Midpoint of the War: May to July 1863

The Army of Northern Virginia Moves North

Why was everyone—Union and Confederate—converging on the little town of Gettysburg?

The long and involved answer is “roads,” but the short and simple one is “shoes.” Both answers help to explain why Gettysburg would soon become a household name throughout America.

Gettysburg was a long-settled place, but it had never exceeded more than 3,000 souls. It had two institutes of higher learning—the Lutheran Theological Seminary and Pennsylvania College—but its main importance, even before the war, was the way different road systems converged on the town: the Chambersburg Turnpike came from the northwest, the Harrisburg Turnpike from the northeast, and the Emmitsburg Road from the southwest. Anyone examining a good map of the surrounding area could see that Gettysburg was bound to be important; even so, very few guessed just how important.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Civil War Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App