Tag: Battle of Gettysburg

July 4, 1863

Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. This was one of the most important days in the history of the United States. On this date the British colonies came together in North America to declare their separation from Britain, and to form their own country. Brave men signed the Declaration pledging their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to that union.

Four score and seven years later, the nation would experience July 4, 1863 as another important date in the history of the nation. This is the day that few people associate with the Civil War, the most vulnerable time in history for our country.

In 1863 there were two separate theaters of the Civil War being contested. In the western theater General Ulysses S Grant was occupied with trying to take the veritable fortress of Vicksburg, Mississippi. This seemingly  backwater town on the Mississippi River held the key to the control of the lower Mississippi River, and thus the ability of the Confederate government to supply its armies and populations with many foodstuffs.

In the eastern theater confederate General Robert E Lee was racing up through Maryland and Pennsylvania, terrifying the Union countryside and President Abraham Lincoln himself. This was the first incursion of a large Confederate army into the northern states. General Lee was coming off a successful year of defeating Union armies, the last battle of which had been Chancellorsville. If Lee could successfully defeat the Union army chasing him, he could possibly achieve a negotiated settlement to the war.

The western theater conflict was at Vicksburg, and in the eastern theater, the Confederate army stumbled on the Union army under Meade at Gettysburg, PA. The fight at Vicksburg had been going on for months, and the fight at Gettysburg lasted for three days. Both conflicts ended in important defeats for the Confederates.

On July 4, 1863 General Robert E Lee left the Gettysburg battlefield in defeat. This was his first major defeat, and history judges that the Confederacy reached its high water mark at that losing battle.

On July 4, 1863 General Pemberton surrendered his Confederate army at The Siege of Vicksburg to General Ulysses S Grant.

With these two momentous Union victories, the end of the Confederacy was made certain. It took two more years before General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox.

July 4 marks the beginnings of our country, and the salvation of our country.