Gettysburg Facts • More Facts – When, Where and Why? • Unusual Gettysburg Facts

Who Fought in the Battle of Gettysburg?

The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia
70,100 men and 280 guns commanded by General Robert E. Lee
The Federal Army of the Potomac
93,700 men and 372 guns commanded by Major General George G. Meade

The armies at the Battle of Gettysburg included regiments and batteries from 12 Southern and 18 Northern states. Both armies had units from Maryland. See the States at Gettysburg.

The Federal Army of the Potomac had an advantage in numbers of almost 24,000 men, helped by a last-minute transfer of over 10,000 men from the rear-area forces around Washington and Baltimore.

Compare the strength of the corps and divisions of the armies at Gettysburg

Who won the Battle of Gettysburg?

The Battle of Gettysburg was a decisive victory for the Union.

Tactically it may have seemed about even. Both armies lost about the same number of men, and Lee kept his army on the field until the evening of the day after the battle, waiting for a counterattack by Meade which never came. But Meade’s larger army could better afford the losses – all eight of Lee’s infantry divisions lost about a third of their strength, while Meade’s largest Army Corps was virtually untouched. Lee was almost out of artillery ammunition, while Meade had enough for another battle. And Meade had no need to throw himself into a dangerous counterattack; time was on his side as Union reinforcements moved to surround Lee, deep in enemy territory with no hope of reinforcement.

Both armies were badly hurt in the battle. The Union 1st and 3rd Corps never recovered from their casualties and were merged into other corps in March of 1864. Pickett’s Division was so badly hurt it was detached from Longstreet and sent to a quiet(er) sector along the Virginia-North carolina border to recruit and recover. But the Union could more readily find fresh recruits, while Lee would increasingly struggle with a shortage of men, particularly of field and general officers.

Strategically there was no question. The Battle of Gettysburg stopped the Confederate invasion of the North and forced Lee to withdraw to Virginia. He was successful in his secondary goal of gathering supplies from untouched Northern regions, but his goal of moving the fighting out of war-ravaged Virginia only lasted for a few weeks. By August the armies had returned to their starting places along the Rappahannock River. Lee’s primary goal of finally being able to exploit a Confederate victory by pursuing and destroying a beaten Union army would remain an elusive dream.

How many casualties were there in the Battle of Gettysburg?
How many people died at Gettysburg?

Gettysburg was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. It is estimated that there were at least 45,000 and possibly as many as 51,000 casualties in the two armies at Gettysburg. Note that the term “casualties” means not just people who were killed, but also includes men who were wounded (many of whom may have died of their wounds later), soldiers who were captured, and even men who ran away. It’s impossible to calculate an exact number because of missing or incomplete records. This estimate is one of the more conservative and probably significantly understates Confederate missing and wounded:




See a detailed table of the strength and casualties of the Army of the Potomac
or a detailed table of the strength and casualties of the Army of Northern Virginia

Were any civilians killed in the Battle of Gettysburg?

Hundreds of civilians sheltered in their homes as the fighting raged around them and one, John Burns, joined the fight and was wounded. But while a number of civilians died from the diseases the battle brought to town and several were killed by unexploded ordnance afterwards, only one civilian, Jennie Wade, was killed during the actual Battle of Gettysburg. She was struck by a stray shot while indoors in a house on the south side of town caring for a sick relative.

Gettysburg Facts • More Facts – When, Where and Why? • Unusual Gettysburg Facts