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Sunday, June 30, 2013


Recent re-enactment at Gettysburg, PA.  Photo by Paul Witt/
NEW BATTLEFIELD(S) VIDEO IS MUST VIEWING--The Civil War Trust, a dynamic organization dedicated to preserving the history of the American Civil War, including saving important battlefields, has teamed with Wide Awake Films to produce a day by day capsule of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The resulting quick overview of the three days July 1-3, 1863 is enhanced with animated maps showing complicated troop movements.  If you only see one video about the civil war—this amazing work is not to be missed.  It will fascinate the most ardent Civil War buff and quickly bring up to speed the casual reader of the War Between the States.


Special Report from the Smithsonian Institute:

NEW TECHNOLOGY—Interactive charts by ESRI, text by Anne Kelly Knowles and Cartography by International Mapping re-examine how the Civil War battle at Gettysburg was won and lost.

Added Video:
While not as visually as powerful as the work above, this scholarly presentation sets the stage for the Battle of Gettysburg, a Penn State professor puts into perspective what was at stake for President Lincoln if the Union army failed at Gettysburg:

Battle of Gettysburg
July 1-3, 1863

Troops in Action:
Federal: 94,000
Rebel: 72,000

Approx. Casualties (killed, wounded, missing)

Federal Casualties:
Killed: 3,200
Wounded: 14,500
Missing or Captured: 5,400
Total: 23,100

Rebel Casualties:
Killed: 3,900
Wounded: 19,000
Missing or Captured: 5,400
Total: 28,300

Historical Analysis:
Federal Victory


“Gettysburg: The Last Invasion” by Civil War Scholar Allen C. Guelzo.
Read the review in the New York Times, June 28, 2013:

“Biography of Robert E. Lee,” By Douglas Southall Freeman. Public Domain Excerpt. Originally published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York and London, 1934. 

Freeman’s prelude:
Following his stunning victory at Chancellorsville, Rebel general Robert E. Lee decided to attempt a second invasion of the North. He felt such a move would disrupt the Union Army's plans for the summer campaign, would allow his army to live off the rich farms of Pennsylvania, and would aid in reducing pressure on the Confederate garrison at Vicksburg, MS.

On June 27, after an argument with President Abraham Lincoln, Union General Joseph “Fightin’ Joe” Hooker was relieved and replaced by Maj. Gen. George G. Meade. A Pennsylvanian, Meade continued moving the army north to intercept Lee.

On June 29, with his army strung out in an arc from the Susquehanna River on the east to Chambersburg in the West, Lee ordered his troops to concentrate at Cashtown, PA after hearing reports that Meade had crossed the Potomac. The next day, Confederate Brig. Gen. James Pettigrew observed Union cavalry under Brig. Gen. John Buford entering the town of Gettysburg to the southeast. He reported this to his division and corps commanders, Maj. Gen. Harry Heth and A.P. Hill, and, despite Lee's orders to avoid a major engagement until the army was concentrated, the three planned a reconnaissance in force for the next day.
End of Excerpt.

The following is modern recap of the week before the Battle of Gettysburg:

The Week in the American Civil War June 24-30, 1863
By Jeff Williams, Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force.

Wednesday June 24, 1863--Confederate Lieutenant Generals James Longstreet’s and Ambrose Powell Hill’s corps of the Army of Northern Virginia began crossing the Potomac River in order to join Lieutenant General Richard Ewell’s forces in Maryland, and then invade Pennsylvania. A skirmish broke out at Sharpsburg, Maryland.

Major General Joseph Hooker at his headquarters of the Army of the Potomac, wrote to Washington that he would send a corps or two across the Potomac River, make Washington secure, and then strike on General Robert E. Lee’s probable line of retreat.

Thursday June 25, 1863--At 1 A.M., Major General James Ewell Brown Stuart left from Salem Depot, Virginia, after receiving permission from General Robert E. Lee to join the Confederate army north of the Potomac River after passing between the Federal army and Washington. It was the beginning of a ride which took his cavalry away from much of the Gettysburg operations and over which controversies still rage. One of the first skirmishes occurred at Haymarket when Stuart’s cavalry clashed with troops from the Army of the Potomac’s II Corps, including the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry.

