concise, powerful wording has made it one of the best-known public addresses in all of history. Contrary to popular myth, Lincoln did not scribble the speech on the back of an envelope on his way to Gettysburg but wrote several drafts. The last bodies would not be retrieved from battlefield graves and reinterred in the cemetery until months after the dedication ceremonies.
John Buford, whose cavalry fired the first shots of the battle, died December 16, 1863. His death is thought to have resulted from typhoid fever and a body weakened by exhaustion. He received a deathbed promotion to major general, post-dated to July 1, 1863.
Civilians at Gettysburg were left to deal with the thousands of wounded. Homes and public buildings became hospitals, and diseases born of infection and unsanitary conditions made living in the town risky. Volunteers came from the North and the South, however, to aid in caring for the wounded, burying the dead, and piling and burning carcasses of horses and mules killed in the fighting.
During the battle, a random bullet went through the door of a house, striking and killing 20-year-old Mary Virginia (Jenny) Wade. She was the only civilian killed during the battle.
Banner image by Brian King.
Articles Featuring Gettysburg From History Net Magazines
Battle of Gettysburg Finale
‘It was all my fault this time. Form your ranks again when you get back to cover. We want all good men to hold together now.
With these words, General Robert E. Lee exhorted the broken remnants of George Pickett’s and Joseph Pettigrew’s divisions to regroup as they staggered back from the hail of Union gunfire on Cemetery Ridge outside the village of Gettysburg, Pa. For three long days, Lee had hurled his army against the Federal positions, storming their right, left and center in turn. Although badly mauled, the Army of the Potomac under Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade held firm and ultimately drove back the Rebel fury.
After the bloody repulse known as Pickett’s Charge, Lee’s army was spent, incapable of further offensive operations. Maintaining a prolonged defense in central Pennsylvania was now impossible, and the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia had only one choice left open to him — retreat. Nevertheless, Lee would not move hastily and determined to remain in the field for 24 hours to prepare his retreat, especially the transportation of his wounded.
Read the full article here.
In The Hot Seat Over Gettysburg
Left to right: Cullen A. Battle; James Longstreet; J.E.B. Stuart; Grumble Jones (images courtesy of Library of Congress and World History Group Archive)
Southern vets had long blamed James Longstreet and Jeb Stuart for their loss, but had Lee called a formal inquiry?
On January 20, 1896, the members of the A.P. Hill Camp of Confederate Veterans gathered in Petersburg, Va., for an evening of food, drink and nostalgia. The occasion was Robert E. Lee’s birthday, considered a national holiday in certain parts of the South. The guest speaker that evening was General Cullen A. Battle of Greensboro, N.C., formerly of the Army of Northern Virginia. After the dishes were cleared away and the gentlemen sat back with their cigars and spirits, Battle was introduced as “one of the most distinguished officers in the [late] Confederate Army.” The 67-year-old general was well known as an “elegant and eloquent” public speaker whose words on more than one occasion had inspired men to heroic actions. His audience that evening consisted of true believers in the Lost Cause who had come to relive the glory days of 1861-65.
The subject of his address was the Army of Northern Virginia’s greatest victory, the Battle of Chancellorsville. As one of a dwindling group of senior officers of the Army of Northern Virginia who could speak of those bygone days from personal experience, he held his elderly audience in the palm of his hand. Mostly his address was a routine recitation of Confederate valor in the face of overwhelming odds, producing a glorious victory for Southern arms.
Read the full article here.
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Eyewitness Account: A Tar Heel at GettysburgAfter capture, Lawrence D. Davis had to undergo being reviewed by 'big & fat' Ben Butler.
Battle of Gettysburg: Union Cavalry AttacksAfter the conclusion of Pickett's Charge, ill-advised Union cavalry attacks killed dozens of Federal horsemen and a promising brigadier general.
37th North Carolina Infantry Regiment in the American Civil WarThe service of the 37th North Carolina epitomized the grit and determination of Tar Heel fighters.
Battle of Gettysburg: Fighting at Little Round TopThe Battle of Gettysburg, and perhaps the fate of the Union, was decided in one hour of desperate fighting on the rocky ledges of Little Round Top.
Battle of Gettysburg: Confederate General Richard Ewell’s Failure on the HeightsFor the second day in a row, Confederate General Richard Ewell inexplicably failed to take the offensive at Gettysburg. 'The fruits of victory, Robert E. Lee lamented, had not been gathered.
