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Content Reading Guide: The Civil War: The North Advances
In December of 1862, Robert E. Lee defeated Union forces in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The South achieved another victory in Chancellorsville, Virginia in the Spring of 1863. It seemed as if the South was gaining the upper hand. However, at Chancellorsville, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was accidently shot by a Confederate. His arm was amputated and he died from pneumonia.
On September 17th, 1862, Union and Confederate forces fought at Antietam Creek in Maryland. It was the bloodiest single day of fighting in the entire Civil War. Over 20,000 were killed, wounded, or went missing. Robert E. Lee tried to hold ground in Maryland, but was eventually forced out. Despite Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s death, Robert E. Lee invaded the Union. This was a change from a primarily defensive strategy to an aggressive offensive strategy. This change came because the South desperately had to have supplies for the Confederacy. Lee crossed the Potomac River into Maryland and pushed into Pennsylvania.
The most conclusive battle of the Civil War was in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The conflict lasted from July 1st to July 3rd in 1863. General Robert E. Lee and the Confederates fought with General George Meade of the North. The South advanced upon the area. However, the Union still held the area of Cemetery Ridge. Lee could not penetrate the stronghold and had to retreat back to Virginia. This battle displayed that the South could not launch a successful invasion of the North.
After this conflict, it was obvious that the South could not successfully invade the North. The South did not have adequate supplies to sustain their rebellion. The Battle of Gettysburg was costly to both sides. Lincoln himself visited the battlefield in November of 1863 to dedicate a cemetery for the soldiers. On November 19th, 1863, Lincoln gave a speech called the Gettysburg Address to affirm his hope that the United States would endure. He honored the soldiers who died and stressed his desire that the USA be a place of liberty and uphold the notion that all people are equal. He also echoed the Declaration on Independence to stress his point in the speech.