the discovery on June 30 that Gettysburg was occupied by Brigadier
General John Buford's division of Federal cavalry, the Confederates
on July 1 sent the divisions of Major General Henry Heth and Major
General William Pender of Hill's Corps, down the Chambersburg
Road to drive Buford away and occupy Gettysburg.
battle began at 5.30 a.m., when shots were exchanged over Marsh
Creek. In the face of Buford's resistance, Heth pushed on cautiously
until he reached a point about two miles west of Gettysburg.
Here he deployed two brigades in line, and pressed ahead; it
was nearly 10 a.m. Federal General John F. Reynolds, commanding
I Corps, arrived on the field at this point, and determined
to engage Herb. He ordered I Corps and Major General Oliver
0. Howard's XI Corps to march to Gettysburg. Soon after 10.30
a.m., I Corps arrived and engaged Heth along McPherson's Ridge.
11.30 a.m., Heth had been defeated and forced to withdraw to
Herr Ridge. Early in the action, Reynolds was killed, and field
command devolved upon Howard. A lull now settled over the field
as both sides brought up reinforcements. The Federal I Corps
deployed to defend the western approaches to Gettysburg, while
XI Corps formed up north of the town. Buford's cavalry covered
the flanks. Howard left one division in reserve on Cemetery
Hill. His strategy was simple: delay the Confederates long enough
to enable the rest of the Federal army to concentrate.
arrived on the field after noon. He had initially hoped to avoid
a general engagement since the strength of the enemy was unknown,
and the terrain in the Gettysburg area unfamiliar. But, soon
after noon, Rodes's division of Ewell's Corps arrived on Oak
Hill and attacked the right of I Corps.
2 p.m. Heth's division joined the attack on I Corps. At 3 p.m.,
the battle spread north of the town when Jubal Early's division
of Ewell's Corps attacked down the Harrisburg Road and crushed
the flank of XI Corps. At about the same time, west of Gettysburg,
Pender's division relieved Heth and assaulted I Corps' position
along Seminary Ridge.
4 p.m., both Federal corps were in retreat through Gettysburg
to Cemetery Hill. Federal losses numbered slightly over 9,000,
including some 3,000 captured, compared with Confederate losses
of about 6,500. The day's action had resulted in a Confederate
victory, but Federal forces held onto the high ground south
of Gettysburg, where their position was soon strengthened by