The Battle of Gettysburg was the greatest battle ever fought on the continent and one of the most decisive battles of world history.
In July 1863, the turning point of the American Civil War occurred at the Battle of Gettysburg, when General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate army of 75,000 men and General George G. Meade with 97,000 Northern soldiers collided. In the fields surrounding Gettysburg on July 1, 2 and 3, more men fought and died than in any other battle before or since on North American soil.
Although the Battle of Gettysburg did not end the war, nor attain any major war aim from the North or the South, it remains the greatest battle of the Civil War. Its significance turned out to be that with a Confederate victory the war most likely would have turned in favor of the South, for nothing stood in the way of an advancement toward Washington D.C. Both sides paid a heavy price on these horrific days. There were 51,000 casualties making Gettysburg the bloodiest battle in American History. Over 152,400 men and 500 cannons were positioned over a 25 square mile area. An estimated 569 tons of ammunitions was expended and when the battle ended 5,000 dead horses and other wreckage of war presented a scene of terrible devastation.
With the failure of the infamous "Pickett’s Charge" this great battle was over. The Union was saved. Now, all Americans and others as well, can visit the Gettysburg National Military Park and sense the magnitude of the historic significances of the ground that they stand on and what it stands for. It’s no wander that it had an affect on President Lincoln and how it moved him to write the uniquely appropriate words of the "Gettysburg Address". These words still live today and ring out the importance of the sacrifices of those men who died to preserve freedom, whether North of South. No truer words were ever spoken-then or now.
The Gettysburg National Military Park is one of the largest battlefield shrines in America with over 1,000 monuments and cannons along 40 miles of scenic avenues. There are so many different ways to view the battlefields. Probably the most popular is a self guided driving tour. Maps are available at any visitor’s center. It is also possible to rent an audiotape to help you navigate through these historic fields. Bus tours, biking tours and walking tours are also available. You can even "ride into history" with a guided/tape tour on horseback. Our choice was the best- good friends who are life-long residents of Gettysburg.