This week is a big week in American History. Tomorrow is July 4th, a day to celebrate the release of the Declaration of Independence
and beat up aliens , Yesterday was the aniversery of everyone agreeing this was a good idea, and the signing of the Civil Rights Act.
Today’s annivsery is Gettysburg. Its a pretty well known battle of the American Civil War (or War for Southern Independence depending on who you ask). Abraham Lincoln also did a pretty important speech here (the infamous “Four score” speech). And for me, its got the added benefit of being local history (Gettysburg is located in the state of Pennsylvania.).
Gettysburg was a 3 day battle in 1863 between General Robert E. Lee and General George Meade. It wasn’t planned to happen that way (they all thought it would happen in Maryland). Meade had sent some of his men to PA to block off that direction, and Lee had sent some of his men into PA for some supplies. They ended up both in Gettysburg and a battle emergers and Meade and Lee had to move to catch up with the fighting.
Three days later, Lee was not any closer to invading the North, and both sides were pretty equally beat up. A grand total of approxamently 48,000 Americans were casualties of this battle by the time Lee withdrew on July 4th after a day of everyone catching their breath. Not a very good Indpendence Day for the Confederate States. In the end, the Union withstood their position, and the Confederate army left with no progress towards the north and close to 26,000 casuelties all on their own.
The war would continue for two more years, but this was the last major offensive of Robert E. Lee and considered by some historians to be a turning point in the war. Others disagree, but most agree that the Battle is very important in the course of the war.
To learn more:
History.com “This Day in History: Battle of Gettysburg Ends”
Wikipedia: Battle of Gettysburg