Did Lt. Gen. Richard Ewell Lose the Battle of GettysburgAfter disobeying Robert E. Lee's orders to avoid a general engagement at Gettysburg, Lt. Gen. Richard Ewell received an order to 'press those people.' His failure to do so created a controversy that survives to this day.
America’s Civil War: Robert E. Lee and James Longstreet at Odds at GettysburgAt Gettysburg, Longstreet told Lee that a direct assault would end in disaster -- but Pickett's Charge went forward anyway.
Battle of Gettysburg and American MythologyMuch of what Americans believe about Gettysburg is myth, but their flawed knowledge of the battle nevertheless serves to sanctify their national memory of the fight.
Picture of the Day: November 19Gettysburg Address President Abraham Lincoln was asked to deliver a few ‘appropriate remarks’ to the crowd at the dedication of the Civil War cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863. Lincoln’s address was almost ignored in the wake of the lengthy oration by main speaker Edwin Everett. In fact, Lincoln’s speech was over before […]
General Barlow and General Gordon Meet on Blocher’s KnollOn July 1, 1863, two generals, one badly wounded, allegedly met. The veracity of that encounter, now part of Civil War lore, has long been debated.
America’s Civil War: The South’s Feuding GeneralsIt sometimes seemed that Southern generals were more interested in fighting each other than in fighting Yankees. Their inability to get along together contributed greatly to the South's demise.
Major General J.E.B. Stuart: Last Stand of the Last KnightMajor General J.E.B. Stuart posted his horsemen at Yellow Tavern -- between Union attackers and Richmond -- and waited for the collision. It would come with a deadliness he could never have imagined.
General Francis Channing BarlowGeneral Francis Channing Barlow's clean-cut, boyish appearance belied his reputation as one of the Union's hardest-fighting divisional commanders.
Old Dominion Brigade in America’s Civil WarThe Virginia regiments originally under the brigade command of William Mahone seemed to save their best for last. After two years of average service, they became Robert E. Lee's go-to troops in the Wilderness and at Petersburg's Crater.
J.E.B. Stuart: Battle of Gettysburg ScapegoatFollowing the Confederate debacle at Gettysburg, many blamed Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart for leaving General Robert E. Lee in the dark. But was Stuart really to blame for the defeat? And if so, was he the only one at fault?
The Truth About Civil War SurgeryUnion Colonel Thomas Reynolds lay in a hospital bed after the July 1864 Battle of Peachtree Creek, Georgia. Gathered around him, surgeons discussed the possibility of amputating his wounded leg. The Irish-born Reynolds, hoping to sway the debate toward a conservative decision, pointed out that his wasn’t any old leg, but an ‘imported leg.’ Whether […]
Book Review:Gettysburg 1863: High Tide of the Confederacy (Carl Smith): CWTGettysburg 1863: High Tide of the Confederacy, by Carl Smith, Osprey Military, London, England, (212) 685-5560, 128 pages, softcover, $16.95. Although a mountain of books have been written about the Battle of Gettysburg over the last 130 years, the logistical enormity of the campaign ensures that new publications will continue to appear. Among the latest […]
Book Review: Deeply FlawedMajor General George E. Pickett is widely recognized because of his association with a single event.
Book Review: The Devil Knows How to Ride AND Quantrill’s War (Edward E. Leslie/Duane Schultz) : CWTTHE DEVIL’S DUEThe Devil Knows How to Ride: The True Story of William Clarke Quantrill and His Confederate Raiders, by Edward E. Leslie, Random House, $27.50. Quantrill’s War: The Life and Times of William Clarke Quantrill, 1837-1865, by Duane Schultz, St. Martin’s Press, $24.95.Anyone interested in the vicious bushwhacker-redleg war in Kansas and Missouri now […]
Book: Davis and Lee at War (Steven E. Woodworth): ACWDAVIS AND LEE AT WARThe decisive impact of politics on Civil War strategy is currently a hot topic among Civil War historians. Works analyzing thehigh commands of the Federal and Confederate armies and their complex relationships with the political hierarchy of theirrespective governments have proliferated, adding a new layer of knowledge to our understanding of […]
Book Review: Lee vs. Pickett: Two Divided By War : ACWLee vs. Pickett: Two Divided by War will stand as a groundbreaking study of a fascinating relationship.
