Battle of Gettysburg is known as the bloodiest battle in America. The three days long brutal battle was fought in the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Situated at the junction of 10 roads at a time when most places were served by either one or two lanes, and it was only about 30 miles away from two key supply routes, it shouldn’t be very much surprising that the Confederate and Union troops ran into each other in Gettysburg. What is the surprising part about the Battle of Gettysburg is that many historians believe that the battle was started because of new shoes. Well, Yes it’s right shoes were the reason behind America’s deadliest battle
How did the battle start?
Shoes were back then referred to as Brogan, and it was made of two pieces of leather, a wooden sole, cowhide lace, four eyelets, and cheap stitching. It was also the composition of a standard solider’s shoe during the American Civil War. They were made straight last, which meant that the left and right shoes were identical. They were quite robust, heavy, and dried very slowly. They were an essential part of a soldier’s uniform. It’s no doubt that the soldier with shoes had an advantage over his barefoot counterpart soldiers.
When a rumor started to spread throughout various army camps that there’s a Brogan-filled warehouse in Gettysburg, the army of Northern Virginia and their Major General Henry Heth saw an opportunity to get those Brogans. On 30th June 1863, he ordered his Brigadier General Mr. Pettigrew to take his army brigade to Gettysburg and search the town for army supplies, especially shoes and return the same day.
The next day, 1st July 1863, Heth’s army brigade met Union troops, which included cavalry forces led by Union Brigadier General John Buford and later reinforcements under the leadership of Union General John F. Reynolds. The fighting escalated into a massive, deadly battle, with Heth’s diving suffering casualties and Union Major Reynolds was killed.
Due to the risk of losing Heth’s division, Lee was forced to send in support the army, which prevented him from carrying out his plan to unite the whole army in one large force before meeting the enemy forces. Subsequently, on the first day, fighting took place at Oak Ridge, Seminary Ridge, Barlow’s Knoll, McPherson Ridge, and Oak Hill.
On 2nd July 1863, Union Major General George Meade arrived with the remaining Union army that was more than 90,000 in total, and things got bloody. That day the battle took place at Devil’s Den, Trostle’s Farm, Culp’s Hill. Cemetery Hill, Little Round Top, the Wheatfield and Peach Orchard.
This battle ended with 1,100 Confederate troops being killed, another 4000 were wounded, and the Union troops captured nearly 3700.
When the battle was over, in total, 51,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, captured, or went missing. It is known as the deadliest battle in the History of America, and the surprising part it all started because of shoes.