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The most famous and important battle of the civil war occurred in a small town in southern Pennsylvania in the summer of 1863 The battle of Gettysburg was fought from 1 July 1863 to 3 July 1863 Roughly 160000 Soldiers from the North and South converged in this tiny area and fought one of the hardest battles in American history At the end of three days of battle more than 3100 Union Soldiers and between 2600 and 4500 Confederate Soldiers had lost their lives More than 28000 were wounded in battle and over 10000 Soldiers were listed as missing Confederate General Robert E Lee had been having much success against Union forces during the civil war He won several key battles against the Union army and was anxious to keep pressing north The Confederate states led by newly elected Jefferson Davis were struggling to achieve international recognition as a legitimate country At present they were unable to do so Britain and France especially were two potential key allies that the South had hoped to gain during the civil war However they refused to acknowledge the fledgling South as its own sovereign nation Lee decided that an invasion of the North and threatening major cities such as Philadelphia and even Washington itself would give the South the legitimacy that it desired This would be the second time General Lee would attempt an invasion of the North The first time was the previous fall at the battle of Antietam As General Lee moved his army across the Potomac River and into Pennsylvania the Union army led by newly appointed General George G Meade moved out to engage them General Meade was named the commander of the Army of the Potomac by President Lincoln only three days prior to the battle of
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