Southern Invincibility: A History of the Confederate Heart (by Wiley Sword): ACWSouthern Invincibility: A History of the Confederate Heart, by Wiley Sword, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1999, $27.95. On the eve of the Civil War, how did Southerners perceive themselves and the cause on which they were about to embark? How did soldiers and civilians respond to the events on the battlefield? How did the […]
Book Review: Through Blood and Fire: Selected Civil War Papers of Major General Joshua Chamberlain (Mark Nesbitt) : ACWThrough Blood and Fire: Selected Civil War Papers of Major General Joshua Chamberlain, by Mark Nesbitt,Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, Pa., 1996, $19.95. Mark Nesbitt, best known for his best-selling Ghosts of Gettysburg series, has turned his attention to Maj. Gen. JoshuaChamberlain, a subject that has taken on almost as spiritual (and popular) an aura as those […]
Book Review: Gettysburg’s Unknown SoldierAmos Humiston, 'Gettysburg's Unknown Soldier,' comes to life in a touching new biography.
Book Review: The Gettysburg Nobody Knows (edited by Gabor S. Boritt) : ACWThe Gettysburg Nobody Knows, edited by Gabor S. Boritt, Oxford University Press, New York, $27.50.No battle in American history was more pivotal than Gettysburg. It is, without a doubt, the best-known engagement of the Civil War–and probably of all American history. It is certainly the most studied battle Americans ever fought. And yet, for all […]
Book Review: The Generals at Gettysburg: The Leaders of America’s Greatest Battle (by Larry R. Tagg) : ACWThe Generals at Gettysburg: The Leaders of America’s Greatest Battle, by Larry R. Tagg, avas Publishing Co., Mason City, Iowa, 1998, $29.95. After 136 years, the gallons of ink devoted to Gettysburg probably surpass the amount of blood spilled on those fields in July 1863. This fact alone should be enough to cause an author […]
Book Review: Medical Histories of Union Generals (Jack D. Welsh) : ACWMedical Histories of Union Generals, by Jack D. Welsh, Kent State University Press, Kent, Ohio, $35.Aside from the unwieldy records gathered in The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion and a handful of classics like George Worthington Adams’ Doctors in Blue and H.H. Cunningham’s Doctors in Gray, the medical aspects of […]
Book Review: The Secret War for the Union ( Edwin C. Fishel) : ACWThe Secret War for the Union, by Edwin C. Fishel, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, $35. This book provides the serious reader of Civil War history with another overlay through which to study the events of the war. In this case, the addition is the dimension of military intelligence, or lack thereof, in the battles […]
Book Review: General George E. Pickett in Life and LegendWho was George Pickett, and how did he come to be one of the most recognizable individuals--at least by name--of the Civil War?
Book Review: For Home and the Southland: A History of the 48th Georgia Infantry Regiment (by John Zwemer) : ACWFor Home and the Southland: A History of the 48th Georgia Infantry Regiment, by John Zwemer, NButternut & Blue, Baltimore, Md., 1999, $24.95. th Georgia Infantry Regiment went into action during the Peninsula campaign and fought in almost every significant Civil War battle on the East Coast. Its soldiers endured the heavy fire from Federal […]
Battle of Gettysburg: Major Eugene Blackford and the Fifth Alabama SharpshootersAs fighting swirled all around the little town of Gettysburg, Major Eugene Blackford and his sharpshooters infiltrated the usually quiet streets to snipe at Union soldiers often mere paces away. It was dangerous duty, but also a sort of reckless sport.
National Battlefield Tower at GettysburgEditorial on the demise of National Battlefield Tower at Gettysburg.
