JULY 1, 1863: The pivotal Battle of Gettysburg begins as Confederate forces under General Robert E. Lee clash with Union troops under General George Meade in the small Pennsylvania crossroads town. Both sides take heavy losses in close fighting at sites such as Cemetery Hill, the Devil’s Den, and a crucial Union stand at Little Round Top, with the momentum of battle frequently shifting to either side. On the third day Lee makes a crucial error by sending General George Pickett on a doomed charge against entrenched Union lines. His army shattered, Lee prepared for a counter-attack that never came, and slipped away in a heavy rain. With some 50,000 killed or wounded on both sides, Gettysburg was among the war’s bloodiest days and a turning point in the conflict, marking the end of Lee’s strategy of invading the North.