Why was it called the "High Water Mark" of the Confederacy?
The Battle of Gettysburg is considered the "high water mark" of the confederacy because it marked the greatest advance of the Confederate forces against the Union. In other words, and from the Northern point of view, if the Confederacy was a great flood, the waters only began to recede after Gettysburg. There is a specific point on the battlefield marked as the "high water mark" (keep reading for more information).
Was Ulysses S. Grant at Gettysburg? Was Robert E. Lee?
Robert E. Lee commanded the Confederate forces (and more specifically, the Army of Northern Virginia). However, General U.s. Grant was far away from Gettsyburg -- he was in command of the Union army laying siege to Vicksburg, Mississippi at the time.
The commanding General of the union forces at Gettysburg was General George Meade. Don't worry, Lee and Grant eventually meet up -- keep reading this tutorial to find out where and why.
Pickett's Charge -- Whose side was Pickett on anyway and why is this "charge" so well known?
The flamboyant General George Pickett (lots of Georges in the Civil War) fought on the Confederate side. The division he commanded under General Lee had seen little action, so he was eager for glory. He found it on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg as his division was chosen by General Lee to march en masse a mile across an open field to attack the center of the Union army entrenched on Cemetery Hill. Unfortunately, the technology of war during the Civil War was far ahead of its tactics. The Union army had no trouble mowing down most of the Pickett's division with its artillery before they even reached the Union line. A handful of confederate soldiers briefly breeched the Union line, and then were quickly beaten back. This point on the battlefield is now known as the "high water mark". Despite his enthusiasm for the opportunity to lead the fight, Pickett blamed Lee for having his division annihilated and never forgave Lee for the rest of his life.
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