The Battle of Gettysburg begins

One of the greatest military conflicts in the history of North America began on July 1, 1863, when Union and Confederate forces collided in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The epic battle lasted three days and resulted in a retirement in Virginia from the army of North Virginia of Robert E. Lee.

Two months before Gettysburg, Lee had inflicted a staggering defeat on the Army of the Potomac in Chancellorsville, Virginia. He then made plans for an invasion of the North to ease the pressure on war-tired Virginia and take the initiative from the Yankees. His army, numbering about 80,000, began to move on June 3. The Army of the Potomac, commanded by Joseph Hooker and numbering just under 100,000, began to move soon after, remaining between Lee and Washington, DC But on June 28, frustrated by the Lincoln administration restrictions on his autonomy as commander, Hooker resigned and was replaced by George G. Meade.

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