Updated date:

Gettysburg 1863 : The Army of Northern Virginia's Road to Destruction

BA University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) Geography & History

A Dramatic Turning Point for the Confederacy

A photograph of three Confederate prisoners of war taken after the battle for Gettysburg July 1863.

A photograph of three Confederate prisoners of war taken after the battle for Gettysburg July 1863.

Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy from 1861 to 1865.

Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy from 1861 to 1865.

Confederate States of America 1861-1865.The Confederacy consisted of eleven southern states who's economy was based primarily on agriculture, mostly cotton production, which relied upon slaves of African descent for labor.

Confederate States of America 1861-1865.The Confederacy consisted of eleven southern states who's economy was based primarily on agriculture, mostly cotton production, which relied upon slaves of African descent for labor.

A Confederacy on the Edge of Collapse

In May 1863 Jefferson Davis sat restlessly in his office contemplating the future of his young Confederacy. Pressed on all sides by invading forces the situation in the Confederacy was critical; the Mississippi was all but lost with the fall of Vicksburg very near; badly needed European recognition had not come; the Union Navy's blockade of the south was tightening; finances were collapsing. The only hope for the survival of the Confederacy was one decisive victory that would end the war once and for all. His chief military advisor, Robert E. Lee, offered up a plan to invade Pennsylvania to pressure the Army of the Potomac into a battle on the ground of his choice, and defeat it on Northern territory. If Lee's plan was successful it would leave Washington D.C. unprotected, and force President Lincoln to the peace table.

When Virginia joined the Confederacy in April of 1861, Robert E. Lee felt an overwhelming obligation from his family to resign his commission with the United States Army. Though he deplored slavery. He still held slaves, rented slaves, and one occasion whipped them. Lee's family had lived in the Virginia since 1640. He was the fifth child of "Light-Horse" Harry Lee, and Ann Carter. His father was a revolutionary war hero, served as the governor of Virginia in 1790, and Congress from 1799 to 1801. Despite pleas from Winfield Scott, and an offer of high command in the Union Army, Lee left the only professional world he had ever known. He was quickly commissioned as a brigadier general of the Virginia State volunteers, and became Jefferson Davis's chief military adviser. His home in Arlington was immediately occupied by Federal troops, rendering him homeless and penniless at the same time.

Two years later, Lee and his rebel army still stood at the gates of Richmond determined to defend the Confederate capital. If an army had ever felt invincible, the Army of Northern Virginia did the summer of 1863. Its leader at the age of fifty-five, Robert Edward Lee, was considered by most of his troops as the only general in the Confederacy capable of preserving their independence. Lee's army of Northern Virginia had defeated the Army of the Potomac three times in the past twelve months against overwhelming odds. Confederate soldiers suffered from shortages of modern arms, ammunition, even the most basic items such as shoes. After his stunning victory at Chancellorsville, Lee's army was flush with victory and stood at the height of its strength.

Commanders of the Battle

Robert Edward Lee the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia during the American Civil War 1861-1865.

Robert Edward Lee the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia during the American Civil War 1861-1865.

On June 28,1863, just four days before the battle of Gettysburg, General George Meade was placed in command of the Army of the Potomac. It was the fifth change of command in ten months for the Army of the Potomac.

On June 28,1863, just four days before the battle of Gettysburg, General George Meade was placed in command of the Army of the Potomac. It was the fifth change of command in ten months for the Army of the Potomac.

The Road to Gettysburg

On June 3,1863, the Army of Northern Virginia began streaming steadily to the northwest, across the mountains of the Blue Ridge, and then northward through the Shenandoah Valley. The two great armies of the east were on now the march, moving inexorably toward the climatic battle that everyone knew had to come for some time, both sides fervently payed the battle would settle everything once and for all. For three weeks Confederate soldiers were spread across miles of Pennsylvania countryside roaming virtually at will against only token resistance. The Union army paralleled Lee's movements like a shadow, always careful to shield Washington and the other coastal cities from attack. The rapid advance of General Meade was unexpected, a characteristic not previously displayed by previous Union commanders of the Army of the Potomac. Citizens in the state's capital of Harrisburg were in a state of panic as Lee approached. The excitement in the capital increased when a train of army wagons came rumbling in accompanied by a squadron of cavalry. "The Rebels will be here tomorrow or the next day," said the teamsters.

