One of the most iconic battles of the Civil War began on July 1, 1863. The armies of Robert E. Lee and George G. Meade collided on a variety of terrain over three hot summer days. Gettysburg was a testing ground for skilled commanders like Longstreet, Buford, and Hancock, and horrible ordeals for veterans like Pickett and Hood. While Gettysburg did not end the war, it was a turning point in America’s greatest conflict and the stage for Lincoln to turn policy into a movement of freedom.
While I can write more ably about modern conflict, I am often at a loss to describe the magnitude of the American Civil War. Sacrifice is a simple word compared to the ranks of dead, the ruin of entire cities, or the industrial and agricultural momentum that would not be seen again until 1941. Civil war is a mild phrase when one recalls the youthful vigor that sent boys over hundreds of miles to meet their equivalents in bitter strife. Our civil war is unique from other feuds, in that the fledgling American spirit was lifted, suspended, marred, and sewn back together in four unforgettable years.
A terrific blog that covers the Civil War can be found at Almost Chosen People. Their latest article has a detailed account from Brigadier General John Buford and his cavalry’s involvement on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg.