On July 1, 1863, three days of fighting began in what would become the bloodiest battle of the entire Civil War, and the turning point of the fight that threatened to divide the United States in two. At least 50,000 Americans, and possibly more, lost their lives in the three-day battle.
It was the Battle of Gettysburg that put a stop to Confederate Commander Robert E. Lee’s march north in an effort to take Pennsylvania’s cities and break the will of the struggling Union.
Visiting the fields where all of these Americans died is a haunting experience – but it’s one worth making. Residents of Gettysburg today swear that the hills and fields are still visited by the Union and Confederate soldiers who gave their lives there on those sweltering three days in early July.
For those who are interested in learning more about the Battle of Gettysburg, Michael Shaara’s novel The Killer Angels gives a painstaking catalogue of the characters who played parts in this momentous battle, as well as the planning, campaigns, and dumb-luck that determined its outcome.