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On the one hand Gettysburg was an accident on the other Gettysburg was inevitable General Robert E Lee followed the roads north toward Pennsylvanias capital Harrisburg Gettysburg itself was a small town in size it was at the intersection of many different roads Lees route led him and his troops to an encampment northwest of the town One of the brigades was assigned the task of entering Gettysburg because earlier reports had it that there were shoes to be had in town The Confederates encountered their enemy along one road outside town Not knowing the size of the force they retreated These northern brigades it turned out were the advance forces of the Unions left wing coming from the south This set the stage for the last great battle of the Civil War General George Meade who had been given his command only a few days earlier led the Army of the Potomac Meade entered the Military Academy in 1831 and was graduated four years later ranking nineteenth in a class of fifty-six members Lincoln under pressure removed General Joseph Hooker in favor of Meade General Robert E Lee headed the Army of Northern Virginia On July 1 1863 believing the supplies to be plentiful and opposition minimal the Confederate Army moved towards Gettysburg during the morning hours General John Buford of the Union army tried to hold the line until reinforcements came from General -1- John Reynolds In spite of the troops however Lee was able to marshal an even larger army since his army was not as spread out as Meades By days end the Union troops had been routed They fled and panicked through the streets of Gettysburg to Cemetery Hill Lees army had pushed the Union Army from McPhersons Ridge back over Seminary Ridge through the town of Gettysburg and finally the Union men dug in at Cemetery Hill All night long soldiers fled to
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