Gettysburg Campaign

 

Gettysburg Campaign

The Gettysburg Campaign was a series of battles fought in June and July 1863. 

Begin your tour at the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA. Please click on link below for map. 

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States

The Museum presents a view of the civil war from the perspective of its participants. The exhibits cover the events leading to the war and the most significant battles and events. This is a great place to begin your tour of the Gettysburg campaign.  You should plan on spending at least half a day at the museum.

Travel to Brandy Station via US 15 South.  The 150 mile trip should take around 3 hours.  Please click on link below for map.

Brandy Station, Culpeper, Virginia, United States

Begin the second day of your tour of the Gettysburg Campaign at Brandy Station.  Park directions and tour stops can be found at the National Park Service site The Battle of Brandy Station.  The park includes 5 stops.

The Battle of Brandy Station on June 9, 1863 was the largest cavalry engagement of the  Civil War. The battle was fought between the Union cavalry under Maj. Gen. Alfred Pleasonton and Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart's Confederate cavalry. Pleasonton launched a surprise dawn attack on Stuart's men. The all-day fight ended without the Union forces unable to discover the location of  Lee's infantry camped near Culpeper. This battle marked the end of the Confederate cavalry's dominance in the East.

Travel to Gettysburg, PA via US 15 North.  The 115 mile trip should take around 2 hours. 

Please click on link below for map.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, United States

After his victory in the Battle of Chancellorsville, Lee's Army of Northern Virginia moved north for offensive operations in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. The Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Major General Joseph Hooker and Major General George G. Meade, pursued Lee and defeated him at the Battle of Gettysburg.

The Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863) was the greatest battle of the war and is often considered its turning point. Union forces stopped the Confederate offensive in a three-day battle fought by 160,000 soldiers, with 51,000 casualties.  The battle started  when brigades from Henry Heth's division clashed with Buford's cavalry and John F. Reynolds' corps. The Federal forces were forced by Ewell's and Hill's corps to retreat through the town. The Union forces established defensive positions on Cemetery Hill, Culp's Hill, and Cemetery Ridge.

On July 2nd, Lee initiated a massive pair of assaults against the left and right flanks of Meade's army. Fierce battles raged at Little Round Top, Devil's Den, the Wheatfield, the Peach Orchard, East Cemetery Hill, and Culp's Hill. Meade was able to adjust his forces to stop the Confederate advances.

On July 3rd, Lee launched Pickett's charge against the Union center, and almost three divisions were slaughtered.  Stuart fought an inconclusive cavalry duel to the east of the main battlefield in an attempt to drive into the Union rear area. The two armies stayed in position on July 4th, and then Lee ordered a retreat.

You might want to begin your tour of the Gettysburg battlefield with a visit to the American Civil War Museum.  The museum features five hallways of scenes with life-sized dioramas of the Civil War.  Visitors can view a re-creation of the Battle of Gettysburg which explains the reasons, causes, and outcome of the Battle of Gettysburg.  An animated Abraham Lincoln concludes the presentation with his deliverance of the immortal Gettysburg Address.

After seeing the museum, go to the battlefield visitor center to begin your tour.  You have several options here including hiring a guide and purchasing a audio tape or CD.  The National Park Service provides suggestions for planning your visit.

If you can arrange it, the Gettysburg Reenactment will be held on July 3, 4 and 5, 2009.

Please check out the following guides:


Return to Battlefield Road Trips

Revised 03/29/2013