GETTYSBURG, BATTLE OF. The most im portant and most hotly contested battle of the Civil War in America, fought July 1-3, 1863. at Gettysburg, Pa., between the Federal Army of the Potomac, numbering about 82,000 men, under General Meade, and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, numbering about 73,000 men, under General Lee. After the battle of Chancel lorsville (May 2-4) the two armies stood for some weeks facing each other across the Rappahan nock at Fredericksburg, Va., General Lee taking advantage of the interval to reorganize his army and divide it into three corps, each of three divisions, which he placed under Longstreet, Ewell, and A. P. Hill respectively. This accom plished, and his army being sufficiently rested, he decided upon the invasion of Pennsylvania, hoping by this bold plan to draw Hooker, then commanding the Army of the Potomac, in pur suit, to defeat the Federal Army on Northern soil, to threaten and perhaps capture Washington, to secure the support or at least recognition of France and England, and to bring the war to a close, forcing from the North a recognition of the independence of the Confederacy. On June 3d he began to move, and by June 26th each of the three corps had crossed the Potomac into western Maryland, Ewell having passed over about ten days earlier and having entered Pennsylvania, where he threatened Harrisburg. Hooker followed along the east bank of the Rappahannock about the middle of June, and on the 25th and 26th crossed the Potomac at Edwards Ferry. On the 28th he was superseded as commander of the Army of the Potomac by General Meade, who soon selected a field of battle along Pipe Creek, on which, if possible, to concentrate his forces and meet the Confederate Army. On the afternoon of June 30th, however, Buford, with a force of Fed eral cavalry, occupied McPherson's Ridge, beyond Seminary Ridge, west of Gettysburg, and here, at about eight o'clock on the following morning, he came in contact with Heth's division of Hill's Confederate corps, the whole Confederate Army having been ordered by General Lee to concen trate at Gettysburg. Though considerably out numbered, he stubbornly held his ground for two hours, until the arrival of General Reynolds at the head of the First Corps of the Federal Army, which was reOnforced about 1 P.II. by the Eleventh Corps under General Howard, the Federal troops now occupying ground north as well as west of Gettysburg. At about one o'clock, also, General Ewell arrived with a part of his corps, the rest coming up during the afternoon, and took com mand on the Confederate side. At about 4 P.M. the Confederates advanced for what proved to be their final attack, drove the Federals from the field, and occupied the ground thus vacated. The Federals, under Hancock, who had superseded Howard by Meade's orders, about 3.30 P.M. took up a strong position on Cemetery Ridge and Culp's Hill (south and southeast of Gettysburg), which they quickly fortified. Both sides had suffered heavily during the day in killed and wounded, and the Confederates took several thousand prisoners. The Federals sustained their severest loss in the death of General Reynolds, who was killed instantly by a Confederate sharp shooter late in the morning. Thereafter until the arrival of General Howard, General Doubleday had been in command. During the night and
the following day almost the whole of each army was brought upon the field. though Pickett's division of Longstreet's corps did not arrive until toward night on the 2d. The Federal posi tion formed a long convex line, beginning at Culp's Hill and ending at Round Top, General Sickles, with the Third Corps, occupying ground somewhat in advance and to the north of Little Round Top, his line following roughly the angle formed by the junction of the Emmitsburg Road and the crossroad leading therefrom to the Taney town Road, east of the Federal position, and be ing `refused' toward Devil's Den. At the cross ing there was a peach orchard, and between the crossing and the ridge along which the Federals were intrenched there was a wood north of the road and a wheat-field south of it. The Confed erate position, on the other hand, formed a much longer and thinner concave line, with Longstreet in command on the right, A. P. Hill in' the centre, and Ewell on the left. Lee, against the emphatic advice of Longstreet, who wished to manoeuvre the Federals out of their position and interpose the Confederate Army between Meade and Wash ington, resolved to attack, and issued orders, ac cordingly, to Longstreet on the right and Ewell on the left, the former being expected to make the principal assault. The operations on the right did not begin until about 4 P.M. on July 2d, though, according to many Southern writers, Longstreet should have delivered his attack early in the morning, when there would have been a much greater chance of Confederate success. When made, however, the attack was vigorous and spirited, and, after a fierce conflict, the angle at the peach orchard was broken in, and the Federals were forced to abandon their advanced position and fall back upon their main line, along Cemetery Ridge. The Confederates, however, were unable to carry Round Top and Little Round Top, the points of greatest strategic value on the Federal left. During the engagement Sickles was wounded and General Meade added the Third Corps to the command of General Han cock. In the defense of Little Round Top. which General Warren had occupied just in time to repel the Confederate attack, two able Federal generals, Weed and Hazlett, were killed, and an other. Vincent, was mortally wounded. On each side the losses were exceedingly heavy. Late in the afternoon, after an artillery duel lasting about an hour, Early and Johnson, both of Ewell's corps, led their divisions against the Federal right, Early assaulting Cemetery Hill and Johnson Culp's Hill. Early, with whom Rodes, commanding the other division of Ewell's corps, failed properly to cooperate, attacked with great vigor, and succeeded in breaking a line of infantry on the slopes and overrunning \Vied rich's Eleventh Corps and Rickett's reserve bat teries; but was finally driven back, the Federals at this point thus preserving the integrity of their line. Meanwhile Johnson had met with more success at Culp's Hill, whose defenders had been greatly reduced in number in order to re enforce Sickles on the Federal left, and gained a substantial foothold, which he held over night, but from which he was driven before noon on the following day.