The Gettysburg Address: The Battle of Gettysburg Essay Example
The US Civil War, which lasted between the Northern and slave states of the South during 1861-1865, claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Residents of the Confederate states of America sought to maintain slavery in these territories and gained victory in many large-scale armed confrontations. However, in 1863 there was a bloody clash of enemy parties, which changed the course of the war. The Battle of Gettysburg is among the cruelest and the most critical battle in the history of the United States. It took place between July 1-3, 1863, in Adams County, Pennsylvania. The most bloody battle during the US Civil War, considered a turning point in the conflict, in the final of which the northerners managed to withstand the attack of the Confederate army and force them to retreat.
After winning the battle of Chancellorsville, which lasted for a week, the Confederate army, under the command of Robert Lee, planned to invade the territory of the United States once again. Therefore, General Lee launched the Gettysburg Campaign, during which a series of battles took place during June and early July 1863. At first, the Confederates moved along the territory of the North quite confidently, but on July 1, everything changed.
On June 30, General John Buford's cavalry division entered the city to conduct tactical reconnaissance of the surrounding area. The northerners came across a brigade of Confederate infantrymen who retreated without a fight. This brigade was from the division of Henry Heth and was part of the corps under the command of Ambrose Hill. The brigade commander reported to Hill about the presence of Buford's cavalry in Gettysburg, but Hill was skeptical. The federal army was reputedly in Maryland. However, Hill decided to check this report and ordered the divisions of Henry Heth and William Dorsey Pender (totaling 13,000 people) to speak on Gettysburg on July 1. The feds also planned to bring troops to Gettysburg by July 1. The 1st and 11th corps received orders to advance to the city and support Buford. Four others were ordered to be within reach. Thus, the battlefield was prepared.
General Lee arrived on the battlefield, trying to take control of the situation and prevent the battle from turning into a chaotic dump. However, he realized that due to the lack of proper interaction between the units, this would not be possible to achieve, and he allowed the Heth division to support Rhodes. General Jubal Earley approached from the north and immediately attacked the 11th corps. It happened around 15.00. As a result, the 11th building suffered significant losses. Hill and Rhodes were less fortunate and lost a significant number of soldiers in the battle with the 1st corps. A little later, Hill sent Pender's division to replace Heth, and only then, after joining Rhodes, they managed to knock the northerners from their positions on the western side of Gettysburg.
Although the southerners won tactically, they strategically lost. The federal forces took advantage of the terrain chosen by them and managed to organize a defense. Lee, without information from Stuart, was forced to act as an attacker, besides, under challenging conditions. One way or another, Lee decided to squeeze the maximum benefits out of the situation the next day. The dawn of the early morning of July 2 found both armies studying the enemy's positions. Lee had no idea how many reinforcements the northerners received during the night. The northerners did not suspect that the 3rd Army Corps of the Army, General James Longstreet Corps, approached at night.
The Confederate artillery preparation began, and half an hour later, the Hood and McLouse infantry marched. The latter attacked the Peach Orchard and Wheat Field, while John Hood hit the Devil's Hollow and Small Round Top Hill. According to the Confederates, the Hill was empty, and, having occupied it, the Confederates would gain dominance over the territory and threaten the rear of the northerners. General Warren, chief of engineering for the Army of Mead, received the news that the Little Round Top was not protected by anyone and was about to be captured by the Confederates, instantly realized what was happening and sent foot soldiers from the 5th corps to protect the Hill. The feds barely had time to take up positions on the top of the Hill, as the southerners hit them.
The battle was fierce, but in the end, the outcome of the battle was decided by the approaching units of the northerners. The Confederates were driven back, suffering significant losses. At that time, in the Peach Orchard and Wheat Field, McLouse's soldiers were scuffing Cyclades' corps. Mead, worried about what was happening on his left flank, threw the 5th corps and scattered units to help out. Nevertheless, Cycles could not restrain the attack of Longstreet and Anderson, and at 6 p.m., the northerners faltered and retreated in disorder. Only the division of the 12th corps which was urgently transferred from Kalp Hill and the 6th Corps came up at the same time with separate regiments of the 5th were able to stabilize the situation and stop the victorious march of the Confederates.
On July 3, the tension of the fighting did not subside, and it even increased slightly. Their epicenter has now shifted southeast of Gettysburg, in the area of the Kalp hill and the Rock Stream flowing east of it. Lee intended to use the powerful fire of 159 guns mounted on the Seminar ridge captured by the rebels on the eve to knock down rivals from the neighboring Cemetery ridge. In the second half of the day, an unprecedented hitherto artillery duel broke out. When all the guns of the southerners spoke, it seemed that they would sweep away the northerners' artillery and their reserves, which were not quite well placed on the far, eastern slope of the ridge. Then the batteries of the northerners returned quite a powerful return fire, but half an hour later, the guns of both sides fell silent: the supplies of shells were inexorably exhausted, and they had to be protected.
However, Johnny decided that the defenders of the ridge were either destroyed by their fire or wholly demoralized. Lee threw the last, as he hoped, attack on the ridge of the shock 15,000th group from the picket and Pettigrew divisions (he replaced the wounded Heth). This deadly assault is regarded in American history as the "Pickett attack" (its soldiers made up the majority of the attackers), becoming a household name, the personification of a desperate effort, doomed to collapse. A terrifying system of rebels about a mile wide rushed to the ridge, ready to sweep away not only its defenders but all this stone mass from the face of the earth. However, General Hunt, who led the defense of the ridge, even during the shelling, realized that this was a prelude to a decisive, furious attack. During a short pause, he ordered more guns to be brought to and from the ridge.
When the avalanche of attackers was already rolling up to the foot of the ridge, its entire surface suddenly turned into a fire-breathing dragon, spewing fire arrows. Death mowed the southerners, but they stubbornly advanced. Furthermore, the northerners included in the formidable barrage of cannonade more and more guns, and now, from the cemetery ridge and neighboring positions of the northerners, 200 trunks hit the attackers. However, the attack continued, and the infantry of the northerners began to retreat to the top of the ridge. The attackers, firing from rifles, pursued them. At this time, Howard swiftly attacked the left flank of the attackers, which they left unprotected in the rapture of the assault. At the same time, Howard brought down powerful artillery fire on the southerners. Pickett's attack remained forever in the memory of her eyewitnesses, and many of them later described this fantastic sight.
Immediately, a reserve of northerners rushed into the counterattack, prudently saved by them for a critical minute. A powerful final chord followed: the three-day battle ended with a short counterattack! Tired of expectation, enraged by the death of many comrades before their eyes, the reserve units of the northerners crushed exhausted, exhausted offensives under a barrage of fire of the Confederates. Only about 10 minutes they were able to stay on the crest of the cemetery ridge, which justified its dark name these days, becoming a cemetery for many soldiers of both armies. The demoralized remnants of the defeated parts of the southerners somehow managed to get to their reserve units, which were too few to change anything. Shocked, Lee and Longstreet saw the whole picture of a depressing rout from the top of the Seminar Range. Believing that the attack of the northerners would reach them, they immediately galloped down to restore order in the remnants of the troops that had accumulated at the foot of the ridge. However, the northerners were no longer up to the attack. When they succeeded in dropping the Confederates, they had no strength left for anything further. On the slopes of the ridge next to those killed and dying of wounds lay entirely unharmed, but exhausted winners. They could only scream, and Gettysburg's surroundings were voiced by cries of victory.
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