An unplanned battle between the Confederate Army of General Robert E. Lee and the Northern Army of General George G. Meade took place in July of 1863. The two armies met by chance when a foraging brigade of Confederates happened to observe a forward column of Meade's cavalry. Although the Battle of Gettysburg did not attain any great strategic gains for either side, it is considered the turning point of the Civil War by most historians.

June 30th, 1863

Major General John Buford, commanding two brigades of Federal cavalry, arrived in Gettysburg from the south on June 30th, ahead of the main Federal force. Buford had his men form a line in front a ridge known as McPherson's Ridge. Buford had hoped that his dismounted cavalrymen could defend this position until support from General John Reynold's infantry corps arrived. That afternoon, a Confederate brigade in search of shoes, discovered the presence of Buford's cavalry. This information was delivered to the commander of the lead division of A.P. Hill's Corps on the west of Gettysburg, Confederate Major General Harry Heth.

A view of a plain of open farmland which lies between Cemetery and Seminary Ridges. The Peach Orchard can be seen at the center of the photo.

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