Multi-Media Review: Sid Meier’s Gettysburg – CWTSid Meier’s Gettysburg! Electronic Arts, (800) 245-4525, $49.95. Imagine you’re a Confederate general. It’s July 3, 1863, and you’re in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Across the open fields before you, the Union’s seemingly impenetrable line on Cemetery Ridge glares at you menacingly. After two days of fierce fighting, you have been ordered to lead your tattered division […]
MANTLED IN FIRE AND SMOKE – July ’99 America’s Civil War FeatureMANTLED IN FIRE AND SMOKE By David F. Cross The Battle of Gettysburg, and perhaps the fate of the Union, was decided in one hour of desperate fighting on the rocky ledges of Little Round Top. In June 1863, Confederate military fortunes in the East were at their zenith. The Union Army of the Potomac […]
Mantled in Fire and Smoke – Sidebar: July ’99 America’s Civil War FeatureThe Colorful 44th New York Regiment Colonel Joshua Chamberlain’s 20th Maine may have won the most fame during the grueling fight for control of Little Round Top, but the largest regimental monument on the battlefield today commemorates a brother regiment that fought alongside the 20th Maine that desperate afternoon–the 44th New York, the “People’s Ellsworth […]
Stonewall’s Only Defeat – January ’99 America’s Civil War FeatureStonewalls Only Defeat By Lee Enderlin A furious Stonewall Jackson watched impotently as his proud Confederates stumbled down the hillside at Kernstown, Va. “Give them the bayonet,” Jackson implored–but no one obeyed. The Confederate general didn’t want to fight–he wanted to pray. It was, after all, the Sabbath, and if the Good Lord found it […]
South’s Feuding Generals – November ’99 America’s Civil War FeatureSouth's Feuding Generals By Richard Selcer It sometimes seemed that Southern generals were more interested in fighting each other than in fighting Yankees. Their inability to get along together contributed greatly to the South’s demise. Imagine a situation in the modern American army where officers refuse to fight under other officers, where generals openly defy […]
The Widow-Makers – October 1999 Civil War Times FeatureThe Widow-Makers The Civil War’s deadliest weapons were not rapid-fire guns or giant cannon, but the simple rifle-musket and the humble minié ball. BY ALLAN W. HOWEY By the time the smoke had cleared and the veterans headed back to their homes, the American Civil War had exacted a terrible human cost. In four long […]
Nothing But Glory Gained – Account of Pickett’s Charge at GettysburgJust before 3 o’clock on the morning of July 3, 1863, Robert E. Lee rose by starlight, ate a spartan breakfast with his staff, and mounted his famous gray horse, Traveller, for the ride up Seminary Ridge at Gettysburg. He went in search of his "Old War Horse," Lieutenant General James Longstreet, commander of I […]
J.E.B. Stuart: Gettysburg Scapegoat?Following the Confederate debacle at Gettysburg, many blamed Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart for leaving General Robert E. Lee in the dark. But was Stuart really to blame for the defeat? And if so, was he the only one at fault?
America’s Civil War: September 1998 From the EditorIn love, as in war, Confederate General John Bell Hood was the personification of bad luck. When Confederate General John Bell Hood rode into Atlanta in July 1864 to take charge of the embattled Army of Tennessee, he was already in the midst of another desperate campaign: a frustrating and ultimately heartbreaking love affair with […]
Rebels in Pennsylvania! – August 1998 Civil War Times FeatureRebels in Pennsylvania! The spearhead of Lee’s army was about to strike a lethal blow at the very heart of the Keystone State when the Battle of Gettysburg interrupted. BY UZAL ENT Gettysburg was a small rural town with no special significance or importance, like the thousands of other small towns that dotted the American […]
Out of a Frozen Hell Part 2 – May 1998 Civil War Times FeatureOut of a Frozen Hell part 2 A misplaced pocketbook jeopardizes the escape of three Rebel prisoners struggling to reach Canada. BY ROGER LONG Editor’s Note: In our last issue, we followed four Confederate officers on their daring escape from Johnson’s Island Prison, on Ohio’s Sandusky Bay. Going over the wall on New Year’s Day […]
THE KEYSTONE OF LITTLE ROUND TOP – August 1998 Civil War Times FeatureThe Keystone of Little Round Top SUBMITTED BY TED KARLE, MENTOR, OHIO NAME: Orpheus Saeger Woodward DATES: 1837 to June 26, 1919 ALLEGIANCE: Union HIGHEST RANK: Brevet Brigadier General UNIT: 83d Pennsylvania Infantry SERVICE RECORD: Enlisted on August 16, 1861. Elected captain in September. Promoted to colonel in 1864. Brevetted brigadier general in 1865. […]
Civil War Times: March 1998 LettersLetters - SubmitCivil War TimesRewriting History I read with some misgiving your announcement “Proposed Legislation Could Clear Dr. Mudd” (“News,” December 1997). President Jimmy Carter did not issue a proclamation absolving Mudd of his conviction as a co-conspirator of John Wilkes Booth, as you state. Carter sent a letter to Dr. Richard D. Mudd, grandson […]
Battle of Gettysburg: Remembering Pickett’s ChargeFew judgments have generated as much controversy as the Confederate decision to make a last desperate attack on the center of the Union lines on the afternoon of July 3, 1863, at Gettysburg.
