Library of Congress

Teachers

The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Lesson Plans > Civil War Photographs

Back to Lesson Plans

Back to Student Samples

Gettysburg Times

July 6, 1863

John Burns Now Considered A Hero
By Paige

Just a few days ago, our own John L. Burns fought for the Union in the Battle of Gettysburg. Little did he know that he would soon become a hero for what he did those three tragic days. While serving with the 150th Pennsylvania regiment, he was wounded. Before he knew it, Abraham Lincoln, our president, sought out this 72-year-old cobbler when he'd heard about how brave Burns was.

The Battle of Gettysburg was a long and viscous one. The Confederates suffered 27,000 casualties. The battle is considered a major turning point for the Union in this war.

This battle lasted three long, hard days, and was the bloodiest battle of the war so far. 170,000 men fought for their countries, while 50,000 of those men got lost, died, or became wounded. All of the soldiers that died, though, died a glorious and honorable death fighting for what they believed in.

What happened on the last day was Longstreet's Assault, also known as Pickett's Charge. This was a Confederate attack led by General Pickett on the Union's strongest position in the line. That seemed to be a good plan, but was extremely unsuccessful.

But even before that, on the second day, was the worst fighting of the battle. More Union troops had come over to reinforce the fishhook formation made the day before. The Rebels had tried to take over Culp's Hill but did not succeed.

The two Generals were General Meade for the Union, and General Lee on the Confederate side. Both were considered to have good strategies, but Meade led his army to a great, devastating Lee tremendously.

Before this bloody battle, the Battle of Chancellorsville occurred. That was considered General Robert E. Lee's greatest victory over the Union. 12,800 rebels were casualties, while the Union suffered am whopping 17,000 casualties.

The Billy Yanks had had a bad morale after Chancellorsville because they did not win the two battles previous to Gettysburg. Still, they were determined to fight and try their hardest to win, which is the same way the Confederates felt that last day, but the Union won over all, and now they are back on their feet again.

Sources:

Clark, Champ. Gettysburg:The Confederate High Tide. Alexandria: Time Life Books, 1985.

"Gettysburg, Battle of." Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. CD-Rom. 1998.