Inside the Leister House – July 2, 2013

By Avery Lentz ’14

As our readers certainly remember the summer of 2013 was the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. On the days of the July 1-3, 1863, the pivotal battle of Gettysburg was fought between the Union Army of the Potomac and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, possibly to decide the fate of the nation. By 1863, the death toll had reached catastrophic levels and both North and South were growing fatigued by war. Confederate General Robert E. Lee was looking for a final knockout blow against the Union Army. After his victory at Chancellorsville in May 1863, Lee took his army of 80,000 men north into southern Pennsylvania, slowly being pursued by Union Gen. Joseph Hooker’s army of 93,000 men. On June 28th, Hooker was replaced by Gen. George Gordon Meade.The two armies collided in Gettysburg two days later.

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The first two days of the battle were extremely costly for both sides, racking up close to 15,000 to 20,000 casualties total every single day. The events that took place on the night of July 2, 1863 shaped the decisions and outcomes on July 3. General Meade called a council of war among his generals to find out what condition his army was in and whether they should continue to defend Cemetery Hill/Ridge. This pivotal meeting during this pivotal battle happened in the small quarters of the Leister farmhouse on Cemetery Ridge. It’s hard to imagine that people like Lydia Leister lived on the land that turned red with the blood of men in blue and gray. Continue reading “Inside the Leister House – July 2, 2013”