The Civil War and The Battle of Gettysburg

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The Civil War, also known as the War Between the States, began in 1861. (Civil War, 2009) There was conflict between the northern and south states. The northern states did not believe in slavery as the southern states believed.

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They wanted it abolished. Tensions mounted between these two territories and thus began the Civil War. The Union was strong in manufacturing arms, and had a greater population than the south. The Confederates had a strong military with some of the greatest military leaders. Many thought that the war would be over quickly but that was not the case. “The conflict was the costliest and deadliest war ever fought on American soil, with some 620,000 of 2.4 million soldiers killed, millions more injured and much of the South left in ruin.”(Civil War, 2009) Even though the Union was favored to win the war, the Confederates won many hard fought battles and their initial victories appeared to have them taking the lead. The battle of Gettysburg reversed the tide of the civil war favoring the union army.

There had been no plan to fight in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The confederate army, led by A.P. Hill, headed there in search of footwear and supplies. They had just experienced a great loss in Chancellorsville, when General Stonewall Jackson died. He had been mistaken as a Yankee and shot in the arm by one of his own Confederates. The injury resulted in amputation of his affected arm. He suffered complications of pneumonia and died a short time later. General Lee decided to press his troops north in the hopes of a victory on enemy soil. Hill was planning to get supplies from Gettysburg and meet up with the troops led by General Lee. He did not know that Union troops had arrived there a couple of days earlier. On the first day of the Battle, Confederates forces, led by Hill and Richard Ewell, were able to drive back the outnumbered Union troops to take over the town. Both sides called for reinforcements. Lee wanted to gain control of the higher ground of Cemetary Hill before the Union had a chance to gain more troops for battle. He ordered Ewell to attack the Union on Cemetary Hill. Fearing that the Union defenses were too strong, Ewell failed to order the attack. Throughout the night, the Union was strengthened by additional troops.

On day two, Union forces still controlled Cemetary Hill. They had the advantage of being positioned on Little Round Top, a hill with a great vantage point of the battlefield. General Lee ordered General Longstreet to attack the Union line. Longstreet did not agree with this decision. Lee wanted Longstreet to attack from one side while Ewell attacked from the other side. Longstreet followed the orders of his commander,

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