The Battle of Gettysburg, the decisive engagement 150 ago today that would turn the tide of the Civil War leading to a Union victory, was launched when Confederate General Robert E. Lee's troops clashed with the Union's Army of the Potomac, headed by General George Meade. The battle lasted for three days and proved the bloodiest of the Civil War, with around 50,000 casualties total.In this slideshow, take a tour of the battlefield from photos shot in the aftermath of the conflict.
Although it may look like a simple cottage by modern standards, this house was in fact the headquarters of General Lee at Chambersburg Pike, a position the South held before marching on to occupy Gettysburg.
General Meade commanded the Union Army to its eventual victory at Gettysburg from his headquarters here on Cemetery Ridge.
As one might expect from any surviving images of the deadliest battle in the Civil War, many of the photographs taken in the aftermath of Gettysburg graphically depict the human cost of war. Confederate soldiers who were killed on July 1 near McPherson's Woods, where some of the heaviest fighting broke out early on, appear in this scene.
More than 4,700 Confederate soldiers died. Though Union troops won the battle, they paid dearly as well, with more than 3,000 dead. Union soldiers who died on the battlefield appear in this photo.
Among the most iconic photographs of the battle -- and among the most remembered of the entire war -- is this image of a dead Confederate soldier in the trench still with his rifle. The young sharpshooter fell at Devil's Den, hiding behind a rocky barricade on the boulder-covered hill.
Thousands died and tens of thousands were injured at Gettyburg. Although the Confederates had a higher death toll, the Union side saw a higher number of injuries. And although the Civil War helped usher in a new era of modern medicine, the techniques known to and tools available to 19th-century surgeons were undoubtedly crude compared to today's. In this photo, an amputation is performed by a Union army surgeon at a hospital tent near the battlefield.
Although many men fell in battle, still others, like these three Confederate soldiers, were captured by Union troops. Despite being held prisoner, all three men still bear a look of pride in this photo.
Armies are composed of men, but in the 19th century, they were powered by horses and mules. These animals carried soldiers' equipment and supplies; they were critical to each armies' communications efforts; and they rode soldiers and officers on their backs into war. As a result, many animals died as well, with some 3,000 perishing in the aftermath of Gettysburg.
Capturing some record of the battlefield wasn't strictly the pursuit of photographers, but also sketch artists and illustrators who showed what the war look like through their eyes. Artist Alfred R. Waud of Harper's Weekly composes a sketch on the battlefield in this photo.
One of Waud's sketches of the battle represents the charge by Confederate soldiers nicknamed the Louisiana Tigers upon a battery of the 11th Corps Union Army at Gettysburg.
Taken months after the conclusion of the battle itself, this photo is a one-of-a-kind shot of President Abraham Lincoln visiting the battlefield to attend a ceremony to dedicate Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg. Hours after this photo was taken, Lincoln delivered the most famous speech of his presidency, the Gettysburg Address, which codified in 10 sentences the meaning of the war between North and South.