The object of the coming campaign was the defense of the Confederate capital Richmond, Virginia. Lee had the choice of either to continue on the defensive and oppose the Federal advance as he had recently done, or assume the offensive and take the war to the northern states to save Virginia from further destruction. Lee knew that defensive victories won on Virginia's soil would only end up wearing down Confederate resistance. Lee's belief was that shifting the fighting onto Northern soil could cause the collapse of Northern public confidence to the point of demanding a negotiated peace.

The rapid northward movement of the Union army surprised J.E.B. Stuart, and caused the commander of rebel cavalry, to initiate a lengthy ride around Mead's massive army forcing him to lose contact with Lee's army. Thus, during a critical period of the campaign, Lee was deprived of his eyes and ears. Without proper intelligence from Stuart, Lee had no choice but to concentrate his forces. Reluctantly, Lee had to abandon his planned attack on Harrisburg. Neither Lee or Meade intended to fight at Gettysburg, which held virtually no strategic value. Some of Lee's troops had passed through Gettysburg on June 26,1863, as they moved on for the attack on Harrisburg. Their commander had informed Confederate generals that a cache of shoes might be found in the town.

In July 1863 Gettysburg had a population of 2,400. It was at the central point of a network of ten roads which branched out to all corners of Pennsylvania. The gently rolling terrain around the town was dominated by low north-south ridges and scattered granite hills, which provided defensive positions for the armies that would fight and die attacking or defending them. The town was surrounded by small farms with cultivated fields, orchards, and woodlots that concealed out cropping of granite boulders. Gettysburg held considerable importance to Lee, it was the only place large enough to concentrate his three corps which amounted to 89,000 men. In addition, the undulating waves of ridgelines which carried on eastward created a series of strong defensible lines for infantry to seize and hold against any attacker coming form the west.

The Invasion of Pennsylvania Begins

Lee's rebels move north and the stage is set for the Battle of Gettysburg.

Lee's rebels move north and the stage is set for the Battle of Gettysburg.

The First Day

On the morning of July 1, 1863, Lee sent his troops on an eight mile march down the Chambersburg Pike road to Gettysburg in search of shoes. Probing eastward, the Confederates found two brigades of Union cavalry screening the advance of the left wing of the Army of the Potomac. The commander of the Union cavalry, General John Buford, ordered his troopers to dismount and take up defensive positions west of Gettysburg and prepare for the rebel attack. The 2,500 Federal cavalry formed a thin line from McPherson's Ridge north to Seminary Ridge. Buford's cavalrymen were armed with a revolutionary new weapon, the new spencer repeating carbines. The spencer carbine was one of the first breech loading weapons that held seven rimfire cartridges. By ten in the morning the fighting intensified as rebel troops seemed to be pouring in from everywhere. Confederate General William D. Pender had arrived to support Heath's troops, and now the Federal cavalrymen were badly outnumbered, but they still held on.

As the battle intensified Buford sent an urgent plea for help to John Reynold commander of the Union First Corps. Soon after ten o'clock in the morning Reynolds arrived just in front of his troops, he surveyed the situation and rushed to position his arriving infantry. Buy now over 40,000 troops were involved in the battle north and west of Gettysburg as Confederate troops attacked in waves. The Federal troops were slowly being pushed back from McPherson's ridge to Cemetery Ridge south of Gettysburg. By early in the afternoon Lee had decided to throw everything he had at the Union troops defending Gettysburg. Jackson's old 2nd Corps lead by General Richard S. Ewell, arrived and poured down from the north hitting the Federal right flank with devastating effect.

Soon the entire Union position caved in when their commander, General Reynolds was mortally wounded by a Confederate sniper. In desperation Union troops fled through Gettysburg followed by a large wave of rebel troops. It was an all-too-familiar situation for the Army of the Potomac; Lee had massed his troops to gain local numeric superiority and was crushing his enemy piece by piece. As evening descended Union troops took up a fragile position south of Gettysburg on Cemetery Hill. Union troops defending Gettysburg took catastrophic casualties with only 2400 troops left to fight from its original 10,000 soldiers. The Iron Brigade was virtually destroyed, losing 399 out of 496 men. Over 4,000 Union troops were taken prisoner as they fled south through Gettysburg.

