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The Battle of Gettysburg was a three-day Civil War battle fought in Pennsylvania led by Confederate General Robert E. Lee against Union Major General George Meade. It is considered the bloodiest battle of the war, which was fought from July 1-3, 1863. The Confederacy’s defeat ended its hope of a northern invasion.
See the fact file below for more information on the Battle of Gettysburg or alternatively, you can download our 25-page Battle of Gettysburg worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- On April 12, 1861, the American Civil War officially began after the Confederate attack at Fort Sumter, South Carolina. Since Abraham Lincoln’s election as the 16th President of the United States, southern states started to secede and form the Confederacy headed by statesman Jefferson Davis, who was appointed on February 18, 1861.
- By May 1861, Union troops crossed the Potomac River and occupied Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s home at Arlington Heights. On June 3, Union and Confederate forces had their first eastern clash in Western Virginia. Seven days later, the Battle of Big Bethel occurred in Virginia, followed by the Battle of Bull Run on July 21 and Battle of Wilson’s Creek on August 10.
- At the beginning of 1862, Union forces captured Kentucky after the Battle of Mill Springs and controlled Tennessee River after the Confederate surrenders of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson. Moreover, eastern North Carolina fell under the Union after the Battle of Roanoke Island.
- On May 25, 1862, Confederate General Stonewall Jackson successfully attacked Union troops at Winchester. Another southern victory was during the Second Battle of Bull Run in August 1862.
- General Robert E. Lee’s first attempt to invade the North was on September 17, 1862, during the Battle of Antietam, which resulted in Union victory and later led to President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
- On May 4, 1863, General Lee won his greatest victory at the Battle of Chancellorsville. At the same time, he asked Davis for permission to invade the north and take the battle out of Virginia.
Union troops were also defeated during the Battle of Second Winchester in June 1863.
Robert E. Lee’s Attempted Invasion of the North
- In late June 1863, after his greatest victory at Chancellorsville, Lee and his troops left Virginia and marched to Pennsylvania. On July 1, at the crossroads town of Gettysburg, advancing Confederate troops encountered the Union’s Army of the Potomac led by newly assigned Major General George Meade.
- Lee ordered Richard Ewell to attack Cemetery Ridge before any Union reinforcements but Ewell declined because their position was weak. Overnight, Union backups including Winfield Hancock arrived defending Cemetery Ridge up to the hill, now known as Little Round Top.
- On July 2, 1863, General Lee ordered James Longstreet to immediately attack Union troops on the left while Ewell’s troops were in charge of the right of Culp’s Hill. Unfortunately, Longstreet did not get to assemble his troops until 4 pm.
- It was Daniel Sickles who commanded Union troops against Longstreet’s army.
- Nearly 35,000 combined casualties were recorded from both sides during the two days of fighting.
- In the early morning of day three, George Pickett led a division comprised of 15,000 Confederate troops to attack Cemetery Ridge. The offensive attack is now known as Pickett’s Charge.
- Behind stone walls, Union troops defended the position while regiments from New York, Vermont and Ohio fired on the enemy’s flanks. After the assault, barely half of the Confederates survived. Lee and his army retreated to Virginia the following day.
- On July 4, General Ulysses Grant captured Vicksburg, giving the Union control over the Mississippi River.
- Demoralized with his defeat, General Lee offered his resignation to Confederate President Davis but it was rejected. Despite the fact that General Lee would go on to win other victories, his defeat at Gettysburg and Grant’s success at Vicksburg changed the tides of the Civil War in favor of the Union.
- On November 19, 1863, a new national cemetery for fallen Union troops was dedicated at Gettysburg. President Lincoln delivered his 272-word Gettysburg Address on that day, which became one of the most important and famous speeches of all time.
- Fallen Confederate troops of the Battle of Gettysburg were buried at Hollywood Cemetery at Richmond, Virginia.
Battle of Gettysburg Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Battle of Gettysburg across 25 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-useBattle of Gettysburg worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Battle of Gettysburg which was a three-day Civil War battle fought in Pennsylvania led by Confederate General Robert E. Lee against Union Major General George Meade. It is considered the bloodiest battle of the war, which was fought from July 1-3, 1863. The Confederacy’s defeat ended its hope of a northern invasion.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Battle of Gettysburg Facts
- Gettysburg Generals
- Civil War Battles
- Mapping War Fields
- The Gettysburg Address
- Leading to Gettysburg
- About the Great Civil War
- G Crossword
- Cause and Effect
- Retrieval Operation
- Gettysburg Today
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Use With Any Curriculum
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