Gettysburg: The Confederate Tragedy

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Gettysburg: The Confederate Tragedy

In the summer of 1863, the United States was sharply divided in a brutal civil war. The Union army of the northern states was pitted against the Confederate army of the separatist southern states in what would prove to be the bloodiest war that the nation has ever been involved in. That summer was especially harsh on both sides. The casualty lists were extremely lengthy as the two sides faced off in some of the deadliest engagements of the war.

The summer of 1863 was a particularly desperate time in the war for the South. The southern stronghold of Vicksburg, Mississippi, was under siege by a powerful Union force. The economic state of the South was all but destroyed by the ravages of war and it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep the Confederate armies well supplied. General Robert E. Lee, commanding the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, was well aware of the situation when he came up with one of the most daring plans of the entire war. He planned to move his forces across the Potomac River and invade the North. Considering the circumstances that he faced, it was probably a wise and justified move (Freeman 147). He hoped to ease the pressure on Vicksburg simply by applying a little on Washington. At the same time, the constant demand for supplies would be solved as the army lived off the fertile lands in the north for the summer.

The Confederate army's uncontested march northward, however, did not last long. As expected, once General Joseph Hooker of the Union Army of the Potomac heard of the Confederate advance, he maneuvered his army into position between the Confederates and Washington in order to protect the northern capital. The days of June grew long as the two...

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...was not so much of a victory for the Union army as it was a missed opportunity for the Confederates. The Battle of Gettysburg truly was the worst tragedy that the Confederate army would suffer during the war.

Works Cited

Fish, Carl Russell. The American Civil War: An Interpretation. New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1937. 268-300.

Freeman, Douglas Southall. R. E. Lee: A Biography. Vol. III. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1934-35. 135-161.

Milton, George Fort. Conflict: The American Civil War. New York: Coward-McCann, 1941, 261-276.

Nichols, Edward J. Toward Gettysburg; A Biography of General John F. Reynolds. Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1958. 213-215.

Page, Thomas Nelson. Robert E. Lee: Man and Soldier. New York: Scribner's Sons, 1911. 304-363.

Parish, Peter J. The American Civil War. New York: Holmes and Meier, 1975. 289-298.

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