This Day in History: Battle of Gettysburg, Day 3

Nation & World News

Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., Friday morning, July 3, 1863

Charleston, S.C. (WCBD) – Today in history, we reflect on one of the most futile and bloody assaults of the Civil War: Pickett’s Charge.

According to The Library of Congress, Pickett’s Charge was an attempt to penetrate the center of Union forces on Cemetery Ridge. On day 2 of battle, the Confederates had gained ground, but were unable to dislodge the Union defenders. A timeline of day 3 shows:

  • Confederate General Robert E. Lee ordered General Longstreet to prepare General Pickett’s troops for the assault.
  • After two hours of heavy shelling, Confederate Colonel Alexander sent word to General Pickett that the Union troops were withdrawing and encouraged him to come quickly.
  • During the attack, only one Confederate brigade temporarily reached the top of the ridge, this is now known as the “high watermark of the Confederacy”.

“The charge ultimately proved disastrous for the Confederates, with casualties approaching 60 percent. As a consequence, Confederate General Robert E. Lee was forced to retreat and ultimately abandon his attempt to reach Washington, D.C. via Pennsylvania.”

The Library of Congress

The Battle of Gettysburg lasted three days and resulted in tremendous bloodshed. Four months after the battle, President Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address: Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…

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