The First Day of Battle

The first short marker at the Gettysburg battlefield national park.

The first short marker at the Gettysburg battlefield national park.

The first day battle map of Gettysburg. Confederate forces overwhelm the Union right flank forcing them to retreat south of Gettysburg with very heavy casualties. Over 4,000 Union troops were captured by Lee's soldiers.

The first day battle map of Gettysburg. Confederate forces overwhelm the Union right flank forcing them to retreat south of Gettysburg with very heavy casualties. Over 4,000 Union troops were captured by Lee's soldiers.

Confederate General Richard S. Ewell took command of "Stonewall" Jackson's troops after he death at Chancellorsville.

Confederate General Richard S. Ewell took command of "Stonewall" Jackson's troops after he death at Chancellorsville.

Union Major General John F. Reynolds killed by a Confederate sniper on the first day of battle at Gettysburg as he rallied his troops.

Union Major General John F. Reynolds killed by a Confederate sniper on the first day of battle at Gettysburg as he rallied his troops.

A revolutionary weapon the Spencer Carbine we the first repeating rifle used by any army during the Civil War.

A revolutionary weapon the Spencer Carbine we the first repeating rifle used by any army during the Civil War.

The Spencer Carbine was used mainly by Union Cavalry. It was one of the first weapons designed to take metal cartridges.

The Spencer Carbine was used mainly by Union Cavalry. It was one of the first weapons designed to take metal cartridges.

Union cavalry general John Buford who with his 2,500 dismounted cavalry disrupted Lee's plan to take the high ground around Gettysburg. All of Buford's soldiers were armed with repeating rifles (Spencer Carbine).

Union cavalry general John Buford who with his 2,500 dismounted cavalry disrupted Lee's plan to take the high ground around Gettysburg. All of Buford's soldiers were armed with repeating rifles (Spencer Carbine).

The Battle for the Two Little Round Tops

On the second day most of what remained of both armies arrived on the battlefield and prepared for battle. During the night Meade's army had established a fishhook-shaped defensive line that ran south of Gettysburg, that extended two miles to two hills known as the Round Tops. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia took up positions facing the Union Army along Hanover Road east of Gettysburg.

At noon on July 2,1863, Major General Daniel Sickles, commanding the Union Third Corps, committed a costly blunder advancing his 10,000 man corps a half-mile forward to occupy slightly higher ground along a road running southwest from Gettysburg. There his troops held a salient with its apex in a peach orchard and its anchor in a maze of boulders locally called Devils Den, just below Little Round Top. Although this move gave Sickles higher ground to defend, it left his men unconnected to the rest of the Union line and vulnerable to attack on both flanks. By the time Meade learned of what Sickles had done, it was too late to order him back to the original line. Because by then Longstreet had already launched his attack. Sickles and his men were now forced to stand their ground and fight it out.

In the difficult terrain around the exposed Union position sharpshooters were practically invisible. The boulder-strewn, crevice-filled landscape, of Devils Den was a sniper's paradise. Eight men of Company E of the 3rd Arkansas were found dead, shot precisely in the head by Union troops. A.P. Case of the 146th New York noted, " Behind a short low ridge of rock lay a row of eighteen dead who had been tallied one by one by our sharpshooters." Sharpshooters were detested on the battlefield and often not taken prisoner. Said the 2nd Pennsylvania's E.M Woodward, the boys showed them no mercy if the surrendered. When Union soldiers charged Devil's Den and captured twenty Confederate snipers, they all began to beg for their lives after being caught, expecting no mercy from their captors. When a Union sergeant in command assured them that they would be treated fairly, they refused to believe him until until they discovered that their captors were members of a sharpshooter company themselves.

