Gen. George G. Meade - 47, from Pennsylvania, graduated West
Point Class of 1845. Found himself in command of the Union Army
of the Potomac only three days before the Battle of Gettysburg.
His success at Gettysburg would be later marred by critics who
felt that he was too slow in chasing Lee back into Virginia. He
died November 6, 1872.
number following an individual's name indicates his age at the
time of the Battle of Gettysburg.]
Gen. John Buford - 37, from Kentucky and Illinois, graduated
West Point, Class of 1848. His cavalry division held back superior
numbers of Confederates until Union infantry arrived. His troops
encountered the head of a Confederate column on June 30th near
Gettysburg. It was Buford who decided to stay in the area overnight
and wait for the Confederates to return the following day. His
choice would set the stage for the Battle of Gettysburg that
began the following day. Died of Typhoid fever on December 16,
Gen. Henry J. Hunt - Graduated West Point, Class of 1839.
He was the chief of artillery of the Army of the Potomac and
looked at war with an unblinking eye. He had reduced it to a
basic element - massed cannon spewing forth hot iron into human
flesh. In its fearful starkness, it was a philosophy of manmade
fury against the bodies and souls of men. Hunt could create
hell on a battlefield unlike any other warrior at Gettysburg.
Hunt seemed to be everywhere along the Union line during July
2. He issued orders, posted batteries, and witnessed the loss
of the number of guns, their crews overrun by the Confederate
Gen. Winfield S. Hancock - 39, from Pennsylvania, graduated
West Point, Class of 1844. Inspiring, bold, and daring, he proved
to be an outstanding officer and field commander. At Gettysburg,
he reached a pinnacle when Meade sent Hancock as his representative
to the battlefield on July 1, where Hancock took command of
the field. The general was everywhere the action was on July
2 and played a prominent role in sending troops to threatened
areas. He nearly lost his life while directing troops against
Pickett's Virginians on July 3. Died February 9, 1886.
Gen. Abner Doubleday - 43, from New York, graduated West
Point, Class of 1842. On the first day, Doubleday led the Union
troops in their repulse of the Confederate army until reinforcements
arrived. Doubleday's top commander, Gen. George G. Meade, was
not, however, aware of all of the facts concerning Doubleday's
meritorious service and Doubleday's division's credit for the
ultimate Union victory on the third day of Gettysburg. Therefore,
Doubleday did not earn the permanent command of his division;
instead it was given to former West Point classmate John Newton,
and Doubleday was returned to a lesser command. He died January
Gen. Daniel E. Sickles - 43, from New York, was a lawyer
and politician. His advance of the III Corps in to an exosed
position on July 2, 1863, is still a controversial subject.
He lost most of his corps and a leg at Gettysburg, but was compensated
for his loss with the Congressional Medal of Honor. As a congressman
in 1894, Sickles would sponsor a bill to make the battle a national
park. He died May 3, 1914.