Battle of Gettysburg
(1–3 July 1863)
A battle in the American Civil War. On 1 July elements of the Army of Northern Virginia under Lee and the Union Army of the Potomac under Meade came into contact west of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Although early Confederate attacks were repulsed, the arrival of reinforcements forced the Union troops to retreat back through the town. By the following day, however, fresh Union troops in strong defensive positions on Cemetery Ridge repelled Confederate attacks. On the third day, Pickett's charge against the centre of the Union line was defeated with heavy losses, and Lee was forced to abandon his invasion of the North. He lost 20,000 men from a force of 70,000 and Meade 23,000 from one of 93,000. The retreat from Gettysburg, together with the simultaneous surrender of Vicksburg in the west, marked the turning point of the war, although over a year and a half of heavy fighting would follow before Lee was finally forced to surrender.