During the next few hours some of the Civil War's bloodiest fighting took place in the Peach Orchard, in a wheat field to the east of the orchard, at Devil's Den, and on Little Round Top. Longstreet's 15,000 veteran rebels punched through the salient shattering Sickles and crushing his undersized corps. But with skillful tactics, Meade rushed reinforcements from three other corps to fill the gaps in his line.

During that day sharpshooters proved to be an effective defense against the attacking infantry on both sides of the battlefield. Soldiers at Gettysburg often spoke of snipers breaking up attacks. As what happened when several Union snipers pinned down a Louisiana Brigade of skirmishers below Cemetery Ridge on the second day of battle. "We had to remain there, more than five hundred yards in advance of Ewell's main line of battle, hugging the ground behind a very low ridge, wrote Confederate Captain William Seymour. It was almost certain death for a man to stand upright and we lost during the battle that day forty-five men in killed and wounded from fire of the enemy's sharpshooters who were armed with long-range Whitworth rifles."

The most desperate struggle that day occurred on the Union extreme left flank where two Union regiments isolated from the main line of defense battled for control of Little Round Top. The 20th Maine and the 1st Minnesota, achieved ever lasting fame by throwing back numerous Confederate attacks which came dangerously close to a breakthrough. Rising above the surrounding countryside, the two Round Tops dominated the south end of the Union defense along Cemetery Ridge. If Longstreet had been able to place artillery on Little Round Top, rebel artillerymen could have fired down on Cemetery Ridge with horrific effect on Union soldiers. Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain, commander of the 20th Maine, prevented a Union defeat with an audacious bayonet assault down Little Round Top which finally broke up the rebel attack.

Devil's Den

The "Devils Den" Little Round Top an area where some of the bloodiest fighting took place on the 2nd day of battle at Gettysburg. It became a snipers paradise.

The "Devils Den" Little Round Top an area where some of the bloodiest fighting took place on the 2nd day of battle at Gettysburg. It became a snipers paradise.

Monument of General Warren overlooking the battlefield from Little Round Top though this photograph was taken in the winter.

Monument of General Warren overlooking the battlefield from Little Round Top though this photograph was taken in the winter.

The Devil's Den (Little Round Top) photo taken 1863.

The Devil's Den (Little Round Top) photo taken 1863.

Union and Confederate positions July 2,1863.

Union and Confederate positions July 2,1863.

Longstreet's planed attack on the Union center and left flank afternoon of July 2,1863.

Longstreet's planed attack on the Union center and left flank afternoon of July 2,1863.

Confederate General James Longstreet overall commander of the southern troops on the Union left flank near Little Round Top.

Confederate General James Longstreet overall commander of the southern troops on the Union left flank near Little Round Top.

Major General Daniel E. Sickles who moved his troops forward without checking with his commanders in front of Little Round Top giving Confederate troops the advantage of attacking both his flanks.

Major General Daniel E. Sickles who moved his troops forward without checking with his commanders in front of Little Round Top giving Confederate troops the advantage of attacking both his flanks.

Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain commander of the 20th Maine who save the day for the Union army at Gettysburg July 2,1863.

Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain commander of the 20th Maine who save the day for the Union army at Gettysburg July 2,1863.

Capt. Ellis Spear, Chamberlain's "right-hand man" on Little Round Top that day.

Capt. Ellis Spear, Chamberlain's "right-hand man" on Little Round Top that day.

Battle Map of the Battle for Little Round Top July 2,1863.

Battle Map of the Battle for Little Round Top July 2,1863.

Confederate colonel William Oats of the 15th Alabama who was ordered to attack the Union positions on Little Round Top. Oats believed if he would had one more regiment for the attack Lee would have won the battle at Gettysburg.

Confederate colonel William Oats of the 15th Alabama who was ordered to attack the Union positions on Little Round Top. Oats believed if he would had one more regiment for the attack Lee would have won the battle at Gettysburg.

