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The Battle Of Gettysburg...A New Birth

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The Battle of Gettysburg...A New Birth

The Battle of Gettysburg was the defining battle of the Civil War. To some it was considered the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil. It marked a turning point for the Union as well as for the Confederates, though it was not the final battle to be fought in the Civil War. Before the Battle of Gettysburg, there were many events prior the actual battle that had led to this clash. The battle of Gettysburg was indeed a turning point for a Union victory in the confrontation of two dissimilar views during the Civil War.

The pre-Civil War years 1820-1860 were considered the antebellum (in Latin meaning "before the battle") years and represented a very hectic time in American history. Many new changes happened that sparked new trade and industry growth in the country. The United States went from being an underdeveloped nation of farmers and frontiersmen into an urbanized economic powerhouse that would soon dominate the world. As the industrialized North and the agricultural South grew further apart, major trends started to develop in the United States, such as the American Revolution, urbanization of the north, expansion and growth to the west, and the confrontation of slavery in the south.

The debate over slavery during this time in American history stirred up many different views on how it should be treated. The North began to comprehend the horrors and injustices that blacks faced in the south. The North however, did not want equal rights or social and political equality for the slaves, but for the oppressed to be freed. The South on the other hand, stood on how slavery was a key support to their cotton based economy and stated that without slavery the south would go into an economic slump. In the end, this as well as other debates split the regions further apart until finally, in the 1860s, the North and the South were two vastly different places, economically and culturally.

In 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected president on the United States by capturing 40% of the popular vote and 180 electoral votes. Before his election, Lincoln affirmed in his campaign that this country would not work with slavery and that it needed to be abolished. In a speech given by Lincoln on the 16 June 1858 in Springfield, Illinois, known to be the House Divided speech he states, "...A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure; permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved-- I do not expect the house to fall-- but I do expect it will cease to be divided..." With the election of Lincoln and his plan to abolish slavery, the north and south went their separate ways.

Soon after the election of Lincoln, the south began to discuss plans for succession from the union. South Carolina was the first to succeed on the 20 December 1860. South Carolina was waiting for an excuse to secede and unite the southern states against the anti-slavery forces. Upon confirming that the election results were final, South Carolina declared, "the Union now subsisting between South Carolina and other states under the name of the United States of America is hereby dissolved," thus putting a start to the American Civil War. The states that joined the confederacy by 1861 were South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. After Lincoln had called for more troops four more states succeeded; Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. After the initial organization of the Confederate States of America, the American Civil War broke out in April of 1861 with the Battle of Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. This was the start of a long confrontation that would last almost four years.

To organize the military action against the unyielding southern states, Lincoln appointed General Ulysses S. Grant as commanding general for the Union army. Born on April 27, 1822, Grant would later become the 18th President of the United States (1869-1877). He served in the Spanish American (sp/am) war as a general. He quickly demonstrated his military capabilities by capturing Vicksburg from the rebellious south in May of 1863 and eventually accepted the surrender of his great Confederate opponent Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Courthouse on 9 April 1865. Grant was given the task of commanding general because of his dedication and experience in the United States army. The War Department stated, "Nothing stands against his good name." Thus making him a great general for Gettysburg and the union army.

Union Major General George Gordon Meade, hailing from Spain, was born the 31 of December 1815, served as a Union General and on the 28 of June 1863 was appointed the commander of the Army of the Potomac during the American Civil War. He was also best known for defeating Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg and the Appomattox Campaign, but he was overshadowed by the direct supervision of the general in chief, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Having fought in the Indian Seminole War and the Mexican American War, Meade was a well experienced Union General.

Robert Edward Lee born January 19,1807 was an Army officer for the United States for 32 years and the most celebrated general of the Confederate States of America forces during the American Civil War. Lee was a top graduate of West Point and distinguished himself for time fought in the Spanish American war. In early 1861, Lee opposed the formation of the Confederate States of America and considered acceptance of an offer from Abraham Lincoln for a senior command in the United States Army. However, when Virginia seceded from the Union in April of 1861, Lee chose his home state over it's northern neighbors.

After Fighting began in April 1861 at Fort Sumter, Lincoln called on governors from every state to send detachments totaling 75,000 troops to recapture forts, protect the capital, and "preserve the Union." Lincoln made three major mistakes in his prediction of the outcome of the so called "90 day war." First Lincoln underestimated the strength of the Confederacy; assuming that only 75,000 Union troops could end the insurrection in just 90 days. Second, he overvalued the power of Union settlements in the South and in the Border States. Thirdly the president ignored the demands of Unionists in the Border States, who warned that they would not support an invasion of the Confederacy. However on the 9 of February 1861, the Confederate constitutional convention at Montgomery, Alabama named Kentuckian Jefferson Davis the provisional president of the Confederate States of America. Upon becoming president of the Confederate States of America Davis argued against secession; but when a majority of the delegates opposed him, he gave in. Still



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