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There were several reasons for the Northern victory at Gettysburg. Solid generals and land would be the main factors. This battle would prove to be a turning point in the war after the South had won most of the previous battles on the eastern theater.

The first reason for Northern victory would be the actions of the Northern cavalry led by John Buford. For the first three years of the war, the Southern cavalry had dominated and JEB Stuart (the leader of the Southern cavalry) had become a legend of cavalry command. Stuart, however, did not arrive to the battlefield until the third day of the battle. Hw was off raiding and this resulted in Lee’s army losing its respective “eyes”.

Buford, however, played a huge role. His two brigades held onto Cemetery Hill against divisions of Confederate troops. The South kept sending the troops and the Yankee cavalry brigades dismounted and faught as foot soldiers against the oncoming swarms of Rebels. The two-hour defensive act allowed the North to retain Cemetery Hill, which held the important high ground and would prove so important later in the battle. He repelled the attacks for hours until Reynolds Corps (the best in the union outfit) arrived to relieve them.

After this battle the North held better land positions and was able to make the South come at them on higher ground. The North played a cautious approach as new Commanding General George Meade did not wish to make an aggressive mistake against the crafty and opportunistic Lee. The North basically just held their positions through out the fighting.

Chamberlain’s stand when Lee tried to flank him showed Meade’s strategy worked. Meade was waiting for the opponent to make a mistake. This strategy was smart because the South had lost Stonewall Jackson and Richard Ewell replaced him. Ewell’s hesitancy resulted in many lost opportunities for the Southern cause. When Hill and Ewell tried to flank the Union, Meade’s strategy allowed for the North to be able to repel the impending attack.

At the Third day of Gettysburg and with the help of the late arriving Jeb Stuart, Lee realized that the North’s positions were strong. He had two options: first he could withdraw from the position or try a full frontal attack. Despite warnings from his “left hand” James Longstreet, Lee proceeded to order a full mile long charge and lost thousands of troops in the unnecessary Pickett’s charge.
Meade’s cautious approach, helped by Buford’s initial stand is what turned the tide of the Civil War. This resulted in the end of the Southern invasion.

One should not be so surprised at Meade’s success. He actually was beating Lee at the 2nd Bull Run-until bad weather or Stonewall Jackson intervened (depending on whether the North or South tells the story).