Between July 1–3, 1863; General George G. Meade would lead his Union Army troops against a determined Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.
The Battle of Gettysburg would become the bloodiest of the Civil War.
After his success at Chancellorsville in May 1863, Lee (shown below) led his army through the Shenandoah Valley for his second invasion of the North, hoping to reach as far as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, or even Philadelphia, and to influence Northern politicians to give up their prosecution of the war.
His blind faith lead Lee to underestimate the resolve of the Union soldiers, as evident leading into the final battle on July 3rd. 1863. Lee faced dramatic differences in going from the strategic defense to the strategic offense. Long supply lines, a hostile local population, and an imperative to force the enemy from its position. Lastly, after July 1st, the Confederates were simply not able to coordinate their attacks.
Both sides had heavy losses. Union casualties were at 23,055 (3,155 killed, 14,531 wounded, 5,369 captured or missing). Confederate records were harder to estimate, but historians put the casualty amount at 23,231 (4,708 killed, 12,693 wounded, 5,830 captured/missing). 
Historians often described the battle as the war’s turning point.
Later that November, President Abraham Lincoln would travel to Gettysburg for a dedication ceremony to honor the fallen and to redefine the purpose of the war in his historic Gettysburg Address.
The battlefield still stands today in it’s pristine state. The US National Parks Service offers a comprehensive tour of the battle site. The park offers a wide variety of ranger-guided programs annually from April through October, with the core season for summer programs from mid-June through mid-August.
Re-enactments of the battle takes place during the weekend of July 3rd through the 5th.
One place that offers Gettysburg camping is website called, “CampGettysburg.com”, a private RV campground and resort located not too far from the original battlefield.
Give your children a real adventure this summer by traveling to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Actually seeing the battlefield in person instead of a text book, will give them something to talk about for years to come!
Busey, John W., and Martin, David G., Regimental Strengths and Losses at Gettysburg, 4th Ed., Longstreet House, 2005, ISBN 0-944413-67-6.