The Battle of Gettysburg began on this day in 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, during the American Civil War. The battle involved the largest number of casualties of the entire war and is often described as the war’s turning point.
Union Maj. Gen. George Meade’s Army of the Potomac defends against attacks by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia over the next three days.
Elements of these two armies initially collided at Gettysburg, as Lee urgently concentrated his forces there, his objective being to engage the Union army and destroy it. Low ridges to the northwest of town were defended initially by a Union cavalry division under Brig. Gen. John Buford, and soon reinforced with two corps of Union infantry. However, two large Confederate corps assaulted them from the northwest and north, collapsing the hastily developed Union lines, sending the defenders retreating through the streets of town to the hills just to the south.