Robert E. Lee's headquarters at Gettysburg.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s headquarters at Gettysburg was the home of 69-year-old widow Mary Thompson.  [Wikimedia Commons]

Battle of Gettysburg External Links

July 1–July 3, 1863

External Links for Battle of Gettysburg

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The Battle of Gettysburg

Gettysburg. This place was a small town in July 1863, situated at the crossroads of a network of byways. But that summer, that advantageous location became Gettysburg's curse, as all roads led to the largest battle ever fought on American soil.

The Battle of Gettysburg

An audiovisual presentation about the Battle of Gettysburg, from the United States Army. Requires Adobe Flash player.

Gettysburg Campaign

The Gettysburg Campaign, which culminated in the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863), was the most ambitious offensive attempted by the Confederacy during the American Civil War (1861–1865). In June 1863, Confederate general Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia invaded the North in hopes of relieving pressure on war-torn Virginia, defeating the Union Army of the Potomac on Northern soil, and striking a decisive blow to Northern morale.


After Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia defeated the Union Army of the Potomac under General Joseph Hooker at Chancellorsville in May 1863, the victorious Confederates decided to invade the North for a second time in two years. This time, they would head for Pennsylvania.

The Gettysburg Campaign

Following his victory at Chancellorsville in May, 1863, General Lee received approval from his government to invade the north. Lee hoped an invasion would fuel the northern peace movement and, at least, disrupt the Union war effort. After the death of Stonewall Jackson, Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, 75,000-strong, had been reorganized into three army corps under Longstreet, Ewell, and A.P. Hill, with a cavalry division under J.E.B. Stuart. On June 3, advance troops of the Confederate army left their camps near Fredericksburg and marched west toward the Shenandoah Valley.

The Battle of Gettysburg

A collection of articles about the Battle of Gettysburg.

The Battle of Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War and is frequently cited as the war's turning point. After the Confederate defeat, the hopes of the Confederacy to establish a separate nation dwindled as the likelihood of winning or enticing the intervention of European countries, namely England and France, seemed to waned.


After the victory at Chancellorsville (May, 1863), General Robert E. Lee decided on attempt a second invasion of the North. When Lee heard from his scouts that Major General George Meade was planning to make a stand at Pipe Creek in Maryland, he decided to attack him before he reached his defensive positions.

The Gettysburg National Military Park Virtual Tour: The Story of the Battle of Gettysburg

Fought during the first three days of July 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg was one of the most critical battles of the war and occurred at a time when the fate of the nation hung in the balance, the summer of 1863. Despite promising victories on the battlefield in 1862, the Union cause had suffered several reversals most notably in the eastern theater. The Confederacy's most victorious army, the Army of Northern Virginia, had successfully thwarted numerous Union threats against the Confederate capitol of Richmond. Outnumbered and out gunned, this army, under the guidance of General Robert E. Lee, had won strategically important victories at Fredericksburg in 1862 and Chancellorsville, Virginia, in May 1863. By that June, Lee's army enjoyed a surge of confidence in itself having frustrated the much larger Union Army of the Potomac, and the high casualties that resulted cast a pall over the North. President Lincoln had appointed commander after commander to no avail- Lee defeated each and every one. There was one bright spot for the Union cause that summer- the Union Army under General Ulysses S. Grant had encircled Vicksburg, Mississippi, the last great Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River and it was assured to fall into Union hands. As critical as Vicksburg was, President Lincoln and his Confederate counterpart Jefferson Davis, knew all too well that events in Virginia were going to decide the outcome of the conflict.

American Civil War Battle Gettysburg Pennsylvania

In July of 1863, General Robert E. Lee's Army Of Northern Virginia of 75,000 men and the 97,000 man Union Army Of The Potomac under General George G. Meade met, by chance, when a Confederate brigade sent forward for supplies observed a forward column of Meade's cavalry.

The Battle of Gettysburg

This most famous and most important Civil War Battle occurred over three hot summer days, July 1 to July 3, 1863, around the small market town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It began as a skirmish but by its end involved 160,000 Americans.

The Battle of Gettysburg, 1863

On June 24, 1863, General Robert E. Lee led his Confederate Army across the Potomac River and headed towards Pennsylvania. In response to this threat President Lincoln replaced his army commander, General Joseph Hooker, with General George Mead. As Lee's troops poured into Pennsylvania, Mead led the Union Army north from Washington. Meade's effort was inadvertently helped by Lee's cavalry commander, Jeb Stuart, who, instead of reporting Union movements to Lee, had gone off on a raid deep in the Union rear. This action left Lee blind to the Union's position. When a scout reported the Union approach, Lee ordered his scattered troops to converge west of the small village of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

The Battle of Gettysburg

In July of 1863, General Robert E. Lee's Army Of Northern Virginia of 75,000 men and the 97,000 man Union Army Of The Potomac under General George G. Meade met, by chance, when a Confederate brigade sent forward for supplies observed a forward column of Meade's cavalry.

Fast Facts: Civil War Battles, Gettysburg

Additional Comments: This battle fought in the North was an offensive measure by the Confederacy to bring the war out of Virginia. It was the hope of Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee to make the people in the North weary of the war. President Lincoln hoped this would be the decisive battle that would end the war. Although a victory for the North, General Meade did not pursue and squandered the opportunity. This battle is also famous for Pickett's Charge in which his Confederate soldiers were valiantly attempting to take the Union position but received a horrendous number of casualties.

Battle of Gettysburg

Union and Confederate soldiers fought for three days on the bloody fields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. While the Union could call this battle a victory, nearly 8,000 Americans died. The enormous loss of life prompted President Lincoln to dedicate a cemetery at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863, and give his legendary Gettysburg Address. This Union victory, more than any other battle of the war, ended the Confederacy's hopes for foreign aide and shattered General Lee's image of invincibility.

Battle of Gettysburg Buff

A website for Civil War buffs interested in the Battle of Gettysburg

Battle of Gettysburg Trivia, Games and Quizzes

Links to trivia, games and quizzes related to the Battle of Gettysburg.

The American Civil War: The Battle of Gettysburg

A detailed account of each day of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The Battle of Gettysburg

Detailed information and different drafts of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

Women at the Battle of Gettysburg

Although their actions rarely made it into the history books, woman were significantly involved in and around the epic battle of Gettyburg that turned the tide of the American Civil War, according to historian Jane Peters Estes.

The Battle of Gettysburg in Detail: July 1, 1863 - The Battle Begins

A detailed account of the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The Battle of Gettysburg in Detail: July 2, 1863- ";A most terrible day...";

A detailed account of the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The Battle of Gettysburg in Detail: July 3- ";I will strike him there...";

A detailed account of the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The Battle of Gettysburg in Detail: ";The last full measure of devotion...";

A detailed account of the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg.


An animated account of the Battle of Gettysburg. Requires Adobe Flash player.

The Battle of Gettysburg: Three Desperate, Bloody Days

By late June 1863, the U.S. Civil War had been going on for over two years. Things had gone badly for the Union side. Defeat followed defeat at First Battle of Bull Run/Manassas, Seven Days Battles, Second Battle of Bull Run/Manassas, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. The Union desperately needed a decisive victory. This was the state of the war when General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia invaded Pennsylvania, where he was met by General Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac. After three days of fierce fighting, the North had the victory it so badly needed.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Battle of Gettysburg External Links
  • Coverage July 1–July 3, 1863
  • Author
  • Keywords Battle of Gettysburg, Gettysburg Campaign, Civil War
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date August 3, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 9, 2021
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