Day Three: Lee Attacks the Center of the Union Line

On the third and final day of the Battle of Gettysburg Lee let his passion cloud his judgement. Lee was convinced that his beloved Army of Northern Virginian could win once again no matter what the odds. Lee firmly believed that success could not be achieved without great risk, and that day he was willing to lay his career on the line to prove it. But while Lee lapsed into emotion, Meade and his leaders acted with cold hearted determination and shrewdness. The result of Lee's decision was a tragedy for the Confederacy. Under Lee's orders Longstreet reluctantly ordered his men to assault the Union center at Cemetery Ridge. Against all odds nearly 15,000 Southern men led by general George E. Pickett charged the summit to dislodge the Union troops on Cemetery Ridge. They were cut down by murderous Federal artillery and volleys of musket fire. Perhaps half of the men hurled by Lee toward the ridge were slain or wounded. Nearly two-thirds of Pickett's division were slaughtered. Of all the field officers in the fifteen regiments of Pickett's Division only one escaped unhurt.

By then, Lee recognized he was defeated. So moved was Lee that he rode out to meet those troops who managed to find their way down Cemetery Ridge, greeting them with the words: "It is all my fault," and adding, "It is I who lost this fight." Had Meade seized the advantage, as President Lincoln begged him to do, and attacked Lee's army as it retreated from Gettysburg , which was temporarily trapped and venerable by flooding around the Potomac River. But many more would have to die before Lee would be forced to surrender to the Army of the Potomac.

The difference between Lee's private character as a humane, courteous, quiet, kindly man, the very model of a Christian gentleman, and his reckless, overly aggressive, and costly tactics as a general is one of the most glaring contrast in military history. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia would experience higher casualty rates than any other army in the Confederacy during the Civil War. One reason for this was Lee's concept of the offensive-defensive, that he applied to tactics as well as to strategy. Another reason was the lethality of the weapons used and the traditional tactics used as warfare evolved.

Lee was a student of Napoleonic tactics, but that was at a time when infantry weapons were not very accurate. The bayonet, a knife fitted to the end of a musket was primarily used to assault defensive positions. The basic infantry weapon was the single shot muzzle-loading smoothbore musket which was extremely slow to reload. The maximum range of this weapon was about 250 yards, but its effective range was more near eighty yards on a windy day. Therefore, to compensate for the inaccuracy of the smoothbore musket battle lines were formed to concentrate the firepower of those inaccurate weapons on a specific point in the enemy's defense.

By 1863, nearly all infantrymen in the Civil War both north or south carried rifles. Rifling a musket increase its range four-fold by creating a spin to a bullet that enabled it to literally bore through the air. After 1863, the rifle and trench dominated Civil War battlefields as completely as the machine-gun and trench dominated First World War battlefields. Civil War sharpshooters began to focus on enemy officers, which explains why officers and especially generals had higher casualty rates than privates. In the Army of Northern Virginia officers were over twice as likely to be killed in action than enlisted men. Surprisingly at Gettysburg one third of Lee's generals became casualties, over a quarter of Union officers were killed or wounded, compared to one- fifth of its enlisted men. Officers on both sides soon began to stay off horseback and when possible wear private's uniforms with only a sewn-on shoulder patch to designate their rank.

Pickett's Charge

Day three in the Battle for Gettysburg July 3,1863.

Day three in the Battle for Gettysburg July 3,1863.

Cemetery Ridge today

Cemetery Ridge today

gettysburg-robert-e-lees-second-and-last-invasion-of-pennsylvania
Cannons representing Hancock's defenses, stormed by Pickett's division on Cemetery Ridge.

Cannons representing Hancock's defenses, stormed by Pickett's division on Cemetery Ridge.

Confederate major general  George Pickett who's division was almost wiped out on the last day of battle at Gettysburg.  (January 16, 1825 – July 30, 1875) Abraham Lincoln's influence helped get him into West Point.

Confederate major general George Pickett who's division was almost wiped out on the last day of battle at Gettysburg. (January 16, 1825 – July 30, 1875) Abraham Lincoln's influence helped get him into West Point.

Infantry Weapons of the Civil War

1861 Springfield Musket .58 caliber with a rifled barrel. The principal infantry weapon of the Civil War, used by both sides by 1863, due to its reliability. Rifling a musket increased its range four-fold by creating a spin to a bullet.

1861 Springfield Musket .58 caliber with a rifled barrel. The principal infantry weapon of the Civil War, used by both sides by 1863, due to its reliability. Rifling a musket increased its range four-fold by creating a spin to a bullet.

