"Gettysburg National Military Park" Gettysburg National Historical Park by smschley

As a history buff and an American the Gettysburg has held a fascination for me. After being whipped in battle after battle by the confederate armies for two years everywhere except for the west, Gettysburg became the turning point in the war, the "High Water Mark of the Confederacy". By the summer of 1863, the brilliant General Robert E. Lee was in command of the Army of Northern Virginia. He decided upon an invasion of the north, which would pull both armies from war torn northern Virginia, where most of the fighting had previously been. By invading the north and particularly, winning a victory in the north, it might cause disenchanted northerners to pressure the Lincoln administration to seek a settlement toward peace, thus ending the war. This decision eventually brought the war to the doorsteps of a small, rural south central Pennsylvania town called Gettysburg. General Lee?s Army of Northern Virginia, 75,000 strong, was traveling north to central Pennsylvania. On June 30, Lee learned that the 95,000 men of the Union Army of the Potomac, led by Maj. General George G. Meade, were pursuing them.

Located 50 miles northwest of Baltimore, the small town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania became the site of the largest battle ever waged during the American Civil War. Fought in the first three days of July 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg resulted in a hallmark victory for the Union "Army of the Potomac" and successfully ended the second invasion of the North by General Robert E. Lee's "Army of Northern Virginia". It was the bloodiest single battle of the war, resulting in over 51,000 soldiers killed, wounded, captured or missing. It also finally gave Lincoln the victory he was waiting for in order to announce his emancipation proclamation.

The Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg was dedicated on November 19, 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln delivered his immortal Gettysburg Address. The cemetery contains more than 7,000 interments including over 3,500 from the Civil War.

Post-battle efforts preserved small portions of the battlefield as a memorial to the Union victory. On February 11, 1895, congressional legislation was signed to establish Gettysburg National Military Park as a memorial dedicated to the armies that fought this great battle. Gettysburg National Military Park incorporates nearly 6,000 acres, with 26 miles of park roads and over 1,400 monuments, markers, and memorials

  • Intro Written Feb 13, 2005
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