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Gettysburg 1863: 1st Day: July 1, 1863

The Bloodiest Battle that was ever Fought on American Soil

After Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia defeated the Union Army of the Potomac under General Joseph Hooker at chancellersville in May 1863, the victorious Confederates decided to invade the North for a second time in two years.  This time, they would head for Pennsylvania.eHistory Archive

Brigadier General John Burford

John Buford, Jr. was born into a prominent family on March 4, 1826 in Woodford County, Kentucky, but moved with his family to Rock Island, Illinois at a young age. After attending Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois for one year, Buford entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York and graduated in the middle of his class in 1848. Civil War Trust

Major General John F. Reynolds

Major General John Fulton Reynolds was the highest ranking officer killed at the Battle of Gettysburg and one of the most senior in the Civil War. His decision to commit his infantry west of Gettysburg set the course of the fighting, but his death early in the battle was a serious blow to the Union Army. Stone Sentinels

Death of Reynolds

Major General General Oliver O. Howard

Known as “the Christian General,” Oliver Otis Howard is a unique figure in Civil War history.  Despite lackluster performances by troops under his command, Howard’s reputation as an efficient and personally courageous officer would lead to command of an army by the war’s end. Civil War Trust

Major General Abner Doubleday

Doubleday was born in Ballston Spa, New York, in a small house on the corner of Washington and Fenwick streets. The family all slept in the attic loft of the one-room house. His paternal grandfather, also named Abner, had fought in the American Revolutionary War. His maternal grandfather joined the army at 14 and was a mounted messenger for George Washington. His father, Ulysses F. Doubleday, fought in the War of 1812, published newspapers and books, and represented Auburn, New York for four years in the United States Congress. Wikipedia

July 1: The start of the Battle

The first Confederate troops to enter the vicinity of Gettysburg were BG James Archer's and BG Joseph Davis' (the nephew of Confederate President Jefferson Davis) Brigades of MG Heth's Division (General A.P. Hill's Corps). At approximately 8 AM, Heth reached the crest of Herr Ridge and surveyed the approach to Gettysburg. Observing minimal resistance, Heth ordered his two Brigades (Archer and Davis) to march southeast along Chambersburg Pike and occupy Gettysburg. Heth decided to deploy Archer to the south and Davis to the north of the pike. Military History

The 1st Day

The largest military conflict in North American history begins this day when Union and Confederate forces collide at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The epic battle lasted three days and resulted in a retreat to Virginia by Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia Legacy America

Gettysburg: The First Day

The Iron Brigade

By 10:00 on the morning of July 1, 1863, the situation near McPherson’s Ridge, outside the town of Gettysburg, was becoming increasingly desperate for the Army of the Potomac.  Tennessee and Alabama soldiers from James Archer’s Brigade had already crossed over the open field in front of Herr Ridge, splashed across the tangled stream bottom at Willoughby’s Run, and were now pressing up through the Herbst (or McPherson’s) Woods.  The Union cavalry screen that had been gallantly holding the ground west of Gettysburg was simply no match for the huge Confederate force converging upon the strategic town. Civil War Trust



Lieutenant General A.P. Hill

Ambrose Powell Hill began his military career after graduating 15th out of 38 from the United States Military Academy in 1847.  After graduation he served with an artillery unit during the Mexican-American War as well as the Seminole War. Civil War Trust

General Henry Heth

Henry Heth was born in Black Heath, Virginia, in 1825, to a family known for military service.  He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1847 at the bottom of his class, and spent most of his pre-war years serving in posts on the western frontier. Civil War Trust

General William Dorsey Pender

Dorsey Pender at twenty-nine was the youngest and the fastest-rising major general in the Army of Northern Virginia at Gettysburg. He had just been placed at the head of "Powell" Hill's old Light Division, one of the two best divisions in the army. Along with Maj. Gen. John B. Hood, who commanded the only division which could match the Light Division, Pender was the man for whom Lee and others predicted a great future. Civil War General

General Richard "Fighting Dick" Anderson

Richard "Fighting Dick" Heron Anderson was born on October 7, 1821 at "Hillcrest" in Sumter County, South Carolina. He graduated from the United States Military Academy as a member of the class of 1842. His class produced an astounding 22 Civil War generals from its 37 living graduates at the outbreak of hostilities. Anderson

Lieutenant General Jubal Early

Jubal Anderson Early, graduated 18th in a class of 50 from the United States Military Academy in 1837.  He spent his early military career fighting Seminole American Indians in the Florida region, and resigned soon thereafter.  Early, a successful lawyer, served in the Virginia House of Delegates before being interrupted by the Mexican War where he served as a major of Virginia volunteers. Civil War Trust

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