Confederate Lieutenant General Richard Ewell’s men skirmished with Federals near McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania.

Friday June 26, 1863--Confederate Major General Jubal Early and a portion of his command entered Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in their advance north of the Potomac River. The next day, they marched towards York, Pennsylvania. Federal militia fled after a brief skirmish near Gettysburg and a number were captured.

Federal Major General Joseph Hooker reported himself on the way to Frederick, Maryland requesting to evacuate Maryland Heights at Harper’s Ferry. Washington appeared to doubt Hooker’s ability to act against the Confederate invasion.

Pennsylvania Governor Andrew G. Curtin called for 60,000 men to serve for three months to repel the invasion.

Saturday June 27, 1863--President Abraham Lincoln made the decision to relieve Major General Joseph Hooker from command of the Army of the Potomac. Major General George Gordon Meade was promoted from commander of the Army’s V Corps to Army of the Potomac commander, effectively replacing Hooker.

The Confederate forces of Lieutenant Generals James Longstreet and Ambrose Powell Hill, along with General Robert E. Lee’s headquarters element, arrived at Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Major General Jubal Early accepted the surrender of York, Pennsylvania from the local officials near the city, as Confederates moved near the state capital, Harrisburg.

The Federal Army of the Potomac was across the Potomac River at Frederick, Middletown and Knoxville, Maryland. General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck messaged Meade to place him in command of the Army of the Potomac. He was expected to deal with General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania.

Sunday June 28, 1863--At 7 A.M., at Frederick, Maryland, Major General George G. Meade received Major General Henry W. Halleck’s orders placing him in command of the Army of the Potomac. Soldiers throughout the Army of the Potomac were reacting to rumors that Major General George McClellan, their former commander, was back in command. It was not to be.

Skirmishing occurred between Offutt’s Crossroads and Seneca, near Rockville, Maryland; at Fountaindale and Wrightsville, Pennsylvania; at Rover, Tennessee; Russellville, Kentucky; Nichol’s Mills, North Carolina and Donaldsonville, Louisiana.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee learned that Federal troops were north of the Potomac River with over 100,000 soldiers in the Frederick, Maryland area. He ordered Lieutenant General James Longstreet, Ambrose Powell Hill and Richard Ewell to march to Cashtown, Pennsylvania, nine miles west of Gettysburg.

Monday June 29, 1863--Federal Major General George G. Meade’s new command moved rapidly forward in Maryland and by evening the Federals had their left at Emmitsburg and their right at New Windsor. Brigadier General John Buford’s cavalry had his advance at Gettysburg. Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick’s cavalry had contacted Major General J.E.B. Stuart’s Confederates on the Federal right flank. Both armies were now heading in the general direction of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Skirmishing broke out at McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania, along with Westminster and Muddy Branch, Maryland.

Tuesday June 30, 1863--From Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, the Confederates converged on the Gettysburg area. Lieutenant General Richard Ewell’s corps left York, Pennsylvania for Gettysburg. Lieutenant Generals James Longstreet and Ambrose Powell Hill’s corps were now at Cashtown, Pennsylvania, nine miles west of the borough.

Major General George G. Meade, now commanding the Federal Army of the Potomac, ordered the three corps of the left wing under Major General John Reynolds to occupy Gettysburg in relief of Brigadier General John Buford’s cavalry.

Fighting broke out at Hanover, Fairfield, and at Sporting Hill near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; at Westminster, Maryland; Hudson’s Ford on the Neosho River in Missouri and at Goodrich’s Landing, Louisiana.

President Abraham Lincoln resisted the urging of others to restore Major General George B. McClellan back into command of the Army of the Potomac.

For the Federal Army, the march from Fredericksburg to Gettysburg had taken 14 days with 11 days of travel. The average march was more than 14 miles per day. The march for the Confederates was even longer. By the time both armies took the field at Gettysburg, they were exhausted.

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