Battle of Gettysburg

About this Map

The Battle of Gettysburg took place on the first three days of July, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Confederate General Robert E. Lee led his army into the North for a second time in an effort to scare politicians in Washington into giving up the war effort.

Day One of the Battle of Gettysburg

On the first day, Confederate troops attacked the Federal cavalry led by John Buford on McPherson's Ridge, west of Gettysburg. The cavalry was able to hold their ground until John Reynold's arrived with infantry. Later in the afternoon, the Federal troops were overpowered and driven back through town. They made their way to Cemetery Hill, south of town, where they set up defensive positions. Although General Reynolds was killed in action on July 1, the decisions made by General Buford in regards to choosing the ground to defend may very well have determined the outcome of the battle. During the night of the first day, Federal reinforcements began to arrive, taking positions along Cemetery Hill, Cemetery Ridge and Culp's Hill.

Day Two of the Battle of Gettysburg

On the second day of fighting, the Confederate line was formed on Seminary Ridge and the Federal line along Cemetery Ridge, nearly a mile apart. The Federal line resembled a fish hook. The left flank began south of town at Devil's Den, Little Round top and Big Round Top. It extended northwest from there to the peach orchard then fell back along Cemetery Ridge, up over Cemetery Hill, back down under Culp's Hill and then southeast along Baltimore Pike. 

Lee ordered attacks on both flanks on July 2. To the south, or left flank, the attack was led by James Longstreet, and they advanced as far as Devil's Den and Little Round Top. It was there on Little Round Top that the 20th Maine, led by Joshua L. Chamberlain, charged the Confederate troops with bayonets in one of the most famous events of the war. The attack on the right flank, to the north, was led bey R.S. Ewell, but was unable to take possession of the high ground. Although the Federal lines were moved back some, the line did not break, setting up the third day of battle.

Day Three of the Battle of Gettysburg

On July 3, General Lee ordered attacks on the center of the Federal positions on Cemetery Ridge. With the positions fortified to the north and south of the line, the attack would be made across the open, mile-wide field. The Confederate advance, known as Pickett's Charge, ended in disaster. By accounts, the charge of 15,000 men across the field ended in 50 minutes with 10,000 Confederate casualties. Although they reached Cemetery Ridge, they were turned back. In the Eastern Theater, this is generally considered the turning point of the war.

Aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg

On July 4, the Army of Virginia began its retreat from what is known as the High Point of the Confederacy. Gettysburg would be Lee's last attempt to invade the north, and had a devastating effect on Confederate military might. In all, there were 51,000 casualties in the battle from both sides. Not only is Gettysburg the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, but it is also the largest conflict to ever take place on American soil.

Places on the Map

Big Round Top

Big Round Top is located south of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, just outside of the town. During the Battle of Gettysburg, Big Round Top was on the left flank of the Federal line.

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Cemetery Hill

Cemetery Hill is just outside of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on the Northern edge of Cemetery Ridge. The Hill was occupied by the Army of the Potomac during the Battle of Gettysburg.

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Cemetery Ridge

Cemetery Ridge is to the south of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It was the primary position of the Army of the Potomac during the Battle of Gettysburg.

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Culp's Hill

Culp's Hill is in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and was an important location during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. It is on the northern edge of Cemetery Ridge, and was occupied by the Army of the Potomac during the battle.

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Devil's Den

Devil's Den is located outside of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, at the base of Little Round Top. Fighting occurred here during the Battle of Gettysburg. The Confederate assault on the left flank of the Federal army on July 2, 1863 was led by John Bell Hood, who was injured in the attack.

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General Lee's Headquarters and Museum

Robert E. Lee set up his headquarters in this house during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

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Little Round Top

Little Round Top is outside of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to the south. It was on Little Round Top that the 20th Maine fought off repeated attacks by John Bell Hood's division and held the line.

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Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg

Fighting occurred on the grounds of the Lutheran Seminary during the Battle of Gettysburg.

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McPherson’s Ridge

McPherson's Ridge is located just west of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Battle of Gettysburg began with fighting along the ridge on July 1, 1863.

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Seminary Ridge

Seminary Ridge is just outside of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Ridge was primarily occupied by the Army of Virginia during the Battle of Gettysburg, and served as the point from which Pickett's Charge was launched on July 3, 1863.

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