In 1848 Captain Claude E. Minie invented a bullet small enough to be easily rammed down a rifled barrel, the famous "minie ball" of Civil War rifles.

In 1848 Captain Claude E. Minie invented a bullet small enough to be easily rammed down a rifled barrel, the famous "minie ball" of Civil War rifles.

Whitworth single shot Civil War sniper rifle claimed the lives of several  generals on both sides of the battlefield. At that time considered the most accurate rifle in the world it was capable of hitting a target up to 2,000 yards.

Whitworth single shot Civil War sniper rifle claimed the lives of several generals on both sides of the battlefield. At that time considered the most accurate rifle in the world it was capable of hitting a target up to 2,000 yards.

Total War

The day after Lee's ill fated charge against Cemetery Ridge his troops took up their positions east of Gettysburg and waited for a counterattack that never came; the Army of the Potomac was too exhausted and had taken too many casualties to continue the battle. The battle for Gettysburg would prove the bloodiest of the Civil War. Of the 88,289 Union troops involved 23,000 were either killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. As for the 75,000 troops of the Army of Northern Virginia involved over 28,000 were either killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. Lee had lost over one-third of his army and his aura of invincibility . On the afternoon of July 4,1863, a thunderstorm hit the battlefield and soon afterward Lee's troops buried their dead and began their long retreat back to Virginia. That day Vicksburg fell to Grant and his Federal Army of Tennessee dividing the Confederacy in half, and leaving the Union in control of the Mississippi River. With the victory Grant won favor with President Lincoln, he recalled Grant back to Washington D.C., and promoted to rank of lieutenant general giving him command of all Union armies. The only other man to hold that rank was George Washington, the man who led the Continental army to a victory, over the British at The Battle for Yorktown (October 19,1781), in the American Revolution.

Soon Grant put into motion a massive war winning strategy involving simultaneous advances on five separate fronts. George Meade and the Army of the Potomac, under Grants personnel supervision, would began a drive towards Richmond and attack Lee's army of Northern Virginia. The multiple Union offensives began on May,4,1864, after a series of bloody battles Grant had Lee's army with its back against the wall just outside the Confederate capital. He set up his defense at a major rail junction just outside of Richmond at Petersburg. Lee's heavily fortified positions surrounded Petersburg in a large east-west arc, with both ends resting on the Appomattox River, which protected the Confederate flanks. Both the Union and Confederate armies would experience casualty rates over 50% as Grant pushed Lee's army to the point of near exhaustion. Grant could replace his loses, Lee and the Confederacy had nothing left to stop the Union juggernaut.

The siege of Petersburg continued for over nine months. Lee's troops were devastated, starving as they held on at Petersburg. Nearly all of his troops were veterans, at this point in the war few recruits could be found. The weight of the Union army was slowly squeezing the life out of the Army of Northern Virginia, the South's only remaining viable army. On April 2,1865, Lee was forced to evacuate from Petersburg, the Confederate government fled before Union troops entered the city. On April 3,1865, Union troops occupied Petersburg and Richmond, the next day Abraham Lincoln visited the Confederate capital.

The Confederacy's Last Days

Ulysses S Grant the hero of Vicksburg July 4,186. Soon after his victory Grant would take the field command of the Army of the Potomac. General Meade would retain overall command of the Army of the Potomac until the end of the Civil War, April 9,1865

Ulysses S Grant the hero of Vicksburg July 4,186. Soon after his victory Grant would take the field command of the Army of the Potomac. General Meade would retain overall command of the Army of the Potomac until the end of the Civil War, April 9,1865

The Confederate artillery piece "Whistling Dick" that helped stop the Union Navy from assaulting Vicksburg from the Mississippi River.

The Confederate artillery piece "Whistling Dick" that helped stop the Union Navy from assaulting Vicksburg from the Mississippi River.

Union troops tunneled underneath a Confederate position outside of Vicksburg to plant a huge mine to displace their position. Similar mines were used on the Western Front during the First World War.

Union troops tunneled underneath a Confederate position outside of Vicksburg to plant a huge mine to displace their position. Similar mines were used on the Western Front during the First World War.

