The Battle of Gettysburg is the bloodiest battle ever to take place on American soil and the turning point in the Civil War. It was fought over shoes.
Just The Facts
- The battle was fought from July 1st to 3rd in 1863.
- A resounding victory for the North, both sides lost roughly the same amount of men.
- For the South this made for a very depressing 4th of July
The Civil War
The Civil War was fought for a number of reasons. Presented now are commonly agreed upon modern justifications for each side's involvement in the war.
South: The war was fought over the rights of the states, the tyranny of the north had reached a boiling point, and in order to maintain liberty, secession was the only option.
What the fuck?
South: Well you see agribusiness and-
what the FUCK!?
The north had over 22 million people and a heavy industrial manufacturing infrastructure. And if we are to take Martin Scorcese's interpretation of the time, they REALLY hated the Irish.
REALLY Hated the Irish
The South had a population of 9 million people and an agriculturally based infrastructure. The majority of the war was fought in the south, so this home court advantage worked remarkably well for them.
They also had a substantial Slave population, some of whom actually fought for the south while yelling their battle cry: "ENSLAVEMENT!"
By this point in the war, General Lee had marched his confederate troops into Pennsylvania and seemed pretty much unstoppable. The Union had lost battle after battle and despite having numerical superiority, defeat seemed possible.
Robert E Lee
The leader of the Confederate Troops, is considered to be one of history's greatest military minds. So popular that centuries later, a book written from the perspective of his horse was a best seller.
Leader of the Union troops, given the unfortunate nickname "snapping turtle."
Personally I don't see it.
With Great Moustache comes great responsibility
You build a school, they call you Pickett the School Builder, but you lead one ungodly stupid charge...
The Battle was set in motion when a group of Confederate soldiers were out looking for supplies, primarily shoes; they came across a group of Union soldiers and reported back to superiors, one thing led to another, and battle was the option decided upon. Luckily we have evolved past the point where people are foolish enough to kill someone else over something as utterly pointless as shoes.
Except during Black Friday, THEY MUST BE HAD!
On this day, nearly fifty thousand people fought against each other and the South won, the Union retreated to some hills. Nothing abou this terrible day is fodder for mockery except perhaps the inclusion of Union General Hancock- although even this is a stretch for any comedy writer.
Confederacy winning? Aw Hell Nah!
On this day, the Union was desperately holding off the Confederacy on a pair of hills. On Little Round Top, the of Union Army under the fantastically moustached Col. Chamberlain was engaged in a desperate battle.
Look upon it ye shaven, and despair.
He was running out of ammunition at a startling rate and knew that if they fell, the hill would fall, and the army would fall, and the country would fall, and it would all fall on his shoulders. With this in mind, he ordered his men, who he must have thought were all sleeping with his wife, to fix bayonets and charge.
So the men charged, most likely humming the Transformer's theme as they went, and set off on a desperation suicide charge.
Union Army, rollout!
Apparently this force included private Gilgamesh, Sgt. Wolverine, and Col. Optimus Prime, because it somehow worked. The Union was saved for the time being, but unless the Confederacy did something incredibly boneheaded, the North would taste defeat.
For the third day, Lee decided to forgo his usual brilliance in exchange for something far more insane. The Union was set up at the top of a hill behind a wall with clear shooting range for 3/4s of a mile; he would send his troops on a slow march up this hill in a decision that seemed less Robert E. Lee and more Zapp Brannigan.
The Union Army has a built in kill number, so I will send wave after wave of my own men at them until this number is reached.
Lee was smart enough to appoint someone else to lead this effort, and that person was the unassuming General Pickett.
Look at his face, and guess where ths is going.
After the morning artillery barrage, the charge began and predictably went to hell. It was less a military move and more a very violent game of duck hunt. At one point a Confederate officer placed his hat on his sword in an attempt to rally his troops. Union fashion critics immediately put that trend to rest.
And so the South suffered a major setback after General Pickett was foiled predictably by a fence. In the immediate aftermath, Lee, confused that his brilliant plan had failed went to Pickett and told him to get his division together for a defensive attack. Pickett responded with his famous quote, "General, I have no division."
Historians often debate the second part of the quote "...you dickweed."
The South never really recovered from this defeat and would begin a gradual decline over the next two years.
General Meade meanwhile was sacked from his post by Lincoln for not swooping down and destroying the retreating South, clearly due to him never playing a Total War game.
In happier times
Meade retired to the Galapagos where he lived to the ripe age of 176.
He was replaced by hard-drinking General Grant, who made up for his less-than-perfect military skill with his ability to defeat enemies by making them run out of ammunition.
Pictured: Grant. Not Pictured: Sobriety.
He realized the Brannigan maneuver can actually work if you have more men than your opponent.
Lincoln meanwhile delivered Gettysburg Address, one of the finest brief speeches ever written. It has since been the punchline to many a 3rd grader trying to be clever, and to many a late night comic pointing out the stupidity of the American populace.
No, Lincoln did not live there, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!