The Battle of Gettysburg is described by some historians as the South’s last chance to win the war. When they lost this battle, they lost that chance.
The Battle of Gettysburg occurred during a Southern invasion of the North. Lee had invaded the North in the hope that the invasion would encourage Northerners who wanted to end the war. He also hoped that some foreign country like Britain or France would at least recognize the Confederacy, making it harder for the Union to win.
When the South lost at Gettysburg, it was forced to retreat and the hopes Southerners had for the invasion were dashed.
The Battle of Gettysburg marked a turning point in the American Civil War (1861–65), a bloody conflict between states in the North (the United States, or the Union) and the South (the Confederate States of America, or the Confederacy). The battle was fought in the summer of 1863 when Union and Confederate forces met accidentally at Gettysburg, a town in southern Pennsylvania. From July 1 to 3, Union General George Meade (1815–1872) led about 90,000 troops to defeat 75,000 advancing Confederate troops under General Robert E. Lee (1807–1870). The Union victory effectively stopped Lee's invasion of the North.
On November 19, 1863, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865) made his historical address at Gettysburg, during the dedication of part of the battlefield as a national cemetery. Lincoln began with the now-famous words "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." He closed the short speech, which he rewrote many times, with a rallying cry for the nation: "we here highly resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain—that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom—and that governments of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Further Information: The Battle of Gettysburg. [Online] Available http://members.xoom.com/echooneone/main.htm, October 25, 2000; "Battle of Gettysburg." Military History Online. [Online] Available http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/gettysburg, October 25, 2000; Johnson, Neil. The Battle of Gettysburg. New York: Four Winds Press, 1989; Reef, Catherine. Gettysburg. New York: Dillon Press, 1992.