This Day in Georgia Civil War History
July 03, 1863
Battle of Gettysburg Concluded
The Battle of Gettysburg concluded. Robert E. Lee, against the advice of Georgian James Longstreet, decided to attack the Union center. The Confederates began with a heavy bombardment, which the Union answered in force. After two hours of cannonading, Lee sent General George Pickett and 12,000 soldiers in a massive assault on the Union center. But the Union troops were still well entrenched on Cemetery Ridge. In a scene reminiscent of the Union attack on the heights at Fredericksburg, the Confederates in Pickett’s charge were decimated by both artillery and infantry fire. One small group briefly reached and pierced the Union lines, but were quickly driven back. The Army of Northern Virginia had suffered its first major defeat, and it was a devastating one. Union losses in the Battle of Gettysburg numbered roughly 23,000 killed, seriously wounded, and missing. The Confederate losses numbered somewhere between 25,000 and 28,000 - which accounted for one-third of the entire army.