The Battle of Gettysburg was a critical turning point in the American Civil War. During the first three days of July 1863, over 172,000 men and 634 cannons were positioned in an area encompassing 25 square miles. An estimated 569 tons of ammunition were expended and, when the battle had ended, the losses topped 51,000 in dead and wounded soldiers on both sides. While the Confederate army retreated after Gettysburg, the war would drag on another two years. It would be the most costly battle ever fought on U.S. soil. The battle was commemorated by Abraham Lincoln’s legendary address. Lincoln stated: “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who died here that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have hallowed it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.” The world has remembered both the battle and Lincoln’s eloquent words.
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