In case you haven’t noticed, although I don’t see how as it has been in the news constantly, this is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. No battle in the entirety of the Civil War probably has as much notoriety as Gettysburg. It marked the high water point of the Confederacy during the war, and the South’s failure to win the battle was the turning point in that war. The Confederacy would go from an offensive to a defensive campaign after the events in Pennsylvania. Your average American may not know anything about the Civil War, but most of the time they can give you one line from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. This battle was that important.
Ten thousand Civil War re-enactors have gathered at the National battlefield to re-create the battle over three days, from July 1-3. Gettysburg was the costliest battle of the entire war. To put it in perspective, 7200 of the participants will have to “die” at some point during the battle and all ten thousand of them will have to be wounded two or three times each and all of them will have to be captured at some point, because the casualties at the battle numbered over 46,000 men total. You’ll see the footage of the re-enactment and will think what scope, but it won’t even come close to matching the 160,000 men who fought there over three days.
To get further into the battle I actually recommend two books, Gettysburg by Stephen W. Sears which paints not only one of the best portraits of the battle from multiple points, it also gives a good political look at how the players arrived there; and Twilight at little Round Top by Glenn W. LaFantasie. That book actually describes the battle for the smaller of the two hills at Gettysburg which was the probable turning point of the battle during the second day of fighting.
More importantly this is about the history and direction of America, which would have been much different had the Confederacy won the battle of Gettysburg.