Gettysburg: The Major Battle In The North, July 1-3 1863

July 1, 2021

The colorized photograph is of Culp's Hill, one of the significant locations in the Battle of Gettysburg. This wooded hill was fought over for two days. The battle lasted three days: from July 1-July 3.

Culp's Hill around Gettysburg.

On the first day of the battle, the Confederates had a clear-cut victory, although they failed to capture Cemetery Hill, which was one of the most important pieces of terrain on the battlefield. Two roads intersected on Cemetery Hill: one led to the Union supply depot, and the other led to Washington D.C. Cemetery Hill was in the middle of the battlefield, and to reach it, the Confederates had to cross an open field, which made them easy targets. One of the fights the Union lost on that first day was for Barlow’s Knoll, as Barlow’s division was spread too thin.

The First Day Of The Battle

Culp's Hill around Gettysburg. Source: (CORBIS via Getty).

General Buford arrived in Gettysburg the day prior to the battle and completed a terrain analysis. In the early morning of July 1, he set up his two cavalry brigades in a defensive line west of town. Meanwhile the Confederate General Heath arrived in town and ran into Buford, nearly driving Buford and his men from the field, however, Union reinforcements arrived, augmenting Buford; this began a rush to reinforce both sides. Eventually, the Union was driven through the town; once nightfall came, the Confederates had won the first day, with the exception of Cemetery Hill; eventually, Lincoln would give his Gettysburg Address on Cemetery Hill, and the location became the site of the first federal graveyard. During the night of July 1, the Union army continued to get reinforcements and they began to entrench on Culp's Hill, and they built breastworks.