With the approach of the anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3), KCWRT.org will be providing some information about the battle during the next couple of weeks.
A great place to start is the video introduction to the battle produce by the Civil War Trust, which you can see below.
Historian Garry Adelman gives a quick run-through of the battle with lots of animation and supplementary footage.
Gettysburg is so iconic — particularly because of the Gettysburg Address that Abraham Lincoln delivered four months after the battle — that we tend to lose sight of what it meant to the people who lived during the war.
Gettysburg was undoubtedly an important battle in that it stopped Robert E. Lee’s invasion of the North and generally changed the course of the war in Virginia. But, at the time it occurred, it was not the biggest news of the day.
During that first week in July, most of the nation’s attention had turned to the southwest where the Union forces, commanded by Ulysses S. Grant, were laying siege to Vicksburg, Mississippi. Capturing that town was the key to gaining control of the Mississippi River and to defeating Confederate forces in the west.
The Confederate garrison at Vicksburg capitulated on July 4, the day after the battle of Gettysburg, and that news stole the headlines from Gettysburg in the nation’s newspapers.