During the battle for Vicksburg civilians were forced to live in caves to survive from snipers and artillery fire.

During the battle for Vicksburg civilians were forced to live in caves to survive from snipers and artillery fire.

Part of the siege of Vicksburg was the Union naval blockade from the Mississippi River. Their cannon fire would force residents of Vicksburg to live in caves. Photo Published 1863.

Part of the siege of Vicksburg was the Union naval blockade from the Mississippi River. Their cannon fire would force residents of Vicksburg to live in caves. Photo Published 1863.

Fredericksburg, Virginia; May 1863. Soldiers in the trenches. Trench warfare would appear again in the First World War.

Fredericksburg, Virginia; May 1863. Soldiers in the trenches. Trench warfare would appear again in the First World War.

Heavy artillery pieces that were used by the Union in order to force the besieged city of Vicksburg to surrender.

Heavy artillery pieces that were used by the Union in order to force the besieged city of Vicksburg to surrender.

The Battle for Richmond & Petersburg, fall 1864.

The Battle for Richmond & Petersburg, fall 1864.

Siege of Petersburg, assaults on June 15–18, 1864.

Siege of Petersburg, assaults on June 15–18, 1864.

"Dictator" siege mortar on the U.S. Military Railroad at Petersburg Spring 1865.

"Dictator" siege mortar on the U.S. Military Railroad at Petersburg Spring 1865.

Union trenches outside Petersburg Virginia 1865.

Union trenches outside Petersburg Virginia 1865.

Ruins of Richmond April 1865 total war had arrived to the Confederate capital.

Ruins of Richmond April 1865 total war had arrived to the Confederate capital.

 Abraham Lincoln 16th President of the United States. He held office March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865. Soon after the end of the Civil War an assassin would strike him down leaving the country temporarily in a state of chaos.

Abraham Lincoln 16th President of the United States. He held office March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865. Soon after the end of the Civil War an assassin would strike him down leaving the country temporarily in a state of chaos.

Lincoln and McClellan Commander of the Army of the Potomac 1862.

Lincoln and McClellan Commander of the Army of the Potomac 1862.

August 2, 1864 – August 23, 1864 The Battle for Mobile Bay left the Confederacy without a port in the Gulf of Mexico. The Confederate ironclad Tennessee took on the entire Union fleet soon it was left a burning hulk August 5,1864.

August 2, 1864 – August 23, 1864 The Battle for Mobile Bay left the Confederacy without a port in the Gulf of Mexico. The Confederate ironclad Tennessee took on the entire Union fleet soon it was left a burning hulk August 5,1864.

The citadel at Fort Morgan as it appeared after its surrender to Union troops following the Battle of Mobile Bay.

The citadel at Fort Morgan as it appeared after its surrender to Union troops following the Battle of Mobile Bay.

Lincoln in February 1865, two months before his death at the hands of John Wilkes Booth. He prophesized that the nation would rise from the war, purged by the great suffering of slavery and sectionalism, and be stronger and greater than ever before.

Lincoln in February 1865, two months before his death at the hands of John Wilkes Booth. He prophesized that the nation would rise from the war, purged by the great suffering of slavery and sectionalism, and be stronger and greater than ever before.

Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Sources

Eisenschiml , Otto. The Civil War: An American Iliad. Konecky & Konecky. 156 Fifth Avenue. New York. N.Y. 10010. 1957

Freeman Douglas Southall. Lee's Lieutenants Gettysburg to Appomattox. Simon & Schuster 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York , NY 10020. 1972

Hansen , Harry. The Civil War: A History. Signet Classics Penguin Group, 375 Hudson Street, New York , NY 10014 USA. 1961

Kennedy, Frances H. The Civil War Battlefield Guide. Houghton Mifflin. Boston 1990.

McPherson James M. The Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. Oxford University Press & Ballantine Books , New York NY and Toronto Canada 1989

© 2021 Mark Caruthers

Comments

MG Singh emge from Singapore on January 12, 2021:

This was one of the important battles and you covered it very well.I remember writing about this battle a couple of years back in the old Suite10 which is now closed. Well done.

Related Articles