Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania by Frederick Tilberg

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JAGwinn

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GETTYSBURG
NATIONAL MILITARY PARK
Pennsylvania

by Frederick Tilberg
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NATIONAL PARK SERVICE HISTORICAL HANDBOOK SERIES No. 9
WASHINGTON, D. C., 1954
(Reprint 1961)

On the gently rolling farm lands surrounding the little town of Gettysburg, Pa., was fought one of the great decisive battles of American history. For 3 days, from July 1 to 3, 1863, a gigantic struggle between 75,000 Confederates and 88,000 Union troops raged about the town and left 51,000 casualties in its wake. Heroic deeds were numerous on both sides, climaxed by the famed Confederate assault on July 3 which has become known throughout the world as Pickett’s Charge. The Union victory gained on these fields ended the last Confederate invasion of the North and marked the beginning of a gradual decline in Southern military power.
Here also, a few months after the battle, Abraham Lincoln delivered his classic Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the national cemetery set apart as a burial ground for the soldiers who died in the conflict.
The Situation, Spring 1863
The situation in which the Confederacy found itself in the late spring of 1863 called for decisive action. The Union and Confederate armies had faced each other on the Rappahannock River, near Fredericksburg, Va., for 6 months. The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by Gen. R. E. Lee, had defeated the Union forces at Fredericksburg in December 1862 and again at Chancellorsville in May 1863, but the nature of the ground gave Lee little opportunity to follow up his advantage. When he began moving his army westward, on June 3, he hoped, at least, to draw his opponent away from the river to a more advantageous battleground. At most, he might carry the war into northern territory, where supplies could be taken from the enemy and a victory could be fully exploited. Even a fairly narrow margin of victory might enable Lee to capture one or more key cities and perhaps increase northern demands for a negotiated peace.

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the book is here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/56209
 
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