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Battle of Gettysburg
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Lee Marches North
Lee Marches North 

Synopsis of events leading up to Gettysburg:

In early June, 1863, Lee headed north using the Shenandoah Valley and J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry to mask his movements).  Lee's Army comprised of three Corps: Ewell in the front, followed by Longstreet and A.P. Hill.
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June 9

  • Shortly after beginning the march north, Stuart was surprised by Davis' brigade at Brandy Station.
  • Though the Union cavalry suffered more casualties than Stuart, it gained much needed confidence.
  • In the end, J.E.B. Stuart held the field, but he perceived the battle as an embarrassment.

June 13

  • Jubal A. Early's Division (under Ewell) headed north and attacked Union outposts at Winchester, VA.
  • The Union defenders (under Milroy) withdrew to three forts outside of Winchester.
  • After Early took one of the forts, Milroy attempted to evacuate his forces to Harpers Ferry, but was stopped by George H. Steuart's and J.M. Walker's Brigades.
  • Milroy attempted several times to break past the Confederates, but to no avail.
  • On June 15, most of the Union force was taken prisoner with little Confederate loss.
June 23
  • Meanwhile, J.E.B. Stuart had been given permission to harass the Union army and prevent its cavalry from probing Lee's movements. Stuart, sensing an opportunity to regain lost honor, left two Brigades to guard Lee's mountain passes and took the other three Brigades to run circles around the Union forces for the next eight days. Unfortunately, Lee counted on Stuart to provide vital information on the Union's movements.
  • At Salem, VA, Stuart encountered Hancock's superior-numbered force and decided to bypass the threat entirely by riding to the east. He then turned north and rode to Rockville, MD where he captured a huge Union supply train. Unable to move the west (because of the large Union force between him and Lee) Stuart continued north to link with Ewell's troops at Carlisle, PA. In the process, he fought several skirmishes with the Union cavalry and disrupted rail and telegraph lines. After arriving at Carlisle on July 1, Stuart found the town held by Union general Smith and demanded his surrender.
  • After several hours of Confederate shelling, a courier sent by Lee, notified Stuart of the pressing engagement to the south at Gettysburg. Later that night, Stuart departed for Gettysburg.

June 24

  • R.E. Rodes' Division (under Ewell) occupied Chambersburg.
  • The next day, Rodes' and Edward Johnson's Divisions moved toward Carlisle. Early's Division marched eastward toward York, PA and reached Gettysburg on the evening of June 26. Early demands $10,000 in goods from the town, but to no avail.
  • He does notice a shoe factory and sent word to A.P. Hill of its potential before continuing on to York.
  • The next day, Early occupied York, but discovered the bridge across the Susquehanna has been burned. Unable to cross the river and reach Harrisburg, PA from the southeast, Early remained in York and awaited further orders from Ewell.
  • On June 29, Lee ordered Ewell's Corps to withdraw and headed south to Gettysburg.

June 27

  • At his Frederick, Maryland Headquarters, Hooker asked Lincoln to be relieved of command. Frustrated, Lincoln obliged, and immediately replaced Hooker with George Meade although other generals are senior.
  • The next day, Meade learned that A.P. Hill and Longstreet are east of Chambersburg enroute to Gettysburg and ordered Sickles' III Corps to join Reynolds' I Corps and Howard's XI Corps outside of Emmitsburg.

June 30

  • The Union cavalry, under John Buford's lead, entered Gettysburg about 11 AM. Buford soon realized that a Confederate infantry brigade under J. J. Pettigrew (looking for shoes) had just occupied the town. But, minutes earlier, withdrew from the town after observing the Union approach.
  • Buford halted for the night and posted two brigades on the Chambersburg Pike Northwest of town.

    The next day, the Battle of Gettysburg begins...

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