Last chance?•Confederate General Robert E. Lee realized that something needed to change if the war were to ever come to an end.
Last chance?• After witnessing the carnage at Frederickburg, VA in December, 1862, Lee said “It is good that war is so horrible, or we might grow to like it,” as he watched 12,000 Union soldiers get mowed
Last chance?• At Chancellorsville, VA, 5 months later, Lee again won a great victory, perhaps his best in the war, but lost his most important general, Stonewall Jackson, when Jackson was accidentally shot at night by his own troops.
Last chance?• Lee decided that another attempt at victory in the North might help those people who supported peace in the North (Copperheads or Peace Democrats), or would at worst disrupt the Union war effort.
Last chance?•On July 1, 1863, Lee’s troops moved toward the Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg and surprisingly met a group of Union cavalry there.
Last chance?• Even though the cavalry was quickly reinforced by two Union corps, two large Confederate corps joined the battle and forced the Union troops to Cemetery Hill on the southern side of the city, who then set themselves in a fish hook style formation.
Last chance?• The Confederate troops took up their position along Seminary Ridge, so-called because of the theological school (now Gettysburg College) at one end of the line.
Last chance?• By the second day, July 2, 1863, both great armies (Confederates = 72,000, Union = 94,000) had arrived and most of the fighting took place on the left end of the Union line.
Last chance?• The Confederates charged up Little Round Top as many as five times, and each time were sent back, the last one being when the Union leader ordered a bayonet charge and captured a large number of the attackers.
Sent packing•By the time the third day of the battle, July 3, 1863, rolled around, Lee believed that the center of the Union line would be weakest.
Sent packing•Lee ordered General George Pickett to lead a charge of his Virginians, who had not been in action the day before, on the Union
Sent packing• At around 3 PM, after 2 hours of artillery fire, General Pickett led 12,500 troops across ¾ of mile of open field toward the center of the Union line, even having to climb over fences to get there.
Sent packing• The Confederates struggled to reach the Union position because of Union artillery, but were still able to make a slight break in the Union lines, before reinforcements came up and closed it quickly.
Sent packing•Fewer than ½ of the men who made Pickett’s Charge returned to the Confederate lines.
Sent packing• It had been a brutal defeat for the Confederacy and one, along with the announcement of the loss of the city of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River the next day, that they would struggle to recover from.