“Never Were Men So Brave” – December 1998 Civil War Times FeatureNever Were Men So Brave Their casualties were enormous but their courage and capacity for fun were legendary. General Lee, himself, gave highest praise to these Yankees of the Irish Brigade. BY JOHN F. McCORMACK, JR. Out Hanover Street in Fredericksburg they marched that December morning in 1862, sprigs of green in their caps, a […]
Remembering Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of GettysburgConfederate Captain Joseph Graham offers a different perspective on the Battle of Gettysburg, particularly its final hours.
Amos Humiston: Union Soldier Who Died at the Battle of GettysburgMortally wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg, Union soldier Amos Humiston died clutching the only clue to his identity:an ambrotype of his three small children.
Did ‘Baldy’ Ewell Lose Gettysburg?After disobeying Robert E. Lee's orders to avoid a general engagement at Gettysburg, Lt. Gen. Richard Ewell received an order to 'press those people.' His failure to do so created a controversy that survives to this day.
Tall Tales of the Civil War – August ’96 Civil War Times FeatureTALL TALES OF THE CIVIL WAR Being a compendium of poppycock, balderdash, and malarkey told by civil warveterans for the amusement and amazement of future generations BY: WILLIAM C. DAVIS Men are deceivers ever,” wrote William Shakespeare in Much Ado AboutNothing. Certainly much of what men and women have said about their deedsthrough the ages […]
The 44th Georgia Suffered Some of the Heaviest Losses – March ’96 America’s Civil War FeatureThe hard-fighting 44th Georgia suffered some of the heaviest losses of any regiment in the Civil War.By Gerald J. Smith On March 10, 1862, companies of Georgians from Henry, Jasper, Clarke, Spalding, Clayton, Putnam, Fayette, Pike, Morgan, Henry and Greene counties all assembled at Camp Stephens, outside Griffin. Responding to Governor Joseph Brown’s mandate to […]
Stonewall’s 11th-Hour Rally: Jan ’96: America’s Civil War FeatureWith a rusted sword in one hand and a Confederate battle flag in the other,a grim-faced Stonewall Jackson desperately rallied his faltering troops. What Rebelworthy of the name could abandon ‘Old Jack’ in his hour of need?By Robert C. Cheeks It was devilishly hot in the summer of 1862, an oppressive, debilitating heat that ravaged […]
Union General George Stannard at Gettysburg – July ’96 America’s Civil War FeatureThe first Vermonter to enlist in the war, Union General George Stannard helped turn the tide at Gettysburg.By Anthony Buono The third day of the Battle of Gettysburg was hot and humid. The battlefield, littered with thousands of dead and dying, bore grim testimony to the fierce fighting of the previous two days. The smell […]
Valley of the Shadow – Sept. ’90 America’s Civil War FeatureVALLEY OFTHE SHADOW Overconfident and overextended, the Union Army of the Cumberland advanced into the deep woods of northwest Georgia. Waiting Confederates did notintend for them to leave. At Chickamauga Creek, the two sides collided. By Mike Haskew In the dimly lit log cabin of the Widow Glenn, the military map wasspread. Worried Union officers […]
Horsepower Moves the Guns – March ’96 America’s Civil War FeatureWorking side by side with soldiers, horses labored to pull artillery pieces into battle.Without them, field artillery could not have been used to such deadly effect.By James R. Cotner The field artillery of the Civil War was designed to be mobile. When Union or Confederate troops marched across country, the guns moved with them. During […]
In Present-Day Brooklyn, Echo of the Civil War – March ’96 America’s Civil War FeatureOn a leafy side street in present-day Brooklyn, a faintecho of the Civil War can still be heard.By John A. Barnes The Episcopal Church of St. John, in Brooklyn, New York, is considerably less quiet today than it must have been in the days when Captain Robert E. Lee and 1st Lieutenant Thomas J. Jackson […]
Battle of Gettysburg: Union General George Stannard and the 2nd Vermont BrigadeThe first Vermonter to enlist in the war, Union General George Stannard helped turn the tide at Gettysburg.