Gettysburg is located 50 miles northwest of
Baltimore. This small town in Pennsylvania was the site of the
largest battle waged during the American Civil War, as well as arguably
the most crucial battle of the Civil War. Fought during the
first three days of July 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg ended with an
important victory for Union forces. The "Army of the Potomac"
successfully rebuffed General Robert E. Lee's "Army of Northern Virginia"
second invasion of the North.
Historians have frequently referred to Gettysburg as a major
turning point in the Civil War, the "High Water Mark of the Confederacy."
It was also the bloodiest battle of the war, with over 51,000
soldiers killed, wounded, captured or missing.
The Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg was
dedicated only months later, on November 19, 1863, the day that President
Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address.
The Gettysburg cemetery contains over 7,000
graves, including more than 3,500 from the Civil War.
Post-battle preservation efforts secured small
portions of the battlefield as a memorial to the Union victory. Congressional legislation was signed
on February 11, 1895, establishing Gettysburg National Military Park as a
memorial dedicated to the armies that fought this monumental
battle. Gettysburg National Military Park includes some 6,000 acres,
including 26 miles of roads and more than 1,400 monuments, markers, and