They encountered Union troops as they advanced towards Harrisburg where they planned to cut off Union supply lines and to steal provisions that they needed. The Battle of Gettysburg became the bloodiest multi-day battle ever fought in United States history. At the end of the Battle of Gettysburg, the Union claimed victory, and they would use this psychological advantage throughout the rest of the Civil War. On the first day of battle, the Confederate Cavalry attacked a Union Cavalry division that the Confederates greatly outnumbered. The Union Cavalry was able to hold the Confederates off and actually drive them back until the late afternoon.
When Confederate reinforcements arrived, they helped to overpower the Union soldiers and force them to retreat. The Union army then attempted to regroup on Cemetery Hill where they were joined by the bulk of General Meade’s Union army. On July 2, the second day of fighting began. The day began with Lee ordering an attack on the Union flanks in hopes of surrounding them. The Union held strong on the right flank, but on the left, the Confederates were able to breakthrough and take The Peach Orchard and Devil’s Den. Devil’s Den was at the foot of Little Round Top which had been occupied only a few minutes earlier by Union forces.
Overall, the second day of the battle went poorly for the Confederates due to a lack of communication. On the third and final day of the battle, General Lee needed a Confederate victory. He therefore ordered an all out assault at the heart of the Union lines hoping to break them with one massive attack. The plan was for artillery to open fire and break down the Union soldiers and then follow the barrage immediately with Pickett’s Charge. Pickett’s Charge was the name given to the frontal assault of the Union lines.
After the Confederate artillery onslaught began, the Union artillery did not respond for about twenty minutes because they wanted to conserve ammunition for an anticipated assault. When the Confederates began the assault, it slowly progressed forward and finally reached the Union lines only to be stopped without any further progress. At the beginning of the battle, there were approximately 75,000 Confederate troops and the Union had approximately 97,000. By the end of the third day, there were about 51,000 Confederate and Union soldiers left dead or wounded. Pickett’s Charge has become known worldwide due to the amount of Confederate soldiers involved. In the charge itself, about 15,000 soldiers crossed a mile wide valley towards the Union lines only to be killed or captured when they arrived.
The Battle of Gettysburg gave the Union the advantage for the rest of the Civil War. Works Cited:”Battle of Gettysburg. ” Battle of Gettysburg. 24 Jan.
2005 . “Battle of Gettysburg. ” Battle of Gettysburg. 24 Jan. 2005 .