It began as a skirmish between two scouting parties on July 1,1863. Gen. Robert E. Lee, Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, ordered his 75,000 troops to attack the Army of the Potomac under the command of the newly-appointed Gen. George Meade before his full Union force could assemble. When the three day battle ended, Lee and his army were in retreat; the casualties for both armies totaled more than 51,000 troops, greater than the combined casualty count of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Mexican War combined.
Over those three days the names of Cemetery Ridge, Little Round Top, Pickett’s Charge entered the American vocabulary and imagination. The Battle became recognized as the turning point of the Civil War.
If you are fascinated by the era or want to learn more about it, the library has many choices. There is the classic Bruce Catton’s Gettysburg: The Final Fury. Duane Schultz’s The Most Glorious Fourth analyzes the battles of Vicksburg and Gettysburg. Margaret Clayton looks at the “immigrants, women and African Americans in the civil war’s defining battle” in The Colors of Courage.
Need help with understanding the battles? Try this interactive site to see the progress of battle.
Still eager for more? Join us on July 3 at 1:30 for the Afternoon Book Club’s discussion of Michael Shaara’s classic The Killer Angels.
– posted by Brenda, Reference Services