(Library of Congress)
General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate "Army of Northern Virginia".
Lee declined an offer to command the Union Army at the outbreak of the Civil War and offered his services to his native state. After serving in several administraive and field postions, he was assigned to command the Confederate Army at Richmond, which he named the "Army of Northern Virginia". Under his command, this army exploited Union mismanagement on numerous battlefields, making Lee one of the most victorious commanders in the Confederacy.
Lee's army was noted for its cadre of southern commanders who were veterans of numerous, hard-fought battles. Some performed better than in the summer of 1863.
A selection of officers and men who served under Lee's command in the Gettysburg Campaign.
(War Library, Philadelphia)
George Gordon Meade, commander of the Union "Army of the Potomac".
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Meade offered his services to Pennsylvania and was appointed brigadier general of volunteers in command of a brigade of Pennsylvania regiments. Meade gained a reputation for being short-tempered and obstinate with junior officers and superiors alike, garnering him the nickname "The Old Snapping Turtle". At the Battle of Glendale on June 30, 1862, he was seriously wounded though refused to leave the field until the loss of blood so weakened him that he could not remain in the saddle.
Later that morning, he finished a plan to set the army in motion northward to find Lee. Fortunately, the general had a group of excellent commanders in charge of his army.
A selection of officers and men who served under Meade's command at the Battle of Gettysburg.
(Library of Congress)
Apart from soldiers, there were many other people who were important to the story of Gettysburg. One of these was President Abraham Lincoln who was invited to attend the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery where he gave his immortal "Gettysburg Address". The president not only honored the Union dead buried here, but delivered to the northern people a clear objective of why the war was being fought; "that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Read the Gettysburg Address
THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC AT GETTYSBURG
THE ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA AT GETTYSBURG
Did You Know?
Major General George Gordon Meade was appointed to command the Union "Army of the Potomac" just three days before the battle of Gettysburg. He was honored in 1896 with an equestrian statue at Gettysburg National Military Park.